Colorado Massacre: Are we in for a mental health crackdown?

In the aftermath of the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings, there was a backlash related to helping the “system” identify potentially disturbed individuals and either get them “help” or otherwise preventing them from accessing victims or obtaining weapons. For example, in the aftermath of Columbine, there was some fear that students’ essay content could be used against them in order to force mental health treatment and/or suspend or expell them from school, even if no law had been broken. The alleged killer in the current case was a student, and there is speculation as to whether or not his school should have done anything.

With the new shooting and signs that the killer may have been mentally ill, if not completely insane, do you think we are in for another round of enhanced involuntary treatment/commitment laws, enhanced screening measures such as personality tests or psychological batteries to enroll in school, get a job, buy a gun, or do other things in daily life?


Guy: “I’d like one ticket to Tallahassee please.”
Screener: “Please fill out this personality test. When you are finished, take it to room 505 where a doctor will screen you for violent tendencies and determine if treatment is recommended and whether or not you may proceed to Talahassee unconditionally, conditioned on successful completion of treatment, or not at all. Thank you.”

Yeah - American land of considered regulation. :rolleyes:

The National Instant Background Check System attempts to weed out the crazies. One prohibited category is:

Two drawbacks, here…first, the person has to have come in contact with the court system in some way. Second, not all states report these adjudications or commitals to NICS.

Edit: Hypothecially, had the system worked the way it was intended, the Virginia Tech shooter would have been denied. link.

No, I don’t think so. The response to Virginia Tech was pretty minimal. I think there was a push to get states to comply with already-existing laws regarding mentally ill people and guns and I think there were some additional rules about information sharing. As I recall, that was about it. Some laws were tweaked but there was no big crackdown on the mentally ill. The shooter here is obviously crazy as hell, but we have no idea what his mental health history is.

Yet. But I think it’s probably discoverable though. This wasn’t some Wally Cleaver who woke up one day thinking he was The Joker.

America is becoming a funny place. We all want complete freedom for ourselves, and we want everyone to comply with our own beliefs. To that end we democratically decide to stuff prisons, and legislate morality. Wouldn’t surprise me a bit if The Government found money, that They don’t have for teachers, to fund K-12 programs to shadow kids throughout their public schooling and build an actionable psych profile on them–all in the interest of public safety, of course. Private schools would, naturally, be exempt from such programs.

No cites, sorry. Just extrapolating from things like The Patriot Act, DHS and zero tolerance policies that get kids expelled for bring Advil, antibiotics or little plastic squirt guns to school.

And many Americans know that the Soviet Union was infamous for (ab)using mental health laws as a way to silence dissidents. So you got some guy that is pushing for change or is just unhappy with the way things work, but you can’t prove that he committed a criminal offense? Just get a doctor to give him a mental illness diagnosis and send him to the hospital for a few years. That’ll teach him.

With the apparent increase in people suddenly going crazy (coming home killing their entire family and themselves, for example) I wonder how many of these people were on anti-depressant drugs. The side effects of those drugs could be at play here. I hardly ever see any mention of this in the news stories, and have no basis for this conjecture. I just wonder.

Yes, it’ll come out. I just mean we don’t know yet.

Completely unthinkable. It’d be unbelievably expensive and just as intrusive.

I don’t think that’s the major concern- the big issue is that people have a right to handle their own health and we’re very reluctant to force treatment on them. There are exceptions for people who are dangerous, but it’s a high hurdle to clear and even with those exceptions, you can’t just lock someone up forever against their will. You can confine someone who’s having some kind of meltdown (as happened to the future Virginia Tech shooter), but you can’t institutionalize them forever on that basis and you can’t even force them to take their meds and remain in treatment. Even with a greatly-expanded mental health system, those things would still be problems.

I don’t think there is an increase. Do you have a cite?

Are you speculating about the side effects of those drugs, or saying they should have been getting treatment?

IOW: Inconceivable? You realize that brief statement has sealed all our fates, right? Nice going there, Ace.