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Public Puts Mental Health, More Police above Gun Control
Policy makers should focus on what might actually work to prevent massacres.

(Gallup, Inc., December 18, 2012)

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John Fund

Adam Lanza raised enough concerns in high school to be assigned a psychiatrist to monitor him before he was removed from school by his mother Nancy. Marsha Lanza, her sister-in-law, told Britain’s Daily Telegraph that Nancy “battled with the school district” as she fought to ensure Lanza was getting the support he needed.

Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute, a health-care think tank, told me the questions the Newtown killings raise deserve attention: “Who knows whether Mrs. Lanza tried to get access to her son Adam’s medical records and what the circumstances were. But these excessive privacy laws are a chronic problem in interfering with the relationship between parents and children.”

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It’s easy and tempting to focus on the gun, the inanimate object that is used in mass shootings. The media has flocked there like a moth to a publicity flame. The supposed need for more gun control is an easy story to tell. But the reality has a lot more to do with people — the troubled mentally ill, administrators at treatment centers who have seen their budgets cut and their authority reduced, school personnel struggling with the children under their charge, and parents who often are at sea without adequate information about what to do with problem children.

It would be more effective — certainly in the short term — if we focused on the people at the center of these tragedies rather than the instrument with which they commit their evil deeds.

— John Fund is a national-affairs columnist for NRO.



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