The New York Times
Last April, workers at Middlesex Hospital in Connecticut called the police to report that a psychiatric patient named Mark Russo had threatened to shoot his mother if officers tried to take the 18 rifles and shotguns he kept at her house. Mr. Russo, who was off his medication for paranoid schizophrenia, also talked about the recent elementary school massacre in Newtown and told a nurse that he “could take a chair and kill you or bash your head in between the eyes,” court records show.
The police seized the firearms, as well as seven high-capacity magazines, but Mr. Russo, 55, was eventually allowed to return to the trailer in Middletown where he lives alone. In an interview there recently, he denied that he had schizophrenia but said he was taking his medication now — though only “the smallest dose,” because he is forced to. His hospitalization, he explained, stemmed from a misunderstanding: Seeking a message from God on whether to dissociate himself from his family, he had stabbed a basketball and waited for it to reinflate itself. When it did, he told relatives they would not be seeing him again, prompting them to call the police.
As for his guns, Mr. Russo is scheduled to get them back in the spring, as mandated by Connecticut law.
“I don’t think they ever should have been taken out of my house,” he said. “I plan to get all my guns and ammo and knives back in April.”
The Russo case highlights a central, unresolved issue in the debate over balancing public safety and the Second Amendment right to bear arms: just how powerless law enforcement can be when it comes to keeping firearms out of the hands of people who are mentally ill.
Connecticut’s law giving the police broad leeway to seize and hold guns for up to a year is actually relatively strict. Most states simply adhere to the federal standard, banning gun possession only after someone is involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility or designated as mentally ill or incompetent after a court proceeding or other formal legal process. Relatively few with mental health issues, even serious ones, reach this point.
This man made a threat against an innocent person. That should be sufficient to charge him with a crime that would disarm him.ReplyDelete
But you and TS said verbal threats were not against the law. Which is it?Delete
No, that's not what we said, but the law doesn't take threats seriously enough in too many cases.Delete
Yes, that is what you said. Everyone read it and blasted you for it at the time.Delete
No, Steve, I said the exact opposite. What I said was that was you called a threat, is not in fact a threat.Delete
I'm not Steve, but I read the comments. Next lie.Delete
Greg verbally threatened to go after a drug dealer with his gun. Thanks for proving that he's a lying coward criminal who belongs in jail.Delete
Guys like him won't do well in jail without his little gun to protect him HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.
I'll laugh when those drug dealers find out you got there for threatening them.
Steve, that is a lie. You cannot show any location where I threatened to go after a drug dealer with a gun. Feel free to prove otherwise, but you'll have to provide a URL to the source, because I don't trust you to quote accurately or to refrain from making things up.Delete
I did weeks ago using your own words, and you cannot refute your own words, which is why you don't even try to refute your own words. Everyone but you knows you are a cowardly liar.Delete
Thank you for proving to all, that you are the lying criminal coward I claim you are.
So, do we all agree this guy should not be allowed to own guns?ReplyDelete
He committed what should be a crime, whether it is or is not in fact a criminal act. Yes, he should be barred from owning guns until he can prove himself a good citizen.Delete