Mental health experts say a new tougher New York state gun control law might interfere with treatment of potentially dangerous people and even discourage them from seeking help.

The law would require therapists, doctors, nurses and social workers to tell government authorities if they believe a patient is likely to harm himself or others. That could lead to revoking the patient's gun permit and seizing any guns. (source)

New laws tend to have unintended consequences worse than the conditions or situations they are intended to remedy. The hysteria over the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has such strange bedfellows as the NRA and some of the most liberal Democrats calling for psychological or psychiatric evaluations of potential gun owners. 

Question: Does the state have enough of an interest to require a breach of the privacy normally holding between a patient and his clinician making the state an invisible presence in the conference room?

Question: Might more mayhem be prevented by letting clinicians do their job rather than imposing requirements on them.?

Question: Might imposing a reporting requirement on clinicians expose them to homicidal danger once the client realizes that his counselor has breached the shell of confidentiality holding between them?

Question: Given the ambiguities holding between what clients talk about and what they might actually do might a reporting requirement expose clinicians to needless criminal and civil sanctions if their best guess turns out to be wrong and a client they thought safe did something horrendous? The point is, it's a lot easier to judge how dangerous a patient was in retrospect and hold a clinician responsible.

Tags: control, gun, psychiatry, psycology

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Kairan, what I care about is the arguments people use. Clarifying them. The dialectic of discussion hopefully clarifies our thoughts and leads us to better conclusions. I'm a devil's advocate in almost every discussion confronting people with contrary views.

Monty Python was very formative in my life.

Didn't realize the devil's advocate was a member of the NRA.

I don't own a gun or want one. Certainly not a member of the NRA. I'm just a critic of gun control logic.

I'm not a hunter, not a organized sport shooter, not a LEO.

I do own guns, carry one everyday, shoot targets a lot.

And yes, I am a member of the NRA and the GOA (that doesn't mean I set their policies).

I am against Big Government control and their continuing assault on my rights and liberty.

Those who are for Gun Control are also for having a government that violates the Bill of Rights (their Rights), which undermines their own freedom and liberty (a very dangerous position to take).

I am against school, movie, mall, etc. shootings, I am intelligent enough to know corollary conditions do not represent cause.

Shallow answers and band-aid approaches will never get to the cause or achieve a solution to deep societal problems.

Slavery has not been thought wrong by all people in all times. It depends upon time and place and the attitudes current there. In ancient Greece, Socrates aside, slavery was often an act of mercy. Taking a soldier as a slave rather than killing him saved his life. Such slaves were apparently often grateful for being spared and became loyal servants, beloved by the families they served. They were sometimes freed. 

In the case of the old South, enslaved blacks were not thought of as persons but as beasts of burden, which is a matter of definition. Today we live in a world where all humans are regarded as persons (or at least that is the prevailing view) and I'm happy to live in that world.

However, some people here define animals as, in effect, persons although they draw short of applying that particular terminology to them.

You didn't really address my assertion that just by looking at history it's obvious that ethical propositions have a time and place attached to them, and thus have no eternality or objectivity attached to them. Slavery meets certain definitions current today, but that isn't true of how people thought in all times and all places. 

That a blastocyst is not a person is a proposed definition, not a fact. What a blastocyst is is a biological fact. When it becomes a person is up for definition. Both sides in the abortion issue "argue" by asserting conflicting definitions. As in all ethical disputes, the de facto winner will be the side which can muster the most power, which comes down to how many people's attitudes they can count on.

Me: 'Wrong' refers to the unfair, injurious, unjust, incongruous, inaccurate or dishonest. Slavery in the old south was demonstrably unfair, injurious, and unjust, and was defended using incongruous, inaccurate and dishonest arguments. Therefore slavery in the old south was wrong. That's a fact.

That's a definition we would agree to today. Can you say it's a definition that was universal in 800 BC or will be so 800 years in the future? No. The only fact there is an accurate description of the word as it's used now. It's not a fact like "all metals expand when heated" or "when matter is compressed it gets warmer." We don't even need arguments when it comes to facts. Facts are evidence of themselves.

Ethical "facts" are actually attitudes bound by time and place, not real facts controlled by the laws of physics or the certainty of mathematics and/or logic.

We do not decide reality by democratic vote. If one definition is based on reality and the other is based on nonsense, then the former is right and the latter is wrong. You specifically said: "Disputes over ethics are clashes over attitudes, not disputes as to facts." That these crackpots cite supernatural ethics as backing to alter reality is very much a dispute as to the facts.

There are non-crackpots on both sides of the abortion issue. It can't be settled because both sides have some arguments which are persuasive some people and some which seem nonsensical to others, but whether we find them persuasive or nonsensical has everything to do with our attitudes. In other words, it's all bound up with our views on feminism, politics, our sentiments regarding children, and a lot of other things (including religion in many cases). Real world "facts" are bandied about but only in support of our attitudes. There is no syllogism with facts as premises which would lead to a deterministic conclusion regarding the ethics of abortion. The fact that its not a settled issue is evidence of that.

If you have some way to bring your position on abortion to a dead certainty like "water will boil at 212F at sea level," you must be God, because that would truly be a miracle. If it could be done, everyone would know it except for a few who we'd put in mental institutions based on their inability to accept reality.

But that's not going to happen. 

BTW, I simply don't have the time to reply point by point to bedsheet posts. If you break them up into short replies and spread them out over time, I might be able to answer all your points. However, I can't let my life revolve around AT. I do have a life in the non-virtual world.

So what was the definition of 'wrong' in the old south? How does it differ from the definition of 'wrong' today? Answer the question, Unseen. 'Wrong' means 'unfair, injurious, unjust, incongruous, inaccurate, or dishonest'. If it didn't mean that in the old south, then what did it mean?

The word "wrong" was USED differently then. It wasn't applied to those they regarded as nonhuman, such as slaves.

That was another dodge, Unseen. We are talking about a blastocyst. You desperately keep trying to change the subject but I won't let you. A blastocyst is not a human being. That's a fact. It doesn't suddenly cease to become a fact when some crackpot says he disputes it.

There's no desperation. What kind of blastocyst is it? It's a homo sapiens blastocyst, isn't it? Unless blastocysts don't have characteristics (such as DNA) which are unique to each species. It's an early stage in the development of a human being. It seems to me there are only two choices, it's a stage in human development that goes right back to the fertilized egg or else it magically changes into a human being, which would seem to require a magician. Yahweh?

"Likewise for the blastocyst. Yes, it might become a human being, assuming a successful implantation and no miscarriage. But that doesn't make it a human being starting at the moment the sperm enters the egg."

Yet it is a potential human and not a potential dog, or fish as it contains human DNA yes?

Hmm - but a I don't dispute it's not a dog, like a blue-print for a sky-craper as you say, but a blue-print for a skyscraper is not a blueprint for a submarine.

I'm not sure why that's irrelevant.  Of course, it's irrelevant to an argument for abortion dependent on what your argument were...mine would probably be along the lines of feeling pain, being able to survive independently of the mother, etc., where this is really just genetic material as you say.  That though is arguable.

You said 'wrong' has a different MEANING today than in the old south. Now you say it's not a matter of MEANING but of APPLICATION. Fine then.

When did meaning become detached from how a word is applied? The word "train," for example is applied differently in terms of transportation and wedding gown design.

Granulated silica is an early stage in the development of glass. But that doesn't mean silica is glass.

What? no more germane argument than one from chemistry? Glass is a compound most of the time (you'll rarely find pure glass) but that's neither here nor there. There are blastocysts for frogs and blastocysts for humans and one can tell which is which. I believe we can stipulate that blastocysts and fetuses don't have rights by stipulation and without attempting logic-defying feats. A blastocyst in a pregnant woman is a human who isn't able to survive outside the womb yet. Any other interpretation is semantic sophistry. 

Once we were children. Today we're adults. Thus at some point we ceased to be children and became adults. Precisely when did that moment occur in a biological sense?

Children become adults as a matter of stipulation and for different reasons ranging from the need for an age of consent to a need to decide when someone is mature enough to be accepted as an adult. When a stipulation is made, it doesn't change any facts. The only fact is the fact of the stipulation. 

When did meaning become detached from how a word is applied? The word "train," for example is applied differently in terms of transportation and wedding gown design.

You said wrong has two meanings; the one we use today and the one used in the old south. You switched premises (from meaning to application) because there was no such second definition of wrong in the south.

Reread "When did meaning become detached from how a word is applied?" and think about it: I don't see them as separable. Application determines meaning. How the word is applied IS the meaning of any particular usage.

Absent the second meaning, then wrong simply means 'unfair, injurious, unjust, incongruous, inaccurate, or dishonest'.

That is a fair definition of "wrong" and strangely it was certainly the sort of definition used back in slavery days. So, why do you imagine they countenanced slavery? Your position implies that their view might be along these lines: "I know slavery is wrong, but I just like it."

I think my view that attitudes today are different is a more reasonable and believable explanation, and that includes attitudes toward the slaves. These attitudes were widely held, and not just by the slaveowners themselves.

Either many people were totally morally bankrupt then, or we need an alternative explanation such that attitudes were different then.

To claim an ethical precept is objectively true, you need to frame the claim in a metaphysic like Christian theology for physical science can't help you there and "moral science" is an oxymoron.

Does the meaning of the word 'wrong' apply to slavery in the old south? Absolutely, according to our beliefs today, and it's one I believe, as you do, but universality of beliefs doesn't make it a fact for all times and in all situations.

Is there any factual and intellectually honest basis to claim 'wrong' does not apply here? For instance, is it honest, fact-based, and true that Africans are not human? Of course not.

Certainly, "wrong" applies in a retrospective and presentist sense, much in the way, if we can imagine a future where Hinduism dominates the world, our use of cattle for food, leather, and other such products would have them painting us as as the worst sort of people.

Of course Africans are human from the fertilized egg on, the difference being that that is a biological fact subject to an objective test whereas ethics are about attitudes. Attitudes may be based on fact, superstition, or prejudice. But even a fact-based attitude is still just an attitude, which may be about facts and with facts offered in its defense, but in the end it's still just an attitude. It's about how people feel about things.

Now I can almost feel your eagerness to get me to say something sympathetic to slavery, but I'm a person of our times, not 250 years ago, so I have no sympathies for any of the sorts of slavery in the world today, nor for the slavery of the old South.

So it's not a matter of definition, application, or opinion. None of these defenses of slavery hold up under scrutiny. Slavery in the old south was objectively wrong.

Children are characterized as adults as a matter of stipulation in the case of the law or as a matter of judgment and/or speculation when we feel a person is ready to make adult decisions, which is a lot more vague. However, there's no doubt when a human being is conceived. It's neither stipulation nor speculation. It's when a sperm fertilizes an egg.

I've been mentioning your desperation to change the subject. I specifically said biologically not legally.

We have been talking about biological facts, namely that a fertilized egg is not a human being, an acorn is not a tree, a child is not an adult, and there is no precise moment when one stops being a child and starts being an adult.

That someone wants to pass legislation to the contrary does not suddenly make biological facts a matter of opinion.

And the biological fact which I think most biologists would affirm is that once conception happens, you have the earliest stage of homo sapiens, a species aka "human beings.: The DNA in the fertilized egg is exactly the same in the elderly man or woman on the day they die.

When a child becomes an adult is not a magical moment just as becoming a human being doesn't magically happen when the baby is born.

Anyway, if babies became human only once they appeared outside the mother's body, we'd have absurdities such as "It's a breached birth, so right now only the feet and toes are human but the rest of the body is not."

We don't need to believe in magic or redefine how the word "human" is used to say that women have the right to control their bodies, we just need the nerve to say that the state has no standing in a woman's womb.


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