by David Stein
First of all, I want to say that neither you nor I know all the facts about yesterday’s unthinkably horrific events in Newtown, CT. Intelligent people understand that no news reports can be considered reliable in the first 24 hours following a cataclysmic tragedy. Indeed, it will be weeks, perhaps months, before the facts of the shooting are known.
But with so many on the left exploiting the atrocity to call for new firearms regulations, I thought I might explore a different angle.
There have been reports that the shooter, Adam Lanza, had mental health issues. This would very much fit the profile of people who commit that type of crime, from Laurie Dann (who used a gun to murder schoolchildren) to Steven Abrams (who used a car for the same purpose) to Zheng Minsheng (who used a knife).
And here’s a fact you might not know – Connecticut is one of only SIX states in the U.S. that doesn’t have a type of “assisted outpatient treatment” (AOT) law (sometimes referred to as “involuntary outpatient treatment”). There’s no one standard for these types of laws, but (roughly speaking) these are laws that allow for people with mental illness to be forcibly treated BEFORE they commit a serious crime. Whereas previous legal standards held that the mentally ill cannot be institutionalized or medicated until they harm someone or themselves, or until they express an immediate intent to do so, AOT laws (again, roughly speaking) allow for preventative institutionalization or forced medication (I highly recommend reading the data cited in the link I provided in this paragraph, especially regarding what is known as “first episode psychosis”).
AOT laws vary state-by-state, and often bear the name of a person murdered by an untreated mentally ill person (“Kendra’s Law” in New York, “Laura’s Law” in California, etc.).