The first article of this series, “Connecticut: The Storm Fizzles, Part I,” was posted last week. The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission’s report that is the basis for these articles is available here. We continue with the remainder of the report’s antigun/liberty recommendations:
RECOMMENDATION NO. 6. Allow ammunition purchases only for registered firearms.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 7. Evaluate best practices for determining the regulation or prohibition of the sale and purchase of ammunition via the Internet.
Again, neither recommendation would have had the slightest effect on any known mass shooter.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 8. Evaluate the effectiveness of federal law in limiting the purchase of firearms via the Internet to only those individuals who have passed the appropriate background screening.
An exercise in futility. No state’s laws or recommendations override federal law.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 9. Limit the amount of ammunition that can be purchased at any given time.
This too would have had no effect on any known school or mass shooter. This is merely a harassment measure intended to annoy the law abiding in the hope they will not purchase ammunition and firearms.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 10. Prohibit the possession, sale or transfer of any firearm capable of firing more than 10 rounds without reloading. This prohibition would extend to military-style firearms as well as handguns. Law enforcement and military would be exempt from this ban.
This was essentially tried in the Clinton Gun Ban. While the ban didn’t actually ban any firearm with greater than 10 round capacity, it did ban such magazines, which amount to nearly the same thing. It was a ten-year national experiment that utterly failed. It accomplished nothing at all for public safety and even Democrats did not champion it when it sunset. As with ten-round magazines, it would not in any way deter attacks or save life. Such a ban would, however, ban entire classes of firearms, and even many tube-fed .22 rifles, which is its ultimate purpose.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 11. Require that trigger locks must be provided at the time of sale or transfer of any firearm.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 12. Require that the state develop and update a ―best practices manual and require that all firearms in a home be stored in a locked container and adhere to these best practices; with current minimum standards featuring a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety (including biometric) device when they are not under the owner’s direct control or supervision. The owner should also be directly responsible for securing any key used to gain access to the locked container.
Such measures are merely harassment for the law-abiding. Who, planning the mass murder of children, would so much as consider obeying such lunatic requirements? These two would do nothing at all to deter or stop school attackers. Such rules would also require wholesale violations of the 4th Amendment to enforce, which, apart from obliterating the Second Amendment, would seem to be the goal of the Commission.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 16. Require that any shell casing for ammunition sold or possessed in Connecticut have a serial number laser etched on it for tracing purposes.
This is merely another form of microstamping. Not only could this have no public safety benefit, it too is nothing more than an attempt to make ammunition so expensive that few could afford it.
Recommendations 20 through 28 focus primarily on establishing various state level bureaucracies, mandatory reports, data processes and similar empire-building practices, all of which would exist primarily to produce data and to justify their existences.
These two final recommendations reflect nothing other than doctrinaire Progressive articles of faith, nothing more than feel-good measures.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 29. Programs should be developed that focus on violence reduction through the educational process or other entities.
Rationale. When people feel that their concerns are being heard and addressed by a community that cares, such individuals are less likely to resort to violence as a solution to their problems.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 30. Alcohol awareness programs should be included at appropriate points in the K-12 curriculum.
Unlike the other recommendation, all of which include a rationale, I included the rationale for #29 because it so clearly illuminates the magical, wishful, dim-witted thinking that went into these recommendations. There is no evidence whatever that any such “gesture” would have in any way inhibited any past mass killer, including the Sandy Hook killer. People planning mass murder are hardly going to be the kind to say “Oh! You have now heard my concerns, and you care; you really care!. Thank goodness! Now I don’t have to kill innocent children and teachers!” This, of course, assumes such people would seek out community forums or the “educational process or other entities” where they could engage in such group hug moments. Likewise, there is no evidence that prior mass shooters, including the Sandy Hook shooter, were in any way inspired or fueled by alcohol, or that any “awareness” program would have had the slightest deterrent or preventive effect.
Part 3 of the report, which is its largest section–pp. 79 through 214–deals with mental health issues. It is, by any estimation a lengthy recitation of progressive article of faith and clichés regarding social justice and mental illness. Consider:
First, while it has been clear from the beginning that the shootings of 20 first graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School would have implications for school security and infrastructure as well as for law enforcement and the regulation of firearms, it has been far less clear exactly how these tragic events would intersect with issues related to the mental health system.
While it professes to be focused only on mental health delivery systems and not on the Sandy Hook killer–it identifies him only as “A.L.”–such profession is disingenuous at best.
The report admits that it drew all of its information relating to mental health issues and the Sandy Hook attack from The Connecticut State Police report, The Sendensky report that was the source of my articles on this case, and a report by the Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate, as well as media sources. The report admits:
Ultimately, however, the report [Child Advocate] emphasizes that no distinct causal lines can be drawn between his experiences – even if in hindsight we can say that they reflected systems failures – or relationships and his decision to take the lives of children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School [pp. 80-81].
That, of course, did not stop the Commission from drawing such causal lines:
It is important to acknowledge here that the extensive discussion of mental health in which we engage below might be taken as support for the belief that mental illness drove A.L. to commit mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and that effective treatment of this illness – whether forced on him or undertaken voluntarily – would have prevented the violence. Although he clearly suffered from profound mental, emotional and developmental challenges, nothing in the records addressed by the Child Advocate‘s report establishes a causal role for mental illness in A.L.‘s crimes. Experts who contributed to that report found insufficient evidence to suggest that he would have qualified for a psychotic illness. He did appear to suffer from severe anxiety with obsessive-compulsive features and possibly from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, as well as from depression. He had been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder based on difficulties with communication, sensory sensitivities and rigidity that emerged at a very early age, and he received the post-mortem diagnosis of anorexia. Nonetheless, a narrow understanding of mental illness cannot fully account for the challenges facing this young man [p. 81].
Among his challenges? He lacked a “framework” of “wellness or well being [p. 82].”
Big government is the driving solution for all mental health woes, and the report finds them everywhere. It is interesting–and disturbing–to realize that it is the Left that is primarily responsible for the current state of our mental health system, as I explained in a 2011 PJ Media article. Notice the Progressive-speak inherent in the report:
Mental health extends significantly beyond the management of mental illness. Yet for much of the past century, mental health care has remained largely reactive instead of proactive. Our narrow approach to mental health care has generally confined strategies to screening, referral and treatment for mental illness. Just as physical health entails more than the mere absence of disease, however, mental health encompasses overall psychological, emotional and social well- being. Achievement of such well-being demands a more comprehensive approach that prioritizes the promotion of mental health as well as the treatment of mental disorder. While it is critical that we have effective systems in place to identify and treat mental illness, such systems remain insufficient to promote true mental health. Instead, we must build systems of care that actively foster healthy individuals, families and communities [pp. 85-86].
Mental health isn’t a matter of treating people who are actually mentally ill. It’s a matter of imposing social justice and introducing society to the loving embrace of progressive government. And why do we need this embrace? Because we’re all sick. According to the report, which cites the Centers for Disease Control as source:
Examined through the lens of illness, the numbers are sobering. Examined through the lens of wellness, though, they are truly disheartening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ―only about 17% of U.S. adults are considered to be in a state of optimal mental health [p. 86].
Good grief! No wonder those crazed peasants can’t be trusted with guns. Eighty-three percent of them have suboptimal mental health!
I know what you’re thinking, gentle readers. “There he goes again. He’s exaggerating. No one is so loony as to think government is our salvation. No one wants to intrude on individual rights and privacy.” Consider this:
What we need instead is a holistic approach that will follow children from birth to adulthood, identifying risk factors, reinforcing protective factors, and promoting positive development throughout. This approach must include peer as well as professional support and must direct services toward prevention as well as treatment. It should embrace system-of-care principles, including greater coordination and efficiency of care, community partnerships, inclusion of families and youth as collaborators and decision-makers, and incorporation of evidence-based practices as an organizing framework. The Commission endorses an integrated model of health care that consolidates primary/pediatric and behavioral health in a medical home. This model should be family-centered and attuned to the environmental contexts in which families exist. Although a comprehensive developmental approach begins in the earliest moments of life, our behavioral health system more generally must address the needs of individuals, families and communities across the lifespan [p. 88] emphasis mine.
With this established as the Commission’s principles and intentions, I’m sure that you, gentle readers, can accurately predict much of the rest of the section of the report: massive governmental intrusion into every facet of individual life, draconian taxes to pay for it all, the establishment of huge, abusive bureaucracies, all of the usual features of the nanny state. Consider these initial ten recommendations (pp. 109-111):
Recognizing that mental health is more than the absence of mental illness, we must build systems of care that go beyond treating mental illness to foster healthy individuals, families and communities and embrace overall psychological, emotional and social well-being.
To promote true wellness, Connecticut must build a mental health system that targets detection and treatment while building stronger, resilient communities of care.
Addressing a fragmented and underfunded behavioral health system tainted by stigma requires building a comprehensive, integrated approach to care. The approach will stress family involvement and community resilience. Care will be holistic and involve pediatric and adult medical homes from birth to adulthood, with efforts to ensure continuity of care. Identifying risk factors, reinforcing protective factors, and promoting positive development throughout will be key goals, and peer as well as professional support will be involved. Treatment and prevention will be stressed.
If this doesn’t chill you to the core, you’re not paying attention. How, pray tell, would this be accomplished? Only the most invasive and abusive relationship between the citizen and the state could possibly hope to accomplish these recommendations. I’m sure those involved in the commission believe they were doing good, but in order to implement their do-gooder vision, the Constitution would have to be abandoned, in practice or in fact. What, for instance, will constitute “positive development,” and who will determine who is or is not attaining it?
To treat the whole person and cultivate wellness across the population, our health delivery systems and reimbursement paradigms should embrace a biopsychosocial model that understands the individual’s physical and mental health strengths and challenges in the context of that person’s social environment and relationships.
Providers should be incentivized through reimbursement mechanisms to integrate both physical and mental health services, whether through their own care delivery or through integration of services within a medical home model.
The implications here are equally chilling. Who is to determine our “physical and mental health strengths and challenges in the context of that person’s social environment and relationships?” Why, our “providers.” That inevitably means our family physicians will be “incentivized”–in effect, forced–to inform “mental health services” about us. Our doctors will be incentivized in that regard as they are now incentivized by Obamacare. But hey, it’s all for the children:
To promote healthy child development and foster robust communities, our systems of care must attend to the factors affecting family welfare. Current funding structures must thus be revamped. The Commission recommends support for models of integrated care driven by family needs in which all providers focus on family strength, address their risk factors, and accept the family as a partner in treatment.
Right. And if a family doesn’t happen to see themselves in need of such “services,” and if they refuse to “address their risk factors?”
Schools must play a critical role in fostering healthy child development and healthy communities. Healthy social development can be conveyed by role models such as parents, teachers, community leaders, and other adults in children’s lives, but it can also – and should – be actively taught in schools.
Social-emotional learning must form an integral part of the curriculum from preschool through high school. Social-emotional learning can help children identify and name feelings such as frustration, anger and loneliness that potentially contribute to disruptive and self-destructive behavior. It can also teach children how to employ social problem-solving skills to manage difficult emotional and potentially conflictual situations.
A sequenced social development curriculum must include anti- bullying strategies. As appropriate, it should also include alcohol and drug awareness as part of a broader substance-abuse prevention curriculum for school-aged children.
There are few schools that do not provide anti-bullying, drug and alcohol programs. Particularly with bullying, it’s the newest, hottest education fad. However, that is clearly not the point. Schools are to become part of the “healthy social development” system, fully integrated with physicians, mental health providers, and voluminous state bureaucrats.
Many of our students and their families live under persistent and pervasive stress that interferes with learning and complicates the educational process. There are many potential resources such as school based health centers that should provide a locus of preventive care, including screenings and referrals for developmental and behavioral difficulties, exposure to toxic stress, and other risk factors, as well as treatment offerings that can address crisis, grief and other stressors. Alternatively, schools can employ the services of community-based mental health providers such as child guidance clinics.
Ah! And who will be identifying such stresses? What will be done about them? The commission already made clear this is not at all about the mere treatment of mentally ill individuals, but the healing of a sick society. The many recommendations that follow assume an intrusive role for government alien to American expectations of privacy and entirely inconsistent with the Constitution. Consider this:
Definitional issues are critical to the discussion of access. If we restrict our definition of ‘care’ to the traditional medical model of inpatient, outpatient day and residential programs, we will limit access for many to the innovative programs that have come to be seen as essential to improved outcomes from mental illness and other challenges to emotional and behavioral health. Funding decisions about behavioral health services must look beyond the biomedical model of mental disorder that has prevailed over the past few decades. Pharmaceutical treatments and more traditional therapies do afford precious relief to many people. For others struggling with mental and substance use disorders, however, psychosocial interventions, programs that address the social environments in which they live, services directed toward the achievement of functional skills and other efforts to engage the whole person are critical elements of recovery [pp. 114-115].
The solution? Government will force everyone, private insurance, etc. to pay for whatever services it deems good, at rates, and in methods, it prescribes.
By examining this Connecticut report, we see the universal wish-list for leftists everywhere. There is some hope to be had in the fact that even in Connecticut, most of these “recommendations” could not be adopted by the legislature, or at least not yet.
I’m sure, gentle readers, you’ve noticed that virtually every idea proposed must be inflicted on children and parents, even if they object. In addition, the costs involved for all of these programs would truly be astronomical. What the Commission seemed utterly unable to understand is that nothing they recommended would have stopped the Sandy Hook killer, or any other known school shooter in recent history.
Return next Wednesday, for the conclusion of the series, again, dealing with the remaining mental health section of the report. If you’ve found the recommendations exposed in this article surprising, even disgusting, you haven’t seen anything yet.