Want to invade Mexico? The option is on the table if America re-elects Donald Trump (a/k/a “the former guy” or TFG). According to the Washington Post, 

former president Donald Trump is preparing battle plans to attack Mexico if he regains the White House. This is only the latest escalation of saber-rattling in the wake of the recent kidnapping and killing of Americans in Mexico. Former U.S. attorney general William P. Barr, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (Tex.) and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) are among those calling for U.S. military action in Mexico to take on drug cartels.

The author of the essay acknowledges that the Mexican cartels need to be stopped. But–as he points out–this isn’t a problem Washington can bomb its way out of.  

There is a way to accomplish that goal, however. The U.S. could: cut off the gun pipeline that arms the cartels.


I rarely address America’s gun crisis, because I know what every sentient citizen knows: the “Second Amendment” purists (a/k/a gun nuts) will remain unmoved by death and/or data, and too many of the lawmakers elected by the majority of Americans who want rational regulation are spineless Republicans unwilling to buck the NRA. My two-cents worth is highly unlikely to resolve the stalemate between America’s delusional cowboys and those of us who recognize that the problem is the ubiquity of weapons.

That said, my cousin–a medical doctor I often cite on this platform–sent me an op-ed he recently published in his local paper, and it is worth sharing, because it addresses the predictable effort by pro-gun advocates to divert attention from weaponry to mental illness. 

With his permission, here it is, in its entirety:

The spate of recent firearm deaths at schools and public places has rightfully triggered a lively public debate. Among all the clatter, we often hear politicians stating that we can reduce firearm deaths, such as those occurring in public places, if we would simply employ better detection and management of mental illnesses. But this is a flawed concept: At best it would solve only a tiny fraction of the problem, estimated at approximately 3-5%. In reality, most people who are violent are not mentally ill, and most people who are mentally ill are not violent. Although seemingly logical at its surface, let’s clarify this issue further by applying scientific/numerical analysis.

Since 2006, there have been approximately 550 mass shootings in the United States, resulting in 2,900 people shot and killed. Since most of these shootings are perpetrated by single gunmen, this means that roughly 550 (or slightly more) individuals carried out these heinous acts.

According to the National Institute of Health, the prevalence of major mental illnesses in the U.S. is approximately 4.2% of the entire population, meaning that about 10.4 million people harbor serious mental disorders. Even if one assumes that this entire group of 550 killers were mentally ill, which is clearly false, this total number would constitute an infinitesimally small percentage .0053 of all those suffering from mental illness. Unless we had a fail-safe method of detecting 100% of individual would-be killers from this large group of mentally ill, our ability to detect a future killer remains at nearly zero, which represents the proverbial needle in the haystack. Supporting these data, all mental health professionals freely admit that it is virtually impossible to predict accurately—nowhere near 100%—of those with known mental disorders that are likely to perform such acts of violence. Compounding this problem even further, laws in this nation generally preclude forced detention of mentally ill individuals that have not yet performed any act of violence, for more than brief periods. What this means is that, given these extremely daunting numbers, detection and treatment of those with suspected mental illness in the effort to ward off gun violence is a virtual impossibility, notwithstanding the pronouncements by many ill-informed politicians.

It all boils down to a simple bottom line: Major efforts must be aimed primarily at sensibly limiting everyone—whether or not mentally ill—from freely obtaining firearms capable of killing—especially of the mass variety.

We must allow numeric principles to guide us, not a bunch of mercenary political figures, often under the thrall of the NRA, who wish to apply so-called “common sense measures” to control this national scourge! Detection and treatment of mental disorders is indeed a laudable goal, but not in the effort to reduce firearm deaths!

One of those inconvenient data points: Mass shootings in the United States have tripled since the assault weapons ban lapsed.

If we are going to talk about the role mental illness plays in this mayhem, we might start with TFG and move on to the lunatics arguing that arming everyone in sight will make us safer.


  1. The only numbers the NRA and gun manufacturers and sellers care about are the ones that have $ in front of them. It’s up to the rest of us to elect legislators who will take the steps necessary to protect us from those who are profiting from our fear and anguish.

  2. “It all boils down to a simple bottom line: Major efforts must be aimed primarily at sensibly limiting everyone—whether or not mentally ill—from freely obtaining firearms capable of killing—especially of the mass variety.”

    “We must allow numeric principles to guide us,…”

    Of course the above quotes are the logical, sane. reasonable, common sense truths to end the majority of the gun problems in this country. Of course not all of the killers are mentally ill but they do suffer a form of gun illness for which the “numerical principles” is not the solution when we are currently being primarily guided by alternate facts, distortions and lies from the controlling Republican party. When one of my sons got caught in a lie he would concede to the fact that he “told a mistake”; the NRA, Republican distortion of the 2nd Amendment “mistakes” are supporting the mass shootings and shooting to resolve disagreements within families and between friends and neighbors.

    When you know the answer, you have the solution…so why isn’t it working for the majority of American who want universal background checks to purchase weapons and permanently end the sale of assault level weapons to the public?

    The campaign war between candidates Trump and DeSantis poses a question for 2024 Republican voters; HOW IN HELL CAN THEY CHOOSE THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS BETWEEN THOSE TWO? Neither choice will resolve the gun issue but will increase the support of the NRA and the rising death toll from mass shootings and personal disagreements.

  3. I actually think these mass shootings have a number of causes. People on the left are right about the need to restrict and ban certain weapons. But they’re wrong if they think that will suddenly stop the shootings. People on the right are correct about there being a mental health problem. Of course, they do overlook their own role in stoking mentally unbalanced people with their rhetoric.

    But what gets overlooked by both sides, but has been documented in academic circles, is the role of the media in feeding copy cat shootings. People who instigate mass shootings are often motivated by previous well-publicized previous mass shootings. Yet, what happens when there is a new mass shooting? The media rushes to identify the person and report on what the person’s motivation was. The person did the mass shooting because 1) he wants to be famous; 2) he wants to promote a cause. The media gives the shooter exactly what he wants after the event and then we wonder why we have more mass shootings. Well, duh. The media, particularly broadcast media (the mass shooters want to be on TV) need to be more cognizant about how they’re promoting these shootings by their coverage.

  4. Drug cartels in Mexico are funded by AMERICAN drug users to the tune of over $5 billion per year! If we want to stop the cartels from killing anyone, make all the drugs legal. Since an AMERICAN drug company invented fentanyl to replace banned opiates, let them just go ahead and fuel the deaths of the users until they’re all gone. You know, a kind of macabre Darwinism. What will the cartel creatures do when that money spigot dries up?

    Anything Trump says about anything merely reflects his pathology. He is clearly one of the 4.5% who are irretrievably insane. Paul’s point about the media applies here too. Why would the media STILL be drooling over a raving psychopath? Oh. Right. The sponsors need to sell air time… like there’s nothing else going on?

    Our sickness as a nation is multi-faceted, and allowing gun proliferation to the extent that it is, merely exposes our internal wounds. With over 300 million guns owned by the MINORITY, yet significant number of our population we continue to experience this civic idiocy. NOTHING any politician can do is going to change this cultural black hole. We will continue to kill each other in great numbers, wring our hands, put up shrines and wait for the next shooting.

    I’m glad I’m old.

  5. I’m struggling to come up with any other case where something deadly causes injuries and deaths, and the argument for improving the situation is to have _more_ of that deadly thing around.

    It’s such a dumb argument. It reminds me of the John Oliver segment (on The Daily Show) about gun control. At one point, the NRA rep argues (after a point by Oliver) that California has more pool-related deaths because it has more pools than other places. Oliver agrees. The rep doesn’t realize that he’s making Oliver’s argument.

  6. By the way, people suffering from depression should definitely be kept apart from firearms. Firearms kill too easily. It takes just one day where a person wakes up feeling worse than usual.

    I’m not sure how laws could be applied to mental illness cases. What happens when therapy and other treatments cause the person to be able to live with their illness? How does one become designated as “mentally ill”? Are all the various mental illnesses treated the same? This is just a ridiculous approach. It’s clearly just deflection. The only aspect that makes sense is, as a society, to provide better support and services to people who are struggling, so that they can improve their mental state and develop methods for better handling their illness. Plus, general education on the topic would help a lot; it’s important to remove the stigma so that more people will seek help when necessary, and to make all people more knowledgeable about it. It just makes sense that people who don’t struggle with mental illness would have a hard time understanding the situation of those who do. (

    In the absence of laws or regulations, if you know of someone struggling with depression, it’s up to you (and family and friends) to involve yourself in the person’s life, and to keep deadly weapons out of reach.

  7. Paul and Vernon stole the show today. Oddly, the USA had a heroin problem while our MIC guarded the poppy fields in Afghanistan. 😉

    While I’m not much of a free-market economics worshiper, let’s take a page from their book and make the supply legal. Study it for a decade at the federal level and see what happens to gangs and violence. Replace gangs and illegal drugs with small retail shops.

    I’m waiting for the day I can grow a few plants in my back yard that God created for me to smoke and relax from this living hell.

  8. Great comments on a great column (thanks to Sheila and her Cousin) on a continuing and growing problem.

    I still am amazed that people seem to be reading/taking the right to bear arms, outlined in the Second Amendment, out of context. I read more in that stated Right than what I am hearing from all other voices. Think it says something about “militia”. I am not part of any militia so I don’t believe I have a right backed by that Amendment.

  9. Almost 14,000 people have been killed in 2023 so far, as a result of gun violence.

    I would venture to say, automobile deaths are way up this year. All night long, all I hear, are drag races up and down the main street, idiots doing donuts in the intersections, and crotch rockets screaming down the street till dawn. Ever since that defund the police thing, the cops very rarely do any traffic stops at all. I haven’t seen one this year. The county sheriff or the state police are out there, but there’s usually three or more squads when they are stopping someone.

    One of my granddaughter’s friends works at the Mickey D’s, she said that about 70% of the people in the drive-thru, have guns laying in the seat. And yes they are afraid. So are the police.

    Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, 45 people shot and five killed. That number is really low for a holiday weekend.

    This is no longer a country of laws, it’s a country of lawless. Laws on the books are ignored, they’re not even a suggestion anymore. Government is paralyzed, society is collapsing. History doesn’t lie, the same thing happened in the Roman empire. And their collapse led to the dark ages! That lasted all the way from around 500 AD until the Renaissance. That’s a very dark time.

    Someone who is a person of thought and compassion, a person that would have the gumption to take the bowl by the horns, could possibly make a difference. But that would have to be someone like the president. And he would have to take control of all branches of government. But that absolute power would be dangerous.

    But would it be any more dangerous than it is now? A person is playing Russian roulette just stopping their car at a stop sign or a stoplight and the fools are just waiting to carjack a vehicle of their choice.

    Throngs of juveniles flocked to business centers and commence their looting and their shooting.

    The politicians of your choice won’t stop it, they don’t know how! And, when they run into the partisan buzzsaw, they give up and just concern themselves with gathering their paycheck.

    Everyone can see it but everyone also is desensitized because this insanity never stops. Every single day there are many more horrible crimes, shootings, abductions, carjackings and flash mobs, you can pick your poison.

    One out of every 100 people in the United States are incarcerated, maybe an authoritarian government stopping some of this garbage would be a refreshing change. Free is just another four letter word that absolutely means nothing anymore. Human rights seem to tell us now, you have the right to murder your neighbor. You have the right to stay barricaded in your own domicile, and you have the right to hate everyone else, And you have the right to buy as many guns as you so solemnly desire.

    How would they react if there was a taxpayer revolt? The can’t arrest the entire country, maybe that would get their attention, just quit paying taxes. At least until they make progress with this disaster they call society.

  10. I think I need to memorize the “0.0053%” number and trot it out every time somebody tries the “it’s a mental health issue” misdirection.

    Like other people have pointed out mass shootings are just one small but very visible part of the problem. If only guns were treated like other dangerous objects that society is forced to deal with. Cars are good example what happens when people realize how dangerous they are. To be qualified to operate a car you need a license with training and an exam. To own a car you need it licensed and registered. You need to have insurance to at least cover the liability of potential damage. To operate it at all you need to unlock it with a custom security device and in most cases nobody else can operate it without the key because of the ignition interlock system. There are numerous other required safety systems built into cars as well.

    Until we can all join a well regulated militia, we need to treat private gun ownership like a public safety issue.

  11. “If we are going to talk about the role mental illness plays in this mayhem, we might start with TFG and move on to the lunatics arguing that arming everyone in sight will make us safer.” TFG, being one of the most obviously out there of the small percent of the mentally ill!
    A little background: I spent 51 years as a MH professional, never knew of a client/patient who was violent. A daughter of one was, however, and may have become someone’s pt.
    From my perspective, Sheila’s cousin speaks the truth about the situation.
    A U.S. war to clean out the Mexican drug cartels can be expected to make OUR war in Afghanistan look like a walk in the park…and how much would the munitions manufacturers make in the process? It is easy to see them selling to both sides, if they are not already doing so.
    And, do we have a Deja vu thing going on here? TFG on his damned escalator, declaiming about THOSE Mexicans?
    Vernon, kudos to you!

  12. BRAVO, Vernon! Fentanyl is a safe and very effective drug. Think about this…when guns, tobacco and alcohol are freely available…WHY is fentanyl illegal?

  13. Sheila’s cousin did a great job in identifying the problem via facts and figures and conclusions drawn therefrom rather than the hue and cry of the NRA aficionados (and their insistence that we are all members of the militia, though I don’t remember signing up), and John’s “all is lost” view of our civilization if taken at face value would recommend the alternative of a police state gun-grabbing Nazi state of affairs as a panacea.

    We have had worse states of affairs in our history, and have survived Redcoats during our Revolution, the tenuous state of affairs during Reconstruction, and the Nazis and communists marching down our streets during the Great Depression, which are illustrative.

    Perhaps we need a supervised law and order approach to control the civic disorder John rightly describes as intolerable, one where we the people (and sovereigns per Lincoln) provide the powers and means to our political class to restore civic peace, and demand results.

    I think that much of the de-civilizing of our society we see today is traceable to the minority party’s understanding that they can only win and rule by creating chaos in the political marketplace and then seizing power during the ensuing mayhem, all as we saw in the 1/6 putsch which, though a failure, may still be in process, which means that we must keep our political powder dry for another such attempt to destroy our democracy, which is the most valuable asset we hold in common, and one of the last few things worth dying for.

  14. IMO — the reason that a small minority insist on their “right” to own as many guns as they want (and they want a lot) is because they are afraid of minorities rising up and taking revenge. They are convinced that there WILL be a race war (White Nationalists vs everyone else) and they want to be sure to have enough fire power. It comes down to racism. Think of all the yahoos who stormed the Capital on January 6 and waved Confederate flags and the dolts who marched on Charlottesville over the removal of Confederate statues.
    Trump wants to invade Mexico — to kill brown people who are sold guns by white people. The military complex loves to make war – It means more big profits for more gun sellers. But ultimately it would mean more brown people killed and less to cross the border. His base would love that.
    Racism underpins just about every political action in the USA – read “The 1619 Project” by Nikole Hannah-Jones and “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson.

  15. Nobody wants to talk about what weapons of war do to the bodies of little children. I know we’ve each gone through some version of terrifying things, but I can’t imagine how terrifying it must be to a parent to be asked to provide a DNA sample in order to identify their fourth grader. Emmett Till’s mother had the right idea. If you want to shame people, show them the damage done by their actions or, in the case of wrong wing politicians, their inaction. Ban assault rifles and ban magazines over 10 rounds.

  16. There wouldn’t be any Mexican cartels if it weren’t for America’s insane war on drugs. Treating addiction as a criminal matter rather than as a medical issue is a symptom of Capitalism run amuck, (there is a lot of money in fighting drugs) and speaks more to the stupidity and cowardice of America’s leaders.

  17. Kathy M – but do they realize that their guns will be useless against the Jewish Space Lasers that will pick them out and zap them?

    Sorry – couldn’t resist – Too many great comments for a great post – Nothing serious for me to add.

  18. The rationale for gun ownership that it seems most people in the country consider valid is the Second Amendment. That is nonsense. Consider the sentence: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of citizens to own and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

    Note the comma after the words free state. That indicates that what follows is the object of the verb (being necessary, which is the present participle of the verb “to be.”) That means that what follows the verb pertains to national security, which is the subject of the sentence.

    The Founding Fathers were educated men. Most of them could read Latin and some could read Greek, two languages with more complex grammars than that of English. They knew how to write a sentence that conveyed their meaning. If they had wanted to protect the personal right to own a gun, they would have included such a statement in the First Amendment, which lists five rights that we all have. Personal rights. But they put it in one involving national security.

    It is true that Justice Scalia, in his District of Columbia v. Heller referred to everything prior to the words “free state” as “prefatory material, but keep in mind that in addition to being a staunch Conservative, he was a hunter (he died on a hunting trip). I read someone where that the only reason he got a fifth vote for his decision was by acceding to Justice Kennedy’s demand that the comments about “open carry” and “close carry” not being relevant to the decision be included.

    If you understand English grammar, you should realize that the staunch defenders of your “right to own a gun” do not.

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