Discussion: Mental illness and access to guns

September 20, 2013
The Navy Yard (Charles Dharapak/Associated Press)
The Navy Yard (Charles Dharapak/Associated Press)

Our readers who comment have been busy this morning re-hashing Monday’s Navy Yard shootings that claimed 12 lives. Readers have the obvious questions about how the gunman — given his history — was able to acquire his weapons. They blame liberals for de-institutionalizing mental illness and thus placing demented individuals in the mainstream instead of warehousing them.

We’ll start with Chicobomba who wrote, “What REALLY needs to be addressed is how someone who was discharged from the military because of mis-use of weapons, who apparently had a history of violent acts and was known to the police, who had mental problems, managed to get a job in military installations in the first place. Perhaps if those in charge of hiring and firing had done their jobs, the 12 victims would be alive today.”

Bailinnumberguy offered, “The fact that he targeted his former co-workers against whom he held a grudge takes some of the steam out of the argument that he was crazy. Maybe he was just angry.”

BN1951 asked, “In spite of insubordination and other problems, he received an honorable discharge. Why?

But samlebosch corrected, “He did not receive an honorable discharge. He received a general discharge. There is a difference.”

pvilso24 predicted that  “Liberals will pretend to have missed the news that the Washington Navy Yard shooter was a paranoid schizophrenic.  Liberals refuse to acknowledge that the mass murder problem – as well as the homeless problem – only began after crazy people were thrown out of institutions in the 1970s… Only after a mass murder committed by a psychotic with a firearm do liberals spring to life and suggest a solution: Take away everyone’s guns!
Taking guns away from the mentally stable only makes us less safe: Even psychotics know enough to keep choosing “Gun-Free Zones” for their mass murders.  If Americans are serious about preventing massacres like the ones at the Washington Navy Yard, Newtown, Tucson, Aurora and Virginia Tech, it’s time to review our civil commitment laws.”

Mankato58 said, “I don’t know anybody that thinks this person with a criminal background and known mental issues should have had access to a gun. So why is it that the cries are to expand infringement to the law abiding?”

asher_a wrote, “To enter the government office building where i work, my ID must be scanned and I and my possessions must also go through a metal detector. That is evidently not the case at the Navy Yard. I wonder why not.”

The Dark Knight said, “Typical of liberals (no brains), they are now demanding to know ‘why was Alexis able to buy guns?’ Ask the government is what I say. Gun sellers must use the FBI-run National Instant Criminal Background Check System for background checks on customers. Sharpshooters Small Arms Range, from which Alexis bought the Remington 870 shotgun used in the crime, was in compliance. The shop checked Alexis out with the feds. The Government gave them the go-ahead.”

K. Trout observed that “The first question is why, the second is what to do about it.”

Riggo1983 said, “Ridiculously easy to get security clearances these days. What a joke. Like everything else, to delude ourselves that we are more secure, we require more and more people to have clearances, but the background checks are done poorly since there are so many. Equivalent to taking shoes off at the airport”

But Jemoorman replied, “Not so. It’s only ridiculously easy for ex-military types like Alexis and Snowden, who already had an active clearance that was renewed through the contractor. Non-military types over 25 can expect a 2 yr review. That’s why these contractors look for the ex-military guys, and then put some of them on jobs they are obviously unqualified for, charging Uncle Sam $500/hour”.

GeneGuffey said, “This liberal government has turned America upside down as to morals and values. This man was clearly a mental case waiting to explode and he was not afford[ed] the decency to be treated – throw drugs at him has become the norm and then watch them explode so we can promote Gun Control against an unarmed public.”

We’ll close with CelticBoar, who replied, “I got news for you. Crazy is a bi-partisian issue.”

All comments on this article are here.

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TJ Ortenzi | September 20, 2013