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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.



Massad Ayoob

ON RELATIVE VALUE OF LIFE

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

In the last blog entry below this one, discussion of the Philando Castile incident led to some interesting dialog between two regular correspondents here: retired cop Dennis, and retired attorney Liberal Dave.

Liberal Dave writes, “…your replies imply that nothing can be done about this and since it comes down to officer safety versus safety of innocent impaired persons that the lives of officers have more value than the lives of the innocent.”

I teach armed citizens and cops alike that when they have a reasonable, prudent belief they are dealing with a violent criminal, they should indeed prioritize their life, and other lives present and at stake, over that of the person generating the unlawful deadly threat. That priority is driven, not by self-importance, but by pragmatism and logic.  If you are the one taking the offender at gunpoint, you are probably the only one present who is both trained and equipped to stop him from doing lethal harm.  If you allow him to kill or overpower you, he now has your weapon as well as his own, and no one left to stop him from killing or terrorizing every other innocent person present.

As you sit reading this now, do you have a key to your home on your physical person? And perhaps some government-mandated ID card which lists your street address?  Then think about this, if you haven’t already: the dangerous person you’re facing will have that key to your home and the wherewithal to find it, if you allow him to overpower or murder you.  Do you not owe your family a duty to keep that from happening?

The key to Liberal Dave’s argument seems to be found in the term “innocent impaired persons.”  That covers a lot of ground. Let’s see if we can narrow it down.

Liberal Dave, meet Robert Louis Stevenson. In his famous Victorian novel, kindly Dr. Jekyll commits suicide to save the innocent from the murderous alter ego he has created within himself, Mr. Hyde. In the classic 1931 movie of the same name, Mr. Hyde as played by Fredric March forces the police to shoot him dead to keep him from murdering an innocent person.

And of course, in death, the evil Mr. Hyde transforms back into kindly Dr. Jekyll. Just as happens today when an “impaired” person takes actions that convince reasonable and prudent people that only shooting him will stop his life-threatening acts.

If the impairment of the person in question is due to alcohol or drugs, he becomes, like Dr. Jekyll, responsible for turning himself into Mr. Hyde, and bears responsibility for whatever the impaired Hyde does that causes an innocent, reasonable person to fear him enough to shoot him.  If the impairment was not his fault – organic or traumatic brain damage, for example, or underdeveloped cognitive capabilities, for example – it is certainly tragic, but it is the responsibility of his caregivers to keep him under sufficient supervision that he does not carry out activities reasonable, prudent people will construe as being so lethally dangerous he must be shot to be stopped.

In neither case, in my opinion, does blame fall on the reasonable person forced by the impaired one’s actions to pull the trigger.

But, as noted, that’s just my opinion.

What’s yours?

49 Responses to “ON RELATIVE VALUE OF LIFE”

  1. Dave (the Liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    Mas said: “The key to Liberal Dave’s argument seems to be found in the term ‘innocent impaired persons.’ That covers a lot of ground. Let’s see if we can narrow it down.”

    As I quoted my prior posts in the last thread: “But as I’ve pointed out in the past,

    http://backwoodshome.com/blogs/MassadAyoob/2017/05/19/the-verdict-in-tulsa/

    LEO reaction often doesn’t take into account various kinds of lack of impaired responsibility on the part of the citizens they encounter and innocent people end up dead from those encounters. … Citizens who don’t speak English well? People who cannot reply or reply quickly enough or conform their physical reactions to what a LEO might order? How about citizens who are intellectually impaired or who have a history of mental illness, but not one which makes them a danger to themselves or others? People who are legitimately on full-time prescription medications which cause them to have less than perfect judgment? Elderly people who simply don’t think or react as well or as quickly as they did when they were younger? (Note that I did not ask this in necessarily the context of a traffic stop where some of those could be construed as DWI/DUI if the impaired person was the driver.)”

    First, I’ve not spoken about drug or alcohol impairment, at least not the use of illicit drugs or the use of licit drugs or alcohol in an illicit way.

    Second, I am talking about that class of persons who, though impaired, are not so impaired as to have or need caregivers. So Mas’ statement that, “If the impairment was not his fault – organic or traumatic brain damage, for example, or underdeveloped cognitive capabilities, for example – it is certainly tragic, but it is the responsibility of his caregivers to keep him under sufficient supervision that he does not carry out activities reasonable, prudent people will construe as being so lethally dangerous he must be shot to be stopped.” is wholly irrelevant to what I have said. As I said in the previous thread, “We decided long ago that freedom is freedom and unless a person is so impaired as to be a danger to themselves or others that they ought to be afforded the same degree of freedom as non-impaired persons.”

  2. WR Moore Says:

    A hearty AMEN brother.

    A couple of decades ago, one of our instructors came back from a recertification course enamored of the concept of “intent”. In the course of a couple of hours we managed to convince him that we weren’t mind readers and that we had to infer intent from the actions of the individual.

    If someone presents what a reasonable and prudent individual would conclude is an imminent and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or serious bodily injury to the innocent, their motivation or intent is irrelevant to the problem at hand.

  3. Spencer B. Says:

    I concur fully with your analyses, Mas.

    Personal responsibility is paramount in our lives and actions. Besides, many MANY people imbibe various things that create impairment daily. Very rarely do any of them actually take things to the gravest extreme! Fortunately so.

  4. Chris Stephens Says:

    Hello,

    We all have the reasonable right to defend ourselves as prudent citizens and may also have contained in our code of laws a certain clause for the “alter ego” enforcement of those laws. We have that here in S.C. Just some thoughts. Chris

  5. TWW Says:

    Hope you are in a safe place.

  6. Sivispace Says:

    If you ingest drugs that make you violent or predatory, you are per se guilty. You have signed up for the consequences. Don’t cry over the consequences; you earned them so shut up!

  7. Bill Says:

    I would once again have to agree with Mas. I hate when people are unable to put themselves in a officers shoes and realize that he doesn’t have time to see if it’s a real weapon or fake, if the perpetrator has a IQ of 6 or if the skin color is the same as his. Of course that doesn’t even cover the usual liberal rant “why couldn’t he have shot him in the leg or fire a warning shot” instead of killing him. Of course I don’t always agree with Mas, I don’t like Rolling Rock beer!

  8. Jack Zeller Says:

    Yes.

  9. Bill Hoppe Says:

    It’s unfortunate but all things are political now. The dangerous actor that is going to seriously injure or kill you or your loved ones automatically becomes a modern day Saint once they are neutralized. There wasn’t a liberal that knew or cared that they were alive prior to their death by firearm.

  10. Bob Snyder II Says:

    I agree with Mr. Ayoob. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of anybody else.

    Thank you very much for another great commentary on real life.

    Bob

  11. Steve from MA Says:

    We have a number of instances in the recent news where an individual has called LEO for assistance with his own psychological difficulties or with a family member, with the designated patient ending up shot dead by LEO. Knowing you are entering a toxic situation places more of the burden on LEO IMO unless suicide by cop is the intent. Law enforcement does not often distinguish itself in mental health calls. Better training and more effective use of non lethal strategies is the answer IMO. Do the unarmed Brit officers kill as many mentally ill individuals? Do they lose more officers in their attempts to resolve the crisis? IDK.

  12. glenbo Says:

    As soon as you wrote that Dave is a liberal and an attorney, I had all the info I needed. To me, an older blue-collar guy from the deep south, no liberal attorney has an opinion worth taking a leak on.

  13. John Says:

    You bet. If in the event I do not protect myself and the impaired kills me then Liberal Dave may blame the Impaired’s future kills on me as I had a chance to stop him/it and failed in my (liberal) duty to save all of mankind from everything.
    Liberals wind themselves so tightly that their head always ends up in their ass.

  14. Tio Nico Says:

    Steve from MA, from what I’ve read a relatively high percentage of Bobbies are inflicted wiht death or serious bidily harm, preciesely BECAUSE they rely on ineffective means of dealing with violence. At times, they are taken out of action thus allowing the perp to injure even more. They are fighting the battle between the “touchy feel good disarmed coppers” meme and the heavily armed Special Forces Military meme we are lately tending toward. Just last week, I think it was, some crazed operative attacked a few constables with some longish knives…. it took several officers to subdue him, and that not before several of them were seriously slashed and on their way to hospital. I believe none of the coppers were armed with a handgun. Had even one of them been so kitted out, I rather expect the perp would have been dead long before he managed to reach the first Bob with his blade. As it is, if I recall aright, the perp is alive, in hospital as well, and will cost the public of that area onsiderable money to reassemble, process through the courts, sentence, then store him out of harms way for nowhere near enough time, at which point he will again be unleashed onto the general public.

    Remember, there ARE no background checks nor registration nor even proper storage protocols for edged weapons of any sort. Yet the general public are near completely disarmed, as well as most law enforcement. Can anyone else say “this is barmy”?

  15. Tio Nico Says:

    Mas, there is one aspect of this whole case to which I’ve not been able to find a solid answer. I’ve seen reference to Mr. Castillo’s being found to have certain “controlled substances” in his bloodstream, as determined at autopsy. If memory serves, marijuana is one of those substances. Not certain. But what i’ve never seen is a complete report of just WHAT was found, and in what quantity, in his blood. Further, I know that marijuana residue and metabolites can remain in one’s bloodstream in detectable quantities for many days after administration, and long after all effects from the substance have been eliminated. Yet I keep seeing reference to his being “impaired”.
    Now, if he had a BAC of .17% as he sat at the wheel of his car, YES< he'd be legally and practically impaired, and his being in control of both a vehicle AND a firearm at the same time would be very illegal, not to mention dangerous. Yet we don't see any details… only the occasional mentioni of "impaired". Most times when a drunk spins out of control and crashes his car big time, BAC is listed… and it is often far above legal maximums. Thus it is safe to say with a high degree of certainty that the driver was seriously impaired….. but in this case, from all I've seen, we have nothing of the sort.

    Perhaps it would help clear up a lot of murkiness if this data were released…. together with the calculations of his degree of PRACTICAL impairment, and therefore a causal link between his response/actions and the signals the officer observed that caused him to decide his life was in serious danger.

    I'm not trying to exonerate Mr. Castillo.. I believe he acted in a manner "not in his best interest" and did give rise to the officer's assessment that his own life was in serious danger of being ended very soon.
    COULD the officer have slowed down, taken better care to assure himself, and Mr. Castillo, that certain actions and movements were appropriate? I think so….. but he acted on his intrpretation of Mr. Castillo's actions at the time and place….

  16. Roger Willco Says:

    The conversation between Mas and Liberal Dave reminds me of the Medieval theological question, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” In other words, we are really splitting hairs here. Mas seems to think if a non-career criminal begins to act in a criminal way, or a way that is perceived as criminal, then he just might be treated as a criminal by law enforcement. Liberal Dave wants to be sure care is taken with people who may be ignorantly giving off criminal vibes, when they are not true criminals. My guess is that police officers become pretty good judges of character after dealing with the public for a while.

    As long as we have imperfect people, who are not all-knowing, mistakes will be made. And those mistakes will be broadcast to the world. We cannot make laws to bend and conform to all possible exceptions and unforeseen circumstances. The Philando Castile tragedy was an outlier, and an example of our imperfect world. Why should cops be expected to have super-human patience with people when cops are being targeted and killed? We are in a toxic environment, where people believe they can act defiantly against cops, and the cops believe they could be ambushed at any moment. Encounters between these two mindsets are going to be tense and even explosive. It’s a sad situation.

    I also want to point out that this dilemma is a result of America’s great wealth. The only reason we can discuss such fine points of the law is because we are not worried about our basic needs. If food was scarce, we wouldn’t be debating the perceptions of cops vs. citizens vs. criminals.

  17. LittleBill Says:

    The idealistic notion that “all lives have equal value” falls apart when we look at what’s meant by the concept of “value”.

    The notion that “everyone is a child of God, and has value as a result of having been created by God” can’t be proved or disproved— therefore isn’t a fit subject for discussion. Either you believe it or you don’t; so there isn’t much sense in arguing about it. But even then— even assuming for the sake of argument that all lives start off being equal in that sense— what different people make of their lives, brings us back to the reality of inequality.

    At that point we’re faced with the more practical notions of value: such as what a person contributes to society, versus what they demand from society. The good they do, versus the harm they do.

    In that sense, one certainly *can* make the case that the life of a cop, whose job it is to protect and serve Society at large, is more valuable than the life of say, a multiple-offender heroin dealer, whose job it is to peddle poison to as many people as he can.

    By any reasonable (non-theological) standard of value, the life of Jonas Salk who invented polio vaccine was more valuable than the life of, say, Rodney King.

    The other thing one can’t help but notice about Life is that it *isn’t* ideal: everything that happens is not “fair” in some idealistic sense.

    There will be instances where a cop encounters a person who is presenting a threat to society, but who is also “impaired” in some sense.

    He may be impaired as a result of a decision he freely made, say, to spend the last few hours smoking crack.

    OTOH, he may be impaired as a result of factors that were completely beyond his control; such as his mother’s decision to smoke crack while she was pregnant with him, thereby saddling him with a permanent intellectual disability. That’s certainly regrettable, and unfair: the circumstances of his life, through no fault of his own, ‘made’ him what he is.

    It’s not the “fault” of the rabid dog that he has rabies; it’s not “fair” that he contracted rabies, while so many other dogs did not. Nothing “ideal” or “just” or “fair” about that reality.

    But— fair or not— we still have to put down that rabid dog, for the good of Society.

  18. LittleBill Says:

    And yeah, as so many here have alluded to: we put cops in the position of *having* to make snap judgments on the basis of the insufficient information that they have at the time. In many cases, the nature of the job is that if they judge wrongly, *they die*.

    To put a person in that situation, then demand that every decision they make has to be perfect— “perfect” as seen from the safety of a retrospective look which now includes all the facts, and with no time constraint— it won’t be long before no sane person wants to be a cop.

  19. WR Moore Says:

    Liberal Dave brings up one point, language. Frankly, it’s a disgrace that one can graduate high school in this country without demonstrated competence in another language. It’s not unknown for Americans who’ve studied a foreign language to arrive in that ‘other’ country and discover the natives speak much better English than the Americans do whatever is the language of that country. However, taking on the educational mafia in the US isn’t what we’re primarily talking about.

    There are so many languages spoken in this world that it’s simply not practical to find translators, even if one could freeze the situation and look for one. Also, after many experiences with non-compliance due to many and varied reasons, Occam’s razor suggests that language isn’t the issue. Most cultures have a protocol for dealing with uniformed authority figures pointing firearms. That generally features a prominent display of submission.

    EDPs are an genuine issue. However, those who’ve never dealt with a combative and/or physically resistant individual have no real understanding of the problems these events present. My one and only easy resolution of a combative EDP was in a hospital and involved about 7 people on a ~140 pound teen. 6 swarmed and pinned him and #7 administered a sedative. Folks, it ain’t like TV. The various less lethal alternatives to deadly force are frequently ineffective.

    Even Eric Holder and former President Obama admitted that officers have a right to go home at the end of their shift.

  20. Michael Fallon Says:

    I agree. The instinct for survival, training, and experience will make me do what I need to do, in that moment that my life is in mortal danger. I don’t have time for psychoanalysis on why someone is trying to kill me, I only need to act. I recently had an argument with a lady Phd. A very intelligent person, but she is so brainwashed about firearms and their realistic use. We discussed an incident where the Police had to shoot a armed mentally disturbed person. This highly educated woman said they should have just shot him in the arm, or leg. No doubt her knowledge came from watching television shows. I explained to her that a wounded person can still kill you, and particularly when the Police are using handguns, such accurate fire is nearly impossible for most cops. Even after articulating this, I still don’t think her socialist progressive mind got it. I have around people like her at a large University for thirty years, and it is amazing how blindly ignorant they are, based on fear and emotion, and a total lack of common sense.

  21. Phil Richer Says:

    For far too long our society has been lead to believe that if you commit a wrongful act it simply is not your fault. It was your parents fault, no wait it was your teachers fault or was it that stupid SOB that stopped at a stop sign and caused you to run it to him. As I am approaching three quarters of a century old I have witnessed the demise of common sense, personal responsibility and sacred honor. Unfortunately far too many ‘snowflakes’ haven’t got enough sense to use a key to unlock their car door when the battery dies in their key fob nor do they see the benefit of putting something away for a rainy day or lying about any and everything that might reflect badly on them. Personally I have always had great respect for LEOs and even considered becoming one when I got out of the USMC. In my very few encounters if they say jump I get in the air and then ask how high! It only makes common sense (sorry for bringing up the dead) that if you are stopped by a LEO you should keep your hands in plain sight and carefully follow their instructions. I much prefer to deal with a relaxed LEO rather than one with their hand on the butt of their firearm. I heartily agree with Roger Wilco’s closing statement in that because of the wealth of this country we have the luxury of splitting hairs unlike most of the third world countries.

  22. .45StayAlive Says:

    Dave, you wrote in a recent reply:

    “Second, I am talking about that class of persons who, though impaired, are not so impaired as to have or need caregivers.”

    With respect to the fact that hindsight is always better than foresight, it seems to me that any person who through some type of chronic mental impairment, causes himself to be part of a situation where a reasonable, unimpaired person considers him to be a threat to the lives of that reasonable, unimpaired person as well as the innocent people around him, that impaired person clearly SHOULD have been under the care of caregivers.

  23. Dennis Says:

    Liberal Dave’s idealistic view of how police/citizen interactions should take place puts the onus completely on how the officer conducts himself during the contact. That somehow, through training, observation, clairvoyance(?), he should not only recognize, and interpret, the intentions of the other person’s actions in plenty of time to employ defensive tactics that are less than lethal. At the same time, he offers a myriad of reasons/excuses why the suspect may have carried out the ill-advised actions, or ignored/misinterpreted the officer’s instructions, leading to deadly force being employed against him. In other words, the suspect is not bound by any such responsibilities, after all, there can be an explanation other than the obvious.

    Dave plies his trade in one of the most controlled environments on earth, the courtroom. There is a decorum that is not only required, but strictly enforced. Permission is asked and granted before any action takes place. It’s overseen by a Judge whose decisions are inviolate while his court is in session. Dave’s profession is one of second chances, negotiations, and compromises, in that controlled environment. Dave enters that environment prepared to do battle with the goal of getting the best deal possible for his client. His opponent is required to furnish him with all the evidence against his client beforehand. He has had time to study that evidence and consult other professionals on how to attack that evidence. He makes a decision on whether to progress to trial or to advise his client to let him negotiate for a reduced charge and lighter sentence. None of these decisions will dictate whether Dave lives or dies, much less even punished for making a poor decision.

    Yet, he expects an officer, who can only control his own actions, to be held responsible for the actions/reactions of everyone involved in a contact on the streets, as if the officer has some kind of magical control of events as they unfold in seconds and fractions of seconds. When an officer commands “don’t do that!” or “don’t move!” when a subject has done something that the officer sees as unacceptable, he is calling, in effect, for a “recess in proceedings” to give him a chance to peruse what just happened and how to proceed. At that point there is only one person in control of what happens next. That person may be impaired or have the IQ of a turnip, or be a sober genius, it’s still his actions in control.

  24. TN_MAN Says:

    Let’s review this from a human rights perspective. The most basic, fundamental right is the right to life. It is universally recognized by religious, moral and legal systems. For example, considered Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

    Article 3 – Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

    Such a fundamental right should only be violated by a society when the violation of the right prevents even greater harm. For example, when a society imposes a death sentence for a criminal act, it is (effectively) saying that violating the convicted criminals right to life is justified for the sake of preventing that criminal (and, by example, others like him) from doing even more harm.

    The right to life must also include a right to defend one’s life. In other words, self-defense. Yet, this perspective is not as universally accepted as the right to life itself. Some left-wing adherents deny the right of self-defense. This is based upon, IMHO, the twisted values generated by the left-wing world view. Leftists view all humans as good (that is their fundamental flaw in logical thinking) which gives rise to the worldview that all evils must arise from sources exterior to mankind. In other words, from environmental or social-force sources. Under this twisted value system, inanimate objects such as firearms, are actually viewed as environmental sources of evil. Many leftists, therefore, are adamantly opposed to the private ownership of firearms. Since one of the strongest justifications for the private ownership of firearms is self-defense, the left often argues that there is no right of self-defense which, if such twisted logic is accepted, allows them to undercut and deny this basic justification. By claiming that the individual must rely solely upon the government for even the right to life itself, they justify their efforts to disarm the public and, simultaneously, make the population even more dependent upon the central government. Both good things under the twisted value system established by left-wing groupthink.

    Getting back to the issue at hand, does a police officer have a right of self-defense? Since, as shown above, most leftists are anti-self-defense in their basic mindset, many on the left say either No or else say it is strictly limited. Maybe Liberal Dave will accuse me of creating another “straw man” argument but, it seems to me, that Liberal Dave is arguing that a police officer, in light of his training and acceptance of the job of policing society, has a reduced right of self-defense. Or, to turn it around, he has an enhance duty to show restraint, above and beyond that of the ordinary citizen, even at the price of placing his own “right to life” at greater risk.

    This is a value judgment but it is not one that I share with Liberal Dave. I don’t see any reason why a police officer should be asked to compromise such as fundamental set of rights (right to life, right of self-defense) just because he agrees to accept the job of police officer. It seems to me already that, in too many cases, people are being asked to compromise their rights (including freedom of speech) because their employer demands it of them. So, does the employer of a police officer (say a city or county government) have the authority to demand that a police officer must weaken his fundamental right to life for the sake of his monthly salary? My value judgement is NO!

    In my view, the use of deadly force by a police officer is not any different than the use of deadly force by an armed citizen. The criteria should be the same: Was the police officer or some other innocent party under reasonable threat of death or grave bodily harm at the time deadly force was employed? If. Based upon the totality of the circumstances, this question is answered with a YES, then the use of force was justified and it makes not one whit of difference how “impaired” or “uneducated” or “mentally challenged” the criminal aggressor was at the time.

    Liberal Dave seems to want the police office to be one-part social worker, one-part therapist and one-part reader of tea leaves to guarantee that he or she does not use too much force. Weighing the “Value” of the life of the police officer versus the life of the aggressor is not in the cards either. There is no time for such complex analysis in the middle of a critical situation. As Justice Holmes noted “detached reflection is not required in the face of an upraised knife.”

  25. Dennis Says:

    Liberal Dave has used England as an example of gun control being a plausible solution to the American homicide problem. I’m tired of typing, so I’ll offer up the following links, not that the facts embedded in them will alter anyone’s thinking if they have closed their mind to all contrary evidence.

    https://mises.org/blog/gun-control-fails-what-happened-england-ireland-and-canada

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223193/Culture-violence-Gun-crime-goes-89-decade.html

  26. Roger Willco Says:

    As a Christian I am supposed to believe that all life is precious. We especially use that argument when debating abortion. I do believe God created all life, and has a purpose for it. However, all life ends up returning to dust. No matter which path we follow in life, we will all meet in the cemetery. Life is precious, but the fact that there are now 7.5 billion people on this planet does cheapen life somewhat. Humans are not on the endangered species list. Someone who creates a business which employs many, so they can take care of their families, has more value to society than a crook who seeks to harm people. The earth would be a better place without criminals.

    Maybe it’s time for police departments to go around journalists, and bring their message straight to the people. Ronald Reagan used to make speeches in order to bypass the press. President Trump uses Twitter to do the same thing. Also, during the First Persian Gulf War, Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell told us directly what was going on in their daily briefings. We actually won that war too. The police could put out a detailed, factual report on these divisive cases, and we could compare their reports with the press’ reports. The police could even include facts like what type of gun was used, what type of ammo, and other such details. The press seems to think such detail is too cumbersome for us simpletons.

  27. WR Moore Says:

    It’s taken awhile for this thought about EDPs to percolate through, but I’m going to expand on my earlier post. It’s slightly off topic, but relevant to part of Liberal Dave’s concern.

    Several decades ago, the metal health community campaigned vigorously to release thousands/millions of folks from state mental facilities. The state was alleged to be holding them in prison without just cause as they could adequately be treated as out patients with appropriate medication. This made politicians of all parties happy for various reasons and it came to pass.

    Now we have significant numbers of folks with mental issues who don’t take their meds and create problems. When they create problems, who gets called? Law enforcement. Who gets blamed when things don’t go as everyone hopes they would? Law enforcement.

    So, I’ve gotta ask: where are the outraged editorials demanding that the mental health professionals accept responsibility and tighten up their standards and practices? Where’s the liberal community’s passionate concern for proper care of those of us with issues? Where, indeed, is the true concern of the mental health professional community?

  28. Sharpshooter Says:

    Dave,

    How doe one distinguish, at the immediate moment, impairment from just malice/malignancy?

    You do know that criminals sometimes practice faking various characteristics to gain a tactical ledge over officers or their victims., don’t you?

    Pretty damn naive,

  29. RayGun6 Says:

    I believe that initiating violence is wrong. It’s a simple moral view that has never let me down.

  30. Sharpshooter Says:

    Further, most impairment is SELF_INDUCED, be i alcohol, drugs, or culture.

    Long term psychologist Louis Sass noted that schizophrenics were good at “gaming’, playing crazy until they wanted to be understood…then coherence “magically appeared.

    https://www.amazon.com/Madness-Modernism-Insanity-Literature-Thought/dp/0465043127/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1505099510&sr=8-1&keywords=modernism+and+madness

    Naive, or just BS?

  31. Two-gun Steve Says:

    Dennis: I liked the articles that you cited above. I have long wanted to get an armored truck and convert it to a camper. I think I will skip the truck now, and get a tank. They are probably cheaper to buy than the Brinks trucks, although maintenance costs may be a bit higher.
    Time to study the statistics on the increase in Irish homicides. I would guess that Irish screen trends are playing a role in the homicidal mental-conditioning vein. I really believe that more real-world violence comes from impulses acquired from watching actors kill each other, than maybe even the traditional, stupid, Godless feuds that go on.

  32. Dennis Says:

    Sharpshooter, how many Hollywood action/dramas have the scene depicting an actor/suspect turning his back on the actor/officer holding him at gunpoint, then backing up toward the officer until close enough to employ a well practiced dis-arming/take down?

    Hollywood screenwriter’s imagination? No. Prison surveillance videos have, for years, recorded this technique (and many others) being taught and practiced by convicts. Why? Criminals know that while cops may employ deadly force, they also know that they don’t want to. They also know that I cop faced with a suspect backing towards him with hands raised is seeing the horror of trying to explain why he shot that meek, “surrendering” man in the back. It’s even more horrifying if that suspect is black.

    Bad guys know these things. Cops know these things. Naive ideologues refuse to accept these things. Like TN_MAN points out, liberals need an object to blame when humans do bad things. Outside forces caused their explainable failures. To many liberals (not necessarily Liberal Dave) police officers are faceless “objects”, therefore OK to blame as to the causation. As “objects” they are also expendable, explaining the hesitation to allow them to place the same value on their lives.

  33. Dave (the Liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    I’m rather amazed at the number of people who have apparently replied to positions that I never took in my prior posts on this matter.

    ——————————————-

    Many of them apparently failed to read that I believe that Yanez was almost certainly legally justified in shooting Philando Castile. So comments like the following are wholly irrelevant to what I’ve said:

    “If someone presents what a reasonable and prudent individual would conclude is an imminent and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or serious bodily injury to the innocent, their motivation or intent is irrelevant to the problem at hand.”

    “I hate when people are unable to put themselves in a officers shoes and realize that he doesn’t have time to see if it’s a real weapon or fake, if the perpetrator has a IQ of 6 or if the skin color is the same as his.” (My reaction to this one is based on my reading that “doesn’t have time” means “once the officer has a reasonable fear of risk of bodily injury he doesn’t have time.”)

    “in that moment that my life is in mortal danger. I don’t have time for psychoanalysis on why someone is trying to kill me, I only need to act”

    I don’t necessarily disagree in general with any of those statements, though actual facts in individual cases are, of course, important. My point is about the possibility of doing things which may help to avoid that shoot/don’t shoot crisis from ever arising, things which may help to safeguard the safety of both the LEO and the subject. And I’m the first to admit that I fully admit that it is highly unlikely that any such measures can ever be 100% effective.

    ——————————————-

    Also irrelevant are the ones who want to talk about voluntary impairment or illegal actions while voluntarily impaired, since I made it clear that I was not talking about those persons:

    “If you ingest drugs that make you violent or predatory, you are per se guilty. You have signed up for the consequences.” (Indeed, that one even goes beyond the _context_ of what we’re talking about.)

    Since we’re talking about innocent impaired persons this, of course, is also irrelevant:

    “The dangerous actor that is going to seriously injure or kill you or your loved ones automatically becomes a modern day Saint once they are neutralized.”

    “At that point there is only one person in control of what happens next. That person may be impaired or have the IQ of a turnip, or be a sober genius, it’s still his actions in control.”

    Maybe true, maybe not, but nothing to do with what I’m talking about. We’re talking about impaired persons who do not have the ability to react to the perfect extent that a non-impaired person would, but which a LEO might expect. People who don’t realize that Officer Friendly may kill them if they don’t become a statute when he commands, “Don’t move,” and reach or move with friendly intent towards the officer. If “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” then actions are not in control, people are in control, and we’re talking about the innocent ones who, though ordinarily are not an immediate risk to themselves or others, may not in this situation be capable of controlling their actions to the absolutely precise degree expected by a LEO, either through actual control or inability to recognize the deadly significance of failure to strictly obey.

    And that brings us to:

    “it seems to me that any person who through some type of chronic mental impairment, causes himself to be part of a situation where a reasonable, unimpaired person considers him to be a threat to the lives of that reasonable, unimpaired person as well as the innocent people around him, that impaired person clearly SHOULD have been under the care of caregivers.”

    But once again, we’re talking about people who, in general, can go about their daily lives without being a significant, immediate risk to themselves or others. In their daily lives, it’s unlikely that they will ever encounter a situation in which they have to obey another person’s orders to the exact and precise level that they will a LEO’s orders. (And, just in passing, a LEO does not have to consider a person to be a threat to innocent people around him in order to shoot him, but only a threat to the LEO himself; indeed, the LEO doesn’t even have to have any reason to believe that the person has committed a criminal act if he believes his own life is at risk.) Which brings us to:

    “Several decades ago, the metal health community campaigned vigorously to release thousands/millions of folks from state mental facilities. The state was alleged to be holding them in prison without just cause as they could adequately be treated as out patients with appropriate medication. … Now we have significant numbers of folks with mental issues who don’t take their meds and create problems. When they create problems, who gets called? Law enforcement.”

    I actually previously talked about that in general. First, bear in mind that many of those people were never a risk to themselves or others even when they were not on meds. Back in those days you could be warehoused simply because you were odd or strange or somewhat delusional. Second, we don’t imprison, whether in a jail or in an asylum, people because they merely may be such a risk. Once someone is stabilized, on their meds, seem committed to staying on their meds, and are symptom-free, why should they remain confined because they might go off their meds. What Constitutional right does government have to keep them imprisoned or force them to have a caretaker?

    Of course, some have a simpler solution. They’re rabid dogs, so why not just kill all of them?:

    “he may be impaired as a result of factors that were completely beyond his control; such as his mother’s decision to smoke crack while she was pregnant with him, thereby saddling him with a permanent intellectual disability. That’s certainly regrettable, and unfair: the circumstances of his life, through no fault of his own, ‘made’ him what he is. It’s not the “fault” of the rabid dog that he has rabies; it’s not “fair” that he contracted rabies, while so many other dogs did not. Nothing “ideal” or “just” or “fair” about that reality. But— fair or not— we still have to put down that rabid dog, for the good of Society.”

    At the risk of violating Godwin’s law: That solution was attempted in the middle of the 20th Century and it didn’t work out so well, see:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aktion_T4

    ——————————————-

    I invite anyone who’s interested in what I actually said, rather than what they think I said, to look back at my prior posts.

    Oh, and one last quote and comment:

    glenbo said: “As soon as you wrote that Dave is a liberal and an attorney, I had all the info I needed. To me, an older blue-collar guy from the deep south, no liberal attorney has an opinion worth taking a leak on.”

    Y’know, glenbo, one of my liberal opinions has always been that people such as you are at heart good, decent human beings even if I disagree socially or politically with them. But I’m glad to now know that opinion’s not worth taking a leak on.

  34. Dennis Says:

    Liberal Dave, I read your lengthy response fairly carefully, and noted a few things that kind of stuck out to me.

    First, it appears you believe your communications were misunderstood. Folks were misinterpreting what you were trying to say.

    Second, it appears that you heard their responses as though they were saying that they thought you were saying that the officer’s actions were illegal. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I read no response directed towards your stance on the legality of officer Yanez’s actions.

    Third, I personally, never saw you as questioning they legality, rather, you seemed to be bringing an argument of the morality or ethics of the shooting, based on possible mental limitations, which progressed to individual perceptions of the value of one life over another.

    I enjoyed your response with a little perverse humor. You have pointed out the possibility of poor/misunderstood verbal interaction during police/civilian interactions in prior posts. Would this count as that? You have questioned whether officers might be misreading responses from those they are interacting with then jumping to an unjustified adversarial response. You appear to be doing just that. You clearly brought the subject of the right or wrong of not requiring officers to be held accountable for failing to consider possible mental deficiencies in encounters that may devolve into deadly force being used. All the responses, as I recall without re-reading them, addressed that position. Then it appears that, when numerous posts were made challenging that position, you fell into an adversarial defensive posture accusing them of attacking, mistakenly, your stance on the legality of the shooting in question. Not willing to accept their difference of opinions on the issue you raised, you choose to believe they must, therefore, be addressing a position you never took.

    Finally, I’m surprised at your reaction to glenbo. As a long time attorney, I would think you would have developed a pretty thick skin to the low opinion some have for your profession. As a long time, retired police officer, I’m well aware there are at least an equal number that hold my profession similarly. Over the years, I’ve had more than a few share those opinions to my face. I have to accept it and go on, and treat them no worse than those who love me. I suspect glenbo is, in fact, a good hearted, decent guy, that doesn’t view your profession in the same high esteem as you do. It’s something a cop has to accept, but then, most folks don’t hold themselves to the same standards they demand of cops.

    Good back and forth.Still friends.

  35. Kendahl Says:

    About twenty years ago, a mentally ill college athlete who had stopped taking his medication attacked a woman on the street, beating her head against the pavement. Recuperation from her fractured skull took months. The athlete was a big, strong guy. Maybe a couple of his team mates could have restrained him. That would have been impossible for the majority of people and especially for his victim.

    Nebraska law permits the use of deadly force to defend an innocent person against serious injury or death when no lesser alternative will work. It prioritizes the welfare of the victim over the welfare of the assailant. No exception is provided for assailants with altered mental states (e.g. mental illness, alcohol or drugs). Therefore, a witness to the attack would have been free to stop it using deadly force regardless of the consequences for the athlete.

  36. Joe Says:

    My comment deals not with the subject at hand but with the commenters. I’ve been looking at various “gun blogs” for some time now and generally the comments made resemble comic strips: with character assassination, and demeaning statements about background, intelligence, etc. The comments in this stream are, for the most part, well written, to the point, and focus on the issues being discussed rather than the ability, veracity, or point of view of the writers. My compliments to you all for being a considerable cut above the middle.

  37. Mas Says:

    Joe, thank you for kind words. One of the small joys of my life is the quality of commentary — and commentators — here. I appreciate it greatly.

  38. Dave (the Liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    Dennis, my friend, I see how you could have come to the view that, “it appears that you heard their responses as though they were saying that they thought you were saying that the officer’s actions were illegal.” It arises, I think, out of my statement that, “Many of them apparently failed to read that I believe that Yanez was almost certainly legally justified in shooting Philando Castile.” That was bad writing on my part and I see how it could have easily been misinterpreted (though I would have hoped that my comments at the end of that section would have cleared that up, but it’s my fault that the ambiguity was introduced in the first place). What I meant for that to say, through that illustration, was this: In their responses people were talking as if I questioned the need to act (i.e. shoot) immediately once the officer believed that he was in immediate risk of death or serious bodily harm. I’ve never said that, _as_illustrated_by_ my belief that Yanez was legally justified in shooting Castile. I should have just said that outright, rather than using that illustration.

    You go on to say, “You have questioned whether officers might be misreading responses from those they are interacting with then jumping to an unjustified adversarial response.” While there is a grain of accuracy in that, it’s not really my point in this discussion. (While I have in previous discussions quibbled about what Castile had, if anything, in his hand, I fully agree with Mas that the mere hand movement in the direction of where the gun was almost certainly enough under current law to constitute sufficient evidence to support Yanez being in reasonable fear of his life. The only reason I discussed it at all was that Yanez and those who support this as being a “righteous shoot” use it to gild the lily of the furtive hand movement. But the fact is that while it would have been a bit more ambiguous with just the hand movement and without what Yanez said about what Castile had in his hand, the result would almost certainly have been the same.) My problem with what you said lies in the “misreading” part. I suppose one could characterize what I’ve said as misreading, but only in the most technical sense of that word. What I’m talking about are actions on the part of the subject which are sufficient to raise a fear of death or bodily injury on the part of the officer but which are, in fact, innocent on the part of the subject but which the subject fails to control due to innocent impairment. Yes, the officer is misreading those actions but not through any fault of his own, nor am I faulting the office for not delaying or pausing in his response to the action to determine its motivation once the action has given reasonable rise to that fear. At least for the point I’m making in this discussion, misreading really isn’t the issue. (Can it be an issue? Sure, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.)

    You then go on to say, “You clearly brought the subject of the right or wrong of not requiring officers to be held accountable for failing to consider possible mental deficiencies in encounters that may devolve into deadly force being used.” Again, not really. I’m really not talking about officers “failing to consider possible mental deficiencies in encounters that may devolve into deadly force”. Indeed, while that may well be an issue I’m not really talking about what individual officers do or don’t do under those circumstances. I’m talking about whether something can be done to avoid officers and suspects finding themselves in those situations in the first place.

    As for glenbo: I’m fairly thick-skinned about comments about attorneys and about liberals. Heck, if I was thin-skinned about nasty comments about liberals in general I would’ve been in flame wars here again and again and probably been kicked off long ago. But we here at this blog are uniformly respectful of one another _as_individuals_ and glenbo’s comment was pointed directly at me and did not attack my reasoning but me as a person. More often than not, I would’ve let that one roll off as well, but the way he stated the insult opened it up to be humorously turned on him (at least _I_ got a chuckle out of it; my sense of humor has always got me in more trouble than my anger or pugnacity) and I couldn’t pass it up. I make no apology to glenbo, but to the rest of the regulars here I admit that it was not my finest moment.

  39. TN_MAN Says:

    @ Joe;

    I agree with your comment. For the most part, commentators on this blog try to speak to the issues and avoid personal attacks. I also agree that this is not the case in many other blogs out on the internet. Especially those that deal with controversial political issues. I have seen other blogs that literally “dripped” with venom.

    Of course, such venom is a consequence of Left / Right Polarization (LRP) syndrome. As I have pointed out previously, one symptom of LRP is to disrupt one’s moral compass. Individuals severely infected with LRP lose their sense of right and wrong. They reach a point where they do criminal things in the name of their idealistic cause.

    The use of slander, name calling, character assassination, etc. becomes increasingly common when a society suffers (as America is today) an epidemic of LRP. Just look at the attacks and slander that fill the airways in the mainstream media (MSM) today. Indeed, I believe that character assassination (especially associated with charges of sexual misconduct) is being deliberately used by the American Left as a tool to shut down opposing speech and target conservative commentators. Notice how many of the most effective conservative commentators, on Fox News, have been “taken out” recently by unsubstantiated charges of sexual misconduct. The cases of Bill O’reilly and Eric Bolling spring immediately to mind. Indeed, some are implying that Eric Bolling’s son was literally destroyed by this tactic. See this link:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/09/11/eric-bolling-jr-died-emotionally-wrecked-by-his-fathers-fox-news-sexting-scandal-report-says/amp/

    During the 2016 Election campaign, this tactic was tried against Candidate Trump as well. Notice that these charges are always made in a nebulous fashion but never seem to end up proven. The leftist members of the press, behind these charges, always seem to fall back on a need to “protect their confidential sources” to avoid producing any real proof but, simply making the charge seems to “get the job done” for the leftist press much of the time.

    Personal attacks are a form of ad hominem fallacy. While the MSM is filled to the brim with such fallacies, especially with regard to President Trump, the commentators on this blog strive to avoid falling under the sway of LRP and avoid the use of ad hominem attacks.

    Frankly, I believe the American Left uses name calling (such terms as racist, sexist, homophobic, knuckle-dragging Neanderthal, etc. being used freely by them) to AVOID discussing the real issues. Let’s face it, Left-wing ideology is the politics of EMOTION. Almost all left-wing arguments and policies are based upon emotion. The clearest proof of this is the issue of gun control itself. The Left has deliberately adopted a policy of lying in wait until some mass shooting or terrorist incident occurs and which racks up a large body count. Then, while emotions run high and reason ebbs low, they strike and try to push through their anti-gun polices as an “emergency” response. This pattern has been repeated dozens of times in multiple countries. Just note how mass shooting have been exploited to push the gun control agenda in the UK, in Australia and here in the U.S. It has become expected that, if an incident like the Sandy Hook tragedy occurs, then the gun control groups will literally leap to exploit it. Indeed, the tactic has been used so often, here in the U.S., that it has lost much of its effectiveness.

    What does this tell us about Left-Wing ideology? Just what I said. It is the ideology of emotion. It tells us that the arguments for gun control are so weak, on a rational basis, that the only prayer that the leftist have for enacting them is slam them through when emotions are high and people are irrational. Indeed, most leftist policies are that way. That is exactly why the leftists like to get people all “riled up” and out in the streets in protest. When the masses lose their minds to emotion, that is when left-wing ideology flourishes.

    Therefore, I think the Left deliberately uses name-calling as a tactic. It moves the discussion from the zone of logic and reason (where they are weak) into the zone of anger and emotion (where they are strong). The leftists clearly follow Sun Tzu’s advice of trying to control the ground upon which they must fight.
    However, even the leftist commentators on this blog, such as Liberal Dave, are of a superior type. Liberal Dave is not afraid (not totally afraid anyway) of fighting in the zone of logic and reason. He eschews the tactic of deliberately using name-calling as a device to divert a discussion onto emotional ground. Even so, Liberal Dave will duck a discussion if he feels too much at disadvantage. But he will not do it with name-calling. Instead, he is more likely to just ignore it or, else, claim some logical fault on the other side (such as a straw man) which then justifies his ignoring it.

    Nevertheless, I totally agree with you. The commentators on this blog are a “cut above” most of those on other blogs that touch upon controversial political topics. That is one reason I enjoy adding a few comments, from time to time, myself.

  40. Larry McClain Says:

    “The key to Liberal Dave’s argument seems to be found in the term “innocent impaired persons.” That covers a lot of ground. Let’s see if we can narrow it down.”

    I have been confronted with the “innocent, impaired person” on a few occasions. <<~~plural.

    ONE: After having moved into our new/old house, we met our next door neighbor. He lived alone and had moderate dementia. After moving boxes in and the such, the wife neglected to lock the storm and entry door one evening. At about 3:am he enters our home and starts to rummage around. I heard the noises and the wife and I initiated our "fire drill, real time". She dialed 911, while i accessed my firearm and captured our dog by the collar. We slowly walked to our points of pre-position, dog going nuts! CONFUSION! I handed the dog off to my wife and said "dog spare bedroom". From there, WE advanced together to see what the noise was all about. In slicing the pie, I determined the "threat" to be my neighbor next door. Never-ever, did my gun come out of the holster. Remember O.O.D.A loop!

    TWO: A colleague of mine got too drunk to drive. From the point where he became inebriated, to my house was about i/3rd of the drive to his house, the time was 12:30am when he tapped on our locked storm door the first time. I awoke and listened. I heard the beep-beep from a key left in the ignition when the door is open and some music. I nudged the wife and said we had a situation. The dog did not bark at first! A few minutes passed, then I heard our storm door being kicked violently, with a voice saying "my first name" and "LET ME IN!" Once realizing who it was, i let him in. I asked him why didn't't he just pull over and sleep it off. Ironically, he said he didn't feel safe. I digress…

    THREE: At about 12:30am, Jan 2016, I was alerted to a male who pounded on our locked, storm door. He stated that we didn't know each other, but that it was cold outside and he needed to come in. Simultaneous to me dialing 911 on our landline, the wife dialed on cell phone too. He kicked the door a few times and gave up when LEO's rushed our front porch and arrested him.

    He was a bipolar adult male, who missed his meds. The guy jumped from his second story bedroom window to land on the snow and ice. Once injured, he tried to re-enter the house, and thats where he cut his hands and arms up. Fast forward–he enters my house by force, kicks the door off the hinges, he did! walks into the living room and is amazed at our carpeting/hardwood floors and dog bed. My wife has captured the dog by the collar and is awaiting my order. I have informed LEO dispatch that i am armed and will use deadly force if necessary. At which point, LEO.

  41. Larry McClain Says:

    I sent my response without finishing, but the bottom line, O.O.D.A. loop is critical!

  42. Bob San Socie Says:

    I agree. Time to remember duty over self.

  43. Dennis Says:

    Larry McClain,

    Observe Orient Decide Act is a military combat operations concept that does apply when time and distance is available as your personal experiences indicate. Officer Yanez’s time to Orient was severely limited by Castille’s actions.

    I’ll share an experience from my past as a cop that has many of the same elements as the Yanez/Castille incident, as it could have played out, without the tragic ending.

    A Bureau Detective made roll call at our district patrol station seeking help
    in solving an assault to murder case with very few leads he had been assigned. A verbal argument between a white motorist and a black motorist had ended in the black motorist shooting the white motorist. The only information the detective had was that the suspect vehicle was an early 70’s model Ford Maverick, white in color, with a decal in the back glass stating “black lovers are best” , no license plate info, driven by an unknown b/m in his twenties and accompanied by a b/f in her twenties.

    Later that day I spotted a white Mercury Comet (close copy of Ford Maverick) driven by a b/m accompanied by a b/f of about the right age. There was glue residue in the back window where a decal had once been. I followed the car until I observed it fail to signal a turn, then stopping it. I approached the vehicle and obtained good identification from them both without incident. A friendly interaction with a warning to signal their turns in the future.

    I then wrote up a supplement to the assault to murder offense with the information I had obtained. The detective called me asking if I could make follow up contact with these individuals as this was the best lead he had and that he was under great pressure to clear the case (victim’s family was well connected).

    I drove straight to the female’s home, which was just a few blocks from my station, making contact and asking her to step outside and talk. Just as we were getting seated in my car, the boyfriend came speeding up in the Mercury Comet, jumped out and ran up to my car, shouting “I shot that white boy! She didn’t do nothing!”, the perfect example of a “res gestae” confession (I hadn’t even asked a question of either, yet). I arrested him for the original offense and took her into custody as a material witness. The detective was ecstatic with the outcome.

    I tell of this incident because this is how many crimes are solved. Solved by observant uniformed street cops working with sometimes vague descriptions. This is how the Yanez/Castille incident began, an observant street cop acting on prior knowledge/info of a crime . The incident I described played out perfectly, not because I handled my original traffic stop better, but because those I stopped handled themselves well, as most do. Of course neither volunteered that they were armed or ignored my directions.

    Hope this story didn’t bore folks, I just thought it fit into the conversation.

    How did your third example end?

  44. Larry McCain Says:

    “… I have informed LEO dispatch that i am armed and will use deadly force if necessary. At which point, LEO.” arrived and illuminated our front porch with the spot lights from seven units dispatched to our home. In the time it took the officers to make it through the snow from the road to the house, I convinced the butt naked young man to go on the front porch because that was where the help is. Once he went back onto the front porch is when he was rushed and arrested. My previous description didn’t include he was at our western facing side door, then went to the front door where he forced entry.

    It was the next day when the young mans mother came by to pay for any damages and apologize for the whole incident, which is where I found the details of the individual.

    Fellow instructors asked why I didn’t shoot him after kicking in the door. I explained a few things by my observations: A-he was injured/bleeding, butt naked and no weapon could be seen, B-I had a very agitated Rotty/Dobie mix more than willing to do her job, C-it was apparent and then obvious this person was not there to do harm, but to get help.

    Ma’s statement “ON RELATIVE VALUE OF LIFE”, I felt compelled to give these examples to demonstrate the Armed Citizen needs to be observant of every angle afforded to them in the face of adversity. That said, for the dedicated law enforcement officers out there doing their job, adversity is commonplace and decision making under the extreme chaos/pressure limits the ability of those dedicated individuals, especially in the climate of today where seemingly the word POLICE equals BULLSEYE to the criminal element.

    After watching the dashcam footage of the Castile incident I could see both points of view, but since Massad elaborated in depth on the case, I now have a better understanding of the facts that I can cite when confronted by those who think they “know” what happened. Thank you again for the facts. Stay safe.

  45. WR Moore Says:

    Liberal Dave, I agree that a great many of the folks who used to be warehoused, could have and subsequently did and still do, manage as outpatients. No argument.

    That said, the availability of suitable means of housing those who, temporarily or otherwise, need institutional care has dropped below the level of the demand . At the same time, the drive to utilize outpatient care when it may be inappropriate (partially driven by lack of facilities) has intensified.

    Now let’s look at two cases in Virginia where folks who, per allegedly qualified professionals, could properly medicate themselves and posed no danger to self or others.

    1. Son of a prominent Virginia politician, for whom no professional facilities were available, attacked and serious injured his father and killed himself. after being released with medication and suitable instructions.

    2. Local gent who would be the subject of a SWAT call out (barricaded armed individual) about every 3 months. Subject would give up, go away for treatment, be released, time would pass and, here we go again. Now, this pattern continued for several years, with escalating disturbance, before the subject ended up dead (believe self-inflicted), while barricaded.

    Now, my point, which you seemed to have missed, was NOT that we “should shoot those folks down like dogs”, but that we need a better solution for caring for those with mental issues. Both the politicians and the mental health professionals are at fault in the decline of suitable facilities. The pros obviously also need to be somewhat more selective in who they deem “not a danger” and “able to care for self”. In the mean time, a little slack for the folks who have to deal with the current situation is in order.

  46. Debby rich Says:

    Right now I am just forming my opionion in my old age at 67. First of all I
    really think that the mental Health professionals need to tightened it up.The
    reason why I am upset is that my right to carry a firearm should not be
    infringed up in any case. End of subject.But most people are not as careful
    as I tend to be. I just bought my second firearm this week with doctors
    approval. I broke my left elbow last year and I can’t straighten out my
    elbow. So having a new rifle may help.But I will not shot without my husband
    in tow for any reason. He is a rietired miltary and was an expert shot.But the
    first thing that we both do is watch you tube wideos about said guns that we
    have. Like how to take them down and put them back together,etc.And I
    still won’t shot my pistol without him near by. And we are both busy when
    he gets home from work.So we are both extremely careful. Also the state
    of Montana won’t allow us to shoot on our land because of wildfires.
    But I am reading Warnings unheed for the 3 time and realize that the
    mental heath people just pass the buck, where they should have really helped him
    Well take care
    Blessings
    Debby

  47. Dave (the Liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    When Debby rich says, “But I am reading Warnings unheed” she means, I believe, “Warnings Unheeded: Twin Tragedies at Fairchild Air Force Base” by Andy Brown. I’ve not read it, but found the following Wikipedia article that gives a very brief summary and the following newspaper article that gives a great deal more detail:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairchild_Air_Force_Base#1994_shooting_incident

    http://www.spokesman.com/stories/1995/may/21/fighting-anger-seeking-answers-fairchild/

    There’s also this appellate case which gives yet more detail and, whether or not its analysis of the law is correct (about which I have neither any opinion or, for that matter, any clue), illustrates just how complex the military regulations dealing with mentally ill soldiers can be:

    http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1082552.html

    This case is, however, only illustrative of the issues in the military dealing with mentally ill soldiers; it does not address the far, far more common issue of mentally ill individuals in civil society. The question raised in these works was whether the military messed up in allowing the shooter to be enlisted in the first place* and then, once he proved to be a serious problem, whether they were interested in helping and/or controlling him or only interested in just discharging him, preferably in a way that they would not be liable for his continuing mental health care. None of those issues are present in the civil law situation or more than marginally related to what we’ve been talking about here.

    Nonetheless, it makes for some pretty interesting reading.

    ————————————-

    *According to those sources, one of the reasons that this case proved to be troublesome was that the military usually does a pretty good job in weeding out at enlistment individuals who have serious mental health issues and, thus, they rarely have to deal with individuals who are seriously ill. This guy slipped through the cracks, due to their failure to follow up on something he self-reported during his enlistment. One of the issues in the court case was whether that failure could cause them to be liable.

  48. Dave (the Liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    How quickly memory fades. Debbie got Warnings Unheeded from Mas:

    http://backwoodshome.com/blogs/MassadAyoob/2016/11/26/warnings-unheeded/

  49. Dr. Rob Says:

    I am a clinical psychologist with over 30 years of experience working in many settings and with a wide range of impaired individuals. For the last 17 years I’ve worked with intellectually impaired adult males, many of whom are violent and aggressive. I should add that I am also a CCW permit holder and carry wherever it is legal for me to do so.
    Given that, I most emphatically agree with Mr. Ayoob’s observations.
    With all my experience, I cannot immediately tell you if any given person who is acting dangerously or erratically is intellectually impaired, affected by drugs, off their medications, distraught and suicidal or homicidal due to a loss, and the list can go on. How can the average citizen, or even a well trained law enforcement officer be expected to?
    Given the nature of our laws that generally come down on the side of patient, rights, it is common for very impaired individuals to be under no supervision unless they have been deemed a “danger to self or others” as Dave (the liberal non-uncle) observes. This does not mean that they have not been or will never be a danger, it only means that the last time they were assessed, perhaps at a psychiatric hospital or emergency room, they were making no overt threats.
    Law enforcement personnel and legally armed citizens must make decisions based on what is immediately in front of them and have the first duty of protecting themselves and others within the law. They cannot be expected to diagnose or perform a psychological assessment at that time. They can only assess immediate threat.
    There has been a societal trend to transition patients from developmental facilities and psychiatric facilities into the community. Many of the individuals I work with are now being transitioned to group homes or apartments with 24 hr support staff. Many would appear “normal” to the casual observer but have significant impairment and potentials for violence. Many have demonstrated the ability to AWOL from caregivers.
    There have been recent cases of such persons breaking into homes, threatening others and being killed as a result. I fear for my patients who are moving into the community. But I also understand those who would defend themselves from them if they perceived an immediate, serious threat to themselves or others. I would hope that reason would prevail over emotion in such cases.

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