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.

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A similar question has been raised regarding pedophilia

No one with the urge dare go to a psychologist for help overcoming it because simply confessing to the urge will get you registered.  Thus it's hard to study.

I've often felt that the hysteria around pedophilia is dysfunctional. I think it contributes to pedophiles turning into murderers because (a) they commit the act out of OCD, but (b) if they are discovered, the consequences are so harsh that sometimes they panic and kill the child. I doubt if they go out intending to have sex with a child and then kill the child. I think killing the child is a panicked reaction.

We should treat pedophilia the way we treat alcoholism, as a disease. Alcoholics kill more people than pedophiles but when will we start asking alcoholics to register with local police and tell their neighbors that they are alcoholics?

Better do some research on pedophilia. It is one of the least successfully treated disorders. Statistically pedophiles have an extremely high probability of relapse. Our prisons are full of repeat offenders. Castration anyone?

Perhaps pedophiles need to wear GPS bracelets or something. My point, though, was that the way we view pedophilia, which is typically an OCD like obsessive hand washing or germ paranoia, has the effect of killing children. The controls put on pedophiles are so onerous that many times they don't do them. There has to be a more functional way.

Oh, and BTW, my views are BASED on taking a hard look at the issue. I'm quite aware of the recidivism problem.

 Alcoholics kill more people than pedophiles but when will we start asking alcoholics to register with local police and tell their neighbors that they are alcoholics?

There are worse things than death. The lifelong trauma/emotional scars a victim of pedophilia will experience for example, may be one such thing. 

@ Craig Nomazlab I had to read this twice:

Many victims do, in fact, live out pretty decent lives.

Where did you read that?

Your "fact" flies in the face of everything I have ever read on sexual abuse of children, have you got any links to validate what you posted?

Well, gee, living with memories of being abused vs being abused and then brutally murdered. 

Hmm. Ever heard of a Hobson's choice?

Victims of sexual abuse may bear emotional scars but they mostly do get on just like people who got their emotional scars some other way. 

alcohol=traffic deaths

pedophilia=murders (very occasionally)

In both cases, the mental condition that is driving their behavior impairs their judgment. Is the alcoholic driver thinking as he gets into his car "I might kill someone today, but so what?" No, I think he's trying to convince himself that he can handle it.

I think males are hardwired to be attracted to nubile young women. We aren't so far from our caveman days when Mother Nature implanted in males the need to spread their genes and to look for the fittest females in doing so. This is so true that men who find themselves constantly more attracted to older rather than younger women may be considered to have a sexual fetish. In the porn industry, these are called the "mature" and, more extremely, the "granny" fetishes.

Also, let's get clear on language. "Pedophilia" refers strictly to an attraction to prepubescent children. Being attracted to a burgeoning 13-17 year old pubescent person who is showing early secondary sexual characteristics may be legally wrong to act on for cultural reasons, but it isn't clinical pedophilia. It's also natural in a gender that is so focused on the visual sense when it comes to sex to respond purely on what he sees. Hopefully, he's also responsible and doesn't even need a law to tell him that sexual engagement with an underage person is wrong.

In primitive societies where lifespans are much shorter than they are in the technological world, the assumed age of consent is almost always lower. They also often have customs we'd find shocking, such as aunts and uncles introducing teens to their first sexual experiences.

We have no way to stop people from driving drunk. If they drive erratically or cause an accident, they can be punished and their license taken away, but when you start a car it doesn't ask to see your license.

Pedophilia is attraction to prepubescent children. That is the clinical definition, attraction to a pubescent isn't a clinical matter, but acting on such an impulse certainly can be a legal matter depending on the relative ages of the participants and the prevailing local laws regarding age of consent.

Alcoholism is a causative factor in a very large percentage of certain kinds of fatal accidents such as crossing the center line, blowing through a red light or stop sign, etc.

From the Wikipedia article on pedophilia: As a medical diagnosis, pedophilia, or paedophilia, is a psychiatric disorder in persons 16 years of age or older typically characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (generally age 11 years or younger, though specific diagnosis criteria for the disorder extends the cut-off point for prepubescence to age 13). 

I don't think most legal jurisdictions concern themselves with defining pedophilia. Rather, their definitions go to underage sex and statutory rape, where it makes little difference legally whether the victim is a newborn or is younger than the local age of sexual consent. This is 18 in most of the United States.

The dictionaries tend to define common usage (which can be misusage when it comes to scientific and technical terms). When referring to a psychiatric disorder one relies on the psychiatric field for their definition which is far less loose (and thus much more precise). Besides, what is to be gained by using a less precise definition in any case. Ambiguities just cause confusion.


I suppose most people find what they're looking for in the top few paragraphs.


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