For cranky right-wingers who think politicians don't listen to them, this week I give you elected Democrats running like scared schoolgirls from the media's demand that they enact new gun control laws in response to the Virginia Tech shooting.
Instead, Democrats are promoting a mental health exception to the right to bear arms. We've banned mass murder and that hasn't seemed to work. So now we're going to ban mass murderers. Yes, that will do the trick!
This is a feel-good measure that is both wildly under-inclusive (the vast majority of nutcases receive no formal court adjudication of their nuttiness) and wildly over-inclusive (the vast majority of nuts don't kill people). The worst thing most nuts do is irritate everybody else by driving their electric cars on the highway.
As lovely as it would be, we cannot identify mass murderers before they have broken any law, and mass murder is often the first serious crime they commit. No one can be locked up permanently for being potentially dangerous.
Even stalking laws can put away a person known to be dangerous for only a few years -- at best -- which is generally not worth spending a day sitting in court, facing your stalker, and then waiting a month for the court order.
So on one hand, the mental health exception is a feel-good measure that would be largely pointless. But on the other hand, it's no skin off my back. Liberals go to therapy. Conservatives go to church. And I think we'd all sleep better knowing that David Brock could not buy a gun.
In fact, I think we should expand the mental illness exception to cover First Amendment rights as well as Second Amendment rights.
I note that before mass murder, the only harassment the Virginia Tech killer was guilty of involved speech: creepy e-mails, creepy short stories, creepy phone calls. Stalkers, too, engage in frightening speech -- but that is protected. Revealing a stalking victim's address is "speech" but is little different from being the one to pull the trigger.
This small measure would have taken Dan "What's the Frequency, Kenneth" Rather off the airwaves years ago, preventing him from presenting doctored National Guard documents to the American people to try to throw a presidential election. A mental illness bar would deal a quick blow to Air America and both its remaining listeners. It would also free up about 90 percent of the Internet.
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