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Letters to the Editor >> Opinion
I went to UCSB and was saddened when I read about the recent killings. No one deserves to be the victim of senseless slaughter. In reading Mckinley Krongaus’ op-ed piece, she places the blame for Mr. Rodger’s actions on gun culture, but completely ignores this nation’s 45-year-old failed policy on deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill. She argues the founding fathers could not have conceived the future existence of semi-auto guns and would never have allowed civilians to own such weapons. I’ve heard this argument before, and it woefully underestimates our forefathers who lived during the Industrial Revolution and who clearly knew technology would advance rapidly in this nation. To assume they believed future citizens should be hobbled with archaic means to defend themselves is inconceivable. She also says since Australia banned civilian ownership of semi-auto guns, they have had zero mass shootings. However, in Australia, the police have the ability to forcibly transport an individual to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation if a physician calls for it. That’s exactly what didn’t happen here. In 1967, Governor Reagan acceded to the demands of the ACLU and changed California’s mental health laws while simultaneously shuttering the state’s mental hospitals. The ACLU sues any state that tries to strengthen its ability to involuntarily commit the mentally ill for treatment. They also sue any police department that detains anyone with mental illness unless they can prove the individual was acting or about to act violently. Is it any wonder the sheriffs were reluctant to detain Mr. Rodger? To Elliott Rodger, his guns, his knives and his car were merely a means to a twisted, irrational end. You can ban guns, but you can’t ban mental illness.
Rob Armstrong is a UCSB alumnus
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