Post By zombienerd
February 19th, 2013 04:28 AM
Guns and the Mentally Unstable
Crime Prediction and Its Unintended Consequences
The latest mass killing has renewed multiple controversies about mobilizing science and medicine to prevent violent crime. On this archived edition of To
the Point, we look at the legal and ethical issues, and the prospects for unintended consequences
Paul Appelbaum: Columbia University
Brian Stettin: Treatment Advocacy Center
Stephen Morse: University of Pennsylvania
Kent Kiehl: University of New Mexico
I just heard this program today on the radio and was excited to hear these experts coming out on the side of caution. I've been looking for some authoritative quotes and names to counter my Liberal Senators and others who favor restrictions. I believe this is a must-hear program segment. We need to be quoting these people! It gets into our topic at about the 7:30 mark. You can download it and listen at your leisure.
Can Science and Medicine Help Prevent Violent Crime? - To the Point on KCRW
or you can download it here:
February 19th, 2013 05:00 AM
Listening to it now. I might not make it through the whole 50 minutes before falling asleep at the computer, but I'll get through as much of it as I can.
February 19th, 2013 05:12 AM
February 19th, 2013 05:21 AM
Thanks for this. I've got a brother who's mentally-ill. Fortunately he does not like guns.
"Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company." ~ Mark Twain
February 19th, 2013 09:04 AM
Thanks! I'll give it a listen. The issue of mental health research, funding, and treatment is very important to me. It's also probably one of the biggest rocks that anti-gun people have access to when trying to put a millstone around people's necks.
February 19th, 2013 03:40 PM
The solution is a more-armed public. If every responsible adult were properly armed, and hopefully self-trained, this would not be an issue. Let the mentally unstable have their access to defensive arms, they have the same right to self defense as the rest of us. If they crack and decide to do harm against others, then the public will dispatch the threat. Sadly, I don't see this happening.
February 19th, 2013 04:29 PM
Without yet clicking the link, I can answer the question posed in the lecture title: No, science and medicine cannot prevent violent crime.
In order to know with certainty which diagnosable mental disorders cause the patient to commit violent crime would require stringently-controlled scientific testing. I know of no way to do this that would be funded by any academic or medical institution, let alone pass an institutional review board. Without such well-designed and controlled research, we'd basically be guessing.
The potential "solution" we're looking at is to turn to observational research (which has failed us more often that not). This entails pooling data from individual case and population studies and trying to find associations between mental diagnoses and violent behavior and running some advanced analyses. That's guessing, not science. There's no experiment being done. I think we run the risk of being overly ambitious in our data analysis and the end-point of that would be that many people with a given diagnosis, say obsessive-compulsive disorder, are no longer allowed to purchase or own a gun because of some correlation a bunch of researchers teased out of tens of thousands of data points on free-living individuals.
Do we want to risk that? Do we dare say whom can and cannot own a gun without impeccable data to support our decisions? This is a difficult problem to work around and while I don't suggest throwing our hands up and walking away, I'm not sure how one would effectively research this and be confident in the data one finds to make an informed decision that will reduce gun violence and also not infringe on the rights of those who, according to the very best research we have, will probably never become violent due solely to his or her mental condition.
February 19th, 2013 07:02 PM
My main reason for posting this is that here are three well-respected experts in their field all saying that it can't work for various reasons. They agree on the lack of services for mentally ill. They discuss the lack of facilities. They agree that effort toward controlling mass shootings is an effort toward in insignificantly small percentage of the problem.
We need to cite them and incorporate there arguments into our own.
Blitzburgh, no, you'll only miss a segment on economics IIRC.
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