Blame the ACLU

President Trump has argued, correctly, that Nikolas Cruz should have been reported and that this information should have prevented him from buying a gun as expressed in this tweet.

“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again.

Trump’s critics rightfully point out that he signed a law that repealed an Obama regulation that would have added an additional 75,000 people who suffer from mental illness to the national background data check.  No doubt Trump would like to take that back.

The rule that was repealed specifically required that the Social Security Administration add people who have been deemed incapable of managing their financial affairs to that list.  That would include many who receive disability payments due to mental illness.   This would not have prevented Nikolas Cruz from obtaining all his guns, but it would have been a small step in the right direction.

The measure was part of a larger group of Obama rules that were reasonably repealed by Congress shortly after Trump took office.  Yes, the repeal of the gun measure was supported by the NRA but another organization that has been largely left out of this discussion, the ACLU, was also to blame.

In a letter to Congress, the ACLU wrote:  “We oppose this rule because it advances and reinforces the harmful stereotype that people with mental disabilities, a vast and diverse group of citizens, are violent,” the letter says. “There is no data to support a connection between the need for a representative payee to manage one’s Social Security disability benefits and a propensity toward gun violence.”

Obviously, if you can’t manage your money you shouldn’t be expected to manage a gun.  Please!  More obvious is the fact that someone who is getting SSI disability payments due to a mental illness should not have access to guns.

Let us not forget that in the 70s and 80s the ACLU was at the forefront of patient’s rights legislation and court cases that emptied our mental institutions.  These cases raised the bar significantly for anyone to be committed.   The courts ultimately ruled that a finding of mental illness alone was not enough to justify a state’s locking a person up against his will and keeping him indefinitely in simple custodial confinement if such persons are dangerous to no one and can live safely in freedom.

What does living safely in freedom mean?  Today, for the most part, that means living on the streets.  Why?  Because most of the mentally ill don’t think they are mentally ill.   Once out they refuse their meds and don’t go for treatment.  When that happens many do become dangerous and their heartbroken families are simply afraid to keep them or take them in.  Research suggests that individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are responsible for approximately 10 percent of all homicides in the United States.  For mass killings, the percentage is approximately 33 percent.

Too often families are counseled to avoid having a child classified as mentally ill and schools try to keep these children in their system.  Then, once that child becomes an adult, the school and the family lose control unless the now mentally ill adult voluntarily gives a parent or another adult the responsibility for his or her custody.  We now know that Nikolas Cruz refused to let the school district continue providing him with the mental health services he had been receiving after he turned 18.  These cases go unreported.

It’s an urban legend that we have insane people living on the streets because Ronald Reagan closed the mental hospitals.  Most mental hospitals were closed simply because they no longer had any patients.  Sadly, liberal organizations like the ACLU that worked to get all these mental patients released, largely abandoned society’s most vulnerable.

Many of the mental health workers who worked toward this end have admitted their mistake.  Many also have admitted their over reliance on drugs.  Now these drugs are part of the larger problem of those who shoot up schools or a workplace.

If you are on psychotropic drugs you cannot join the military, pilot a plane and — in some cases — even drive a car.  It makes sense that people on these drugs should be ineligible to buy guns unless re-evaluated.

Politicians, the NRA and the ACLU need to accept this.   My guess is the first two will come around.  The ACLU is perhaps the bigger culprit and, so far, has escaped the consternation of the general public.

Dear Uncle Santa (My Christmas Wish List)

It’s that time of year when all good boys and girls write a letter to Santa and give him their wish lists so I thought I would do the same.

Okay, so I’m not a kid anymore but, let’s face it, so many citizens act like children when it comes to giving our elected representatives their respective wish lists, treating their Uncle Sam like Santa.  In the real world Santa doesn’t deliver the presents, mom and dad must buy them and place them under the tree.

When I was a kid, I asked for a pony.  Mom and dad had to explain that Santa knew that we lived in the city and there would be no place to keep this pony.  Furthermore, this miniature equine would end up costing more that our family could afford.  Therefore, Santa regretfully had to edit my wish list and cut it down to size.

Unfortunately, many citizens act like spoiled children when they make demands on Washington, with little thought as to who will pay the bill.   Unfortunately, many of our elected representatives act like the parents of Continue reading “Dear Uncle Santa (My Christmas Wish List)”

Buyer’s Remorse (In Arizona and Elsewhere)

Voters in Arizona are suffering buyer’s remorse over their decision to re-elect Senator John McCain over his challenger, Dr. Kelli Ward.  Indeed, every conservative voter in the nation has had their “what if” moment when they pause to consider McCain’s last re-election victory.

What if Kelli Ward had knocked off Arizona’s senior senator in 2016?  For those who pay attention, it is well-known that McCain is no conservative and often speaks out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to important issues like balancing the budget, cutting out waste, defending the border and even protecting the military from political correctness.

Nevertheless, McCain, a media darling (as long as he is knocking fellow Republicans) has fashioned his political career around supporting Democrats on critical issues and then suffering a conservative conversion before he’s up for reelection — just in time to fool the voters, again.

McCain has secured his seat for another five + years, barring his health issues, but voters in Arizona have another chance to send Ward to the United States Senate.  They appear ready to do just that. Continue reading “Buyer’s Remorse (In Arizona and Elsewhere)”

Trump and the Fire Swamp

Donald Trump went to Washington promising to drain the swamp.  The swamp is winning.  That’s because it is a lot more complicated than simply pulling the plug and watching the whole mess go down the drain.

No, the swamp in Washington is more like the fictional fire swamp in the movie “The Princess Bride.”   Washington, like the swamp in this movie classic, has three elements:  the fire (obvious), lighting sand (dryer and quicker than quicksand) and the dreaded R.O.U.S. (rodents of unusual size).  Continue reading “Trump and the Fire Swamp”

Why’d Hillary Lose? Blame Joseph Farah

Hillary Clinton made a lot of mistakes in her quest to become the first woman president of the United States, but her biggest mistake occurred well before she ever ran for public office.  It was back in 1995, when, as the chief strategist during her husband’s tenure in the White House, she grew frustrated that their many scandals where making their way into the press.

As first lady of Arkansas she managed to keep a lid on their misdeeds.  She was well versed in Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” and successfully demonized and silenced anyone who dared question their actions.

However, in 1995, things were getting out of hand.  Those of you old enough to have lived through the Clinton years may remember an unguarded moment when she lashed out at the “vast right-wing conspiracy” in a TV interview.   But she was far from done.  I can only imagine the hours she must have put into a 331-page report in which she vented her frustrations in a publication called the “Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce.”   It was released during the 1996 presidential campaign by the White House council’s office and the Democratic National Committee.   Continue reading “Why’d Hillary Lose? Blame Joseph Farah”

Big Bird: You’re Fired!

On Monday, Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at cutting out waste in the federal government.  The ink wasn’t dry when the Washington Post trotted out Big Bird, the affable “Sesame Street” figure who has been used to blunt past efforts to cut unnecessary government programs.

“Sesame Street” has millions of fans and I am one of them, but this bird is a fat cat!  It’s time we recognize that his life and our lives will not change if we cut the funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NPR and all the rest. Continue reading “Big Bird: You’re Fired!”

Obamacare Replacement: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

After seven years of promising to repeal and replace Obamacare, Republicans finally have a plan.  If only we had held our breaths during all that time, they could have skipped it.  We’d all be dead.

Will it lower individual cost and provide better coverage?  Hopefully.  However, it falls well short of providing free-market coverage.  The only way to do that is to repeal Obamacare and get out of the way.  Something that Democrats are adamantly against and timid Republicans are reluctant to do.

Americans are generous people and would never abandon the poor to charity or, horrors, leave that responsibility to their families.  In our “me-first” society, it’s just too much to expect people to take care of their own.  Nevertheless, what we desperately need is a two-tier system:  One for the poor where there are special government-run, low cost, bare-bones centers that provide basic emergency care, and one for all the rest who must pay their own way.

Yes, health care cost something.  If our government would simply take care of those who truly cannot take care of themselves and get out of the way, we would have a free-market that would offer more choices than we could imagine and all levels of coverage.  The average person could easily find one that fits his or her need and pocketbook.   Continue reading “Obamacare Replacement: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”