By Adam Palmer
Within minutes of the tragic mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, gun control fanatics were predictably not letting a crisis go to waste by calling for extreme measures of gun control. The usual suspects were at it – Soros organizations, MSM, left-wing extremists, and Democratic Party members – but, interestingly enough, they were joined by many Republican lawmakers as well. While Lindsey Graham, a Senator who has scarcely seen a right in the Bill of Rights he hasn’t wanted to carve up for dinner, is no shocker, others in staunchly red states have also joined the call for stricter gun control measures. Most surprising, however, is that President Donald Trump has jumped on the bandwagon, calling for “red flag laws” among other egregious measures to deal with the recent spate of shootings in the United States.
The response from Trump’s base has been a mix of personality cult support and virulent opposition, hinting that Trump, if he goes forward with his “red flag” proposal, could be shooting himself in the foot for 2020. After the last few years, it is clear that nothing Trump could ever do would convince a leftist to vote for him. However, he can convince his own supporters to stay home in 2020 and that appears to be what is going to happen if he doesn’t quickly pull an about-face in the manner that he has done in the past in regards to many of his positive attempts to govern (Syria, Afghanistan, etc.).
So what is the problem with Red Flag laws?
For those that may not be aware, “Red Flag” Laws are allegedly devised to disarm individuals who may be at high risk to commit violent acts before they are able to do so. These “red flags” can be thrown up by law enforcement, mental, and medical professionals regarding a person’s mental state and/or capacity to do harm. In some cases, family members and others can also trigger the gun confiscation order. A number of states in the US already have such laws, Maryland being the most memorable example.
In an article entitled “Maryland’s ‘Red Flag’ Law Turns Deadly: Officer Kills Man Who Refused To Turn In Gun,” Kimberly Eiten writes,
A 61-year-old man is dead after he was shot by an officer trying to enforce Maryland’s new ‘red flag’ law in Ferndale Monday morning.
Anne Arundel County Police confirmed the police-involved shooting happened in the 100 block of Linwood Avenue around 5:17 a.m.
. . . . .
According to police, two officers serving a new Extreme Risk Protective Order (Red Flag Law), a Maryland protective order to remove guns from a household, shot and killed the man listed on that order.
“Under the law, family, police, mental health professionals can all ask for the protective orders to remove weapons,” said Sgt. Jacklyn David, with Anne Arundel County Police.
That man was identified as Gary J. Willis of same address.
Officials said Willis answered the door while holding a handgun.
Willis then placed the gun next to the door.
When officers began to serve him the order, Willis became irate and grabbed his gun.
One of the officers tried to take the gun from Willis, but instead Willis fired the gun.
The second officer fired a gun, striking Willis. He died at the scene.
In other words, gun confiscation has already begun but it has begun incrementally and not as a mass sweeping door to door operation. Selco wrote from his experience about how gun confiscation might go down and it appears he was right. Gary J. Willis was executed for not willingly allowing his basic rights to be violated. Guess we could have skipped the trouble of that whole Revolutionary War thing, right?
Red Flag laws trample all over our Constitutional rights.
If it sounds to you like Red Flag laws are actually the imposition of “pre-crime” policies, you’re right. If they sound unconstitutional to you, you’re also right. Red Flag laws violate at least three Amendments to the US Constitution – the First, Second, and Fourth.
It’s important to note that some county sheriffs are refusing to enforce Red Flag gun laws and others are forming 2nd Amendment sanctuaries, but these are too few and far between to stop this altogether. The violation of the 2nd Amendment is the most obvious since forcibly disarming an American citizen through a matter of law who has committed no crime is a clear infringement on the Second Amendment. In fact, so is the idea that “mentally ill people should not have access to weapons.” The fact is that mentally ill people still have rights in this country but more on that later.
The Fourth Amendment is violated because American citizens are essentially tried, convicted, and disarmed without due process and the First is violated because the alleged “crime” or “red flag” is not an actual crime but speech and/or expression (in many cases it is merely the feeling of a threat by the person throwing up the red flag) both of which are expressly protected by the First Amendment.
But Trump went even further in his speech responding to the recent shootings, stating that the US should have stronger laws regarding “involuntary confinement” and that the Federal and State governments would be working with social media companies to detect individuals who are threats before they are able to do any damage. In other words, the Government will be working with (supposedly) private social media companies to determine individuals who should be forcibly disarmed as a result of their speech and expression online.
Mental health and psychiatry are being weaponized.
And as for involuntary confinement, the US already allows for “mental health professionals” to involuntarily confine people for the slightest statements, violating their rights and, more often than not, ruining their lives with forced medication and victimization. The fact that mental and medical professionals have as much authority as they do should be considered abhorrent in a free society.
Indeed, the truth is that, while no one wants a severely mentally ill person walking around with a gun, mentally ill people still have rights. And if they have not committed a crime, they have the same rights as everyone else.
And thus we arrive at the second frightening aspect of Red Flag laws – the further weaponization of mental health and psychiatry. This is precisely the methods used by the Soviet Union when critics of the government were deemed mentally ill and forced into “treatment” where they remained or where “re-educated/medicated” into conformity.
But abuse of psychiatry and the mental health/law enforcement meld is by no means unique to the Soviet Union. The mechanisms are already in place in the United States and have been for some time. Indeed, every day in the United States countless people are forcibly hospitalized having committed no crime whatsoever.
In her article, “The Crime Of Thinking Different,” Wendy McElroy wrote in September 2014,
The term “psychopathological mechanisms” of dissent describes the political abuse of psychiatry in the former Soviet Union and other totalitarian regimes. Non-approved beliefs, attitudes or behavior are classified as mental problems, which converts them into a medical diagnosis that can be handled in an extra-legal manner. Dissenters or ‘the different’ can be detained indefinitely in mental hospitals where they are drugged or otherwise ‘cured’ into conformity.
. . . . .
If accurate, a news story out of Cambridge, Maryland, in late August indicates “psychopathological mechanisms” is in full swing within the US. On August 22, a 23-year-old middle school teacher named Patrick McLaw was placed on administrative leave and taken into custody by police to be psychologically evaluated.
Why? The first reports stated, “Members of the Dorchester Sheriff’s Office, the Cambridge Police Department and…County Public School board have removed…McLaw for allegedly penning two books under the alias, ‘Dr. K.S. Voltaer’.” A police investigation is underway. [Note: the word “alias” connotes crime; “pen name” is the appropriate term for anonymous authorship.]
One novel, The Insurrectionist (2011), is set 888 years in the future and revolves around a school shooting. The Amazon blurb explains, “On 18 March 2902, a massacre transpired on the campus of Ocean Park High School…the largest school massacre in the nation’s history. And the entire country now begins to ask two daunting questions: How? and Why?…It becomes evident that the hysteria is far from over.” (The second novel, Lillith’s Heir, is a sequel.) The Amazon description is correct. The hysteria was just beginning.
The police searched McLaw’s home for weapons; none were found. They searched the school with dogs for bombs and guns; none were found. McLaw apparently does not have a criminal record. According to a local paper, The Star Democrat (April 23), he was nominated last April for Dorchester County’s “Teacher of the Year” award but lost out. Nevertheless, on September 1, Sheriff James Phillips stated that the teacher-novelist “is no longer in the area. He is currently at a location known to law enforcement and does not currently have the ability to travel anywhere.”
After a blitz of media coverage raised constitutional issues, the story offered by authorities changed. The novels became only “pieces of the puzzle” of their investigation. The State Attorney for Wicomico County Matt Maciarello now claims that McLaw drew police attention due to “a four-page letter to officials in Dorchester County.” The 4-pages were apparently a letter of resignation. In a highly unusual and prejudicial move, personal details from the letter were leaked although the authorities will not produce the document itself for independent verification. They will merely leak what is to their advantage.
Bottom line: No arrest was made, no charges were laid, no warrant has been issued and there has been no public accusation that McLaw threatened anyone. He is being held for psychiatric evaluation based merely on the fact that the police are investigating him for what or what may not be a crime.
The prevalence of “psychopathological mechanisms” is a touchstone of totalitarianism and a measure of how far a society or situation has distanced itself from liberty. Through American history, the distance from liberty has been an ebb and flow.
. . . . .
From its inception as colonies, the United States has included the political abuse of those who are seen as psychologically deviant. Between early 1692-1693, at least twenty people died because they were accused of violating the orthodox beliefs of authorities; they were called witches which may be as close to a psychiatric diagnosis as that period offers.
The most totalitarian situation or institution America has known was slavery; only the current prison system compares. During this period, the abuse of psychiatry revealed a second purpose; it not only provides social control but also justifies savagery in the eyes of those who commit it.
Consider the psychiatric term “drapetomania.” It refers to a mental illness defined in 1851 by a respected American doctor named Samuel A. Cartwright in order to explain why slaves ran away. His essay Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race stated that fleeing slavery “is as much a disease of the mind as any other species of mental alienation, and much more curable, as a general rule.” The recommended cure was “whipping the devil out of” slaves as a preventative measure against those who display signs of this impending mental illness.
In his 2010 book The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease, psychiatrist Jonathan Metzl explored the 1960 history of the Ionia State Hospital for the Criminally Insane (Michigan), which is now a state prison. The hospital was notorious for diagnosing blacks who advocated civil rights with schizophrenia and confining them for treatment. Treatments could become de facto lifelong sentences without legal recourse. Along with many other state asylums, the hospital was justly closed down during what is called “an era of deinstitutionalization” in the 1970s which came as a result of outrage over the brutal use of psychiatry as social control.
Such use has been gradually increasing. Metzl ascribes much of the increase to successive changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) which is published by the American Psychiatric Association. First published in 1952, it is considered to be the definitive guide to mental illness but its definition of mental illness has altered significantly through five editions. A few alterations are praiseworthy, such as the removal of homosexuality as a mental disease. Most of them are dangerous invitations for abuse. For example, the second edition added “hostility” and non-violent “aggression” as symptoms of a mental disorder. The latest edition defines Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). To be diagnosed with ODD, a person must display four manifestations from the following three behaviors for more than 6 months: an angry mood, argumentative behavior, or vindictiveness. The definition is so sweeping and vague that anyone who has a sustained reason to argue with authority could be diagnosed with ODD.
It has become common for courts to order a mental evaluation of those in custody or in family court, whether or not the ‘crime’ is violent. A prominent example is the whistleblower Bradley or Chelsea Manning. In many cases, they provide a legal justification for stripping people of legal rights and credibility. In other cases, authorities simply wish to punish a dissenter and discourage others from acting similarly. An October 9, 2010 headline in Raw Story read, “Cop hauled off to psych ward after alleging fake crime stats.”
NYPD officer Adrian Schoolcraft accused his supervisors of faking crime statistics and ticket quotas to make them look better. He backed up the accusations with documents and hundreds of hours of recorded tape which he supplied to the Associated Press. As a result of his alleged “hostile” behavior, he was taken in handcuffs to a hospital for evaluation.
Red Flag laws are a slippery slope to more tyranny.
For those that believe Red Flag laws are “reasonable,” it is important to know that, once given power, those who receive it never give it back. Even more so, they use the power they have gained to eliminate any opposition to their rule. If Red Flag laws are put in place today, the “red flags” may be threatening language. Tomorrow, they may be racism. Next week, they may be political disagreements. In a month, they may be any arguments at all. Next month, who knows? The goalposts are always moving. We have already seen how the definition of racism, homophobia, transphobia, unpatriotic, and violence have been broadened to such a nonsensical degree. But, in a system of tyranny, the definition of dissent is always changing.
For those who still don’t think these laws are a grounds for grave concern, you should remember that the people who are reporting your posts and pages on Facebook today will be the same people reporting you to the police tomorrow.
What do you think?
Do you think Red Flag laws will be implemented in more states? Do you think they are necessary for public safety or tyrannical and unconstitutional? Please share your thoughts in the comments.