Not too long ago, I went with a relative to the hospital for abdominal pain. Some of the questions asked by the nurse sounded like a mental health screening. I was thinking that this was idiotic, intrusive, and unnecessary. We were not there for a mental issue.
A couple of the questions were:
1. Do you want to hurt anyone?
2. Do you want to hurt yourself?
If they ever try that on me, I will tell them, "I do not consent to a mental health screening, nor will I answer any such questions. I am here for a medical condition of my body, not my mind." That is, if I am not under the influence of the side effects of any medication, or in such pain that I couldn't.
What's The Harm?
Other than being a little annoying, what harm could there be in asking four or five questions to try and get a handle on what someone's mental state is regardless of it being obvious the person is not there as a result of a mental situation?
Well, there is a lot, actually. If the person is having an emergency about to have some internal organ burst, and a healthcare provider is wasting time making that person expend energy and breath answering irrelevant questions, can you see any possible harm come from that?
Let's suppose the medical condition of the body is affecting rational thought, such as can happen with kidney failure, where a buildup of toxins can affect the brain. That person, although not a mental case, could be labeled one by not being coherent enough to carefully give the answers.
How about the pocketbook? A person with the screen name "Squid" endured such a surreptitious and irrelevant mental health screening in a medical emergency, and was hit with the bill for it because his insurance did not cover it.
How about the case of someone who is distracted by pain, or is just hard of hearing, or is questioned by someone with an accent difficult to understand, and therefore gives answers that flag them as being mentally unstable?
We're The Government And We're Here To Help
Did you know that there is an independent panel of "experts" called The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which calls for the general population to be screened for depression?
So, from where does the USPSFT get its support? From us, the taxpayers. It is "funded, staffed, and appointed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality."
Where do the results go from such screenings? Does anyone doubt that they are either recorded (or soon will be) in some government database, just like all of your other healthcare records are now?
Can such a database be used as a no-gun database, under the guise that we want to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill? Of course it can, HIPPA laws notwithstanding. The government can and will easily cut the red tape of HIPPA for whatever purpose it feels justified in doing.
The Federal Government already mistreats its veterans by putting a flag into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) that keeps them from buying a firearms from gun dealers merely for not handling their money well enough to satisfy the government. The thinking is, if they don't handle their money very well, they must be a mental case, and therefore cannot be trusted to own guns. Folks, these veterans were trained, approved, and trusted by the government to handle weapons.
Oh, and that's not all, the Veterans Administration threatened to use the muscle of the FBI to try and go to a veteran's home in Idaho last year to confiscate the firearms in his possession! The Sheriff and armed citizens stood guard at his home to make sure that did not happen. Good for them!
Do you think non-veterans are exempt from such treatment? Think again. Social Security recipients are the next target of government confiscation of guns.
And with these quick and dirty mental health screenings going on in emergency rooms, everyone else is fair game. Soon, you or your loved ones may find yourselves on a list somewhere, and will not know it until you go to a sporting goods store to buy a firearm. Sort of like those who believe they are about to get on an airplane, and suddenly discover they are erroneously on a government no-fly list
I'm sure everyone agrees we need to do what we can to keep firearms out of the hands of people who are mentally unstable. But just as with the case for criminals, you do not keep casting a bigger and bigger net, for that will ensnare and prevent many that do deserve to exercise their Second Amendment Rights from doing so.
Faceless government bureaucracies filled with unelected pencil pushers were never meant to put free Americans on this list and that list as a means to strip away their rights. Folks, we are getting deep into Orwellian territory here. If totalitarians cannot use outright force, they will first use lists. When lists no longer satisfy them, they will amp it up to the next level.