February 9, 2013

MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE: Don’t Stigmatize Crazy People, Stigmatize Gun Owners.

So first Bonavia implies that we ought to make policy based on the percentages. But then she says, make a pervasive law that applies to everyone, without mentioning the very small percentage of perpetrators of gun violence within the truly vast category of Americans who buy guns. And by the way, the category “gun violence” lumps things together. Gun control has become a hot issue because of a few massacres. If you make a category out of the set of incidents that has inflamed present-day opinion, people suffering from mental illness seem to be 100% of the perpetrators! You only get your very small percentage if you throw in other types of incidents, such as gangsters wiping each other out. Wake me up when 90% of Americans want to do something about that. And explain to me how background checks have any curative power over that problem.

The appeal to statistics and reason falls flat when you shape it to suit the policy you already want.

It’s true that only a small minority of crazy people commit violent crimes. But that small minority is gigantic compared to the percentage of gun owners who commit violent crimes. Follow the link for some sharp questions.