Robert Stacy McCain is thrilled to find a new narrative meme the right can throw at us to try to distract us from talking about gun control:
Ann Althouse cites research by Clayton Cramer that shows -- unexpectedly! -- there were fewer crimes committed by crazy people when it was easier to send crazy people to the loony bin.So we have an epidemic of gun violence and that's the new solution being offered by the right? By the small-government, pro-freedom, I-own-firearms-to-prevent-state-tyranny crowd? Those folks are saying that the state -- the state -- should just round up everyone with a mental illness and shove 'em all in loony bins?
We know the righties and the gunners are just waiting for the day when President Hitlerbama rounds them all up and throws them in camps; this seems like an attempt to wish what they expect and fear on some other group of people. ("Do it to Adam Lanza!" Stacy McCain cries, his anguished shouts echoing off the walls of the liberal-fascist Room 101.)
Me, I don't want to do a mass sweep of anyone. I think many of our recent mass murderers would have benefited from a great deal more attention from mental health professionals. Institutionalization might have been appropriate for some of them. Emphasis on "some."
But, um, who's supposed to pay for all this? Especially once we've followed the advice of the likes of Althouse and Stacy McCain, repealed the Affordable Care Act, subjected health care to a megadose of Paul Ryan, and otherwise made government small enough to drown in a bathtub?
The paper Althouse cites is "Madness, Deinstitutionalization & Murder" by Clayton Cramer. It appears on the Federalist Society Web site and was published in the March 2012 issue of Engage: The Journal of the Federalist Society Practice Groups.
Here's how the Cramer article begins:
For those of us who came of age in the 1970s, one of the most shocking aspects of the last three decades was the rise of mass public shootings: people who went into public places and murdered complete strangers. Such crimes had taken place before, such as the Texas Tower murders by Charles Whitman in 1966, but their rarity meant that they were shocking.Yeah? And what was that, Clayton?
Something changed in the 1980s....
It wasn't just liberal guilt in response to Geraldo Rivera's stories on the horrors of Willowbrook. It was thirty-plus years of forced government belt-tightening -- starting right about that time, and inspired first and foremost by your very own Saint Reagan.
If you really want to lock up all the mentally ill people, I've got news for you: you can't pay for it all with tax cuts.