Monday, November 06, 2017

Churchgoers Mowed Down By Mental Illness

Time to get into our pajamas, turn out the lights, and turn in for the night. Dr. Trump has spoken:

President Donald Trump said Monday that Sunday's mass shooting at a Texas church "isn't a guns situation" but instead "a mental health problem at the highest level."

Asked at a joint press briefing with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe if he would consider pressing for gun control measures in the wake of America's second mass shooting in a month, Trump said "mental health is your problem here," calling the shooter a "very deranged individual" with "a lot of problems over a long period of time."

In the President's defense, NBC News noted also

The U.S. Air Force confirmed Sunday that Devin P. Kelley, a former member of the USAF, was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his spouse and child and later discharged for bad conduct.

"It's a very, very sad event. These are great people," he said.

Of course, that does not validate Trump's opinion because we know only two things about someone who assaults his spouse and child: a) he has grievance(s) against his wife and his child, which puts him in roughly the 98% of husbands who at one time are angry at their wife and his child; and 2) he is violent. There is no third legitimate assumption, as in "he must be mentally ill."

Earth to Donald Trump: most men, like most women, are not happy with their spouse and their offspring all the time and many men are violent. When the men put the two things together, they should be punished.

But most are not mentally ill. If they were, some sort of defense by impairment would be routinely invoked, which it most assuredly is not.  And no professional in that field ever would conclude without examination that an individual is mentally ill.

Nonetheless, we know why (other than possible psychological projection) Trump was out in front, blaming mental illness, thus largely absolving the apparent perpetrator of his crime- or rather "the event." Two years ago, Texas governor Gregg Abbott (emphasis his) tweeted "I'm EMBARRASSED: Texas #2 in nation for new gun purchases, behind CALIFORNIA. Let's pick up the pace Texans." The invaluable Steve M. points out 

In the gun culture, it's believed that guns can solve a lot of problems. Devin Patrick Kelley obviously believed that, too -- his problem was rage, and a gun helped him channel that rage. So it was an effective tool for him.

And sure enough, the guy who instantly concluded that Devin Patrick Kelley a) was mentally ill; and b) committed the offense because of his mental illness

dismissed guns as the root of the problem in Sunday's shooting, saying "we could go into [gun control policy], but it's a little bit too soon." He highlighted reports that a resident with a rifle confronted the gunman, saying the shooting otherwise "would have been much worse."

As Kelley "emerged from the church," The New York Times reports, he "exchanged gunfire" with a neighbor, fled in his car, was chased by neighbors, and was killed when his car crashed. Concluding that there would have been no more killings had the gunman not been confronted by the armed neighbor is thus premature at best. But facts are sketchy, except in the mind of Donald Trump, who already has diagnosed the assailant.

The President has determined that firearms had nothing to do with this murderous incident. But Devin P. Kelley, were he alive, would beg to differ. He did not stab, or mow down with his automobile, 26 or more Texans, instead choosing a Ruger AR-556, an assault-style rifle. That was no coincidence, but an inconvenient fact which no amount of speculation, disguised as certainty, about mental health can erase.

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