Better funding of background checks so as to provide data to the NICS data base help prevent the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining legal guns from FFL licensed sources. We still have the problem of the dangerously mentally ill obtaining legal guns through other means, and of course, we have way too many illegal guns available in our society as well.
But when we have the radical right wing nuttery trying to equate partisan political affiliation with mental illness, and/or fraudulently and factually inaccurately trying to categorize all mass shootings as having a mental illness causation, we need to object. We must push back against this faulty thinking, this profoundly flawed analysis, and this crackpot right wing belief.
We must push back because what this really represents, above and beyond attempting simply to disparage the opposition by the right, is that this claim attempts to redefine gun control arguments and focus. We see some acquiescence to this change of focus by Sen. Blumenthal, in his appearance on Face the Nation, this past Sunday (CBS).
So for example, the excellent article in the Examiner
debunked a widely circulated belief on the right, one that occurs across the right wing echo chamber/bubble, that mass shootings are by registered democrats, or at the very least, "lefty leaners".
The idea that recent mass shooters are mostly registered Democrats is a myth
Based on the assertions of Roger Hedgecock a right-wing radio show host,
the meme that the five worst recent mass shootings were committed by
registered Democrats is making its way through e-mail chains and social
media. Hedgecock asserts, without providing any evidence or sources,
that the Ft. Hood shooter, the Virginia Tech shooter, the Aurora Theater
shooter and Adam Lanza of Sandy Hook infamy were all “registered
Democrats”. He acknowledges that Klebold and Harris (the Columbine
Colorado shooters) were too young to be registered voters but asserts,
again without providing any evidence, that Harris and Klebold’s parents
were progressives or liberal Democrats.
In another forum, the radical righties insisted that, ok, so this author debunked the last five mass shooters --- but those OTHER shootings were all by lefties! No. Wrong. Factually false.
1. Elliot Rodgers the most recent mass shooter was proclaimed a 'lefty' because he subscribed to the youtube feed from the Young Turks.
THAT does not define someone as a lefty; I follow Fox News on Facebook, it doesn't make me a right wing nut.
What does appear to show a larger and more valid claim to political orientation and affiliation however is the links to the ultra-conservative male-dominionist men's rights movement expressed in his videos and manifesto, and supported apparently by his reported internet history.
2. Another example claimed -- that James Holmes was a member of Occupy San Diego. That is also factually false. At no time was Holmes involved in any way with Occupy San Diego, nor so far as I can find, did he have any political opinion. He appears to have been apolitical.
We don't know definitively yet if Holmes was mentally ill, or if he was, that mental illness had any causational role in his actions. In contrast, we know that Jared Loughner suffered from severe schizophrenia, but that appears to be the exception to the rule, not typical of mass shooters.
3. Claims that Karl Pierson was a 'lefty' also don't hold up well to scrutiny. The basis for that claim appears to be that he was an advocate for Keynesian economics, and that one student at his school variously claimed he was a communist or a socialist. What is not at all clear is if the student who made those claims even knew Pierson, much less knew him well. There are Keynsian economists and advocates or proponents across the political spectrum; being a Keynsian is not even remotely the same thing as being a 'commie' or a 'socialist'. There appears to be zero factual basis for the claim that Pierson was a socialist, 'commie' or in any other way a 'lefty'. What is clear from the way those words lefty and commie and marxist are used on the right, however, is that most of those who use those terms casually and interchangeably have no clue what the terms mean. Rather they lob them like bad-word grenades to name-call people with whom they disagree, without regard to actual definitions.
4. Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter has been incorrectly identified over and over on the right as a 'lefty' and a registered Democrat. He was not a lefty, and not a registered voter. If he was mentally ill, we have no diagnosis of it sufficiently chronologically proximate to the shooting, nor do we know if his mental health had any direct causation on his actions. What we do know is that he seemed to share his mother's ultra-conservative views, and that she was a right wing prepper crackpot, of the variety that believes the rubbish promoted by the likes of Glenn Beck.
5. Jared Loughner -- yup, he was severely mentally ill, and yup, that had a direct causational role in his mass shooting. But no, he was not a lefty, and to refute some of the claims made on the right, he was never a volunteer working for Gabby Giffords. What we do know is that he had some vague left-leaning political notions while he was still sane, but that as he became increasingly erratic and his mental illness worsened, he began to visit extremist conservative crackpot web sites, and the ideas from those right wing websites were repeated in communication to Giffords and the Gifford campaign, and that he appears to have targeted Giffords for rejecting those ideas (or at least, not supporting them).
Some mass shootings ARE political in nature, but those are NOT also mental illness caused attacks. Those mass shootings have been, consistently, by radical right wingers.
From the same article:
Interestingly, Hedgecock and those on the far right have conveniently overlooked a number of cases where ideology is clearly right-wing. The acts below are instances of right-wing violence that are unequivocally committed by people who are openly hostile to liberalism. While this does not mean these killers are Republicans, it is quite clear that they are RIGHT-WINGERS and that they have far more in common with Mr. Hedgecock, Alex Jones and the other gun-toting conspiracy nuts on the right than with any evils associated with the Democratic Party or liberalism. In addition, to the list below is the obvious case of Timothy McVeigh, who I have not included because his crime was not committed with firearms. It was however, committed by a right-winger and the carnage was on a massive scale.
For example, on July 18,84 James Oliver Huberty, who told his wife he hated “children, Mexicans and the United States” opened fire inside the McDonald’s Restaurant in San Ysidro, CA using a Browning P-35 Hi-Power 9mm pistol, Winchester 1200 pump-action 12-gauge shotgun, and an Israeli Military Industries 9mm Carbine (Uzi) – all legally acquired. He killed 21 and injured 19 before he was shot dead by police.