First of all, I want to say that neither you nor I know all the facts about yesterday’s unthinkably horrific events in Newtown, CT. Intelligent people understand that no news reports can be considered reliable in the first 24 hours following a cataclysmic tragedy. Indeed, it will be weeks, perhaps months, before the facts of the shooting are known.
But with so many on the left exploiting the atrocity to call for new firearms regulations, I thought I might explore a different angle.
There have been reports that the shooter, Adam Lanza, had mental health issues. This would very much fit the profile of people who commit that type of crime, from Laurie Dann (who used a gun to murder schoolchildren) to Steven Abrams (who used a car for the same purpose) to Zheng Minsheng (who used a knife).
And here’s a fact you might not know – Connecticut is one of only SIX states in the U.S. that doesn’t have a type of “assisted outpatient treatment” (AOT) law (sometimes referred to as “involuntary outpatient treatment”). There’s no one standard for these types of laws, but (roughly speaking) these are laws that allow for people with mental illness to be forcibly treated BEFORE they commit a serious crime. Whereas previous legal standards held that the mentally ill cannot be institutionalized or medicated until they harm someone or themselves, or until they express an immediate intent to do so, AOT laws (again, roughly speaking) allow for preventative institutionalization or forced medication (I highly recommend reading the data cited in the link I provided in this paragraph, especially regarding what is known as “first episode psychosis”).
AOT laws vary state-by-state, and often bear the name of a person murdered by an untreated mentally ill person (“Kendra’s Law” in New York, “Laura’s Law” in California, etc.).
Earlier this year, Connecticut considered passing an AOT law (and a weak one, at that), and it failed, due to protests from “civil liberties” groups.
And here’s my point. I have NO idea, as in ZERO, as in NADA, as in ZILCH, whether that law, had it passed, would have made a difference in the case of the Newtown killer. I’m not claiming to know, and that’s not the point of this piece. My point is, when mental health experts advocated a law that might reduce the violence caused by mentally ill people who are untreated, “rights” advocates shot it down. The risk that innocent people might be murdered was not as important as the fact that the mentally ill might lose their “right” to walk around untreated.
Okay. So, “rights” trample safety. Got it.
But when it comes to the Second Amendment, these same “civil liberties” advocates say that rights DON’T trample safety. “Gut the Second Amendment! The Bill of Rights shouldn’t mean that our children can be murdered by a gun-wielding lunatic!”
All I’m saying is that earlier this year, Connecticut debated a bill that would have made it easier to treat mentally ill people who might pose a threat to the community. And “rights” advocates (including the ACLU) torpedoed it. “RIGHTS ABOVE SAFETY!” But when it comes to the Second Amendment, which, unlike the “right” to be a dangerous untreated schizophrenic, is actually part of our Constitution, rights must be curtailed in the name of “safety.” Never mind how many American lives are saved each year by the defensive use of a firearm. This particular right must be restricted, if doing so can prevent even one school shooting.
Well, where was that line of reasoning during the debate over Connecticut’s AOT law?