[ExI] insanity plea

spike spike at rainier66.com
Mon Feb 25 03:29:04 UTC 2013

>... On Behalf Of Anders Sandberg
Subject: Re: [ExI] insanity plea

On 24/02/2013 20:08, spike wrote:
>>... Ja agree sir, but you understate your case in an important way. Just 
> the discussion of the possibility of restricting gun ownership to the 
> mentally ill would compel the mentally ill to refuse to seek treatment 
> for fear that they could lose the ability to purchase a firearm.

>...OK, maybe I am terribly European here, but that argument sounds pretty
crazy to me. How many people regard their ability to buy guns more important
than seeking treatment if they can?

Anders the small minority we really do want to disarm are exactly those who
would avoid psychiatric treatment because of the risk of future inability to
own firearms.  Probably most wouldn't really care that much, the ones who
are harmless.  But plenty of people already own firearms, I would guess
somewhere around half in the USA.  If it is illegal for the mentally ill to
buy firearms, what of the ones they already own?  If they purchased while
sane, then became crazy, are they required to sell?  If they are crazy, can
we trust them to do the background check correctly on the buyer?  Are the
crazy allowed to buy ammo?  If not, are they allowed to buy reloading
equipment?  If not, can two crazies get together and one own the reloading
gear and the other own the powder and lead?  So many questions.

Consider next the possibility of the infrastructure to do background checks
being used by landlords and employers.  If anyone may not buy a weapon for
any reason, I don't even need to know what it is, I don't want them.

All that being said, there is a potential here for a very rare consensus
across the political spectrum: propose gun-purchase background checks in
such a way that everyone's arrest records and mental health history is
available to everyone.  Anyone who is not found in those public records must
be assumed crazy or criminal.  The gun people would likely go for that.  If
the anti-gun people want background checks badly enough, they will go for it
too.  No sending in forms and waiting several days, it must be instant
gratification, look up the eligibility right away.  Otherwise the buyer just
goes elsewhere, to someone who will sell the weapon illegally.  Reasoning:
if someone may own a firearm legally, the buyer doesn't break any laws from
buying from a seller who does not do a background check; rather it is the
seller who takes the risk.  So, for background checks to be effective, they
must be an open database, available to everyone.  Deal!

>...I could be able to see it in regards to driver's licences, since not
having one in the US is presumably severely handicapping, so presumably
people would not seek treatment for disorders that would impair their
ability to get one...

True, this happens all the time.  If one has severe eyesight problems in
one's middle aged years when there is no requirement to take DMV eye tests
more than about once a decade, one would be better off not seeing an
optometrist, for fear they might contact the DMV to inform them this patient
cannot see.  The drivers' license cannot be risked: as you point out, in the
US, one is practically crippled without one.  We have a half-assed bus
system, but it is inadequate for most purposes, and will likely only get
worse in the future, much worse, as the bills come due for our past

>...How many people avoid having their epilepsy or bad eyesight diagnosed
because of this? Surely some, but enough to be a serious problem?  Anders

Hmmm, probably not a serious problem, but I know personally of three such
cases, two eyesight related and one epilepsy, where the patient is not
seeking treatment because of risk to the drivers' license.  It happens.  I
don't consider it a huge risk, but it is a non-zero risk.  Around where I
live, we don't really have all that many elderly drivers.  The Silicon
Valley isn't an ideal retirement spot for so many reasons; it really just
isn't geared for that.  It is for go-go get-rich-quick types, not really
very much to attract seniors.  It's crazy expensive, the traffic is nuts.
But my hometown where I grew up is terrifying, especially to motorcycle
riders, oy vey.  So many elderly there now, especially now that the space
center has mostly shut down and plenty of the old timers just stayed right
where they have lived for the past 50 years.  I know plenty like that.
Driving there is scary.

As with the anonymous psychology patient, it seems like we could set up
anonymous optometrist and an anonymous neurologist.  Hey, there's an idea
for all these doctors who do not want to work under the new US medical
system: open a shop which takes only cash, in exchange for a promise to not
ask who you are.


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