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.