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February 5, 2013 at 12:21 am #606423
OK, so here we are, less than two months after the Watertown massacre, and there’s been another gun murder perpetrated by a mentally ill person who was given the gun by someone trying to help.
In this latest case, ex-Navy Seal Chris Kyle (“America’s deadliest sniper”) was trying to support a fellow veteran with PTSD by taking him to the shooting range so the two men could fire off some rounds together.
Texas authorities said Sunday that for unknown reasons, [the shooter] turned on Kyle and a second man, Chad Littlefield, 35, shooting and killing both before fleeing.
“Chad and Chris had taken a veteran out to shoot to try to help him,” [a friend of the men] said. “And they were killed.”
On Sunday, the police identified the shooter as Eddie Ray Routh, a 25-year-old veteran with a history of mental illness who had served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The police offered no information about a possible motive.
Let’s set aside the gun-control issue for a moment and just examine the wisdom of putting a lethal weapon into the hands of a traumatized person with a history of mental illness.
With all respect, Mr. Kyle, that was a very foolish thing to do. You, of all people, should have known the risk you were taking.
Why? Why do some people even now think of guns as a therapy for mental illness? After everything that’s happened . . .February 5, 2013 at 12:59 am #784017February 5, 2013 at 1:59 am #784018
That was my first thought too.
What was the “logic”, in exposing a Soldier with PTSD, to the sounds and everything else associated with the firing of guns, especially as “therapy”?
MikeFebruary 5, 2013 at 2:16 am #784019
agree 100%. PTSD WTF going to a shooting range, not the best move ..God rest his soul..February 5, 2013 at 2:38 am #784020February 5, 2013 at 6:35 am #784021
Well, Time for a Darwin Award. And, it shows you that there needs to be legislation about people who have mental issues not having access to guns.February 5, 2013 at 4:54 pm #784022
And speaking of ironies, this is one area where I can somewhat see the gun rights people’s point of view.
We’ve already got good, enforceable laws to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people, but those work at the point of sale. What we do not have is a law to keep a mother from teaching her troubled son recreational shooting, or a law to keep a war hero from taking a PTSD-affected buddy to the range, and so on.
And I think we never WILL have laws like that. And that’s probably a good thing, because such laws might actually prevent us from finding a better solution.
I’ll agree with the gun advocates on this much . . . guns are not the whole problem, and therefore, laws restricting them will not be the whole solution. Gun violence is a cultural problem, too, and what we need to solve it (in addition to tighter controls on gun sales and transfers) is a prolonged, national effort to change cultural attitudes toward guns, and toward violence in general.February 5, 2013 at 6:30 pm #784023
I know nothing about the man who killed Chris Kyle and his friend and I know nothing about his particular case of PTSD, the severity or what (if any) other mental issues he was dealing with, so I won’t even try to speak to or speculate on that…BUT…I have to get this off my chest…NOT ALL CASES OF PTSD ARE THE SAME AND NOT EVERYONE WITH PTSD IS A DANGER WITH A FIRE ARM. I hope level heads understand that. Clearly, in this case, taking this man to the range ended up being a fatal mistake, but please don’t let that lead you to believe that ALL veterans diagnosed with some form of PTSD are a danger…that simply isn’t true.February 5, 2013 at 6:33 pm #784024
So I have to ask a couple of questions, and I do not mean them to sound derogatory or attacking.
1. Is anyone here dealng with or has dealt with a friend from these wars with PTSD?
2. Has anyone here served in either of these theater’s?
For me, yes to 1 and no to 2.
While they can be associated, PTSD does not equal mental illness. PTSD is a wound that is inflicted. Can it lead to mental illness, sure, but it does not mean every victim is mentally ill and therefor should be restricted from firearms. For CK’s lsat case, it definitely looks like Routh was both a victim of PTSD and mentally unstable, but please do not discard all the vets that CK helped, by taking them hunting and to the range, because Routh killed him. I am pretty sure if we asked CK to compare his murder vs all of the folks he has helped, he would say it was worth it. I don’t feel right judging someone like him.
Rest easy CK, the world is a better place because of you.February 5, 2013 at 6:35 pm #784025
THANK YOU, test517. You are 100% correct.
And to answer your question, 1. yes (my spouse) and 2. yes, both (my spouse)February 5, 2013 at 10:12 pm #784026
There are lots of kinds of ‘mental illness’, from very minor to Complete Nutcase. Some illnesses involve violence, some don’t, some are more complicated than that.
So which of you is going to decide what sorts of not-quite-right constitute a danger and which don’t? Which of you is going to tell someone who has not done anything that you’re limiting their rights because you think they might?
And from the department of Unintended Consequences, which of you will take responsibility for the guy who declines to seek help because he’s worried you’ll label him a danger? Maybe he becomes a danger precisely because he doesn’t get help.
Finally – for those who make sweeping judgments based on what you read in a news story – how much of the full story do you think got published in the media? How much do you think they got right?February 5, 2013 at 11:31 pm #784027
background checks only apply to gun sales at federally licensed dealers
a background check does not screen for mental illness unless you have been declared mentally ill by a court or have been committed.
however, it does screen for drug convictions..
you can be as looney tunes as they come
and unless you have been committed to a mental institution or placed under the care of another person for mental illness,
you can legally purchase guns under our current law.
however, if you have ever been convicted of a drug offense.. like smoking pot…you can’t.
By the time PTSD would qualify as a mental illness by those standards… it is likely the person affected would already be on their way to incarceration.
heck, a diagnosis of PTSD by itself wouldn’t even prevent you from getting a concealed carry permit in our stateFebruary 5, 2013 at 11:38 pm #784028
So true Job sad thing is PTSD has been around as long as there has been wars and other stress related causes can trigger the same effects…….February 5, 2013 at 11:45 pm #784029
To JKB, MB, and test517. Thanks for your comments. It’s important for us to hear these perspectives.
Now then, with all due respect to everyone . . .
>>And from the department of Unintended Consequences, which of you will take responsibility for the guy who declines to seek help because he’s worried you’ll label him a danger?
–I must say this is a creative use of the “unintended consequences” argument, JKB. But, be that as it may, I’ll gladly accept responsibility for any consequences of advising folks NOT to give certain other folks weapons.
However, I’ll also accept the asserton that not all PTSD cases are the same and that not all of them would warrant denying someone a weapon. Sorry if I went too far with that.
With this Routh guy . . . yeah, we don’t know everything, but I would still advise erring on the side of caution whenever you’re dealing with (1) a combat vet who is (2) exhibiting active manifestations of PTSD.
For that matter, I would err on the side of caution in far less dicey situations than that.
Know someone who’s depressed or lovesick?
Know someone who’s going through bankruptcy?
Know someone who’s under severe stress at work?
–Take ’em to a ball game.
–Take ’em fishing.
–Take ’em bowling.
Don’t take ’em shooting.
–Been in a war. Not as a combatant, though.February 6, 2013 at 12:14 am #784030
My dad was in a war. WW2. I think he saw enough on the beaches of Okinawa, Saipan, and Leyte, that he never allowed us, his boys, to have guns.
Not even a lousy BB gun.
It has worked well for 61 years (in my case).
Never fell in love with guns, as a result. Will never have one in my home.
I can guarantee one thing: my grandkids will never accidently fire a gun in my house. I won’t have to worry about keeping the ammo and guns separate.
The odds are in my, and my family’s favor, that we will not die from gun violence.February 6, 2013 at 12:29 am #784031February 6, 2013 at 5:19 pm #784032
Bad judgment and bad luck seem to hang out together a lot, don’t they? ‘Specially when it comes to guns.
Hey, did I ever tell you the story of how I disarmed a suicidal Special Forces guy? True story* . . . but it’s not what you’re thinking.
(Say, what are you thinking anyway? Well stop it.)
I was in my early 20s and was living in a roach motel above this really messed up ex-Special Forces guy. One day his girlfriend runs up the stairs screaming that Gary is gonna kill himself.
So I go downstairs, and sure enough, there’s Gary standing in the middle of the kitchen, shirtless and trembling, with a crazed look on his face and a butcher knife poised over his guts. Apparently he was planning on a samurai-style exit.
No way was I bad-ass enough to take a knife away from this dude, so I just stood there talking with him, trying to convince him that life was beautiful and so therefore he shouldn’t kill himself.
But this guy was smart, and he wasn’t having any of my BS. And in fact the longer we talked the more he was winning me over to his side.
I could see that this was one argument I wasn’t going to win, so eventually, out of frustrtation, I blurted out: “OK, if that’s really how you feel, kill yourself then!”
Whereupon he dropped the knife and started crying.
Happy ending? I don’t know. I lost track of the guy a few months after that. Odds are that he did not make it.
For the record, I would NEVER recommend that anyone treat a suicidal person like this. And I would never do it again.
*DBP does not make sh*t up. However, it’s probably fair to say that he can’t always tell the difference between things that did happen and ones that didn’t.February 6, 2013 at 5:35 pm #784033
Of course, lots of armchair warriors will bullshit you about being in the SEALS, Special Forces, the CIA, and what-not. Some of them are pretty smooth, too. It’s possible that Gary was lying to me about his ‘Nam experience, but I doubt it. He never boasted, and he actually talked more about NOT hurting people than about hurting them, which is a hallmark of elite forces types.
“I did some stuff I regret,” he said once, “but I’ll tell you this: I never killed a kid.”
I thought about this for a second and said, “Did you lay mines?”
“Yeah, of course I laid mines.”
“Were you there when they went off?”
“Ha! No, usually not.”
“Then how do you know you never killed a kid?”February 7, 2013 at 1:43 am #784034
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