Just when you start to think this great country is going to hell in a handbasket, an uplifting story comes along to remind you that we remain, for the most part, proud and free and extremely American. On Independence Day weekend, it’s reassuring to know that you can still own a gun even if you have a history of being bat-shit crazy.
Seriously. This New York Times story describes how assorted nuts are able to get their gun rights restored despite having been judged certifiably insane. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it could go a long way toward removing the stigma associated with mental illness. On the other hand, if you thought that guy yelling to himself on the corner was scary; wait until he’s got a Glock to go with it. Crossing to the other side of the street may no longer be enough.
Look, I’m not one to judge mentally ill persons too harshly — unless they happen to be emptying a 30-round magazine in my direction in the style of well-known psycho Jared Loughner. But it does concern me when someone with mental issues, at the first moment those issues seem to have subsided, decides the first thing he needs to do is acquire a firearm. It sets off these little alarms.
John H. says
I think guns are like motorcycles: we in the USA just accept that there are going to be a lot of casualties in exchange for the coolness of being able to own guns and ride motorcycles. The fact that it’s mostly preventable is not as important as the freedom.
John – with motorcycles a person is only risking his own life. With guns, we are all at risk.
John H. says
Joan – you are quite right. And for what it’s worth, I wasn’t trying to equate the two. They’re just two examples of how we Americans prefer to disregard personal safety in favor of greater freedom.
Personally, I favor UK-style gun control, but that can never happen in the US. And I have motorcycles on the brain because I see so much risky driving by motorcyclists on my daily commute.