The Republicans are strong on cutting the budget and strong on preventing any form of gun control. Actually, I don't think that many of them care that much about stopping gun control, but their funders do. So, here's my modest proposal to tie mental health funding to gun deaths:
Bullets For Better Brains Law
This federal law would commit $1 million dollars to mental health research, education, and treatment for every person killed in the United States by a gun. The amount per death would increase by the number of people killed in a specific incident. Thus, if two people were killed, it would require $2 million per death, three people would be $3 million per death, four people would be $4 per death, etc. So the recent Oregon shooting where ten people were killed would cost $10 million per death or $100 million.
A commission of educators, mental health experts, police, judges, social workers, family of gun victims, and mental health patients, and suicide survivors would determine how the money is spent.
The intent of the law is to:
1. Reduce mental illness in the US
2. Increase understanding of mental illness
3. Give budget cutting legislators more incentive to reduce gun deaths in the US
If the Republicans are right, theoretically, the more money spent well on mental health, the fewer gun deaths there would be. As gun deaths drop, so would the budget. For Republicans, except for the initial expenditure, it's win/win. Gun deaths go down and the budget goes down with them. (Not to mention the dropping of all the police, court, hospital, and emotional costs that are associated with each gun death.)
However if their theory doesn't hold up and gun deaths don't go down, then mental health will prove not to be the critical issue, and the Republicans will have to face the possibilities that guns are the real problem.
Fiscal Note: According to USConservatives (and supported elsewhere) there are about 32,000 gun deaths per year. Thus, this bill would, to start, require an expenditure $32,000,000,000, though that number doesn't include the extra costs for multiple death shootings. With every thousand deaths reduced, there would be a $1 billion cut to the budget.
[Repost cause Feedburner isn't feeding.]