Jan Brewer's Response to Jared Loughner? Slash Services from an Already Beleaguered Mental-Health System

Retired Phoenix cop Alex Femenia recalls the days when he was assigned to patrol a roughneck neighborhood on East Van Buren Street.

It was the late 1970s, and seemingly overnight, he says, the streets filled with what Femenia later learned were longtime patients released en masse from the nearby Arizona State Hospital. His was already a high-crime beat; now it was populated with the seriously mentally ill, many of whom had been locked up for years and now had been dropped into the "community," often to fend for themselves.

Femenia says many of the former (and future) patients were easy fodder for street thugs and, sometimes, for each other.

Portrait of a killer
Kyle T. Webster
Portrait of a killer
Governor Jan Brewer
Governor Jan Brewer

Details

Shadow Dwellers: A Series

What's the one image you took away from the Tucson shootings? We thought so. That mugshot of Jared Loughner is haunting. And for the world, it has become the face of mental illness in Arizona. Here, we know that's not true. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the story of what it's like to be mentally ill in this place cannot be told in a single photograph.

Tens of thousands of seriously mentally ill people live in Arizona. Some of them look just like you.

Other stories in the series:

Tucson's Cafe 54 Is the Real Face of Mental Illness in Arizona, Not Jared Lougher, by Amy Silverman

Phoenix's Most At-Risk Homeless Find Their Way, Thanks to a Team of "Navigators", by Paul Rubin

Meet Raven, a Homeless Man with More Community Than Many of Us Have, by Paul Rubin

Why Did the Arizona Department of Corrections Put a Mentally Ill Man in Cell with a Convicted Killer?, by Paul Rubin

Mental Illness Hasn't Stopped Chris Shelton from Becoming a World-Class Boxing Historian, by Paul Rubin

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"It was bizarre, and it was sad," he says, recounting tales of gruesome murders and already difficult lives that got worse for many after the wholesale "deinstitutionalizing" of the hospital.

Unfortunately, no records are available about what happened to many of the hundreds of patients released from the mental hospital during that time.

Some returned to families. Others became homeless, drifting through what remained of their lives.

What was happening in Phoenix hardly was unique — it was a time when the bulk of America's institutionalized seriously mentally ill population was freed from what political leaders came to see as the shackles (literally and figuratively, in many instances) of an inhumane system.

As Pete Earley recounts in his 2006 book, Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental-Health Madness, this country has a long and sordid history of mistreating its mentally ill citizens.

From the tale of the early-1800s preacher outraged after discovering a rag-clad mentally ill prisoner locked in a tiny closet in a Boston jail to the 20th-century "innovations" in electroshock and fever therapies, Earley details a disturbing but fascinating history, including what prompted the decision to deinstitutionalize.

If you've read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest — or seen the classic 1975 movie that Earley says helped gather popular support for the movement — you understand.

Who can forget the evil Nurse Ratched and how she terrorized the mentally ill (or, in some cases, the merely socially unfit) in a setting where lobotomies and utter degradation of the human spirit ruled the day?

But though life for far too many in state institutions surely was horrific, the dramatic alternative — which was to release droves of mentally ill people into society without providing an adequate safety net — wasn't without peril.

Some saw the future, including Dr. Robert Reich, who wrote in the American Journal of Psychiatry, "The freedom to be sick, helpless and isolated, is not freedom. Our present policy of discharging helpless people to a hostile community is immoral and inhumane."

His 1973 piece was called "Care of the Chronically Mentally Ill — A National Disgrace," which tells us that, on some levels, things haven't changed much since then.

In the end, an unlikely and dangerous liaison between fiscal conservatives and well-meaning humanitarians all but emptied the nation's mental hospitals. In the 1950s, according to federal government estimates, about 500,000 people were housed for indeterminate lengths of time in state mental hospitals.

Today, that number is about 50,000, and all but the very sickest may get an opportunity for release at some point.

Earley — who was motivated to write his book after his son had a schizophrenic breakdown in his early 20s — warns that even with social services, mental illness can be difficult to diagnose, treat, and continue to treat.

And it can be hard for parents or other people close to the ill person to recognize trouble in the first place.

"Most of these illnesses, including schizophrenia, surface in late adolescent and early college years, and so it's sometimes difficult for a parent to see what is a serious mental illness and what is a kid getting his own identity," Earley says.

That is not to say there haven't been improvements across the board — from educating parents to creating programs. Many seriously mentally ill people are able to lead quiet and productive lives, but usually only if they receive the right medical care and social assistance — which is no small task in Arizona, where libertarians too often overrule do-gooders.

Enter Charles "Chick" Arnold.

The Phoenix attorney has been on the frontlines of the mental-health conundrum for more than 30 years. In 1981, when Arizona ranked dead last in the nation for per-capita spending on mental-health services, Arnold was serving as the Maricopa County Public Fiduciary.

That year, he became the plaintiff on behalf of seriously mentally ill clients in a groundbreaking lawsuit filed by the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest against the state health department, state hospital, and his own bosses, the county Board of Supervisors.

Arnold prevailed, and increased funding from the Arizona Legislature later allowed the paltry services to improve, though not anywhere near the level that he and like-minded advocates wanted. To this day, his practice continues to focus on mental-health law, an admittedly frustrating line of work.

Yet Arnold has been instrumental in helping to craft an enlightened body of law involving civil commitments, the legal process in which a judge decides whether a troubled person should be ordered into a psychiatric hospital or forced to accept other mental-health treatment.

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146 comments
lotsaloves
lotsaloves

This is a good starting point article, but I am sure that there is more to this than Brewer's fiscal conservatism.

She is the biggest proponent for the booming private prison system, aka our future resting spot for mentally I'll offenders.

Badaboom, less funding for medications and outpatient services means more mentally I'll people walking the streets, untreated and left to their own devices.

We need to look no further than current crime stats to see that many of our inmates across the board, suffer from some form of mental illness.

More untreated mentally ill Arizonans converts into more money for those privately run prisons. More inmates equal more money.

With this current political puppet in office why expect anything less?

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

The problem isn't access to mental health resources - that's easy.

The problem is that we don't yet recognize Religious extremism, anti-government activism, gun violence advocacy and other such right-wing values as legitimate mental illnesses.

Until we start recognizing them as sick, we have to treat them as criminals.

Deborah Martin
Deborah Martin

Is Brewer without a soul ? Is she a psychopath or a sociopath? There appears to be this old worman with a plastic smile who does not have a conscience or remorse. Her blood must be like ice water. I bet before she even was in politics she had the best alarm system to protectherself from "those people". Why is it always the good people? God Bless Gabby and family.God Bless Obama and family.

FuckBrewer
FuckBrewer

Maybe with a little luck, Brewer will be the next victim

Alialibubu
Alialibubu

Why doesn't someone stand outside the State Mental Hospital, and when Brewer's son checks out to go to work on his new bike, interview him as to why he hates his mother and how he allowed to not only work, leave a state mental hospital, but who bought his new bike and pays for his state monitoring ANKLE BRACELET.

Foralice
Foralice

I can't believe that no reporter has mentioned the last shooting spree in Tucson - by another person who slipped through the mental health system!! An officer was struck down in the line of duty and others wounded in 2008. Is our memory that short? http://bit.ly/ibepJu

John Smith
John Smith

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rosalia136
rosalia136

about a month ago I sent the Phoenix new Times and several other news media a copy of a letter sent to Gov. Brewer by the CEO of the American psychiatric Association in that letter it made it very clear that the cuts that she had made to the mental health system were ill-advised and there would be consequences. Also signed by the mental health of America, Nami and a couple of others. It was dated June 15, 2010. The governor completely ignored the letter and never even replied. With her plan to drop 5200 more seriously mentally ill patients from the mental health system she is putting the public at risk with dire consequences. So where is that letter? No one published it. Shame on you, the tragedy in Tucson could have been avoided and many other deaths like Bernard Allen who killed a man at fiesta Mall and Joe Gallegos who killed those two boys with a bat and then there's Jill who after leaving the clinic went home to her apartment and stabbed her 87-year-old neighbor to death. There are others. So who is responsible Gov. Brewer who dropped 1300 seriously mentally ill patients from the mental health system who receive no services nor medications and the news media.

Crusty_contrarian
Crusty_contrarian

PS thank a lawyer today! That's why we have so many repeat criminals on the streets. Civilized countries in Europe don't have this problem. They have laws that are enforced, safe streets, and less lawyers. Saves $. And less crime! The legal biz is not such a huge part of the economy in these countries - and their laws don't endanger the public. Our system is a threat to public safety. RAP SHEET= tax dollars spent on lawyers over and over. Think.

Crusty_contrarian
Crusty_contrarian

Insanity plea. Advice from lawyers no doubt who will get large $ for a long time for doing this. Great. Our $. Perfect. Business as usual. Let's drag it out forever and spend millions on lawyers. Is this Washington? That's their MO.

stanm
stanm

But, hey! Talking about insanity. The handgun industry and their outspoken advocates have a solution to the mental health care crisis in Arid-zona. Just ask them.

Carl Toersbijns
Carl Toersbijns

If the laws are not followed [and in most cases, they are not] then the accountability has to be brought forth to change the culture and priorities. When the civil rights of these mentally disabled are recognized inside a packed courtroom, the state will act. When the lawsuit is won and the press prints the state's flaws and lack of taking responsibility for mental illness in Arizona, we will all pay. When the ACLU, the human rights advocates and the true caring citizens of this state show they care and speak with a more powerful voice to make a change, it will happen but not before. Civil Rights are being violated and nobody cares??? Isn't that a contradiction of how we live in this country. I would like to say that it takes a true Christian to understand this message but I also know this, whether you are a Christian, another religion, or a non-believer, you know it is not right for mankind to suffer. We are not a third world country, we are the United States of American and Arizona belongs to the USA.

lujlp
lujlp

Well lets see, tens of millions of dollars in damages to the victims of the MSCO, lawsuits filed by the state against the state in order to force the state to make it illegal(and mandatory) for the state to teach mexican children english. Lawsuits to prevent the loss of welfare to illegal aliens, and legal residents. Lawsuits between cites of Maricopa county every time on city respnods to a accident or emergency in anothers boundries.

How much money do you suppose could be saved if the enire Pheonix valley was incorperated into ONE city? You'd drop the salaries of 29 mayors for one. Imagine only having to pay to the salaries of one school board? And only one school board office building? How many millions would taht save? You'd have one police cheif instead of 15 and 14 cites wouldnt have to pay the MCSO for piss poor police service. Without the patch work of unincorperated county islands and municipalites paying for his 'services' Arpio would forced to do his job in the rest of the county. Sad fact is were out of money and the firt people to be cut off are those who cant make a fuss about it.

How about istead of bitching all the time you acctually make some suggestions?

Carl Toersbijns
Carl Toersbijns

Let me just say this about mental health in Arizona and the laws. The laws are adequate but need to be paid attention to by the public officials in charge of public safety. Today, the spirit of the laws is apathy and the letter of the laws is not enforced. Arizona does not care for it’s mentally ill in the community and in their prisons. Their answer to mental health is to close their eyes and pretend it's not there and then hope they forget about it. This shooting incident brought it back up again and tomorrow another major story will bring it back to the front page but nothing will be done. The money is not there so the lawmakers [except a few] won’t bring it to the chambers for a vote as well as the fact that many don't care and those [lawmakers] who do care are in the minority, insufficient in numbers to get a bill passed to maintain some degree of accountability of these laws..

Non profit advocacy groups have been knocking on the doors of public officials for help and have received none being told they are too busy to see them. The lawyers [public defendants and prosecutors and judges] are ignorant of their civic duty to ensure these types of disabilities are addressed before pre-trial arraignment and incarceration recommendations are made. These individuals are simply ignored and cast away like a leper in a leprosy colony. NO HOPE for change, they become worse in behaviors and end up being lost forever. The risk assessment for pre-trail is horrendous, the understanding of acquiring a pre-trail mental health assessment is non existent, their history files for past treatment [if actually documented] are not transferred or shared thus lost in the shuffle starting the process from square one.

The community resources are oblivious to their role to share an individual’s bizarre or unusual behaviors while in school or community colleges and are not acting or rather being responsible for legitimate input to other entities, families or the law enforcement agencies. Lawmen and are inadequately trained to manage, communicate and comprehend those with disabilities already incarcerated. Mentally disabled persons become repeat offender because they never received an opportunity to be treated for a disability before, during or after release of prison.

Arizona will not fix this problem in the near future. It will put its blinders on and pretend it is not there. When someone holding a high office has the courage to say "enough is enough" he or she will seek the leverage needed to fund, to identify, to diagnose, to treat and/or medicate, to assist, to follow up, to maintain and THEN the process will be working as designed by our laws. Until then, we are blowing in the wind creating a sea of controversy, pointing fingers with conflicting ideas and political rhetoric blaming each other for the state's shortcomings in their important role to maintain public safety and to protect the civil rights of those persons who are mentally challenged and in many cases, depended or co-dependent on others for understanding, direction, treatment and yes salvation.

Roderick
Roderick

(the 'edit' function on this web site is not working... )

HEAVILY RESOURCED INQUIRY- WITH A BROAD-BASED TERMS OF REFERENCE- INTO THE CAUSES OF THE ARIZONA SHOOTINGS URGENTLY NEEDED!!!

Who is going to demand a formal inquiry into the causes of the Arizona shootings??

Where are the U.S.'s largest and most powerful mental health advocacy, service-provider and other stakeholder groups in this- other than 'only speaking when asked to' by the news media and related bodies??

Why aren't the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Treatment Advocacy Center, American Psychiatric Association and other self-described as concerned groups raising an almighty fuss about the core causative factors in the Arizona shootings:

A) a deplorably inadaquate system of care, housing, support and rehabilitation for the mentally ill in Arizona;

B) dysfunctional mental health policies at Pima Community College; and

C) lack of avenues for Arizona police that are involved in incidents involving severely mentally ill people to get such persons into contact with community mental health care agencies and/or hospital based care...

Possible bodies that could conduct an inquiry into the Arizona shootings:

1) An impartially appointed tribunal;

2) Committee of Congress;

3) A State Ombudsman;

4) A Committee of the Arizona State legislature....

============================

Intellectual honesty needed

A very mentally ill and getting sicker student's lack of referral to and support from adequately funded and resourced mental health services caused the recent grievous massacre...

Why are so few people with the ability and obligations to change these conditions that led to the massacre talking about this??

Involuntarily Committing and hospitalizing the mentally ill in increased numbers is not the solution to what apparently caused the recent shooting...

Just "Involuntarily Committing People" in large numbers without putting in place- AND MAINTAINING other components of a complete, balanced mental health system would only cause calamitous disruptions in the running of both general and psychiatric hospitals state-wide and would harm other parts of a state's health system...

In states like Arizona, sufficient annualized funding to pay for the establishment and ongoing operations of community-based outreach, support, supportive-housing and rehabilitation programmes for the mentally ill is plainly urgently needed...

With such services in place, if a person like Mr. Loughner is found to be decompensating/exhibiting a worsening of his condition- and appeared to be a threat to self or others- the community-based outreach worker assigned to the respective case could- and should- involve the police to have the decompensating person brought to a local general hospital psychiatric department for an evaluation and if necessary, a paid-for-by-the-state hospitalization until stabilized and deemed not a threat to his/herself or others...

A stabilized person with a mental illness- IE: a mentally ill person who's major mental illness symptoms have been minimized/eliminated- and who has been made a client/patient of a community's mental health care office is far more likely to be able to productively complete his/her University/College courses- and eventually become a benefit to wider society- than a mentally ill person who has the extensive avenues toward a better life that post-high school education can offer blocked due to him/her being thrown out of University/College because of his/her disruptive conduct- caused by him/her having an untreated mental illness...

_________________Roderick V. Louis,Vancouver, BC, Canada

Roderick
Roderick

HEAVILY RESOURCED INQUIRY- WITH A BROAD-BASED TERMS OF REFERENCE- INTO THE CAUSES OF THE ARIZONA SHOOTINGS URGENTLY NEEDED!!!

Who is going to demand a formal inquiry into the causes of the Arizona shootings??

Where are the U.S.'s largest and most powerful mental health advocacy, service-provider and other stakeholder groups in this- other than 'only speaking when asked to' by the news media and related bodies??

Why aren't the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Treatment Advocacy Center, American Psychiatric Association and other self-described as concerned groups raising an almighty fuss about the core causative factors in the Arizona shootings:

A) a deplorably inadaquate system of care, housing, support and rehabilitation for the mentally ill in Arizona;

B) dysfunctional mental health policies at Pima Community College; and

C) lack of avenues for Arizona police that are involved in incidents involving severely mentally ill people to get such persons into contact with community mental health care agencies and/or hospital based care...

Possible bodies that could conduct an inquiry into the Arizona shootings:

1) An impartially appointed tribunal;

2) Committee of Congress;

3) A State Ombudsman;

4) A Committee of the Arizona State legislature.... ============================

Intellectual honesty needed

A very mentally ill and getting sicker student's lack of referral to and support from adequately funded and resourced mental health services caused the recent grievous massacre...

Why are so few people with the ability and obligations to change these conditions that led to the massacre talking about this??

Involuntarily Committing and hospitalizing the mentally ill in increased numbers is not the solution to what apparently caused the recent shooting...

Just "Involuntarily Committing People" in large numbers without putting in place- AND MAINTAINING other components of a complete, balanced mental health system would only cause calamitous disruptions in the running of both general and psychiatric hospitals state-wide and would harm other parts of a state's health system...

In states like Arizona, sufficient annualized funding to pay for the establishment and ongoing operations of community-based outreach, support, supportive-housing and rehabilitation programmes for the mentally ill is plainly urgently needed...

With such services in place, if a person like Mr. Loughner is found to be decompensating/exhibiting a worsening of his condition- and appeared to be a threat to self or others- the community-based outreach worker assigned to the respective case could- and should- involve the police to have the decompensating person brought to a local general hospital psychiatric department for an evaluation and if necessary, a paid-for-by-the-state hospitalization until stabilized and deemed not a threat to his/herself or others...

A stabilized person with a mental illness- IE: a mentally ill person who's major mental illness symptoms have been eliminated- and who has been made a client/patient of a community's mental health care office is far more likely to be able to productively complete his/her University/College courses- and eventually become a benefit to wider society- than a mentally ill person who has the extensive avenues toward a better life that post-high school education can offer blocked due to him/her being thrown out of University/College because of his/her disruptive conduct- caused by him/her having an untreated mental illness...

_________________Roderick V. Louis,Vancouver, BC, Canada

Marcy
Marcy

Was his death REALLY a "preventable tragedy"? Short of incarceration, whether in a prison or a mental health facility, there is no way to ensure that the seriously mentally ill will take their medication.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

I believe we are being set up for increasing numbers of random homicidal acts by mentally ill that should be receiving help instead of being out on their own. The inability to predict when it will happen next is a hallmark of a terrorist attack as well as at attack by a mentally disturbed person.

brd
brd

I know she's homely, but did you really need to air brush Brewer's picture.

Frank Rider
Frank Rider

I agree this is a thoughtful and informative piece of journalism, attempting to put immediate events in much larger contexts.Wouldn't it be something if we could ever know what murdered victims in the January 8 "Tucson tragedy" might envision Arizona's behavioral health and social service system should look like?In fact, in the case of Hon. John C. Roll, the federal district court judge left us a detailed vision of that system. It can be found within a 17 page document, a settlement agreement Judge Roll ratified on June 26, 2001 in his courtroom in Tucson. Yes, ten years ago Judge Roll approved the settlement of a class action lawsuit, J.K. vs. Eden et al., which literally includes a written description of "The Arizona Vision and Principles" of the state's public behavioral health system.

The J.K. Settlement bears the name of a young man in Tucson with mental health challenges, but was accepted, in fact, on behalf of roughly 36,000 children and youth and their families who depend on Arizona's behavioral health and social service systems.

Many of the people interviewed for this story are among scores who have fought to bring that vision of a worthy behavioral health system to life for the past ten years. It would be a fitting way to honor Judge Roll's memory for the state's legislators, chief executive and cabinet members to dust off that visionary document and rededicate themselves to it as the roadmap to guide operation of the public system of services Judge Roll knew Arizona's children, families and citizens deserve.Frank Rider - riders4@nc.rr.com

rocks1
rocks1

Mr Obama protect the seriously mentally ill adults and an additional 21,900 adults and children in need of general mental health care and substance-abuse come on you know it wants to be said

azcowpoke
azcowpoke

Too bad most of the "professionals" you quote are more interested in getting their paycheck at the expense of helping others.

Bubba99
Bubba99

Jan Brewers response? Your kidding right? The article has some good points and mental health is certianly right at the top of important issues that need good solutions.

However I doubt that these cuts are in any way related to Jared Loughner. I can't see her looking at the situation and saying "Lets cut mental health funding as a response to the shootings in Tuscon."

I'm betting it's just one more of the diffucult cuts this state is facing due to the current budget shortfall. There is never a good place to cut money, police, fire, parks, mental health, streets, utilities, ect.

I understand it's tough to get sympathy for mental health paitents and since I've had personal experience with my son I also know for a fact that help hard to find.

What most people don't understand when you have a child with emotional or mental health issues it's not usually due to bad parenting. In fact most parents in those situations put in way more effort, time, money ect. to make a difference in the child's life.

Here is my challenge... If you are a parent of an emotionally stable and mentally healthy child what are you doing to teach your child empathy towards those who are less fortunate.

cajungman
cajungman

i love all women,my mother told a long time ago to respect women but this one dum woman cant talk prob-ly cant wipe herself clen without help from uncle russel between the 2 this state is domed instead of trying to work with the feds and our president she does the opposite i sure wish somebody wold tell that frog the old saying you more flies with sugar than you get with salt water but once an idiot always an idiot.

Ronnie434
Ronnie434

This is thoughtful, top-notch journalism and I thank the writers for taking the time not to scream and shout about everything.

sickofit
sickofit

another socialist pundit who believes that the working class should pay for the worthless class' problems. how bout this? we stop GIVING these worthless pieces of crap welfare, housing, and free health care,they starve or migrate to some where else.

Brian ONeil
Brian ONeil

Site is messing up my posting dang it.

Brian ONeil
Brian ONeil

Which is why you should exercise your Second Amendment rights, and purchase a firearm to protect yourself and your family. Get yourself trained through the available programs, and become a responsible gun owner, and join the ranks of millions of us in this state.

Brian ONeil
Brian ONeil

It was once stated by the founding fathers, that it is the duty of every American to own guns.I get people who aren't comfortable with guns, that is okay. However, those who oppose them to the point that they expect that other peoples rights should be lessened because of their moral objections are the bottom end of the intellectual spectrum.It is a fact that those areas of the country that are more friendly to the Second Amendment have lower instances of gun related crime. If you don't believe me, check out Washington D.C. where guns are pretty much illegal, but people get killed by them all the time, and not by people with mental issues, just people who are the lowest common denominator of society.In speaking with one individual some years ago who used to commit home invasions, he told me that the one place he wouldn't go to rob was Sun City. When I asked why, he told me that all the old people there had guns because so many used to be military, and he was not willing to break into a house where he was so likely to get shot.I would say Brewer and the legislature care more deeply about the actual safety of the common Arizona citizen, than they care about panhandling to the misinformed and misguided in our society who believe only criminals should have guns, and we should run on a budget deficit forever.

kit carson
kit carson

As an someone who works internationally, and is an attorney, I state with absolute confidence that you are full of shit and don't have a clue about what you are talking about.

Someone whispered in your ear that everything is the fault of the lawyers, and you have mindlessly repeated it.

The reason Europe is safer is because they have reasonable gun laws.

Blame the law, not the lawyers.

Pat
Pat

Arizona gun owners use the mentally ill for target practice until the regular hunting season starts? *Sigh*, yep, that would save the state a ton of money in mental-health services, all right. :(

Angelsng
Angelsng

may I suggest you use "spellcheck"

Majkumajku
Majkumajku

and the irony of this is that Brewer's son is in the state mental hospital,and it's being paid for by the Arizona taxpayers.

S
S

I just scrolled down here to post that very comment - very nice mind reading sir!

Brian ONeil
Brian ONeil

The fact that you spelled dumb as d-u-m speaks greatly to your argument. The fact that you are apparently too lazy to either use spell-check on your rampant errors, and too lazy to even bother with punctuation does give me hope. If you are too lazy to make the simplest efforts in forwarding your political efforts effectively, it only stands to reason that you are also too lazy to vote. And that is of great benefit to those of us who both care about our state, and know what we are talking about.

I am actually tempted to properly rewrite your post, if for no other reason than for you to use it as a learning experience. One who cannot put together an intelligent thought, has no place insulting the intelligence of someone else. I can forgive occasional errors in writing, we all make them. Plus, this is the internet, not the Harvard Law Review. But your complete disregard for any sign of education given the nature of your argument, is unforgivable at best.

Jonathan Souza
Jonathan Souza

Talk like that is all well and good when you are not a member of the worthless class. There are a lot of hardworking families, through no fault of their own, have entered the worthless class. Perhaps someday you or one of your loved ones becomes worthless. Since these people are worthless, it would be great if they left really quickly don't you agree? Say something like a modern day death camp, get rid of them all. Then the US won't have worthless people only beautiful, wealthy, super intelligent people who are all star atheletes and artists. At some point sickofit you would be the last person left alive, since obviously no-one can compare to your grace and omipotence.

Mia Chenique
Mia Chenique

your a fucking parrot..you hear and believe with out fact..and talk like a parrot

Nomis 1
Nomis 1

Brian,I was raised by a former Marine and gun enthusiast so I am very keen to the rights that the second amendment provides and how to effectively lay down fire. My question to anyone who thinks they are a bad ass with a gun? Do you really think you could have shot him in time to save lives? Scenario: You have 13 seconds from when he first pulled the trigger to when he stopped shooting! This while your dodging bullets and people who are screaming their heads off.

My money is on the determined crazy guy with a gun?

David
David

"It was once stated by the founding fathers, that it is the duty of every American to own guns."

Please site exactly where I can find this exact phrase, I would love to print it out and show all of my gun fearing co-workers that it is our duty to own own.

Thank You

Kathy Monkman
Kathy Monkman

I keep looking for statistics on the efficacy of semi automatic weapons used as effective deterrents for criminals using semi automatic weapons in the types of crimes we saw here in Tucson. As I understand it, one of the men who "took down" this mentally deranged killer was armed but didn't draw his weapon. How would someone else with a semi automatic weapon have been able to either prevent or minimize the damage from Loughner's crime?

Guest
Guest

I would expect better grammar out of an attorney. You're full of shit.

Guest
Guest

Are you the guy who later whined about hidden insults in posts and how you would only engage in civil discussion?

Fuck off you fraud.

Kit Carson
Kit Carson

Getting bent out shape over a typo on the Internet tells me you're not the brightest bulb out there. A misspelling, a fat-fingered word, a dropped word here and there, those are all excusable.

Being a lout, however, for that there is no excuse. Don't be a twit. Answer the call of the question of the post or just shut-up.

Brian ONeil
Brian ONeil

I agree, in a situation like this, as fast as it happened, there wasn't much the typical person could do. Even though I have more training and experience than most, I am doubtful as to my ability to react to something in as effective was with a firearm as the individual who brought him down without one. That being said, if it had not been resolved in the manner it was, and he had been able to continue his insane rampage, then yes, someone with the ability to shoot back could have prevented him from killing more than if there was no one there to shoot back, and no one close enough to him to stop him. But the entire line of reasoning would be purely speculative either way. It is fortunate though that in type of situation that usually requires deadly force (or threat of deadly force), this type of incident is in the minority. Unfortunately, the few exceptions always seem to get highlighted by many to take away the rights of the thousands who have otherwise been saved by firearms.

Brian ONeil
Brian ONeil

I can't find the exact one offhand, I used it once as my status for facebook, but now it escapes me. In the meantime though, here are a few of my favorites.

“The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able may have a gun.” - Patrick Henry

“A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.” - Thomas Jefferson

“No free man shall ever be de-barred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” - Thomas Jefferson

“Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence. The church, the plow, the prairie wagon, and citizen's firearms are indelibly related. From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable. Every corner of this land knows firearms, and more than 99 99/100 percent of them by their silence indicate they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference; they deserve a place with all that's good. When firearms go, all goes; we need them every hour.” - George Washington

"Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." - James Madison

“When they took the 4th Amendment, I was quiet because I didn't deal drugs. When they took the 6th Amendment, I was quiet because I am innocent. When they took the 2nd Amendment, I was quiet because I don't own a gun. Now they have taken the 1st Amendment, and I can only be quiet “ - Lyle Myhr

“If you own your life, then you have the right to defend yourself against anyone who would deprive you of it. ... And, if you have the right of self-defense, it follows that you have the right to act ... to obtain means appropriate to that defense. That brings us to firearms, particularly the handgun, which so many people would outlaw. The handgun has been called the equalizer ..., and for good reason. It affords smaller, weaker people the chance to defend themselves against bigger, stronger people who threaten them. Handguns offer the otherwise defenseless a convenient, practical, inexpensive method of safeguarding themselves and their families. Banishing handguns -- even if the big and strong were also denied them -- would leave the small and the weak defenseless.” - Sheldon Richman

"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest." - Mahatma Gandhi, in Gandhi, An Autobiography

It is strange, but were the founding fathers in our society today, they would be attacked as radicals. People would call them crazy for the notion of encouraging citizens that if the government was not working for their best interests that they should replace it by force if necessary. But then, they also did not expect the government that they established to outlast their children. People forget, that the first attempt at our federal government was a failure. People say that the average citizen doesn't need the same type of guns as the military, but the whole reason for the Second Amendment was for the people to be able to rise up against the government and its military if need be. The guns that fought the British were the ones that hung over the fireplace of the common citizen. The Second Amendment was to preserve the ability of those citizens to fight again, whether or not the tyranny they fought was from a foreign government, or their own. While that may not be needed in our lifetime, we cannot guarantee that will be the case in a hundred years, which is why the Second Amendment must be protected as, if not more vigorously than the others.

Most likely though, the only thing my guns will ever do is put holes in paper. And I am quite content with that.

Brian ONeil
Brian ONeil

Kathy,First, if you are who I think you are, and even if you aren't, I am deeply sorry for your loss.

If the individual is as mentally unstable as he appears to be, honestly I doubt anything would have dissuaded him. He seems to have accepted as a fact before anything began that he was going to be killed or caught.

Most people who are armed, don't look to drawing their guns first. It is a misconception, and something perpetuated by those who disagree with a lawful citizen owning and carrying a firearm. Those who receive training and are responsible gun owners are taught to avoid drawing their firearm if possible, and instead be a good witness for police unless absolutely necessary. There are so many ramifications for discharging a firearm, even with cause that it is not the preferred first step. Only in the movies do we see the shoot first, ask questions later gun owner.

If I had been there, I would likely not have drawn as well with all the people around. In any gun fight, even with proper training an estimated 75% are misses. With a crowd around, you have to be sure of your shot, your target, and know what is behind it.

The term semi automatic is thrown around a lot by people and the media who are adverse to guns in general. Being semi automatic does not determine the lethality of a firearm, or how much damage it can inflict. It just means that you the gun will fire one round as fast as you can pull the trigger. It is a term used to demonize firearms, as if the feature itself was unnecessary or evil.

In 1982, Kennesaw, GA passed a law requiring heads of households to keep at least one firearm in the house. The residential burglary rate dropped 89% in Kennesaw, compare to the 10.4% drop for the rest of Georgia as a whole. A study showed that 57% of felons agreed that they were more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about running into police. And 74% stated that the reason that burglars avoid homes when people are at home is that they fear being shot during the crime. In the twenty-five years following the DC gun ban, its murder rate increased 51%, while the national rate decreased 36%. Guns will not deter every crime, but they do act to deter crime when criminals know that the general public in an area is more likely to have a gun than not. If someone who is mentally unstable, or just someone who is intent on killing large amounts of people is committed themselves to do so no matter what the consequence, it is foolish to think that any one thing could deter them. But every year, over a million instances occur in the United States where an individual draws a firearm in self defense. Whether people like guns or not, they do save lives as well. And while they may not deter someone from committing a crime in each instance, they do offer the individual carrying them a chance to not become the next victim. And that is a right that I believe should be preserved.

Kit Carson
Kit Carson

My post contained no insults. It asked a question: what else you got?

Read the quotes in context with the larger speech or letter, none of your quotes stand for the proposition that the founding fathers opposed regulating guns.

Look how far you have to reach to somehow tie these quotes back to the Tea Party agenda. Gandhi - seriously? You can read his book to learn that what I wrote concerning the need for firearms in Indian life. A pacifist, he would never support the idea that guns are needed to overthrow governments, be they tyrannical (like the British) or the result of democratic, free and fair elections (such as the Obama administration.)

Indeed, quoting Jefferson's letter to his 15-year-old nephew where he extols the virtue of using "the gun" for exercise does nothing to move forward the idea that Jefferson wanted, as he signed off on, a well regulated militia.

The context of Patrick Henry's words is that he was trying to raise an army for his side of the Revolution. He was not trying to persuade the people that Tories needed more guns. What is troubling about trotting out and misusing the Patrick Henry quote is that one has to ask: "Are you trying to raise an army to fight off a ruling government?" If not, then the quote, even misused, doesn't apply.

Read the entirety of Fed #46, then read commentary from neutral academics, not the right or the left, and you will learn he was not supporting your cause. Cobbling phrases from different paragraphs and representing it as one quote is not good form. You should ask yourself - why did the person who butchered Madison's words do so? If they tried to mislead you there, where else have they mislead you? Heck, for that matter, anyone who tells you Obama raised taxes on the middle class, was born in Kenya, wants to take your gun or signed health care legislation that was job-killing (all demonstratively false claims) really can't be trusted on any political issue.

Finally, quit being so sensitive. If I wanted to insult you, I would have. Don't search for hidden meaning. I write the way I speak - directly and only after consideration.

Brian ONeil
Brian ONeil

If it is an actual discussion on the subjects you desire, do not associate Loughner with the typical gun owner. It is insulting and an intentional mis-characterization of gun owners as a whole. It has no place in an open and honest discussion, as it serves only to demonize the innocent for the actions of the guilty. If you have read any of my posts, you would realize that I belong to the majority of lawful gun owners who have been subjected to stereotyping by a majority with with an agenda and little actual knowledge of us. Where their smears become accepted as fact.

As to the Washington quote, I will defer to you. In reading it over, it does sound unlikely. Though I don't have any doubt as to Washington holding a great value in the role of the Second Amendment being just as important as the First.

I will research the quotes and the site that linked. Though in passing through the site, while one is a partial quote by Jefferson, that has been linked with one of unknown origin, it does show the following (I copied and pasted it directly from the site you linked without the benefit of fixing its spelling):1785 August 19. (Jefferson to Peter Carr). "As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives a mederate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprize, and independence to the mind. Let your gun, therefore, be the constant companion of your walks.

As far as your issue with the Madison quote, the site you link to does say it is falsely attributed as such, even though it admits some of the elements are contained in the writing, which may be why it was attributed as such. More likely than not it was done after someone paraphrased the statement, intermingling his and their own words.

"To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence."

The concept of militia in that time is different than what is considered as such now. When this was written, a militia was not a standing one in the scope of what it has now, it was one that was raised in a time of need. The current National Guard is supported logistically to a great degree by the federal government, to the point it would collapse into chaos if it was to oppose the federal government. Not just that but do you really think that it would? It would be citizens and not National Guard soldiers who would have to stand up to the federal government. To imply that they would mean the current National Guard, who while falling under the control of the governors can be called to serve under the President, which of late has been their most typical role. So aligning what they referred to as a militia then, with what we consider one to be now would be a misuse of sorts of the term since the militia of today is more dependent on the federal government than the one of their time.

As far as Ghandi being out of context, you make that assumption based on your personal belief of the relevance of firearms in modern society. And placing a jab at those who belong to the Tea Party as being anti-democracy, besides being a useless inflammatory statement that does nothing for your argument, is utterly false. It would be more correct to state they are anti-socialist, as they are against the governments over-reaching when it comes to its authority. The government expanding to meet the needs of the government, and such.

I am sorry that you don't like the quote by Sheldon Richman, or the man apparently. I did not include for who spoke it, but rather that it speaks to the truth. Firearms are equalizers that give those who are week the ability to defend themselves against those who are stronger who would otherwise use brute force. I don't think that statement can really be argued. As far as your statement that we can state with confidence he is not a founding father, it sounds like an attempt to dig at me for a mis-representation, however since I would hope we all know Gandhi was not a founding father, it is safe to assume I wasn't attempting to imply otherwise.

As to your comment on Patrick Henry saying "able men" to mean those who agreed, it may be true, it may not be. Able men did have the same meaning then as it does now though, that if one was able to fight, then they were able. It would be more likely that if he was trying for your intended meaning, he would say "like-minded", however if you have something that shows you are correct, I am open to seeing it.

I will look over the rest this weekend sometime. And if you are open to an actual civil discussion rather than inflammatory mis-characterizations and name calling, so am I. But I have no desire to stoop an intellectual debate into an extremist argument with no manner of civility, so if you cannot live with that, just leave a comment that reflect that, and I will withdraw myself from the conversation.

Kit Carson
Kit Carson

Nice cut and paste - too bad many are false quotes or used out of context.

Your Washington quote on "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution" is completely bogus and has been acknowledged as such for decades. Didn't the "prairie wagon" and "rifle" references, both inventions of the century that followed Washington's death give it away?

Patrick Henry wrote about "able men." In the context of "able men" in the 1700's, that meant those who favored Henry's side. Able is the same as approved.

The Jefferson quotes are bogus. All of Jefferson's writings and speeches are available, and searchable at http://wiki.monticello.org/. Think I am wrong, give me an original source to prove me wrong. (By original source, I do not mean a link to some wingnut website.)

The Madison quote is similarly false. Sometimes it is attributed to Federalist #46, but anyone reading Fed 46 knows it's not in there. http://boston1775.blogspot.com... Read in context, Madison speaking about a well regulated militia.

Sheldon Richman is a Cato Institute wingnut, why you quote him and expect people to take you seriously seems recondite. Given that he is still alive, we can state with confidence he is not a founding father.

The Gandhi quote is out of context. Unlike contemporary Americans, the Indians truly needed firearms for their livelihood. Gandhi was a pacifist and advocated peaceful resistance. I doubt he would advocate the "second amendment remedies" the anti-democracy Tea Party members desire because Obama won a free and fair election.

So, what else you got? Your only true quote from a founding father, from Patrick Henry, doesn't support your position as he was discussing raising an army and he limited gun ownership to able men. Was Loughner able?

Again I ask: what else you got.

Richard1980
Richard1980

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