But liberals won’t allow the dangerous mentally ill to be committed to institutions against their will. (The threat of commitment is very persuasive in getting disturbed individuals to take their medicine.) Something in liberals’ genetic makeup compels them to attack civilization, for example, by defending the right of dangerous psychotics to refuse treatment and then representing them in court after they commit murder.
Liberals won’t even agree to take the most basic steps to prevent psychotics from purchasing guns — yes, GUNS! — because to allow the release of mental health information would be “stigmatizing.”
I have no quarrel with that, as far it goes. But it doesn’t go far enough; Coulter is leaving out an important part of the picture.
Sure, Coulter is correct that liberals have defended deinstitutionalizaton and pushed it, and continue to do so, as well as protecting the privacy of the mentally ill and therefore their gun rights. But originally it was libertarians who spearheaded the deinstitutionalization drive, and then their ideas were taken up by the left. So it was a fusion of the two groups that is responsible. Similar fusions of liberals and libertarians have occurred with the movement to legalize marijuana, just to take one example—even though in certain other ways they may be at loggerheads.
The grand-daddy of the movement to “liberate” the mentally ill was Dr. Thomas Szasz, who was a fervent libertarian. He did not believe there was such a thing as “mental illness” (see this article for a fuller explanation of Szasz’s views and his political orientation).
As far as Aaron Alexis goes, it’s unclear whether banning the mentally ill from buying guns would have helped. Alexis had not yet formally entered the mental health system; as far as I know, he was not in therapy. So he most likely had no mental health diagnosis.
Institutionalizing him probably would have depended on the involuntary commitment laws, because that may have been what it would have taken. Were his relatives alarmed enough to have pressed that? Would anyone else have considered his situation dire enough to have sounded the alarm, and would they have succeeded, even under easier commitment laws?
But if somehow Alexis had been involuntarily committed, even for a short time—enough time to have gotten him started on medication for schizophrenia—and if he had continued to cooperate with taking the medication once he was released, there’s at least a decent chance that the murders at the Navy Yard could have been prevented.