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It Comes Back To How We Deal With Mental Illness

In the (seemingly ever- shrinking) aftermath of some incident of mass-murder, we are beset by the usual cry for more gun control (which, translated, means more control of the most law abiding people). Obviously, we need some laws about guns – who can buy and own them, obvious safety provisions, etc.
     The fact is that these laws exist and have been effective. In those enclaves like Southside Chicago, no law will be effective against the macho gang culture, but we pass or attempt to pass draconian laws which mostly have the effect of hammering down the law abiding in the rest of the country without having any effect on crime and violence.
     Mass murders (and that means in most cases, mass shooting, because guns are readily adaptable to the job) are almost always the actions of unhinged, psychotic, mentally ill individuals.
     Unfortunately, mental illness is often considered to be a handicap (which of course it is) and the sufferers, as members of a “victim” class often get a free ride with the progressive members of elite society. So when someone’s psychosis tells them to go out and make some sort of personal social or political statement by cutting the local population level a notch, well, it’s not his fault (he’s mentally ill, after all), so let’s have some more gun laws, which will make us feel good....and won’t solve the problem.
     Note that my use of male pronouns is not sexism. Mass murderers are almost always men. Too much (or too little?) testosterone, anyone?
     There has been quite a bit of recent research on the psychological and physical effects of pot (cannabis, marijuana, etc.). And one of the things known is that smoking pot can cause feelings of paranoia. This is sufficiently common knowledge that some pot dealers are claiming that their pot causes less (or no) paranoia—a claim I take with more than a few grains of salt, particularly given that modern marijuana has been bred to a much higher THC level (GMO, anyone?). Sufficiently strong paranoia might lead a less-than-fully-hinged pot smoker to do something about it, and a very few might choose the route of trying to eliminate the people “who are out to get him.”
     But it gets worse. The research shows a definite connection between psychosis—in particular schizophrenia—and pot smoking. Maybe the “Reefer Madness” people were truly on to something. As I understand it, this effect is not necessarily something that smoking pot does to everyone, but only to people who are peculiarly vulnerable to the particular chemical in pot (THC).
     So, whether smoking pot facilitates or creates psychosis in certain vulnerable individuals, we need to be aware of this, and not let our guard down because we want recreational marijuana legalized. Like alcohol, pot presents society with dangers which can be managed without turning the country into a police state inhabited by medicated, defenseless sheep....if we enter into the brave new world with our eyes open and our minds alert.
     I might add, that this whole problem comes back to the problems of dealing with mental illness. These people are handicapped victims; even unmedicated, they are almost always seemingly normal, productive members of society. Decent, really nice people. I also know a few who have gone “off meds” and committed assault and battery....
Sincerely yours,
Brooks Lyman
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