Friday, July 25, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Firearms and mental illness: The problem hits home

By
From page A10 | January 20, 2013 |

By Robert Northup

My sons both suffer from schizophrenia, a devastating mental illness. My older son is diagnosed and accepts treatment, including medication, for his condition. My younger son refuses to get diagnosed and will not accept any kind of treatment. He now owns seven firearms. As much as I believe that he represents a menace to society, there is no legal way for me to limit his access to the private arsenal that he has amassed.

Schizophrenia typically manifests in males during their late teens or early 20s. When my older son abruptly developed the condition, it was the end of his career as a popular football star and the beginning of a long nightmare. I had no idea why he suddenly began to behave so strangely. He believed that I could hear his thoughts and therefore I knew all about it. He also believed that he had extremely dangerous psychic power to physically transform and mutate people around him, a power he could not control. He believed that the only way to protect everyone else in the world would be to commit suicide.

Fortunately, I did not own any firearms for him to use. He would have become one of the many thousands of American teenagers who have died this way, and I would have been completely unaware of why he did it. I soon realized that he needed treatment, and he was willing to take medication. His life is now a success story of becoming independent and learning to effectively cope with his mental illness.

News headlines focus on murder by firearms, with emphasis on the tiny minority of such murders that have occurred during single-shooter rampages. It is important to remember that two-thirds of our nation’s deaths by firearms are suicides. While I have never once wished that I had a gun for self-defense, I am grateful that I did not have one available for my son to take his own life. As I see the headline stories about single-shooter rampages, I have deep concerns about what my other son’s intentions might be.

My younger son believes that while he was in U.S. Army boot camp, one of the required vaccines contained a super-high-technology, microscopic device that implanted deep into his brain. Through this device, secret agents can hear his thoughts and transmit their voices into his head.

While he is well aware that his brother and other close relatives have schizophrenia, he knows that he is perfectly sane. The voices in his head are actual transmissions from an outside source, and therefore they are not hallucinations. His delusion provides all the “evidence” that he needs to support its validity. As if that weren’t enough, he has found plenty of support among the Internet community.

I was proud when I was able to dissuade him from purchasing his first gun two years ago, but I was unable to repeat this success. He now owns two shotguns, a military rifle and four handguns, including two that are semiautomatic. He is convinced that he needs all these weapons for self-defense.

I can never get a clear answer regarding what possible threat would require so many guns in the hands of a single individual. However, he does allude to something big in the works. The agents who transmit their voices into his head are, apparently, planning some kind of global takeover that will require individuals to be heavily armed in order to resist.

I have contemplated various ways that I might intervene to take away his guns, but all of them would require that I violate the law. My son had no difficulty passing the background check, as he has never been officially diagnosed as mentally ill, nor convicted of any felony. He is within the law regarding the number of firearms that he owns, and the quantity of ammunition that he has acquired for them. And he was already old enough to legally purchase these things before he ever manifest any symptoms of schizophrenia. Even if there had ever been some kind of effective screening process in place to recognize his mental illness, he could have owned his guns before it came on.

I have spoken with him many times about my concerns and I have begged him to accept some kind of treatment for his condition. In addition to schizophrenia, he is seriously alcoholic and predisposed to unprovoked rage. Actually, he believes that his rage is always provoked, but an outside observer would have difficulty seeing any provocation.

I take small comfort in the knowledge that the overwhelming majority of deranged and heavily armed gun freaks in the United States never go on a murderous rampage. Otherwise, such incidents would occur many times every day. I pray that my son will accept some kind of treatment, and that his guns will never be used to kill himself or anyone else.

I don’t pretend to have any answer for the current debate about gun violence in America. I only know that I would feel a lot safer if it were more difficult for people such as my own son to legally amass private arsenals of firearms and ammunition. My son firmly believes that the Second Amendment is the sacrosanct authority for his right to “bear arms.” However, he was completely baffled by the question when I asked him which “well regulated militia” he had joined to preserve “the security of a free state.”

— Robert Northup is a Davis resident.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

Tech Trekkers boldly go into STEM fields

By Amy Jiang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Decoding breast milk secrets reveals clues to lasting health

By Pat Bailey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

California climate change policies to hit our pocketbooks

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

 
Davis braces for six days of scorching heat

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Appeals court upholds high-speed rail route

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Carwash raises funds for funeral expenses

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Unitarians will host summer camp

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Artists, photographers invited to support Yolo Basin Foundation

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Sudwerk’s sales grow, floating on a sea of dry hop lager

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Wetlands visitors will see migrating shorebirds

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

‘Bak2Sac’ free train ride program launched

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Explorit: Wonderful wetlands right at home

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Recycle old paint cans for free

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Where your gas money goes

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A12

Americans, internationals make connections

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

 
Can you give them a home?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

STEAC needs donations of personal care items

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16, 1 Comment

 
.

Forum

Trio disagrees on best option

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

Predicting climate changes

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Clinton’s book is worth a read

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 3 Comments

Thanks for emergency help

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Commenting system to change

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10, 31 Comments

 
Support these local restaurants

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Let’s get the bench repaired

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
.

Sports

Petrovic, Putnam share Canadian Open lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Moss powers A’s past Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Enriquez brilliant, but Post 77 season ends with Area 1 loss

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Hudson solid, Hamels better in Giants’ loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
The un-Armstrong? Tour ‘boss’ Nibali wins Stage 18

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

‘A Most Wanted Man’: Superb espionage drama

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Clyde Elmore: Art in the Wild

By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Musicians perform at Sunday service

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A17 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Accord’s latest model is most fuel efficient

By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
 
.

Obituaries

James Thomas Feather

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Mary Lita Bowen

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Richard ‘Dick’ Robenalt

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
.

Comics

Comics: Friday, July 25, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A13

 
.

Real Estate Review

Featured Listing

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

Professional Services Directory

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

Remax

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

Sherman Home

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Tracy Harris

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Vaughan Brookshaw

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Lyon Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Julie Leonard

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

Ciana Wallace

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

Melrina A Maggiora

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Joe Kaplan

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Jo Vallejo

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Karen Waggoner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Jamie Madison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Malek Baroody

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

Carol Coder

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Diane Lardelli

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Jason Sull

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

Julie Partain

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Lisa Haass

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Leslie Blevins

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Yolo FCU

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

David Campos

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Heather Barnes

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Willowbank Park

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Kim Eichorn

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

Susan von Geldern

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

Open House Map

By jboydston | From Page: RER19

Chris Snow

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

Travis Credit Union

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

Lynne Wegner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Kim Merrel Lamb

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Martha Bernauer

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Patricia Echevarria

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Open House Map

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER23

F1rst Street Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24