Psychiatrist: Fewer guns is key to stop shootings

The only thing that the NRA and some conservative groups seem willing to concede in response to all the recent mass shootings is for better mental health screening for gun buyers and gun owners. To me, this evades the reality of a lot of gun violence.

I am a psychiatrist. Hatred is not a psychiatric diagnosis or even a symptom of any psychiatric disorder, but rather a normal, if sometimes destructive, human emotion. Anger may be an exaggerated form of irritability one sees in some forms of bipolar disorder, but it is mainly a manifestation of anyone in distress with or without a mental health history.

Antisocial or psychopathic personality disorders are best diagnosed by either criminal or legal history, IF AVAILABLE, or by therapy over time, and not by screening background checks that partially rely on self reporting. In training I was taught to defer these diagnoses for the most part until you really get to know the patient, because your first encounter is typically when the person is in crisis and you are probably seeing them at their worst.

Some mass shooters have no mental health history and their history of violence can be easily missed in background checks. Therefore, the real answer to the problem in my view is fewer guns, especially limiting the assault weapons that these mass murderers use. Every civilized country seems to have stricter gun laws than we do.. For instance, New Zealand recently banned all assault weapons after the Christchurch mass shooting. I hope readers will consider my concern.

ROBERT SCRIBNER, M.D.

Palisade


Living in denial is a GOP policy choice

Research gun violence? Great idea! But ...

Snide attack on health-care research aside, the Sentinel’s Aug. 8 editorial (which appeared in the Colorado Springs Gazette on the 10th) seeking data on gun violence makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, it’s a non-starter. Why? Ever heard of the 1996 Dickey amendment? It mandates that “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” (104th Congress. “Public Law 104–208)

As applied, the Dickey amendment has effectively banned all federally funded research on gun violence.

Why would the government bar its primary health research agency from any research that might restrict access to guns? The formula is pretty simple: GOP + NRA = No data on gun violence.

Apparently denial — about gun violence, climate change, deficit spending — ain’t just a river in Egypt for Republicans in Washington. Living in denial is a long-running policy choice.

BEN THOMPSON

Colorado Springs


Changes to NEPA cannot come at cost of public involvement

The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to make the NEPA (National Envionmental Policy Act) process more streamlined so as to speed the process up.

I believe the public has to be wary of this. The national forests belong to all of us. You may have seen Forest Service signs and literature that state: “Your National Forest.” That is a fact and the public has a role in the management of these lands.

The Forest Service is accepting comments on this proposal untll Aug. 19. I wrote them and stated the following:

Any changes in the NEPA process must not come at the cost to public involvement or conservation of natural resources. In addition, CEs (categorical exclusions) must be consistent with Forest Land Management Plans.

If you would like to comment on the NEPA process, mail your comments to: US Forest Service, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250-0003.

TOM HEFFERNAN

Ridgway


Thanks to cyclists who use lights to be seen at night

Thanks to all bike riders that use flashing lights, front and back, on their bikes. Personally I will see the lights from a distance better than the rider and bike. Light colored clothes also help. Those flashing lights, if turned on, are fantastic.

PEGGY HOLTHUS

Grand Junction


Insights of public servant made for great Sentinel story

Great article on Ken Mabery and his love affair with Colorado Plateau and our monument.

Thanks for sharing his insight and the interesting background of a truly valuable “public servant”! A+ printed story for the Sentinel. More please.

JANET S. SCHEEVEL

Grand Junction

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