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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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.

Absent the second meaning, then wrong simply means 'unfair, injurious, unjust, incongruous, inaccurate, or dishonest'. With that settled at last, it's now a matter of application.

Does the meaning of the word 'wrong' apply to slavery in the old south? Absolutely.

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.

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 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.

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. 

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.

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.

Ridiculous. Ten means ten. Incongruously one may refuse to acknowledge that ten means ten, or assert that ten means nine. But these incongruous applications do not change the determinaion that ten means ten.

Likewise for the meaning of wrong. It's incongruous to assert that something that meets the criteria for the meaning of wrong is not wrong. The application itself meets the criteria for being wrong.

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."

They countenanced slavery because slave labor was greatly to the (usually financial) benefit of the slave owner.

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.

Your view was that slavery in the old south was wrong as a matter of opinion. There is no factually correct basis to support an opinion that slavery in the old south was anything but wrong. Not then and not today. That slavers used irrational arguments to defend slavery only compounds that it was wrong.

Attitudes have changed in that few are willing to assert irrational pro-slavery arguments anymore, but the number of people willing to employ an irrational argument has no bearing on the validity of it.

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.

I didn't claim ethical precepts are objectively true. I said slavery in the old south was wrong as a matter of fact. The distinction is important.

Secular ethics require a context and a hierachry of needs based on emperical observation. By 'context' I mean the circumstances surrounding the event. By 'hierarchy of needs' I mean needs like breathing, food, water, safety, shelter, personal effects, belonging, justice, and so on.

Consider how this applies to the ethics of lying. Lying in court to free a serial rapist is unethical because it's unjust to the rape victims and it threatens the safety of future victims. Lying to Nazis about the Jews hiding in your cellar is ethical because it keeps the Jews alive.

Context and needs may be established objectively. Learn that. No theology or magic is required.

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.

You already said something incredibly sympathetic to slavery. I'm eager that you recant (rather than defend) that unconscionable statement. That's because I have a higher opinion of you (probably much higher) than you may think.

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.

I have no doubt most biologists (and medical doctors) would affirm a zygote is alive, contains human DNA, and could develop into a human being. But until or unless it develops into a human being, it is not a human being.

That is the stated position of the Am. College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Ethics. There are a small minority of dissenters but by their own admission their stances are based on religious belief not scientific fact.

The DNA in the fertilized egg is exactly the same in the elderly man or woman on the day they die.

Death occurs with the permanent cessation of the higher brain functions. This destroys your consciousness and thus-- cogito ergo sum-- you are a human being no more. The DNA remains. The body may even continue to function for a time. But once your brain dies, YOU die, so you're no longer a human being.

Medical science simply applies the same standard to the zygote. Once the zygote develops into a fetus with the supporting structures for consciousness (an active brain cortex and nervous system) it becomes a human being. Note as with the childhood-to-adulthood example there is no 'lightswitch' moment when one state ends and the other begins. Rather this is the earliest stage (at about 28 weeks) where human consciousness could begin. This is the medical science on which is based the 28-week limitation on abortions in most US states and countries.

Excuses, excuses, excuses. NRA spindoctors come up with anything to show that it is dangerous to give up guns.

What was that little gem that Obama said which nearly lost him the election, "Rural voters cling to guns and Christianity"?

Can a person be honest and forthcoming with another person if person A knows before hand that person B is required to violate the trust needed to be honest and forthcoming?

I am very doubtful that psychiatric help can be attained under such circumstances.

How can an individual who is having homicidal thoughts get help with the cause of those thoughts if he/she cannot trust the caregivers?

Turning caregivers into spies for the State is immoral and unethical and cannot accomplish to goal of creating a safer society.  In my humble fucking opinion of course.

A psychiatrist's job is not to solve society's problems, it is to solve the patient's problem.  Undermining a patient's trust makes him/her less likely to seek help in the first place and more likely to be less then completely honest with the caregiver in the second place.

WTF do we want?  A society where someone can seek the help of a qualified trustworthy caregiver with their mental demons, or a society where a mentally ill person must hid their demons and remain mentally ill walking amongst us?

For myself I would rather have a law making it illegal for a medical professional to disclose any patient information to any governmental entity. 

I cannot be safer by forcing those who need help to hid from those who may be able to help them.

See the problem here is there are so many people who don't think past the feel-good solution for whatever it is that has their hair on fire at the moment.

I've run into women that want the death penalty for rape.  Feels good, doesn't it?  I have little success with pointing out to them that a capital crime encourages the criminal to kill the witnesses, and who is the one person guaranteed to be a witness to a rape?

Make it illegal to own firearms?  Or to carry them in "gun free" zones?  That just renders the law abiding defenseless from someone who--by definition--is willing to break much more serious laws.  It never seems to occur to people who want to stop mass shootings that they almost without exception occur in what are already designated gun free zones.  (The only exception I can think of is Tucson.)  THAT ought to indicate a flaw in their vaunted logic, but they are oblivious to the point.

And this is a third example, here.  You cannot turn someone into a spy for the government, and have someone who is teetering on the brink of being disapproved of strongly by the government, be willing to trust that spy.  That applies to pedophiles, the mentally unbalanced... and now it will apply to gunowners, with doctors and teachers being expected to find out who owns and does not own firearms.  (And you wonder why we are furious, given who we are being treated like.)

I've run into women that want the death penalty for rape.  Feels good, doesn't it?  I have little success with pointing out to them that a capital crime encourages the criminal to kill the witnesses, and who is the one person guaranteed to be a witness to a rape?

I've made the same kind of argument regarding pedophilia, but logic loses to irrational fear and anger, and so children will be murdered so that the pedophile's OCD won't be discovered with all the dire consequences which ensue.

Pre.... cisely.

Wow...let me get this straight...up till now, it was legal for a mentally ill person, or someone with a medical history of potential aggression to own a gun???

This can't be true.  Surely, if a person applies for a gun license anywhere in the US their criminal and mental history are checked out?!?!?!

Surely this is no reason to allow guns for the menatlly unstable...what's more dangerous, a menatlly unwell person with a gun or a mentally unwell person without a gun.

Even in the UK, where guns are effectively banned except where there is a clear purpose, we get occasional shootings.  Gun law in the US just seems really scary.

The answer is NO, it is not legal.  Does it happen anyway?  No doubt.  And it happens in the UK as well.

http://www.atf.gov/firearms/how-to/identify-prohibited-persons.html

However, you can't be put in this list just because some guy with a psych degree says "you're nuts!"  You have to be adjudicated as such by a court.  (This is known as due process.)

In practice it is difficult to enforce this rule; nothing physically prevents a guy from selling a firearm to a neighbor.  (That is a difficulty with any law making it illegal for you to own something.  See the drug war for more corroboration.)  But if you go to a gun shop, you have to fill out a form, under penalty of perjury, swearing that you do not meet any of these conditions--and it asks about each one on the list individually.  You then have to wait while they do an "instant" computerized background check... such wait is now nine days here in Colorado because they are swamped.  It is not federal law yet, but the "instant" (ha!) check is required at gun shows in Colorado for any sales, not just those from federally licensed firearms dealers who have a table.

In Vermont, pretty much anyone can buy and carry a gun, concealed or otherwise, provided they are over the age of 16 - no licence, no background checks - see here.

It is one of the most laid back states regarding guns.

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