It’s not a gun-control debate.

I have to say that I’m really tired of the reaction to these mass shootings being framed as a gun control debate. For instance, today’s WSJ dead-tree headline, “Trump Visits Grieving Cities As Gun-Control Debate Boils.”

It’s not a gun control debate, damn it, it’s a mental health debate.  And it’s high time we recognized that.

Murder is already illegal, and has been in Western society for millennia. There are a billion (pardon my hyperbole) gun control laws already on the books. The problem is that laws are made for the law-abiding; someone who’s decided that the answer is to shoot up crowds of people doesn’t care about your gun control or homicide laws. For them, such laws are no deterrent, because they don’t think far enough ahead to the punishment for what they’re going to do. (They may indeed not care because they are really looking for suicide by cop.)

So far as I recall, every mass shooter in recent history has had mental issues that were well-known to those around them before they went root-toot-toot. The Parkland massacre (just to pick one) was the result of multiple failures of law enforcement (and, frankly, of the educational establishment) to prevent that kid from getting his hands on a gun and shooting up that school. They all knew he was a loose cannon, they just felt constrained by some idiotic set of rules and guidelines from doing anything proactively to stop him.

The real problem is that we don’t institutionalize the obviously mentally-ill in our society anymore. I blame Ronald Reagan for that, incidentally. We have a homeless crisis because the federal government in the 1980’s suddenly decided it was too expensive to pay for non-violent mental cases to be institutionalized. So what happened? They all got turned out into the streets, and states started taking a harder look at what it took to get someone put away for mental issues, even if they could be deemed a danger to themselves and others, because all of a sudden that was coming out of the states’ pockets.

You can (and by “you”, I mean, “Democrats”) sidetrack the discussion into gun control all you want, but let’s look at the facts:

  • Every one of these mass shooters broke the law before they ever pulled the trigger. Even the guy in California who bought his gun legally in Nevada when he was a resident there (he brought a gun into California that was illegal to possess in California).
  • Every one of these mass shooters was known to someone as being “off,” but nobody ever did anything about it, or if they tried, they were told there was really nothing that could be done. Go all the way back to Columbine and that’s the truth.  These people don’t come out from under rocks, they do not appear ex nihilo, they are known to other people around them who are already aware that there’s just something not right about them.
  • There’s considerable evidence that the massive publicity afforded mass shooters after the fact encourages other potential mass shooters who are looking for their 15 minutes of fame. For years, experts have been saying the media needs to stop giving these mental cases any sort of publicity — don’t run pictures or video of them, don’t identify them by name, focus on the victims and not the perpetrator, let the perpetrator rot without any sort of recognition at all. But the media won’t listen, because they know if it bleeds, it leads.

But as long as we allow the left-wing media and the Democrats to frame this as a gun-control debate, we’re not going to fix any of that. And the blood-letting will continue, unabated, regardless of whether or not you violate my 2nd Amendment rights more than you already are.  The shooters don’t give a damn about your gun control laws, and they just keep proving it. Meantime, you keep trying to limit my ability to shoot back and defend myself. And that’s not right.