Whether it is Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech, or any horrific tragedy that strikes America, the apparent reaction is to respond with the predetermined agenda of the media and this Administration regardless of the reality of the crisis.
The fallacy of their argument is the critical thinking error called Argumentum ad Populum. This potential critical thinking error is characterized by "(popular appeal or appeal to the majority): The fallacy of attempting to win popular assent to a conclusion by arousing the feeling and enthusiasms of the multitude."
Virtually all appeals to popular opinion are illogical and destined to do more damage to those groups intended to be helped.
Appeals to popular opinion actually create more victims.
You may feel better but the disabled are worse off due to your "kindness".
A typical reaction to an appeal to opinion is to enact very silly and counterproductive legislation that appeals to the majority. In other words it feels good so therefore it must be correct.
Evoking names such as "No Child Left Behind", "The Patriot Act" and "The Affordable Care Act" all are intended to invoke a popular and emotional appeal to poorly designed legislation.
What may not be as commonly understood, however, is the trauma and pain that such legislation causes in the name of protection.
In my 30 years of having been associated with a treatment center that treats developmentally disabled children, I have seen the travesty of such misguided "popular" arguments. In the case of treating developmentally disabled, children, funding issues at the state and federal level have created a situation in which reimbursements are delayed, funding amounts are reduced, and treatment protocols are endangered due to funding limitations.
The treatment of psychological and developmental problems throughout our American society has been sporadic and ill advised and influenced mostly by budgetary constraints.
Families have found getting effective treatment for their children is almost impossible.
School districts have been saddled with the costs of providing education regardless of the impact on the community, and yet federal and state officials remain aloof to the concerns of either the children, their families, or the local communities.
We have seen at Sandy Hook the impact of a failure to effectively treat someone with psychological disabilities. The popular response is more gun control since to suggest that government is responsible for this failure to provide services would be to implicate the very politicians who are lobbying for re-election as compassionate public servants.
It is popular to attack a symptom and still not solve the problem. "You've done something" even if that something is harmful to the long-term successful resolution of the problem.
To even remotely presume that another agenda is not operating in the area of psychological treatment for the treatment of developmental disabilities is sad and harmful to those needing help. Instead of solving the problem for such children, some people are willing to sacrifice these children and their families for the benefit of their agenda.
After 30 years working with non-profit institutions, I am convinced that the private sector can do a significantly better job of dealing with children and adults with developmental disabilities than government.
To reinforce my conviction, I have decided to work to create a fund to be able to provide treatment for children independent of state or federal funding.
We need to solve problems not advance agendas. The crisis that exists in our nation relative to developmental disabilities is at an historic high.
The problem will not go away. It needs research, consistent funding, consistent treatment, and a legal system that advocates for such consistency.
Annual budgets and economic cycles do not create an environment for federal and state funding to meet any of those demands.
In my mind, the major faiths of our world are in a significantly better position to provide such care.
To illustrate the concern for developmentally disabled children, I am beginning a Walk Across America for Developmentally Disabled Children. I will be one of the oldest persons who will have ever done it. I leave on March 15, 2014 from California (hopefully Camp Pendleton) and arrive in Ocean City, Maryland on July 1, 2014.
The purpose of this walk came about after sitting in a meeting with representatives from a state agency in which the senior person in the meeting, a political appointee, asserted absolutely junk science in order to support the irrational decision that he was making that adversely affected the children he was responsible for helping. His decision was eventually reversed.
The need for rational, logical solutions to the problems of children with disabilities is critical. Political agendas are harmful to the very people that we are attempting to protect by this ruse of an argument that appeals to popular opinion.
Nothing is more cruel to a child or family of a child with developmental disabilities than to advance a political agenda at the expense of providing care.
I hope that my walk will encourage many people, hopefully millions of people, to get involved in this debate and help us create a viable and caring solution to this problem for our children, their families, and for our society.
Col. Frank Ryan, CPA, USMCR (Ret) and served in Iraq and briefly in Afghanistan and specializes in corporate restructuring and lectures on ethics for the state CPA societies. He has served on numerous boards of publicly traded and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at FRYAN1951@aol.com and twitter at @fryan1951.