Guns and “crazy people”

Governor Shumlin, recently returned from his Italian sojourn, has finally weighed in on the post-Newtown gun control debate in an interview with the Freeploid. In this diary I won’t address his overall stance, which can be briefly described as “The Buck Stops Somewhere Else.” Rather, I’ll just point out one little problematic statement:

I have a lot of confidence in the president’s and vice president’s approach to this, which is: Be inclusive, with the goal of not coming up with a solution that looks good, but really diving into the issues that are driving violence, and that are putting weapons in the hands of crazy, deranged people who shouldn’t have them.

“Crazy, deranged people.” That nugget of insensitivity, I remind you, comes from the man who’s tasked himself with reinventing Vermont’s mental health care system. And it placed our Governor uncomfortably close to Wayne LaPierre territory.

How many more copycats are waiting in the wings… A dozen more killers, a hundred more? How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation’s refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?

There are a couple of big problems with this call for segregating “crazy people” from assault weapons. Well, a couple of problems aside from utter impracticality (Adam Lanza got his firepower, not from a gun show or the Internet, but from his MOMMY) and complete hypocrisy (registering guns is an invasion of personal freedom, but registering “crazy people” is not).

First, the vast majority of “crazy people” have never been diagnosed. Adam Lanza wouldn’t have shown up on Wayno’s database. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris wouldn’t have been there either. Nor would Jared Lee Loughner. If you want a national database of the “deranged,” you’ll need a much more robust mental health system — one that thoroughly screens every single one of us, and somehow manages to identify future killers through the early, scant traces of aberrant behavior.

Second, “crazy people” as a group are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. Relatively few are the slavering, uncontrollable monsters of LaPierre’s imagination. Many are passive or withdrawn*, unable to defend themselves or resist criminal assault. And all would be branded, as if by a scarlet letter “C”, as potential killers in a National Registry of the Crazy.

*as Adam Lanza seemed to be, until the day he took his mom’s assault weapons to school.

Opponents of gun regulation bleat about the impracticality of any attempt to control the flow of high-powered weaponry, and yet they are somehow unfazed by the even greater impracticality and ineffectiveness of a hypothetical Database of the Deranged.

One more thing. Since the national discussion of gun control is likely to go on for quite a while — and will be renewed every time a “crazy person” shoots up a school, church, mall, or other public place — I hereby present our Governor with an extremely partial but nonetheless handy list of other insensitive terms for the mentally ill, just in case he gets tired of “crazy” and “deranged.”

5150, basket case, bananas, batty, berserk, bughouse, crackers, cuckoo, daffy, demented, ding-a-ling, freaky, f*ck knuckle, insane (or even better, “insane in the membrane”), kooky, Low Marble Count, lunatic, mad, mondo bizarro, Napoleon XIV, nutjob, nutty, out to lunch, postal (especially apropos), potty, psycho, screw loose, spaz, wackadoodle, wacky, wigged out.

Also, don’t forget the creative possibilities of the phrase “short of,” as in one brick short of a load, one sandwich short of a picnic, and a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

There now. I hope I’ve helped to add some richness and color to our Governor’s political discourse.  

10 thoughts on “Guns and “crazy people”

  1. nobody’s home, toys in the attic, wandered off the reservation & who can forget crazier than a s**t house rat (no offense to the s**t house rats), if due to overuse of ‘substances’, crispy, fried & baked are rather common.

  2. Simple–Anybody running for office should be registered as a potential power nutcase.  After all, how many folks have been killed due to Congressional actions supporting WAR?  Definitely should be no guns for Obama.  All that beer he drinks.  

    Registering the mentally ill?  Shit, that’s the whole goddamn country.

  3. Exactly.

    This is a way to once again avoid confronting the fact that all over America, folks are armed to the teeth, paranoid and poised to react should anything real or imagined flip a switch in their heads.

    By identifying it as an issue of people other than ourselves Shumlin gets to slide neatly out of the cross-hairs. 😉

  4. Yes there are lots of “insensitive” actually cruel words that “we” have invented over the years – it really seems that it is counterproductive to construct a “handy list” for the governor (or anyone else). Certainly Mr. Shumlin  has demonstrated that he will have no problems figuring out how to dismiss and insult our fellow citizens who really most need his support and encouragement.

    Further, isn’t this fellow the one who is supposed to be so sensitive, so caring? The mentally challenged have already been subjected to more than their fair share of neglect and insult. Your piling on seems unnecessary!

    The “gun control” component of the discussion on the Newtown CT “Sandy Hook” tragedy is sad and exhibits the Ron Emmanuel politics that the left is always quick to exploit.

    Guns are but one of a limitless arsenal of weapons that the determined murderer can utilize: explosives, gasoline and diesel fuels, commercial fertilizers, off the shelf commercial cleaners (especially in combination with household bleach), insecticides and rodenticides are just a few of the readily available materials which can do the job. The gun advocates are quick to remind us that ”

    guns don’t kill people – evil determined people kill people!” I do not favor gun registration, however some sort of documentation of citizenship and proficiency and competency in the care, handling, control and storage (a drivers license for firearms)might be valuable.

    Enough Said.

  5. who has never had an episode which could broadly be described as “craziness” in their lives?  I can’t.

    Most never seek help, even if the problem persists.  The suggestion to register those who do is not only unjust but will likely result in greater avoidance of mental health care.

  6. a ridiculously stupid idea for the reasons you & others have listed in this thread.

    Would be another witch hunt witth everyone looking nervously with suspicion on each other & mental health workers having waaay too much power.

  7. Perhaps you meant Ron Emanuel, the actor best known for his role as “Reporter” in “The Mothman Chronicles”.

    Surely you wouldn’t have embarrassed yourself by misspelling the first AND last names of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  

  8. In my own experience with people having mental health challenges, they are usually irony-impaired.

    They may have difficulty catching the differences in tone that irony employs and cannot tell when someone is being ironic or sarcastic, in part because they may be absorbed by their own sense of reality.

    Have you ever noticed this perspective, or lack thereof, Mr. Paige?

    Aurora B.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *