Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Could You be Listed in a Database of the Mentally Ill?

As most of you know, some idiot shot the place up at Virginia Tech last month. The guy sent a video to NBC and we’ve all seen bits and pieces if his rant. I think we can all say that the guy was a mental case.

The Governor of Virginia issued an executive order requiring that a database of people banned from buying guns include the name of anyone who is found to be dangerous and ordered to get involuntary mental health treatment. Apparently the idiot (the shooter…not the governor) never checked “Yes” next to “Are you a Psycho Maniac?” on his gun application. When a background check was done, his name never came up because he was merely an outpatient mental patient…not an admitted inpatient one...so he wasn't on the existing database. This new executive order will now start including such mentally ill folks, and hopefully, background checks will catch such psychos in the future.

I’m 100% behind such an order…but then again, I’m in favor of gun control. No, I’m not going to turn this into a “right to arms” debate (gun control and one’s right to own a gun can peacefully co-exist, but that’s another blog). But there is one concern I do have over such an order. Right, now, the order talks about those who are found to be dangerous and ordered to get treatment. But what if such a database was expanded for EVERYONE that was treated for mental illness. Are you all for it? Think about it again.

One has to ask…what IS mental illness? Is it being a “rich kid and women” hater like the VT shooter? Is it someone who’s severely depressed or withdrawn? Is it someone who is prone to panic attacks? What about someone with unsettled nerves? See where I’m going? Who that’s reading this has NOT been treated for some type of depression or anxiety? Somehow, I think all your hands are still firmly on your mouse…mine included. Does that make us all mentally ill?

The Virginia Governor is 100% correct in his executive order. But when the next headline shooter is found to be taking Paxil for depression or Xanax for an anxiety disorder…be careful. The next database expansion could include your name. Maybe no big deal if you never intend to buy a gun…but you may one day apply for a job. Just something to think about.

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