But not his proudest moment as a professional economist;
And now let me turn the microphone over to the 23-Year-Old:
"My name is Michael DeLong, and I’m an field organizer for Ceasefire Oregon, a group dedicated to reducing gun violence and advocating for common sense gun laws. ...."Michael being the son of Berkeley's J. Bradford DeLong, who is in the business of tutoring young minds to think like economists. That is to say, to concern oneself with alternative uses of scarce (and costly) resources. Earlier in the blog post DeLong pere had allowed former congressman Gabby Giffords to have her say;
[T]hree years ago, dispatched to an almost certain death by an assassin’s bullet, I was allowed the opportunity for a new life.....
I asked myself, if simply completing a normal day requires so much work, how would I ever be able to fulfill a larger purpose? The killing of children at the school in Sandy Hook a little over a year ago gave me my answer. It shocked me, it motivated me, and frankly, it showed me a path. After that day, my husband and I pledged to make it our mission to change laws and reduce gun violence in a way that was consistent with our moderate beliefs and our identities as proud gun owners.... We will seize on consensus where it exists, on solutions big or small... fight for every inch.... I’ve seen grit overcome paralysis. My resolution today is that Congress achieve the same. How? Step by step: Enhance enforcement by passing a law making gun trafficking a serious crime with stiff penalties. Make it illegal for all stalkers and all domestic abusers to buy guns. Extend mental health resources into schools and communities, so the dangerously mentally ill find it easier to receive treatment than to buy firearms. And even as we lay the groundwork for expanding background checks, pass strong incentives for states to ensure the background-check system contains the records of the most dangerous and violent among us…Well, it is already illegal for stalkers and domestic abusers to buy guns in most states. There are background checks in place, there are waiting periods, there are all kinds of laws designed to prevent dangerous people from getting guns. Ms. Giffords (and Professor DeLong) should give some serious thought to what HSIB has bolded in the above.
As it happens there is a recent book that should help to clarify the issue, American Psychosis: How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System, especially as Ms Giffords tragedy is mentioned in it. Because she was victimized--as were the kids at Sandy Hook--by someone (Jared Loughner) who was clearly, and obviously, seriously mentally ill. Someone who should have been institutionalized rather than walking the streets and attending college.
Someone who would not have been out in society had it not been for the bright ideas of mental health advocates who convinced John F. Kennedy--susceptible because he had a sister who was both mentally retarded and mentally ill--Lyndon Johnson and several other politicians in the 1960s that such as Loughner should be treated for their schizophrenia at Community Mental Health Centers as outpatients.
The book, by E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., details how this happened, as well as compiles an extensive list of violent crimes committed as a result. On page 133 alone, along with Ms. Giffords, there are the eleven rampage killings in the five years that preceded hers. And those that followed, such as the mass shooting in a Colorado movie theater by James Holmes (dressed as The Joker).
If economist DeLong wished to prevent mass murder he'd be better advised to have his son read Dr. Torrey's book and evangelize for a movement devoted to re-institutionalizing the dangerously mentally ill. That might have a chance of making this country a safer place.