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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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.

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.

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

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.

It also has a very low murder rate, comparable to what the UK claims.

Yes it also has an extremely low religious content - and was the first state to introduce same-sex marriage - before even the UK.

So what, the major problem causer is religion, not guns?  Say it ain't so!!  :D

As this article reveals, murder statistics appear sensitive to all kinds of things such as poverty, unemployment rates, police training and tactics, trauma center preparedness, urban gentrification, and so on, including gun laws. Notably, Chicago—a city that bears comparison with New York City—has draconian drug laws and a murder rate which is out of control. At least with tobacco smoking, we can refer to statistics even if we can't demonstrate the causal nexus with the certainty of a chemical reaction. Statistics just seem to increase the mystery when it comes to murder rates. They confuse and confound.


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