Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lessons From the Tahmooressi Case

Swash Zone by Flying Junior

Letter written by New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson:

As I reflect on the successful effort to bring former U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi home after 214 days in prison in Mexico, I am pleased that despite the differing border security concerns that loom high in public perception and national policy in both countries, we were able to find the common ground that ultimately resulted in Andrew’s release.


  1. I'm glad he's home, but he should never have been permitted to have those guns in the first place. He was never some heroic vet victim, he was always an actual danger like a grenade about to go off without warning.


    "On a wider scale, it is very common for individuals with PTSD to get
    into fights, drive aggressively, become angry at insignificant things, and drastically
    overreact to any sort of challenge.

    PARANOIA – In Iraq, a paranoid soldier is a soldier who stays alive. Every item in his environment, from a pothole to a child carrying a backpack, must be regarded as a potential threat. When that same soldier, whose mind has been changed by PTSD, returns home, he is often unable to shut off his vigilant behavior. Veterans will often almost constantly “patrol” their homes to check for intruders, insist that they sit with their backs to a wall and facing the door so that they can analyze every person who enters a room, or even drive off the road in order to avoid discarded trash (because this often indicated an Improvised Explosive Device or IED in combat).

    POOR COPING SKILLS - Due to the physical and mental changes Veteran with PTSD has, they are often unable to cope in what most people would consider “normal” circumstances. They are easily overwhelmed by too much noise, too many people, too many changes, or too much stimuli of any sort. Dealing with post traumatic stress disorder and all of its symptoms takes most of their energy and concentration. Anything else, especially something that is unexpected, can cause a violent reaction or simply cause the Veteran to shut down. "

    PTSD causes physical changes to the brain

    "Physical Changes

    HIPPOCAMPUS - The hippocampus is a section of our brain that plays an important part in short-term memory and the regulation of our emotions. Researchers, using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI’s), have been able to determine that the hippocampus of veterans with PTSD has actually suffered damage. They believe this damage may be under stress.

    PREFRONTAL CORTEX – Our Prefrontal Cortex helps us decide how we experience and react to an emotion and resolve conflicts. It also tells our brain when a threat has passed.
    People with PTSD have altered blood flow to this area of their brain (the more change in flow, the more severe the symptoms of PTSD). This decrease in function causes their brain to sort of be stuck in a permanent fear mode, because it doesn’t relay the “all clear” message."

    That's general information; here is information specific to Tahmooressi:


    "Tahmooressi’s mother, Jill Tahmooressi, has been campaigning in the media for American officials to secure her son’s release. A nurse, she told Vice News that her son needs specialized treatment. She said she had observed signs of paranoia in him, and that he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder at the Veterans Affairs facility in La Jolla on March 12. She said he is “hypervigilant” and in 2013, suffered from “hunter-prey syndrome; he was the prey.”

  2. And yet we have the NRA fighting AGAINST efforts to save the lives of veterans with PTSD who pose a danger to themselves and others, because to the NRA there is no one who should not be armed to the teeth at all times.

    "According to Vice News, Tahmooressi entered Mexico with a 5.56mm rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and a .45-caliber pistol, as well as more than 400 rounds of ammunition. The chief Mexican customs officer at the San Ysidro crossing told Vice that the guns, all loaded, were "just wrapped up in his belongings" rather than locked away and unloaded as required by California law. Vice also reported that "the rifle was found behind the driver’s seat, the shotgun on the passenger seat, and the pistol was in the driver-side door pocket, along with several cartridges.

    It's pretty hard to accidentally end up in Mexico. Especially with guns. There are big signs on the U.S. side telling travelers that guns are illegal in Mexico. There’s plenty of warning that the border is approaching. ...he [Tahmooressi] admitted that he lied to Mexican officials about how many times he'd crossed the border.

    And Tahmooressi apparently, knowing that it was illegal to do so, took those same guns into Mexico on those previous occasions.

    There is also a question about Tahmooressi having a problem with illegal drug use, and possibly selling illegal drugs.

    If this guy is getting effective treatment - GOOD.

    But I think he has forfeited his right to own guns in the present and future, and not only because of his PTSD, from which he may very well recover. People who suffer from PTSD should not be armed, but they should get their firearms rights returned to them when diagnosed as cured/recovered.

    People who knowingly take firearms into other countries -- and from Mexico where the actual legality of his possession of those weapons is not clear -- they should not have firearms. They have demonstrated they are neither responsible, nor law abiding.

  3. Hi dog gone,

    The bad news is that he's probably back in his home state of Florida. Gun-friendly Florida. I don't imagine he has forfeited any rights whatsoever in any aftermath related to his arrest south of the border.

    It would be nice if he just never bought any more guns at all, wouldn't it?

    The good news is that he's probably back with his mother, no matter for how short a time period. I know my mother was a wonderful help to me when the chips were down.

    1. We can only hope that he might have run afoul of some federal laws or provisions that prevent him having guns legally.

      Not that legal conduct seems a priority with this guy....