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Thursday, December 20, 2012

 
NRA Is To Mental Health as Berlusconi Is To Integrity

by tristero

On Friday, the NRA will say to the grieving parents in Newtown that they shouldn't blame those poor innocent little assault weapons for the slaughter of their children. And they will likely also tell them that if we want to control gun violence, one real topic America should be addressing is our nation's "mental health." Uh huh.

To be sure, the leaders of the NRA are among the people least qualified in this country to discuss mental health. But they do know that if they can derail the discussion for sensible gun control by turning it to another topic, then nothing is likely to happen to stop the spread of guns.

The NRA will choose to distract us with "mental health" because they know it is a very knotty subject. Treatment for the mentally ill, unlike an assault weapons ban, has numerous very real and very serious civil rights issues. And with the likes of the NRA setting the agenda, the mind boggles at the  prospect of the endless debates in our future over sick rightwing fantasies (lobotomize black rapists! force unchaste teenagers to wear chastity belts!) about how to improve the "mental health" of this country.

In short, if the NRA succeeds in changing the subject from gun control to their crackpot notions of mental health (or any other subject), nothing will happen either to control guns or to improve access to effective treatment of the mentally ill.

"Either it's gun control or mental health" is a ludicrously false dichotomy. Enact sensible gun regulation now. And let's use the momentum from the success of gun control to work seriously to confront the numerous other problems this country has, including the unspeakable corruption of our economic life, our racism, our sexism, and our pointless discrimination against same-sex couples. And also let's focus on the crisis of healthcare in this country, which includes shamefully bad mental health services.

And let's do all this by wasting as little time as possible "engaging" extremists like the NRA and the modern Republican party. Their only contribution to serious discussion is to paralyze it.

Be sure also to read Digby's brilliant post from a few days ago.









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