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Mental health implications of Michael Dunn trial and the gun issue

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Most people are now familiar with the incident and trial of Michael Dunn. Michael Dunn, a white male, had approached a car with four African-American teenagers that he alleged were playing loud music at a convenience store in Florida (http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/16/justice/florida-loud-music-trial). He asked them to turn it down and then claimed he saw one of them pull out a gun.

He then reached for his hand gun and fired ten shots into the car. Three of the bullets struck Jordan Davis, 17, one of the teenagers in the car. Miraculously, none of the others were hit as the boy driving the car drove off. Davis was struck in the liver, aorta and lung, and later died.

During the trial, Dunn maintained that he had felt threatened after seeing the boysbrandishing a hand gun and shot first fearing for his life. Since this happened in Florida, his defense us invoking the "stand your ground law" (http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-79296340). This law seeseeks special circumstances of defense that allow a potential victim to defend themselves using deadly force if the situation would result in their fatality.

Dunn's girlfriend was in his car waiting for him. After the incident, Dunn got back inthein the car with his girlfriend and they went for pizza. He did not contact the police.

At the ensuing trial, Dunn was found guilty of three counts of second-degree attempted murder for firing at the other three teenagers. It was a hung jury for a verdict for Jordn Davis and a new trial is being set.

Much of the commentary has revolved around two issues: the "stand your ground" law and whether bigotry was involved.

Consider that there is another related issue that have not yet been discussed. There have been many discussions about gun control and how a person's mental status would affect their right to be able to possess a gun.

This topic has been debated in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings in which an armed gunman broke into the elementary school in Connecticut, heavily armed, and shoot grade-school kids and teachers. On the wake of that disaster, people are not sure why Adam Lanza attacked the school, but whatvis known is that he had a history of mental illness (http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/11/25/report-sandy-hook-shooter...).

While regulating guns is a hotly debated issue and as of yet no efforts to limit the type of guns owned or the magazine capacity, legislators have agreed that a person's mental status ought to be a factor in ability to own a gun (http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-03/obama-seeks-tighter-mental-h...)

Consider the actions of Michael Dunn after firing 10 rounds into a car full of boys, one of whom was about to die. He got back in his car, didn't tell his girlfriend what happened, went out for pizza, then did not call the police. It would seek that his action had no more affect in him than filling up his gas tank.

It us interesting that throughout the whole incident, Dunn never showed remorse. He may have justified, but no regrets. LacK of remorse is an indication of sociopathic behavior (http://m.psychologytoday.com/articles/201305/how-spot-sociopath).

If one considers sociopathic behavior, part of Antisocial personality disorder, a mental illness, then it would seem clear that Michael Dunn should not have been allowed to possess a gun. Similarly, consider that anyone who could shoot someone and be so nonchalant about it, ought to have restrictions placed in them.

Of course the challenge us identifying these people in advance of such a provocation. Should gun ownership, then, be tied to a psychological evaluation or personality test? These are questions that remain to be seen.

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