Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Deep in a world of delusion

Shorter David Brooks:
A person who commits a spree killing is likely to be mentally ill; therefore, don't start by limiting his access to guns, start with therapy.
It's the new gun-nut compassion!
When you investigate the minds of these killers, you find yourself deep in a world of delusion, untreated schizophrenia and ferociously injured pride.... The crucial point is that the dynamics are internal, not external. These killers are primarily the product of psychological derangements, not sociological ones.  Yet, after every rampage, there are always people who want to use these events to indict whatever they don’t like about society.
Like say, for instance, what you don't like about society is the way it allows crazy people to buy very dangerous weapons.  Then when something like the Aurora massacre happens you will be totally tempted to blame it on that and start howling for better gun laws instead of worrying about your killer's exaggerated sense of his own significance and deeply wounded self-esteem. You'll be treating a symptom instead of the disease.

Anyway, gun control might not even work;
 it’s not clear that those laws improve public safety. Researchers reviewing the gun control literature for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, were unable to show the laws are effective.
It's true! That CDC study in 2000-2002 found that there was not enough evidence to say whether the laws currently in operation in the US were effective or not. You remember 2000-2002, don't you? That was when the Bush administration cleaned all the rotten old politicization out of the CDC and other agencies by staffing it with brilliant young professionals from academic hothouses like Regent University. Or something.

And familiar charts like this one?
From Sodahead.
I guess we'd be told that they're obviously biased. They leave out countries with very strict gun control and horrifying murder rates, like Russia and South Africa. It's so unfair to compare us to places like Canada and Australia with which we have virtually nothing culturally in common.

Brooks ends up going the full Oprah, as it were:
The best way to prevent killing sprees is with relationships — when one person notices that a relative or neighbor is going off the rails and gets that person treatment before the barbarism takes control.
At least if you can find them; you can usually recognize them by the fact that they seem totally normal, quiet and polite, not the kind of person who would ever do such a thing. That's what all the neighbors always say. Anyway, Brooks foresees such objections—that's why he recommends something that's a cross between the individual mandate and racial profiling:
there also has to be a more aggressive system of treatment options, especially for men in their 20s.
Mandatory hugs! Self-esteem boot camps! Makes your average gun-control law sound downright masculine, don't it?

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