Alzheimers and dementia are dreadful diseases. They leave an individual as a shell of their former self. It hollows them out and leaves a physical shell with no soul. As I’ve often described it to others, the person you knew and loved has died. In their place is a sweet little lady (or man) who (hopefully) brightens up when she or he sees you. They will sweetly ask you, “How is your mother?”, and act exasperated when you tell them “You are my mother”.
I have seen the ravages of Alzheimers up close and personal. My mother died of it in 2008 after suffering from it for five to six years or more. Now my mother in law Grace whom I dearly love is moving towards the middle stages of the disease.
So why am I talking about Alzheimers and dementia?
Seeking tighter controls over firearm purchases, the Obama administration is pushing to ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, a move that could affect millions whose monthly disability payments are handled by others.
The push is intended to bring the Social Security Administration in line with laws regulating who gets reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which is used to prevent gun sales to felons, drug addicts, immigrants in the country illegally and others.
A potentially large group within Social Security are people who, in the language of federal gun laws, are unable to manage their own affairs due to “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease.”
There is no simple way to identify that group, but a strategy used by the Department of Veterans Affairs since the creation of the background check system is reporting anyone who has been declared incompetent to manage pension or disability payments and assigned a fiduciary.
If Social Security, which has never participated in the background check system, uses the same standard as the VA, millions of its beneficiaries would be affected. About 4.2 million adults receive monthly benefits that are managed by “representative payees.”
The move is part of a concerted effort by the Obama administration after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., to strengthen gun control, including by plugging holes in the background check system.
But critics — including gun rights activists, mental health experts and advocates for the disabled — say that expanding the list of prohibited gun owners based on financial competence is wrongheaded.
Though such a ban would keep at least some people who pose a danger to themselves or others from owning guns, the strategy undoubtedly would also include numerous people who may just have a bad memory or difficulty balancing a checkbook, the critics argue.
So as the individuals – not all of whom are elderly by the way – suffer from a disease for which there is no known cure, the Obama Administration is looking for ways to rob them of even more of their dignity.
The whole idea is utterly repulsive.
If the criterion for being added to the NICS prohibited list is the inability to manage your own financial affairs, I have seen more people than I can count who would be on that list. I’m talking educated people – professionals. Many with advanced degrees and specialties. People with whom you would entrust your life if you were in the hospital yet who have debt out the ying-yang and are living paycheck to paycheck because they can’t get a handle on their finances.
Heck, if the inability to manage financial affairs was the sole criterion, most Democrats and many Republicans in Congress would be on the prohibited list given how they’ve helped screw up the economy. I’d add in every appointee in the Obama Administration that has helped grow the national debt to over $17 trillion.
So while we have a mental health system in crisis, while we have “lone wolf” Islamofascist terrorists killing unarmed Marines, while we have street gangs in major cities having more control of the city than the police, while we have young men who aren’t being treated for their psychosis engaging in mass murder, while we have all of this, the Obama Administration thinks the way to solve “gun violence” (sic) is to put grandma on the NICS prohibited list.
What the hell are they thinking?