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Old January 8, 2013, 07:04 AM   #1
Kirkpatrick
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The fearmongering of the mentally ill

I have a mental illness (bipolar). I've done searches on the site and was comforted to see that the people on this board are rational about the issue. I have never been adjudicated mentally incompetent, been committed to a hospital, nor have I have I had a 72 hour hold placed on me. The closest I've come to dealing with the criminal justice system is two speeding tickets in 25 years. I hold down a good job and pay the mortgage. And most importantly, when the illness does flare up, I do not carry my gun.

I feel strongly that they are going to try and make a boogie man, scapegoat out of people with certain kinds of illness. Now to the mentally ill who purposely do not get treatment, do not take their medicine, who abuse drugs on top of the illness, and those who have a history of violence, of course they should not be able to have have guns. They have had their rights taken away through due process.

I am a responsible citizen and as such, am entitled to all of my rights under the Constitution. I plead with you, please don't let the fear mongering, anti-gun people (the real crazy people) take away my rights.

If you have any questions about the issue, please feel free to ask, as it is something I did not chose, nor something I did that resulted in my having the condition, I am not ashamed.

Thank you for remembering the rights of every citizen.
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Old January 8, 2013, 07:34 AM   #2
thallub
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Quote:
I have a mental illness (bipolar). I've done searches on the site and was comforted to see that the people on this board are rational about the issue. I have never been adjudicated mentally incompetent, been committed to a hospital, nor have I have I had a 72 hour hold placed on me. The closest I've come to dealing with the criminal justice system is two speeding tickets in 25 years. I hold down a good job and pay the mortgage. And most importantly, when the illness does flare up, I do not carry my gun.
Good for you. Very good post.

i have a good friend from college whos a lawyer with her name on the door of the law firm. She also packs . Shes bipolar but you would never know unless she told you. She infrequently has a bad day: She cancels her appointments and stays home.
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Old January 8, 2013, 07:35 AM   #3
Sport45
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Thank you for that.

Quote:
And most importantly, when the illness does flare up, I do not carry my gun.

You invited us to ask questions, so I will since I know nothing about bipolar disorder. How do you recognize when the illness is flaring up? I realize it's not the same, but often in an argument the guy who is yelling (me ) is the last one to know he's raised his voice.
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Old January 8, 2013, 08:44 AM   #4
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Sport45, thanks for asking. The mere fact that I would be yelling and screaming is a huge sign that I'm having emotional mood swings. I've dealt with this illness for decades. You learn to spot and recognize the warning signs (think of a diabetic and blood sugar). If I'm unable to remain calm and control my emotions, it might not be a big deal, but it is enough of a chance that something is wrong that I won't risk carrying a gun, not that I would do anything, but better safe than sorry. The main reason that i wouldn't carry, is that I might stop respecting the gun and an accident could happen.

Thallub's lawyer friend does what a lot of mentally ill people do, when they are having trouble controlling themselves, they will stay out of sight because it can freak people out (think of an epilepsy seizure).

Bipolar is primarily characterized by extreme mood swings and very poor critical decision making. Over the years, with hard work, you learn to remain calm and look out for the symptoms. Since I live out of the closet so to speak, I don't worry too much if others see me acting a little strange, they all know me anyway. But if I'm reasonably sick, I will stay home for the sake of others, it's really a courtesy issue.
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Old January 8, 2013, 10:48 AM   #5
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Kirkpatrick thanks for your post. You are a good example of why painting all mental illness with a broad brush is dangerous. You are no more a threat to public safety than those of us who who think we are well adjusted. In truth you are probably less of a threat because of your heightened awareness of potential problems.

I am concerned about the way we view mental illness in our country. We stigmatize and ignore people who need help, discouraging those who could benefit from treatment. I do not know the answer to this, but I do know that comprehensive treatment options are needed. I also know that putting government in the business of determining whether or not we are mentally competent enough to keep our natural rights is a very slippery slope. There are some mental health professionals out there who would say that my desire to own weapons is a sure sign I am too unstable to be allowed to. I think that is nuts, but I am not a trained professional...
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Old January 8, 2013, 12:41 PM   #6
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Comparing a diabetic to someone with bipolar is a travesty.

No person with diabetes gets violent as a result of the disease.

The same can't be said of all bipolar people.
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Old January 8, 2013, 12:46 PM   #7
ClydeFrog
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Bi-Polar disorder: mental disorders & firearms...

The major problem in the US is that many people claim to mental health disorders or issues then carry/use firearms. Some mental conditions like depression or bi-polar disorder can be treated with medication & therapy but there are some people who shouldn't carry or use firearms.
Side-effects or improper dosage is common with some mental health drugs.
You can't have a "bad day" then go shoot up a fast food restaurant or mall. The laws & state-local gun regulations should be designed to prevent crime and/or misuse.
There are some people who can control or live with mental illness & be productive members of society but there are many who can't.

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Old January 8, 2013, 12:58 PM   #8
Tom Servo
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Quote:
No person with diabetes gets violent as a result of the disease.

The same can't be said of all bipolar people.
That's an oversimplification. Alcohol can make some people violent. Do we ban it, or do we take the guns away from anyone who takes a drink now and then? No.

Bipolar disorder occurs in varying intensity. I've known several people with it, and while the mood swings can be intense, they do not range towards violence. Does it happen in some people? Yes.

The answer lies in a considered, comprehensive treatment program that will vary depending on the individual's needs. Some people may need differing medications or doses, while some may respond entirely to talk therapy.

The mental health community needs to address each case on its own merits, and so does the criminal justice system.

Our current approach of "dope it and hope it goes away" is hopelessly broken.
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Old January 8, 2013, 12:58 PM   #9
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Water-Man, he was comparing recognition of onset from experience. For that, the comparison is apt.

Meanwhile, bipolar people may get violent as a result of the disease, but the ones I have known have not.

Diabetics are probably not more prone to violence, though one of the signs that my grandmother's sugar was about to crash was that her temper would flare. However, diabetics do sometimes have incidents while driving, and when that happens they can be even more dangerous than drunk drivers - and are frequently mistaken by LEOs for drunk drivers.

So you might want to re-think your position a wee bit.

Going back to bi-polar types, my limited experience with those has shown me that most of the time, they can be just fine, and sometimes it is best to avoid them. I have not felt threatened, but the men and woman I have known who had this, would become verbally abusive jerks during those times, and I maintain my happiness by not engaging or interacting at such times.

Sounds like the OP avoids others when he knows he is flaring up, so I would not expect trouble from him.
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Old January 8, 2013, 01:03 PM   #10
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Having lived with and around Bi polar people
sorry dude, but the number of time 'bad things' happens cause one of them got distressed, the number of 'I'll just go kill myself'

Mental health is a BALANCE
and the issue with many is the isolation that is in part self inflicted (reject others before they can reject you...)
and, I'm with the crowd that those
it's a morass, and I do think that there are many mentally disturbed individuals who don't need guns, but then I think we should ban idiots too.
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Old January 8, 2013, 01:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
I feel strongly that they are going to try and make a boogie man, scapegoat out of people with certain kinds of illness. Now to the mentally ill who purposely do not get treatment, do not take their medicine, who abuse drugs on top of the illness, and those who have a history of violence, of course they should not be able to have have guns. They have had their rights taken away through due process.
I don't think people are trying to put the mentally ill into a sub class status, at least not more than they are now. However nearly every single one of the mass shooters in the last couple of decades or so was diagnosed with some form of mental illness before they went on their rampage. This is not coincidence.

The government typically likes to address a problem by either banning something or prohibiting something. If the mentally ill wish to stand up for their rights they are going to have to come up with something better than what we have now, otherwise the government will come up with it for them.
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Old January 8, 2013, 01:34 PM   #12
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KirkPatrick,
Thank you for posting that.... it a very brave thing to do. Clearly there will be much debate about where these lines are drawn.

I'm not saying that this should be the litmus test, but to my mind, if an individual REQUIRES intervention to keep them from harming themselves or others, that individual owning a firearm is probably not in anybody's best interest. By intervention, I mean medications or other controls that if not administered at the correct time, in the correct manner and in the correct quantity could/would result in a loss of cognitive control.

Please take the above as something to discuss.... nothing more.
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Old January 8, 2013, 01:42 PM   #13
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Tom Servo,

It isn't an oversimplification. It's a fact and I didn't ask for a lecture on bipolar disorder from you. I too know people with bipolar. One very close to me.
"Bipolar disorder occurs in varying intensity. I've known several people with it, and while the mood swings can be intense, they do not range towards violence. Does it happen in some people? Yes."
?????
double-talk
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Old January 8, 2013, 01:42 PM   #14
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win-lose, who would likely be safer with a firearm, a bi-polar who has sought treatment, or the weird uncle with the bad temper but no criminal record?

Slippery slopes are very easy to create with regard to mental health.
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Old January 8, 2013, 01:46 PM   #15
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Water-Man, it isn't double-talk. I would worry more about binge drinkers, but if one of those has never been convicted of a crime, how would the system identify them?

You paint with a broad brush. If the bipolar who is very close to you is that scary, you can probably list more concrete reasons why that particular person poses more of a threat.

Do you think pit bulls should be outlawed? Do you think the feds should limit horsepower in vehicles?
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Old January 8, 2013, 01:58 PM   #16
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My sister was a micro biologist at Northern State hospital back in the day when more people were confined if they had mental health problems then there are since psudo-science non-research came to the conclusion these people were better off on the street. Most all the states jumped on this bandwagon because of the cost of the state mental hospitals, even though the "reseach" was should to have been never actually conducted, and the guy that scammed the grant went to jail for fraud

One day she told me...you know, tehre are a lot of people in that hospital that have "bugs", that if that particular "bug" were to attack some other part of the body they would be treated in a regular hospital, but these bugs are special...they attack the nervous system.

I have looked at mental health problems as physical and checmical problems since. That may be a bit simplistic, but I see no reason that a properly treated person with mental health problems should not be allowed to pack..they have the same right to self defence as I do.

Those that have a tendency to be violent should be incarcerated, not have their rights suspended, and then put back on the street.
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Old January 8, 2013, 01:58 PM   #17
win-lose
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Quote:
win-lose, who would likely be safer with a firearm, a bi-polar who has sought treatment, or the weird uncle with the bad temper but no criminal record?

Slippery slopes are very easy to create with regard to mental health.
I completely agree about the slippery slopes.

I'm not sure about your comparison... perhaps neither should have a gun.... perhaps both should. My point is about the level of intervention REQUIRED to maintain safe cognitive function and the likelihood of the intervention not being adequately administered at some point.

Again, my intent is to discuss. Not to put lines in the sand.
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Old January 8, 2013, 02:04 PM   #18
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win-lose, if you set the bar at just the need for medication, I think you set the bar too low.

If the individual establishes a history of having to be ordered by the court to take his meds, that is different.

I appreciate that your intent is discussion, not aspersion, so please realize I am playing devil's advocate and not attacking you.
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Old January 8, 2013, 02:15 PM   #19
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First of all, kudos. That OP takes some stones.

Second, I'm largely ignorant about mental illness. I run across it tangentially in my life, but not to a large degree, and not in depth. With that said, in my experience, mental illness comes in all kinds of gradations, from the slightly OCD who has to go back and check the coffee pot twice before he leaves the house, to the guy that thinks his car can fly like Batman's. (There's an old law school case about that, in case you're wondering about the reference.)

From a policy perspective, the question is where to draw the line. At some point, moving from someone who might just be a little "iffy" to someone who's a raging, violent somethingorother (I don't know the technical terms), we have to draw a line and say "no guns beyond this point." As it currently stands, the line is drawn at "has been adjudicated as a mental defective" (or some such language). As a policy matter, I think this makes some sense. If we (or Congress) changes that language to "has sought treatment," for example, we're going to wind up with a whole lot of folks who might just need a little help getting through, but won't go get it for fear of having their 2A rights stripped away. Given the economy, the recent housing market (foreclosures), divorce rates, PTSD, and all that other stuff that we've got going on, I'm of the opinion that there are a lot of folks who could benefit from either a little therapy, a little medication, or a combination. With a little help, hopefully, they'll be fine.
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Old January 8, 2013, 02:20 PM   #20
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Just for the record, I have a brother who is bipolar. I understand the issue pretty well. My brother is prone to withdrawing from those he needs the most, and can be a real challenge to be around. I know other "normal" people who are far more likely to be involved in a confrontation due to their inability to control their temper. How do you determine which of these should lose their 2A rights? Who decides? It is easy to say mentally ill folks should not have guns; yet unless it is judged on an individual basis, it can, and will be used to keep guns out of the hands citizens who should have the right to them.
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Old January 8, 2013, 02:21 PM   #21
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Martin Blinder thought the blood sugar levels of twinkies and coke may have had an effect on Dan White.

And in 2005 we have this diabetic getting a new trial because his hypoglycemia may have met the legal definition of involuntary intoxication.

And Water-man you DID ask for a lecture on bi-polar disorder from Tom, or anyone else. Or any other subject in any other forum you post in. It's kind of the point of these things. People debate, socialize, learn, form opinions and perform general discourse.

Some people who aren't bat-crap crazy(Not that bi-polar is, just that many of the spree shooters were, whatever their actual diagnosis) do violent things with guns. That's why so many are found guilty, rather than non compos mentis. Your rationale is the very same one Feinstein, Biden, and Obama are using to ban everything they can right now. Some people do bad things, so no one gets to have one.
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Old January 8, 2013, 02:23 PM   #22
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Quote:
win-lose, if you set the bar at just the need for medication, I think you set the bar too low.

If the individual establishes a history of having to be ordered by the court to take his meds, that is different.

I appreciate that your intent is discussion, not aspersion, so please realize I am playing devil's advocate and not attacking you.
MLeake, I appreciate the discussion and value your opinions... like most here, I'm searching my soul to find the right balance between individual rights and societal obligations.

I agree just the need for medication is not a good litmus test. I also think that if an individual requires a court to order the taking of the meds, the situation has already gone to far. Perhaps, the severity of the illness as judged by the type of medication coupled with professional opinion on the likely consequences if the individual becomes none compliant may be an approach?
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Old January 8, 2013, 02:25 PM   #23
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Actually, it wasn't the costs, it was the conditions, most 'Mental Hospitals' from back in the good ol bad days, were WORSE than prisons, and what happened in them, make Oz look tame. There were MAJOR issues, and if was also know that getting a 'troublesome' aunt or family member put in the loony bin was an effective way to get rid of them.

Now we pay more, more cause these people are homeless, consuming resources, living a very pathetic life, of just surviving, not in society.

OR, they are in group homes, in situations that cost MANY times what a well ran hospital cost.

The ideal of de-institutionalization was that everyone went home, to their supportive family, who with 'help' would care for them, that did not happen. Now prisons are the largest providers of mental health services....
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Old January 8, 2013, 02:35 PM   #24
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win-lose, I believe that is already the approach.

The only likely changes I could see to it, that I might support, would be in providing specific exemptions to medical privacy laws, with specific reporting requirements for specific factors that have been proven to be predictors of likely unlawful, violent behavior.

I realize I used "specific" multiple times. That was by design. I do not believe in allowing legislators or social/medical policy types to paint in overly broad brush strokes.

Last edited by MLeake; January 8, 2013 at 02:36 PM. Reason: fat fingers and virtual keyboards
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Old January 8, 2013, 03:04 PM   #25
ClydeFrog
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Tom S's post; case by case basis....

I disagree with Tom S's statements. Mental health issues related to firearms can't be adjudicated on a case by case basis or allowing different people to have different standards. The law should be fair & equal as much as possible.
Judges, courts & prosecutors(AGs, DAs, AUSAs, etc) do not have the time or the budget($) to act on a case by case basis.

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