Sunday, February 18, 2018

Don't Take Away the Insane's Guns — or Anyone's!

I should make my prejudices clear from the outset. Getting pleasure from going into the wild and shooting living creatures dead seems to me strongly indicative of insanity. I know that a certain kind of oblivious, entitled sadist regards hunting as sport, but as has been widely pointed out, what’s sporting about only one side being armed, and only one, the other, in mortal jeopardy? I also think that voting for someone like Florida's present governor indicates grievously impaired mental functioning. "We're going to get together to discuss what can be done to keep our school kids safe"? Oh, Governor Rick, you unspeakable puddle of gonorrheic discharge, you! 

The vilest living Americans — politicians subsidised by the National Rifle Association — have taken to telling us that the problem isn’t the availability of AR-15s, but the country’s deteriorating mental health. We're to understand that if we can just identify the insane among us — make them affix scarlet I’s, to their clothing (or, better yet, because I’s are ambiguous, C’s, for crazy) — we might be able to keep dozens of schoolchildren from being mowed down every year. 

Not selling weapons of mass destruction to the insane strikes me as an eminently sane idea — at least until I think about it for a minute. 

Have we not noticed the monstrousness of which the Republicans are capable? Is it really that hard to imagine them seeing opposition to Donald Trump’s plans for a big, beautiful wall along the USA's southern border as indicative of insanity? And have no doubt they’ll be waving the flag with all their might as they implement said disenfranchisment, and that they’ll describe what they’re doing as Standing Up for America. 

That son-of-a-bitch Colin Kaepernick? Nuts! The ultra-conservative columnist George Will? Well, didn’t he refer to Mr. Trump (quite wonderfully, mind you!) as a bloviating ignoramus? Crazy! Noam Chomsky? Sean Penn? The Philadelphia Eagles who refused to visit the White House after winning the Super Bowl? Stormy Daniels, Don Lemon, and Karen McDougal? Mad as hatters! Any member of the National Organisation of Women or Black Lives Matter? The American Civil Liberties Union? Stark raving mad, the lot of them! The Yale forensic psychiatrist who spearheaded the campaign to make Mr. Trump submit to a psychiatric evaluation? Physician, heal thyself! Onto the Don’t Sell Firearms To list with all of them!

But why stop there? Once having identified persons of impeachable mental health, forbidding the sale of guns to them won't be enough, not as long as there are machetes, and tire irons, and poison, and shoves in front of oncoming trains and buses. We must follow the lead of Russia, where the historian Yuri Dmitriev, who unearthed a mass grave containing the bodies of thousands who displeased Josef Stalin during the Great Terror of the 1930s, is widely expected to be declared insane, and institutionalised, this coming week. Mr. Trump’s homey Vladimir Putin, you see, has decreed that failure to honour Stalin’s memory is indicative of mental imbalance. Is it not the moral duty of the citizens of a free society, or of Russia, to protect its Beautiful Young People by banishing the mentally ill to a distant archipelago? 

Thank about it! It was only in 1973 that the fine folks of the American Psychiatric Association voted to stop classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder. How hard would it be, with such stalwart Christian soldiers as Cruz and Mike Pence leading the charge under the personal direction of Jesus H. Christ, to get that ruling overturned? In The Handmaid’s Tale, gays and lesbians are accused of gender treason. Do you honestly believe that couldn’t happen in Donald Trump’s America? 

Having had lots of it, I’m not sure there is such a thing as effective psychotherapy, but I think we can agree that, however slim the chances of a therapist truly helping a troubled person in the best circumstances, those chances will be reduced to none if the patient isn’t free to speak candidly. Can you imagine how many troubled people won’t dare to seek help for fear of having their names put on The Right's list of undesirables? 

There's a much easier way. I don’t think we have to ban gun ownership by anyone, regardless of his or her mental stability. Let what Mr. Trump calls The Second Amendment People devote whole wings of their tastelessly appointed houses to their gun collections. Don't deprive them of the sublime pleasure of holding their guns, and feeling mighty. Just outlaw the manufacture or sale of ammunition, and imprison those do defy the law as prolifically as we now imprison black teenagers who sell crack.

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