Do you ever talk to yourself when alone? Mutter “good God” when you read a stunning twist of plot in a book or shout “holy shit!” when you open a bill? Do you swear aloud after an argument on the phone? Have you ever threatened a telemarketer after hanging up? Do you struggle with your private thoughts and discuss them with your loved ones at night as is considered healthy? Do you have friends that you discuss your private thoughts and ideas in your home? Does your subconscious cause you to talk in your sleep? Everyone does one or more of these things. This is why the phrases “thinking aloud” and “talking to yourself” are old parts of our language.
What if your every word, to yourself in private not even on the phone or in an email, was listened to by the government and used to judge your fitness or worthiness to possess one or more rights otherwise guaranteed to the public at large? That would be totalitarian. George Orwell called this “thought crime” in 1984, which is required reading as an anti-communist standard in every high school in America despite Orwell being a professed communist.
In the Soviet Union there were defined mental illnesses that were purely political diagnoses. These included such so-called diseases as “delusion of reformism" and “sluggish schizophrenia” The latter had symptoms such as "reform delusions," "perseverance," and "struggle for the truth." One could also be confined to a mental institution for life for the paranoid delusion that the secret state police were watching them after they were caught by the secret state police who were watching them.
The Washington Post reported on August 22nd that Susan Wright Foundation put forth a proposal to the Trump administration combat mass shootings collecting data from such in-home listening devices as Apple Watch, Amazon Echo, or Google Home and give that data to a newly created federal agency. That Agency, to be called the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency (HARPA), which would be under the umbrella of the Department of Health and Human Services. That would be the same Department of Health and Human Services that takes refugee children from ICE camps and places them for adoption with fundamentalist Christian organizations like Bethany Christian services.
This as yet uncreated agency somehow already has a “key adviser” in the form of a retired army Colonel named Geoffrey Ling. He has made the rounds supporting this new idea on various Fox outlets. The Susan Wright Foundation seems like a non-profit devoted to research into Pancreatic Cancer until very recently when the foundation of HARPA became it's only other point of advocacy and work.
This program, which was reportedly “well-received” by the Trump Administration would give your private thoughts, conversations, to an unaccountable agency that kidnaps children and is run by an Army doctor. There is no way that “mental illness” is defined in this plan, and it could well extend into the political realm.
There is no way for this tool, which would become an agency, to depoliticized this process. While this is defined as part of an overall gun-control program designed to stop murder, it does not focus on the most key indicator of a person's chance to murder by gun, which is domestic abuse. What this is designed to do is disarm anyone who harbors thoughts or ideas that go against the dominant paradigm and label them “mentally ill” for as little as and expression of “I'd like to strangle that guy” while in the privacy of their own home. This reporter feels that the urge to strangle telemarketers is a perfectly rational response to having the quiet enjoyment of their home life interrupted by someone trying to sell me an extended warranty on my car three times a day. Perhaps the cure for the societal problem of strangled telemarketers is to STOP CALLING ME ABOUT HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS.
In the beginning of course this would all be voluntary. Geoffrey Ling said so "Everybody would be a volunteer," Ling told reporters, "We're not inventing new science here. We're analyzing it so we can develop new approaches." I'm not sure what it says in the dictionary that Geoffrey Ling uses, but in mine when everybody is a volunteer for something that the government wants, it is mandatory, like selective service. People “volunteered” for a future draft, but it is still conscription and there are still penalties for not volunteering.
Volunteering consists of agreeing to the terms of service when the device is turned on. Did you read the fine print? Data, once collected, can be re-purposed and re-examined by whoever has it, which is the federal government in this case. Agencies rules can change. A man like Army doctor Geoffrey Ling can define mental illness however he wants. So can Donald Trump.
This ends with a person loosing their right to own a gun or board an airplane because they believe in climate change because they have been outdoors in the last decade. Donald Trump says that climate change is not real, therefore believing it is makes you crazy, and talking about in your own home it would get you locked up in a mental institution through a program run by an Army scientist. That is the new American freedom and that is what gun control means today.