Thanks for the (multiple) responses! I’ll try to convey my opinions about them in one post.
You’re forgetting the outrage multiplier.
I don’t think I’m forgetting it. I think I’m intentionally discounting it. I don’t think mob outrage is a good way to craft policy, because outrage very often leads to gigantic policies to fix (mathematically) minor problems, and the policies themselves very often do more harm than good. Further, I think basing policy on outrage is very dangerous in our current media environment, which is literally paid by how much outrage it produces. I wrote about that here:
And further, here:
My mother is a social worker, so I understand that social services are a good thing, and necessary. I have a personal window into that. But when weighing a policy change about anything, which would include social services, I think it’s important to look at what problem you’re trying to fix, and whether the policy change will fix it, and what other ramifications the policy might have, including but not limited to its cost. I don’t object to social service solutions to suicide, but I want to see what the proposal is to evaluate it.
How does this help with the mass shooting problem? It seems like you’re saying because so many people commit suicide, we shouldn’t bother with the small potatoes of mass shootings.
I actually think that we shouldn’t bother with the small potatoes of mass shootings purely because they’re so small, and I haven’t heard a solution for them that isn’t so gigantic it’s functionally impossible. I wrote about some of the school shooting statistics here:
Real Talk about School Shootings
We Should All Stop Listening to Parkland Students on the Matter
…and the “gun buyback” solution, for instance, is evaluated mathematically here: (based on the quip you highlighted!)
The Magic Gun Evaporation Fairy
Three Reasons Why Gun Ownership Rates From Other Countries Don’t Matter
Not if you combine it with free mental health care, included with the universal basic health care, and lots of outreach on that front. Plus universal basic income to make sure financial woes aren’t a factor in the suicide. These are proposals by the left which might make the gun discussion moot.
While those things may impact suicide numbers some (we could argue about how much, but I’m not sure the data exists to support either side of the argument) my intent with this article was to state that seizing firearms from depressed people will be counterproductive. And it will be. It will basically force depressed gun owners into hiding or denial, which will reduce their treatment rates. Seizing firearms from depressed people on diagnosis would be counterproductive, and very likely drive the suicide numbers up, not down. Asking them nicely to sequester their firearms voluntarily, and explaining to them the risks of having them in the house while being treated for depression, should absolutely be done very rigorously. But they have to have the freedom to make the choice themselves, or else they might opt to make a different choice — they might choose not to get treated.
For the record, I’m not all “do-nothing.” I did put together an article at the end that lists some things I’d change about how we handle guns.