It’s hard for me to think coherently about much today, let alone health insurance, because what my mind really keeps returning to is that monumentally stupid shooting at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and the Village Shalon Retirement Community.

I’m from Kansas City. One of my first memories is of being a 3-year-old in the Roadrunners summer camp group at the Kansas City JCC. The following year, I recall winning a ribbon for being “an enthusiastic dancer.”

My uncle’s mom lives at Village Shalom. My grandmother used to go to events there. 

Police say Frazier Glenn Cross — a man who wanted to kill Jews — went to the JCC and managed to kill Reat Griffin Underwood, age 14, and Underwood’s grandfather, Lewis Corporon, who were Methodists.

Police say Cross then went to Village Shalom and killed Terri LaManno, who was at the retirement community to visit his mother. LaManno was Roman Catholic.

Police say Cross could not qualify to get a gun himself but got the ones he used to kill the people he killed by going through someone who had a clean record.

Cross, apparently, is extremely well-known to people who track potentially murderous loons.

So, on the one hand, this is a story about keeping guns out of the hands of clearly violent loons.

On the other hand, I think, probably, this is more about why, wherever we are on the political spectrum, whatever we think about goverment involvement in health care and health insurance mandates in general, we need to have generously funded programs for understanding, treating and locking up violent loons.

Maybe some people take the wrong prescription drug and snap suddenly. But it seems as if Cross went out of his way to advertise the possibility that he would go on a rampage. Why exactly was he out in the community?

On the third hand, the people who do these kinds of things start out as cute, innocent babies. My base assumption is that if intentional evil exists at all, it must be rare. People like Cross must have some kind of chemical imbalance or poorly wired brain cells that cause them to do what they do. Pubmed — an online database of medical research articles — is full of citations for articles about the physical underpinnings of violent behavior. 

We all have an obligation to support research that looks into ways for identifying the people who have murderous loon syndrome and then putting them somewhere where they have no ability to kill people.

If that costs a lot of tax money, or hurts health insurers’ medical loss ratios, or leads to an unfortunate increase in government involvement in commercial activity, well, deal with it.  Letting people walk around freely with violent loon syndrome is like letting them walk around coughing Ebola virus at people. It’s just not good public policy.

In years past, insurers stepped up in wars for fire safety, against tuberculosis and against smoking. Maybe violent loon syndrome would make another good target.

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