Guns, Mental Illness and the Right to bear Arms

by Administrator18. December 2012 10:24

Yesterday I opined that the problem with mass-shootings may have little to do with guns but a lot with mental illness, and today I found validation of my belief in the Wall Street Journal. David Kopel, research director and of the Independence Institute and co-author of the law school text book “Firearms laws and the Second Amendment” (Aspen, 2012), documents on the opinion page that the gun laws have no direct influence on crime.

He questions why we have an increase in mass-shootings today when we have much stricter gun controls than before when such incidents were rare. He believes one of the plausible answers is rooted in the media, where the greatly magnified instant celebrity of the mass killer is instantly broadcast, leading to copycat shootings.

He further believes what I stated yesterday that the mental health of the people committing these crimes is the reason for the mass killings committed. Kopel writes that in the mid-1960s many of the killings would have been prevented because the severely mentally ill would have been cared for in state institutions. Today, while our government as a whole has become bloated, mental health services have been starved of funds.

Kopel cites a study by the Treatment Advocacy Center that shows the number of hospital beds in America per capita has fallen to 1850 levels—imagine: 14.1 beds per 100 000 people. That fact alone is frightening.  

The most aggravating fact he states is that many of the mass shootings happen in pretend “gun-free zones,” such as schools, movie theaters and shopping malls. However, a fact the media hardly ever mentions, and if it is mentioned at all, it is obscured, that many mass shootings were thwarted by armed citizens.

He names Shoney’s Restaurant in Alabama (1991), the high school in Pearl Miss. (1997), middle-school dance in Edinboro, Penn. (1998), and recently a case at the Clackamas Mall in Oregon where a shopper with a hand gun carry permit, aiming at the shooter got him to commit suicide.

In Oregon, I, too, had a gun permit to carry. I began to carry a hand gun after a harrowing encounter with three baseball-bat swinging thugs. I was saved by an airport patrol, but decided I was better off providing for my own protection.

I believe if the brave young teachers confronting the shooter in Newtown had had a gun far fewer lives had been lost.  




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About the author

Born in Germany in 1941, Sigrid Weidenweber remembers the horrific aftermath of Fascism. At the end of the war, she found herself living under Communism. Both of these totalitarian regimes left indelible marks on her psyche and a healthy distrust of government’s, usurping too many powers to control people, supposedly for their own good. After the Berlin Wall was built, she managed to escape the repressive environment with the help of friends and a French passport. To this day she does not speak French.

She holds degrees in medical technology, psychology and an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Concordia University of Portland, Oregon for her trilogy "The Volga Flows Forever."

 Her first published book, “Escaping the Twilight,” deals with aspects of medical anthropology in an Islamic culture. In her trilogy the Volga Flows Forever, she brings to life Catherine the Great in her multiple roles as monarch, woman--lover, mother, grandmother and head of the general staff of the army, in volume one. The following two historical volumes deal with the Volga Germans brought to Russia by Catherine's edict.  The last book, “From Gulag to Freedom,” describes the lives of Russian-Germans and minority populations under Stalin’s regime and the systematic eradication of these minorities. The last part of the book is a comparison of communism, Russia, versus free enterprise in the USA. The heroin of the book settles in Fresno, California.

Three years ago she moved to Santa Rosa Valley, California from Portland Oregon. She has passionately embraced California together with her family that also resides here.

Always active, lecturing on historical and anthropological subjects and being a part of arts and culture in Portland, Oregon, she bestrode the same path when she came to California and is active on the Northwest Symphony League Board.

At present she is writing a memoir of her early childhood during WW I and later young adulthood under Communism.


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