Arizona: The mental angle | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Arizona: The mental angle

Posted By on Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 7:11 AM

David Brooks decries the discussion of political factors in the Arizona shootings. He's concluded — I don't really disagree — that the crime itself seems more likely done by a person who needed mental treatment than someone motivated by over-the-top political debate and imagery. He cites a book that says while a tiny percentage of people are mentally ill, a significant percent of those responsible for rampage crimes are mentally ill. Then, he addresses issues that includes one I was criticized for bringing up at the outset:

If the evidence continues as it has, the obvious questions are these: How can we more aggressively treat mentally ill people who are becoming increasingly disruptive? How can we prevent them from getting guns? Do we need to make involuntary treatment easier for authorities to invoke?

Controlling access to guns? More involuntary comitment of unstable people? Spending lots more government money on health care, and in a branch of medicine that many too often wrongly dismiss as a wasted expenditure?

Amen to all Brooks' questions. And welcome to the ranks of the media who've been politicizing this tragic event, Mr. Brooks. That is not criticism. It is the proper thing to do. Questions of context, motivation and solutions are vital elements of any comprehensive news coverage. Calling them "politicization" is just a way for people uncomfortable with the drift the conversation is taking to stifle the speech. The responsible duty is simply to avoid conclusions before all the evidence is in.

In that vein: Even if the Arizona massacre had not occurred, it is fair game to note those who — often in a contemplated pattern — wave guns around in political commercials, draw crosshairs on political opponents, make political debate the metaphorical equivalent of war and tote guns to political events to intimidate. Cheer or jeer these politicians at your pleasure, just don't kid yourself that these aren't considered political strategies designed to produce voter response.

ALSO: Michael Kinsley writes on the balanced formulation beloved by editorialists of nuts on the left and right and recalls when Bill O'Reilly said somebody should chop off Kinsley's head. He was delighted, he said. And the NY Times editorializes on some common-sense gun regulation. And Talking Points Memo rounds up some of the memorable violent rhetoric — R and D — of the 2010 campaign season.

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (31)

Showing 1-31 of 31

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-31 of 31

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016
  • City Board votes to table homeless feeding ordinance for 8 weeks, study with commission

    The Little Rock Board of Directors voted tonight to table for eight weeks an ordinance that homeless advocates say would severely limit the ability of charities to feed homeless people in city parks. Before the ordinance was punted, Vice Mayor Kathy Webb proposed a nine-member commission to study the issue and make recommendations to the board.
    • May 16, 2017
  • Saturday's open line

    Got any thoughts? Put them here.
    • May 21, 2016

Most Shared

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation