Skip to main content

mental health mondays :: the wrong of rights

really, i should have posted this last week, since in the intervening time, the 24-hour news cycle has completely forgotten about the fact that a man went on a shooting rampage in washington. there was, for a few brief media moments, a discussion of whether or not the navy yard shooter should have been given the clearance he had to entire a u.s. military site, given that he had a history of violent outbursts and had complained of being tormented by voices. such discussions seem to have been an almost desperate attempt to avoid using yet another mass shooting as an opening to discuss gun control. that doesn't entirely surprise me, since the most recent move by the gun lobby has been to protect the rights of legally blind americans to own and carry firearms. that may seem bizarre, but on the other hand, it's just the logical [?] extension of a premise we hold true for all of our rights: that they apply equally to all people. in the case of the washington navy yard shooting, it seems like the media missed an opportunity to have an important discussion about whether or not all rights should apply equally to all people. maybe there are cases where your physical or mental defect should curtail your constitutional rights. it's a thorny issue, but as the death toll mounts from people who were known to have serious psychological problems carrying out mass shootings, the question needs to be asked:

should people with mental disorders have the same rights to gun ownership as everyone else?

there is plenty of evidence that even people with the most severe mental disorders are far less dangerous to others than they are to themselves [although that point in itself could be an argument against allowing unrestricted access]. and the vast majority of gun crimes are committed by people who do not have any kind of disorder. restricting rights to any group on the basis of their mental health establishes a flat-out dangerous precedent that sets the legal stage for the stripping of any rights on the basis that it is in the interest of public safety. you're creating a sub-class of citizenship that's defined by a health condition. scary stuff.

on the other hand, what's at issue is that people who have been diagnosed with mental disorders are not the best decision makers. and it doesn't have to come to hearing voices [normally a hallmark of advanced schizophrenia]; mental disorders often make people feel isolated and paranoid about those around them, feelings that can be amplified by the feedback loop that often marks disordered thought. others are prone to panic, their thought processes stuck in a sort of overdrive where the brain believes it is fighting for its survival. the ability to make rational, informed choices about when it is necessary or even advisable to fire a gun can be severely compromised in the disordered mind and it can be terrifyingly inconsistent.

in canada, there are restrictions to gun ownership based on a prior history of mental disorders, particularly if those disorders are linked to violent behaviour or threats of violence. but here, gun ownership is a matter of legal and not constitutional freedom. south of the border, it's a whole different ball game. 

living in canada, the question of mentally ill people having access to guns is not a daily thing for me, but that doesn't mean i don't worry about it for friends i have in the united states, or that i don't get angry that the overblown rhetoric around the subject blocks reasonable discussion from happening at all.

Comments

as long as you're here, why not read more?

eat the cup 2018 :: welcome, comrades!

even regular followers of this blog might be surprised to learn that the longest-standing tradition on more like space is not tied to politics, makeup, mental health or even writing, but sport. i started the quadrennial eat the cup "challenge" [in quotes because i'm not actually challenging anyone but myself] way back in 2006 as a way of combining my growing love of soccer, my love for cooking and my still-new blogging habit. i determined that, as i followed the world cup, i would cook dinners to honour the winners of different games, meaning that the meal would, as far as possible, feature traditional dishes from those nations. in subsequent iterations, i started to do dishes that were combinations of different winners from the same day or, as the competition wore on, combinations of the different combatants.

finding certain ingredients can be a challenge, even in a diverse city like montreal [and i live on the cusp of some of its most diverse neighbourhoods], but what…

mental health mondays :: alarming

we have a huge mental health problem. it can be solved and that will take work on a lot of different fronts. people are killing themselves in astounding numbers. people are killing themselves at a greater rate than at any time in the last twenty years and the situation is getting worse. relationship problems, financial struggles and [or course] mental health issues all contribute to the staggering rise, along with a number of other factors. there are no rules about who kills themselves, although there are some groups where the risk is higher.

improving mental health care, reducing the desperation that financial struggles can cause, and finding effective ways to deal with problems like substance abuse take time because they require larger scale action, but relationship-building is something that is built from the ground up. so while we're all calling for change on a larger scale, it is at least somewhat mollifying to know that we can do some things that make a difference without h…

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…