Category: Dawn Merrill

Should She Have Been Able to Buy a Gun?


In January of 2017, a severely mentally ill woman was able to buy a gun, legally.  She had no record – nothing on a background check would have raised a red flag.  She told her ex-husband she’d bought it, and he inferred why.  He managed to get it away from her…that time.  Sometime between February 2017 and April 4, 2017, she acquired another gun, legally.  On April 4, she left her counselor’s office, having just been recommended to check herself into inpatient rehab for depression; drove to a location close to her ex’s house; and shot herself through the mouth.

That woman was my little sister.

She became, at that moment, a gun death statistic.  A useful tool in the arsenal of deception the left uses to gin up the numbers for “gun violence.”

Statistically speaking, suicide by gun, by women, is extremely rare.  Most women choose overdose or poison.  My sister decided on a much more certain outcome.

Should she have been able to buy a gun?  She was 43, highly educated with three degrees (English, chemistry, art, in that order), but, using none of those, she became a successful yoga studio owner.  She had a good life, but also a history of depression and substance abuse.  She had previously done stints in rehab for alcohol and pills, as well as depression.  She was medicated for depression.  None of it helped her in the long run.

Should she have been able to buy a gun?  No.

But she was able to buy not one, but two guns over the course of three months.  HIPAA laws meant that no one could report her mental state.  The counselor who saw her, literally minutes before her suicide, was not able to detain her for installment into inpatient therapy.  She was smart enough not to indicate an immediate threat to herself or others.  She was told to check into rehab for depression but allowed to leave, as if she were exiting a pleasant lunch.  She was a lost cause as far as the law is concerned.  What if her mental state had been homicidal rather than suicidal?  Thankfully, we will never know.

I miss my sister – her beautiful face, her perky personality, her kindness and consideration for others.  But she is gone.  Would different rules or laws have saved her?  In the end, I don’t think so; she would have found another way.  This is relevant, because someone intent on causing death, his own or others’, will find a way.  Look at the knife crime statistics alone, and it becomes obvious that guns, in and of themselves, are not the problem.  Mental illness is the problem.

So should the mentally ill be prevented from buying guns?  Our knee-jerk reaction is usually a resounding yes, but should it be?

No.

The definition of mental illness in the United States is broad and deep.  It is a multi-billion-dollar industry and can cover anything from temporary sadness to true brain disturbance.  The pharmaceutical profiteers don’t really want to solve the problem; they want to make money.  As a result, the definitions of mental illness keep expanding.  If I, having just lost my sister to suicide, had gone to a counselor and asked for help dealing with the grief, would I have been flagged as mentally ill?  I would say no, but surely there are people who would disagree.  They would immediately point to the fact that my sister had committed suicide and use her action to say that, inherently, I too might be a risk.  Whether a risk to myself or others would be irrelevant.

Should I then be prevented from purchasing a gun?  No.

Ours is a terribly over-medicated society, with exaggerated definitions of mental illness.  At the same time, monsters like the Parkland shooter are unquestionably mentally ill and should most definitely not have access to guns.  But the shooter bought his guns just as legally as did my sister.  We need to find a middle ground, but I do not know how we even begin to have the conversation when all the left can do is scream, “Confiscate all guns from everyone!”

Systemic failures in our mental health and legal systems allowed the Parkland monster to do what he did, just as they enabled my sister access to the gun with which she ended her life.  We need to address the failures in both the mental health and the legal systems if we want even a fleeting chance at solving the problems of the mentally ill and preventing massacres like Parkland.

One other thing.  My sister was not just an accomplished and successful woman.  She was also a leftist.  Her best friend attended the Women’s March against Trump on January 21, 2017.  Reading through some of her diaries, which came into my possession after her death, shows that she rebelled against the conventional upbringing she was privileged to enjoy.  Our parents were Democrats but lived conservatively.  On Election Day 2016, our father voted for Donald J. Trump (our mother was unable to vote but wanted to vote Trump.)  How much did that leftist orientation, and association, affect her levels of depression?  We cannot know, but I think it had a large impact.  She was unable to realize happiness because she had at some point decided to join the left and be perpetually aggrieved.  How much did leftist indoctrination in the school systems mold her, or the Florida shooter?

We need to have much stricter definitions of mental illness – a rigorous system of checks and balances designed to seek, identify, and separate the truly disturbed from the only somewhat troubled.  A blanket definition of mental illness will never be sufficient to distinguish between the dangerous (to themselves or others) and the benign.  HIPAA laws and willfully ignorant programs like the Broward County “PROMISE” system needs to be overhauled or abandoned completely.  The truly mentally ill need help, but our systems tie our hands unnecessarily.  There should never be another Parkland.  My sister should never have been able to buy a gun.  But for as long as our current systems remain, both were, and are, inevitable.

Confiscating guns, restricting gun purchases by age, et cetera will not work.  It will only punish law-abiding and stable people.  Looking closely at how we define and handle mental illness would be a giant step in the right direction.  Looking closely at how we handle the mentally ill within the legal system would be a giant step in the right direction.  Do we have the courage to do it?

Image: Michael Dorausch via Flickr.

In January of 2017, a severely mentally ill woman was able to buy a gun, legally.  She had no record – nothing on a background check would have raised a red flag.  She told her ex-husband she’d bought it, and he inferred why.  He managed to get it away from her…that time.  Sometime between February 2017 and April 4, 2017, she acquired another gun, legally.  On April 4, she left her counselor’s office, having just been recommended to check herself into inpatient rehab for depression; drove to a location close to her ex’s house; and shot herself through the mouth.

That woman was my little sister.

She became, at that moment, a gun death statistic.  A useful tool in the arsenal of deception the left uses to gin up the numbers for “gun violence.”

Statistically speaking, suicide by gun, by women, is extremely rare.  Most women choose overdose or poison.  My sister decided on a much more certain outcome.

Should she have been able to buy a gun?  She was 43, highly educated with three degrees (English, chemistry, art, in that order), but, using none of those, she became a successful yoga studio owner.  She had a good life, but also a history of depression and substance abuse.  She had previously done stints in rehab for alcohol and pills, as well as depression.  She was medicated for depression.  None of it helped her in the long run.

Should she have been able to buy a gun?  No.

But she was able to buy not one, but two guns over the course of three months.  HIPAA laws meant that no one could report her mental state.  The counselor who saw her, literally minutes before her suicide, was not able to detain her for installment into inpatient therapy.  She was smart enough not to indicate an immediate threat to herself or others.  She was told to check into rehab for depression but allowed to leave, as if she were exiting a pleasant lunch.  She was a lost cause as far as the law is concerned.  What if her mental state had been homicidal rather than suicidal?  Thankfully, we will never know.

I miss my sister – her beautiful face, her perky personality, her kindness and consideration for others.  But she is gone.  Would different rules or laws have saved her?  In the end, I don’t think so; she would have found another way.  This is relevant, because someone intent on causing death, his own or others’, will find a way.  Look at the knife crime statistics alone, and it becomes obvious that guns, in and of themselves, are not the problem.  Mental illness is the problem.

So should the mentally ill be prevented from buying guns?  Our knee-jerk reaction is usually a resounding yes, but should it be?

No.

The definition of mental illness in the United States is broad and deep.  It is a multi-billion-dollar industry and can cover anything from temporary sadness to true brain disturbance.  The pharmaceutical profiteers don’t really want to solve the problem; they want to make money.  As a result, the definitions of mental illness keep expanding.  If I, having just lost my sister to suicide, had gone to a counselor and asked for help dealing with the grief, would I have been flagged as mentally ill?  I would say no, but surely there are people who would disagree.  They would immediately point to the fact that my sister had committed suicide and use her action to say that, inherently, I too might be a risk.  Whether a risk to myself or others would be irrelevant.

Should I then be prevented from purchasing a gun?  No.

Ours is a terribly over-medicated society, with exaggerated definitions of mental illness.  At the same time, monsters like the Parkland shooter are unquestionably mentally ill and should most definitely not have access to guns.  But the shooter bought his guns just as legally as did my sister.  We need to find a middle ground, but I do not know how we even begin to have the conversation when all the left can do is scream, “Confiscate all guns from everyone!”

Systemic failures in our mental health and legal systems allowed the Parkland monster to do what he did, just as they enabled my sister access to the gun with which she ended her life.  We need to address the failures in both the mental health and the legal systems if we want even a fleeting chance at solving the problems of the mentally ill and preventing massacres like Parkland.

One other thing.  My sister was not just an accomplished and successful woman.  She was also a leftist.  Her best friend attended the Women’s March against Trump on January 21, 2017.  Reading through some of her diaries, which came into my possession after her death, shows that she rebelled against the conventional upbringing she was privileged to enjoy.  Our parents were Democrats but lived conservatively.  On Election Day 2016, our father voted for Donald J. Trump (our mother was unable to vote but wanted to vote Trump.)  How much did that leftist orientation, and association, affect her levels of depression?  We cannot know, but I think it had a large impact.  She was unable to realize happiness because she had at some point decided to join the left and be perpetually aggrieved.  How much did leftist indoctrination in the school systems mold her, or the Florida shooter?

We need to have much stricter definitions of mental illness – a rigorous system of checks and balances designed to seek, identify, and separate the truly disturbed from the only somewhat troubled.  A blanket definition of mental illness will never be sufficient to distinguish between the dangerous (to themselves or others) and the benign.  HIPAA laws and willfully ignorant programs like the Broward County “PROMISE” system needs to be overhauled or abandoned completely.  The truly mentally ill need help, but our systems tie our hands unnecessarily.  There should never be another Parkland.  My sister should never have been able to buy a gun.  But for as long as our current systems remain, both were, and are, inevitable.

Confiscating guns, restricting gun purchases by age, et cetera will not work.  It will only punish law-abiding and stable people.  Looking closely at how we define and handle mental illness would be a giant step in the right direction.  Looking closely at how we handle the mentally ill within the legal system would be a giant step in the right direction.  Do we have the courage to do it?

Image: Michael Dorausch via Flickr.



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Scorning the Left


Have you ever been laughed at publicly?  Mocked?  Ridiculed?  Shown scorn in a social or professional setting?

It doesn’t matter what the reason may have been – if you answered yes to any of the above questions, you didn’t enjoy it one bit.  It doesn’t matter if it was justified or not, and it’s doubtful that you would agree that it was justified if you were on the receiving end.  Regardless, it was not in any way pleasant if you were the butt of the laughter, the mocking, the ridicule, the scorn.

In today’s culture, these weapons have become something gleefully utilized by the left.  It is standard practice.  We on the right then dutifully recoil from engaging in such vulgarity – “oh, the humanity” – condemning it as mean, insensitive, callous, or sinking to “their” level.

It’s time for this to change.   

Daily we see public articles, tweets, interviews, blog posts, etc., etc., even entire television shows laughing, mocking, ridiculing, and scorning conservatives.  They reach vast audiences of low-information, unengaged, and poorly educated masses, who then vote accordingly.  Conservatives tend to react privately with other conservatives (and only other conservatives), and generally with incredulity, anger, embarrassment, and paralysis (in that order) – and that’s all.

We conservatives, for too long, have been so cowed by such affronts that we have remained silent.  We have inadvertently given our antagonists a massive weapon against us, used effectively and often.  A plethora of things are said daily by the left that are so over the top, so disconnected from reality, so insane that they deserve intense ridicule.  But we on the right too often try to use logic, reason, and truth to counter the left, if we’re not too busy remaining silent, when what we should be doing is engaging in a hearty laugh, and nothing else.   

Ridicule has immense power.  Saul Alinsky knew it and codified it in his Rules for Radicals.  President Trump clearly knows it and utilizes ridicule often, with great efficacy.  We on the right need to relearn this fine art.  If we used this weapon as effectively as the left does, we could pull this country back onto the right track far faster than President Trump can do it on his own.

I find myself inwardly guffawing at the insanity of the left many times every day.  You probably do, too.  There is a lefty in my town who gets shut down on a regular basis because of the ridicule showered on him by the rest of us.  We like him, and we don’t try to stop his inane comments.  No.  We laugh at him.  Ridicule works.

Laugh, mock, ridicule, and shower scorn upon these insane lefties.  We know that reason won’t work.  We know that results won’t work.  (Obama takes responsibility for the Trump economy, for instance, and leftists sincerely buy into that garbage.)  Ah, but laughter, now – that will take down many an ardent lefty.  Mockery shall make for mindless raving from our deluded brethren.  Ridicule can bring forth a frothing rage, and scorn…well, scorn is soul-rending stuff, even for those who profess to have no soul.

They will stomp their feet and call us bullies.  They will bray about our insensitivity and rail against our heartlessness.  They will don their pussy hats and pajamas and march for…something.  They will project upon us every pathology they themselves possess and pretend it is we who are the crazy ones.  We’ll keep on laughing.  Most sane people will side with conservatives, because crazy isn’t what most average people want.  Eventually, the lefties will slink away, tails between their legs, because there is no real response to ridicule other than ridicule.  We should know; we’ve been slinking away in the face of mockery for decades.  We have not fought back with the same weapon.  We have been content to “bring a knife to a gunfight.”

Until President Trump.  Whether you know it or not, his controversial tweets are really a license – a license to do to them exactly what they’ve done to us.  Don’t believe in global warming?  You are laughed at as a science-denier.  Don’t think a man can become a woman, or a woman a man?  You are mocked as a transphobe.  Think mass unvetted immigration is an invasion, legal or not?  You are ridiculed as a xenophobe, a white supremacist nationalist, a Nazi, for nothing more than pride of country.  Think it’s okay to be white?  You are scorned as a bigot.  And it works.

Ask yourself if you’d be comfortable standing up at work and announcing that man-made climate change is a scam; that you will never call Bruce Jenner “Caitlyn”; that we should build the wall and stop all immigration for at least a decade; or that yes, it’s okay to be white (especially if you aren’t).  If you answered no, then you have been laughed at, mocked, ridiculed, and scorned into silence.  And yes, such a move could very well cost you a job, a friendship, even a close relationship.  But these tactics work, and if we can find the courage of our convictions, we need to start using these supremely effective tools.   

Scorn, after all, should be a two-way street.  The left richly deserves, and regularly invites, mockery.  Let’s oblige.  Ridicule is so easy under the circumstances as to be…well, laughable.  Let the laughter begin! 

Have you ever been laughed at publicly?  Mocked?  Ridiculed?  Shown scorn in a social or professional setting?

It doesn’t matter what the reason may have been – if you answered yes to any of the above questions, you didn’t enjoy it one bit.  It doesn’t matter if it was justified or not, and it’s doubtful that you would agree that it was justified if you were on the receiving end.  Regardless, it was not in any way pleasant if you were the butt of the laughter, the mocking, the ridicule, the scorn.

In today’s culture, these weapons have become something gleefully utilized by the left.  It is standard practice.  We on the right then dutifully recoil from engaging in such vulgarity – “oh, the humanity” – condemning it as mean, insensitive, callous, or sinking to “their” level.

It’s time for this to change.   

Daily we see public articles, tweets, interviews, blog posts, etc., etc., even entire television shows laughing, mocking, ridiculing, and scorning conservatives.  They reach vast audiences of low-information, unengaged, and poorly educated masses, who then vote accordingly.  Conservatives tend to react privately with other conservatives (and only other conservatives), and generally with incredulity, anger, embarrassment, and paralysis (in that order) – and that’s all.

We conservatives, for too long, have been so cowed by such affronts that we have remained silent.  We have inadvertently given our antagonists a massive weapon against us, used effectively and often.  A plethora of things are said daily by the left that are so over the top, so disconnected from reality, so insane that they deserve intense ridicule.  But we on the right too often try to use logic, reason, and truth to counter the left, if we’re not too busy remaining silent, when what we should be doing is engaging in a hearty laugh, and nothing else.   

Ridicule has immense power.  Saul Alinsky knew it and codified it in his Rules for Radicals.  President Trump clearly knows it and utilizes ridicule often, with great efficacy.  We on the right need to relearn this fine art.  If we used this weapon as effectively as the left does, we could pull this country back onto the right track far faster than President Trump can do it on his own.

I find myself inwardly guffawing at the insanity of the left many times every day.  You probably do, too.  There is a lefty in my town who gets shut down on a regular basis because of the ridicule showered on him by the rest of us.  We like him, and we don’t try to stop his inane comments.  No.  We laugh at him.  Ridicule works.

Laugh, mock, ridicule, and shower scorn upon these insane lefties.  We know that reason won’t work.  We know that results won’t work.  (Obama takes responsibility for the Trump economy, for instance, and leftists sincerely buy into that garbage.)  Ah, but laughter, now – that will take down many an ardent lefty.  Mockery shall make for mindless raving from our deluded brethren.  Ridicule can bring forth a frothing rage, and scorn…well, scorn is soul-rending stuff, even for those who profess to have no soul.

They will stomp their feet and call us bullies.  They will bray about our insensitivity and rail against our heartlessness.  They will don their pussy hats and pajamas and march for…something.  They will project upon us every pathology they themselves possess and pretend it is we who are the crazy ones.  We’ll keep on laughing.  Most sane people will side with conservatives, because crazy isn’t what most average people want.  Eventually, the lefties will slink away, tails between their legs, because there is no real response to ridicule other than ridicule.  We should know; we’ve been slinking away in the face of mockery for decades.  We have not fought back with the same weapon.  We have been content to “bring a knife to a gunfight.”

Until President Trump.  Whether you know it or not, his controversial tweets are really a license – a license to do to them exactly what they’ve done to us.  Don’t believe in global warming?  You are laughed at as a science-denier.  Don’t think a man can become a woman, or a woman a man?  You are mocked as a transphobe.  Think mass unvetted immigration is an invasion, legal or not?  You are ridiculed as a xenophobe, a white supremacist nationalist, a Nazi, for nothing more than pride of country.  Think it’s okay to be white?  You are scorned as a bigot.  And it works.

Ask yourself if you’d be comfortable standing up at work and announcing that man-made climate change is a scam; that you will never call Bruce Jenner “Caitlyn”; that we should build the wall and stop all immigration for at least a decade; or that yes, it’s okay to be white (especially if you aren’t).  If you answered no, then you have been laughed at, mocked, ridiculed, and scorned into silence.  And yes, such a move could very well cost you a job, a friendship, even a close relationship.  But these tactics work, and if we can find the courage of our convictions, we need to start using these supremely effective tools.   

Scorn, after all, should be a two-way street.  The left richly deserves, and regularly invites, mockery.  Let’s oblige.  Ridicule is so easy under the circumstances as to be…well, laughable.  Let the laughter begin! 



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