Saturday, 23 March 2013


Here's some debate that got me thinking tonight. I'll just copy and paste what has been said, tidy it up a bit and add a bit more at the bottom.

I have been debating with someone from the US this evening about discrimination. This is her post:

 “According to MSNBC, 88% of Americans believe in mental health background checks before gun purchases. That's right, 88% of Americans believe that people with a mental illness are not equal to everyone else and don't have a right to protect themselves. Right now MSNBC is discussing rapists, murderers and the mentally ill. Please tell me that isn't an accurate statistic and Americans don't really think of mental illness this way”?

So I have basically replied these:

 Me - “I can see their point in a way. One of the things some people have problems with if they have a MH problem is impulsivity. You have also got to consider if they are depressed, have voices telling them to harm people etc. So yeah, I can see that. But then. I am British and I don't like guns and don't think that people should be able to carry them around. Yes, you have a right to protect your self but if no one was allowed a gun you wouldn't need a gun to do so.”

Her – “I disagree, that is like saying making drugs illegal would take them off the street. What would actually happen is only criminals would have guns and law abiding citizens would not.”

Me – “You don't get the same problems here in the UK with guns as you do in the states. Think that says a lot. Also, look at Oscar Pistorius and what happened there.”

Her – “The purpose the of the second amendment is to give people the power to overthrow the government if it becomes tyrannical.”

Someone else – “I'm a 25 year old women who lives on a back road in Kentucky with no neighbours and a three year old. And my husband works night six days a week! So yes I believe people should be able own and carry a weapon! If someone decided to break into my home an adult male would have no trouble harming a small women as myself even if he didn't have a gun. And could be gone before the police could get there to help.”

Me – “We manage ok here without guns. Copied from WiKi, Levels of gun violence vary greatly across the world, with very high rates in Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, South Africa, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Jamaica, as well as high levels in Russia, The Philippines, Thailand, and some other underdeveloped countries, Levels of gun violence are low in Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and many other countries.[8] The United States has the highest rate of gun related injuries among developed countries, though it also has the highest rate of gun ownership and the highest rate of officers.[ Some research shows an association between household firearm ownership and gun suicide rates.[10][11] For example, it was found that individuals in a firearm owning home are close to five times more likely to commit suicide than those individuals who do not own firearms. In the United States, where suicides outnumber homicides 2:1,[16] firearms remain the most common method of suicide, accounting for 52.1% of all suicides committed during 2005.

Uk - 6.6% of Homicides gun related. USA - 67.5%. UK homicide rate per 100,000 = 1.06. USA=4.7

 Just think when there are stats like that, precautions have to be taken. Not just anyone should be able to be handed a gun. They should be taking mental health in to consideration when considering if a licence is given or not. I wouldn't like to think that someone like me who has had numerous failed suicide attempts behind me could apply for a gun licence and be given it. Of course run a criminal record check but that's not going to show any thing on me. Some people shouldn't be able to have a gun and it's as simple as that. So yes, it is discrimination, but I personally feel that it is discrimination that should be allowed.

So that's it.

Personally I don't like guns. They make me feel really uncomfortable. Even just walking past armed police at places like airports freaks me out. When I was in India I refused to sit with a group a police men until they put their guns under the chairs where I couldn't see them (I had just been caught smoking on a train by the doors and was terrified). I don't see what good can come of owning a gun. These American's are saying they have a right to protect themselves. But do you really need a gun to do that. Do they actually know how to use it, to shoot not to kill but to disarm/disable until professional help arrives. Another scenario, someone breaks in to your house. They don't realise you are in, you stumble on them and shoot them. This person, yes, they deserve to go to prison and be punished but isn't it likely if you shoot them they will die. People are more likely to fatally injure someone if they shoot them. So this person who could maybe be rehabilitated is dead. A much more severe punishment than if you actually murdered someone! A life taken.

We don't have guns readily available in the UK. If someone has one, well they shouldn't. Only the police and military should have them (I think anyway). My friends brother is a police officer in Northern Ireland and I was surprised that they are all armed and they always have to carry it with them unless they are consuming alcohol. It really surprised me. I wouldn't like the responsibility of owning or carrying a gun. I could never bring myself to fire it at someone. Not in a calm way anyway. If I lost my temper than I lose it and see red. So, who knows what I would be like in a stressful situation. But then, I don't really have to think about that, and that is kind of coming off subject a little.

I have also worked in mental health and have spoke to and read about many patients with different illnesses that can manifest in different ways. Some can hear voices telling them to do harm to other people. Then also, if you look at someone like me. I have numerous failed suicide attempts behind me and I have also been known to make some of these on impulse and also other risky behaviours on impulse. I know I am not alone here. I would hate to think that I, and anyone else like me could go and get a gun without checks on my/our mental health being made.

I feel I am lucky to live in a country where guns are not the norm and where they are so readily available. I do feel that only certain people should have access to them. We are advised that if we are threatened by an intruder not to fight but to remain calm and give them what they want. After all what is more important than your life.

What we do have a problem with here in the UK is knife crime. Mainly gangs (I think, don't quote me on that). Again young people are told if they carry a knife they themselves are more likely to be injured by a knife also. Surly this applies to guns?

So what do you think?


Anonymous said...

if you don't mind, I'd like to post this in my blog. I'm not sure what this writer's (the writer of the comment) frame of reference is for mental illness. Let me explain mine: I have bipolar disorder, ptsd, agoraphobia, bulimia, and I self injure. In my family, I had 2 cousins who had bipolar. They both went off their meds and quickly after that they committed suicide. My brother is dx unipolar, although that dx is out of date. So I think I have a fairly educated opinion. And my opinion is that there should be stricter background checks for people with mental illness. Without question, there MUST be more controls over how the mentally ill get access to weapons. The majority of shooting we see on television, like the VA Tech shooting, the Columbine shooting, and the recent shooting in Newtown, were committed by people with mental illness, including depression. These are facts-you cannot dispute them. I do have personal knowledge of this mindset. When my brother was first diagnosed, he told me that before he got help, he wanted to climb to the top of a bell tower with a shotgun, and just start shooting. My brother is and always has been a nonviolent person. But he told me he wanted to do this so that someone would see how much he was hurting. I know he was not a madman per se. He was and is simply a person with mental illness who needs ongoing treatment.

6 minutes ago · Like..

Welfare Chic so I do believe there should be more restrictions on gun purchasing for everyone-but much more so for the mentally ill. I don't want to be allowed to buy a gun, and I don't want anyone else with mental illness to be able to buy a gun. We have to protect ourselves-even if that means protecting ourselves FROM ourselves!

3 minutes ago · Like

Golden Psych said...

THANK YOU!!!!!!! At last someone who agrees with me. Of course you can re post. x

David said...

If your looking for figures relating to guns - deaths, laws etc. look at

As an example I compared US, UK and Australian figures for deaths per 100,000.,194

This site allows comparison of all sorts of figures and laws.

Personally, from an Australian view, US gun laws including the 2nd Amendment are absolutely ridiculous. And if you claim the 2nd Amendmend - to fight a tyrannical government, it suggests paranoia and/or a complete lack of faint in your democratic system. Any claim that associates the 2nd Amendment with the US Civil War can be easily nullified - the UK has had civil wars but still has a lower deaths per 100,000 than Australia, and we haven't had a civil war but we were established as a penal colony. The Poms even loaded us up with convicts from the very start.
Yes, Aust does have tight gun laws, licenses checks relate to need (reason for possession), criminal checks, domestic violence, mental health, third person reference, training (use and safety) and possibly others.
One topic that appears to be missed in the US gun debate is the significant increased risk of suicide/homicide induced by psychotropic medication, particularly on commencement, dosage change and discontinuation. Depending on the medication and patient age, the risk can be up to 10 to 14 times.
Also please note that mental health patients are up to 4 times more likely to be victims of violence.

A civil society doesn't need guns for the sake of having a gun. Is the US really a civil society if you have a need to own a gun of any kind, particually for self defense.

And please stay safe GS and all.

Sam Sam Sam said...

A lot of people (especially Americans in my honest experience) have no concept of what tyranny actually is. The government doesn't randomly come into power and think "right, lets oppress our people!" and suddenly everything becomes dystopian. For tyranny to occur a large portion of the population has to either enable or support it, which is exactly what happened in Nazi Germany and what happens in some African/Asian states. If a large majority of people enable tyranny, then so do the security services and other public bodies, meaning the police and military.

The U.S. military is one of the largest and is the best equipt and funded (per GDP) military force in the world. They have enough nuclear weapons and other technology to absolutely level most other countries; in a tyranny, this military would have absolutely no problem levelling it's own citizens either. Yes there are around 60m gun owners, but most of them in this scenario would be enabling the tyranny, out of the rest, very few of them would have the training or fitness (physical or mental) to take on the likes of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, FBI, SWAT, and whatever else.

You have to remember the Second Amendment was written in the 18th century, when the most advanced weapons were muskets and cannons, nowadays war has evolved too much since then and nowadays we have nukes, drones, computerised weapons, rocket launchers, fully automatic weapons and so on which no American civilians are allowed to possess.

So the anti-tyranny argument is completely null and pure fantasy.

But to be honest, it is too late to ban guns in America, the problem is there are too many guns there. They have 50% of the worlds guns, so when Americans say banning guns will enable only criminals to have them, they are right and there are a lot of armed burglaries.

In the USA's case, smart gun control is the answer, people with violent criminal records and histories of mental illness should not be allowed guns, people reside with someone who has mental illness should not be allowed to own firearms (in the case of Adam Lanza), the local authorities should keep a close eye on people who own guns and it should be made law for them to be alerted to any change in circumstances such as criminal record, diagnosis of mental illness, divorces, and so on. A license should always be required and should be renewed every 5-10 years, and to get a licence obviously one must prove they are 1) fit and 2) qualified to use a gun (i.e. know how to put the safety features on, etc etc).

Most of all. America needs to get rid of the mentality that guns are a vital human right, and they should consider the ownership of a gun to be a privilege, much like having a car. They should greatly work on reducing the number of illegal firearms and firearms that are in criminals/mentally ill peoples hands. Until then America will continue to suffer from high rates of gun crime and regular massacres such as Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virgina Tech, etc etc etc.

No one is saying that gun control means no guns for those who need them or have a gun-related hobby, and no one is saying that gun crime will completely go away and America would become a utopia. But it's stupid to deny that good gun control would vastly reduce the number of gun crimes and suicides.

Anonymous said...

I notice you havent posted for a bit given how you were feeling last week I hope that you are ok