Archive for the ‘Gun Control’ Category

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The back story: I have a Master’s degree in Professional Counseling and hold Licensure in the state of Tennessee as a Professional Counselor-Mental Health Services Provider. Additionally, I am a certified Mandatory Pre-screening Agent, meaning that I can sign an involuntary commitment to place someone in a psychiatric hospital.  I have worked as a therapist in a Community Mental Health facility, as a Crisis Responder, as a group therapist in an Alcohol and Drug Addiction program. My current position is in drug and alcohol abuse research for a state university. I do not claim to be an expert, but I do claim to have a fair degree of common sense and I look at people as people, not as labels. I have seen the mental health system from the inside, and it isn’t pretty. This post is my opinion concerning the usefulness, and the great potential for damage, when labeling people with a mental health diagnosis. The population that I am talking about here does not include those who have proven themselves to be dangerous; I am referring to the average person who seeks counseling.

The news media seem to be embracing the idea that mental health is the real issue that should be addressed in background checks that affect one’s ability to own a firearm. I have heard some pundits pushing for repeal of HIPPA protections in regard to mental health records, going to far as to say that therapists should have the power to add people to a firearm “no-buy list”. This position appeals to emotion, it sounds reasonable to those who are uninformed about the process. I have to wonder, what is the origin of this narrative? Is it coming from professionals in the mental health community? Or is it coming from the government and the state-controlled media, people who really have no idea what they are talking about? While I am in complete agreement that anyone who would aim a gun at a room full of children and start shooting is a special kind of crazy (I prefer the word ‘evil’), the idea of mental health providers being mandated to release records of their clients troubles me on many levels.

Those who are advocating for release of mental health records need to do some serious research regarding exactly how a mental health ‘diagnosis’ is made. Do they know that a DSM label is required in order for a provider to be reimbursed for services by insurance companies?  Is there a blood test or a scan of the brain that shows abnormality? Is there any objective test that can demonstrate that a person has PTSD, or Major Depressive Disorder, or any other mental health condition listed in the DSM-IV-TR? For that matter, what is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders? How is this book, the ‘bible’ of psychiatry and professional therapy, put together, and by whom? This video will answer some of those questions:

My personal observation from working in the field of mental health is that DSM diagnosis is often sloppy and done for the convenience of the provider. I cannot count the times that I have seen young and otherwise healthy adults given some sort of label and prescribed one or more psychotropic medication(s). Even more heartbreaking is the number of children who have been labeled and medicated in much the same way. It is a travesty, and it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. People begin to identify themselves by their labels. They begin to embrace the lie that they are inherently flawed and unable to function in society. Often they file for disability based on their diagnosis, and they go on to live a life of hopelessness and despair. All because a psychiatrist or professional therapist talked to them for an hour (or less), looked up a few of their self-described problems in the DSM, and casually assigned them to a certain category in order to be reimbursed for services. But I digress.

To get back to the original reason for this post, it is beyond ridiculous to suggest that my 2nd Amendment right to own a firearm, or yours, should be based upon the completely subjective diagnosis of some sort of mental health disorder. On any given day, based on behaviors reported by others or by self-reported struggles, the DSM cookbook can be pulled out and more than one diagnosis can be arrived at and justified by a provider. Far too many in the field, good people who genuinely care, are forced to make these diagnoses by the system so that a funding source is satisfied and payment is made for the service. The whole thing stinks, and it will only get worse with Obamacare regulations.

We need to be very, very careful about advocating that mental health providers be mandated to release mental health records for ANY reason, especially to restrict the freedoms of fellow Americans, and we need to be doubly cautious about giving therapists the power to put someone on a list that denies the right to own a gun.

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Regret

Wednesday, January 22, 2014, marks the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in the United States. The decision invalidated all state laws that restricted access to abortion in the first trimester and limited restrictions in the second trimester. Over the last forty years, all restrictions have fallen away and today abortion is legal at any point in pregnancy. A full-term, healthy baby can be brutally killed in a barbaric procedure labeled ‘partial-birth’ abortion. While Liberal politicians use children as props to further their agenda of gun control in an effort to ‘save just one life’, they rabidly support access to abortion at any point in pregnancy for any reason. They claim to support late-term abortion only to protect the mother’s health. Really? How anyone with a soul can justify pulling a baby from the womb by its feet in order to leave the head in the birth canal, allowing the abortionist to puncture the skull and suck out the brains of the child so that the child will be born dead (isn’t that the ultimate oxymoron?) is beyond comprehension. But I digress.

Abortion based on gender is more and more common (China, anyone?) and prenatal testing has led to the abortion of a high percentage (estimates range from 67-90%) of babies with Down syndrome. Children are sacrificed daily on the altar known as ‘choice’, most simply because to let them live would be an inconvenience. Although an accurate number of abortions performed over the last 40 years is hard to pin down, a safe estimate is somewhere in the range of 56,600,000. That number is roughly equal to eighteen percent of the total population of the United States. Let that number sink in, and consider this one: approximately 1.3 million babies are aborted annually. That number is equal to 114,500 monthly; 26,400 weekly; 3,800 daily; roughly 158 per hour, 2.6 babies every second of every day.

In 2012, United States voters re-elected the most radically pro-abortion president in our history. The man who holds the highest office in our land, the “leader of the free world”, repeatedly voted as an Illinois senator to deny care to babies who somehow survive abortion procedures. After all, why should a woman who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant be “punished with a baby” (Barack Obama, March 30, 2008)? Why, indeed. Instead, let’s punish her with an abortion. Let’s punish her with abusive relationships, PTSD-like nightmares and flashbacks, depression, and alcohol and substance abuse. Let’s punish her by forcing her to suffer in silence and keep a secret that eats her alive, because in spite of being told that the baby she aborted was just ‘tissue’, a woman knows; a mother knows-instinctively.

Abortion does more than kill a baby; it destroys something deep in a mother’s heart. It separates her from her child and from God. However, God sent his son as a sacrifice for sin-even abortion-and women can be forgiven and set free. What is happening in American is much more than a political war, it is a spiritual war. I wonder…what if all the mothers who deeply regret the loss of their children, who suffer in silence for a ‘choice’ that was supposed to be easy, came out of the shadows and told the truth? What if we all spoke so loudly that the media could not ignore us (yes, I said WE)? What if we show the love and forgiveness of Christ to other women, and empower them to speak the truth as well?

Christians, let’s start telling the truth, the real truth: the war on women is real. Very real. It’s being waged every day in those clinics where innocent lives are snuffed out and women’s lives are plunged into darkness. It is not a war with Liberals, or Progressives, or Communists; they are merely the pawns in a much darker game. We are at war with Satan himself, and I’ve read the end of the book. Satan is defeated. Christ reigns. We win. Let’s start acting like it.

The following incident happened at a high school only minutes from my home in East Tennessee. I am sure that no one outside of our immediate region has ever heard the story, because the only person who was shot-and killed-was the gunman. These types of stories don’t fit the narrative of those who want “gun-free zones” and so are ignored by the national media. In this case an armed Security Resource Officer, Carolyn Gudger, became a local hero and saved an unknown number of lives by holding the gunman at bay until backup arrived. The text below is drawn from a local news website, Tricities.com. The story is not viewable on mobile devices, probably because it is so old. If you wish to view it on your PC, here is the link: http://tinyurl.com/ckqfcvf

Security Resource Officer Carolyn Gudger

Security Resource Officer Carolyn Gudger

Gunman killed at Sullivan Central

“On Monday morning, August 30, 2010, Thomas Richard Cowan loaded 13 bullets into two handguns, left his German shepherd chained to the fence and drove eight miles from his home in Kingsport to Sullivan Central High School. Whatever his mission, it was the 62-year-old Vietnam veteran’s final drive. For about an hour, Cowan’s armed invasion spread panic throughout the school before a burst of officers’ gunfire brought him down. No others were injured.

No one knows why Cowan pointed his Honda in the direction of the Blountville, Tenn., high school, where his brother is a janitor. He is described – in court records and interviews – as a peculiar man with a history of erratic, sometimes criminal, behavior and a deep suspicion of the government. He parked his car Monday morning in a handicapped space just in front of the school’s main entrance. Second period was just getting under way at 9:10 a.m. when Ashley Thacker, a junior, arrived at the main entrance of her high school. Thacker, 16, had been at a doctor’s appointment and was on her way to a music theory class as she approached the locked doors.

She noticed a man standing in the 10-foot waiting area between the two sets of doors, waiting to be buzzed in. His bald crown was framed with brown hair. He had a mustache, she remembered, and he was holding a cane. He told her to go on ahead of him. But she never made it through the doors. Instead, Melanie Riden, principal of Sullivan Central, came striding through the locked doors. “He pulled out his gun and started pointing it at people,” Thacker said. Cowan trained a .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol at Riden’s face, said Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson.

Carolyn Gudger, the school resource officer, drew her gun, then shielded the principal’s body with her own.

Thacker remembers Cowan shouting something – possibly including the words “10 years” – but she isn’t sure. She turned and ran out the set of public doors to the mulch pile in the front of the school, and hid behind bushes. “He might shoot someone,” Thacker remembered thinking. “I just wanted to get out of there.”

Riden fled and Gudger inched back into the school, leading Cowan through the scattered pastel chairs in the empty cafeteria. It was a tactical move, meant to lure the gunman into a more contained place, Anderson said. Sullivan County dispatch sent out a chilling alert: “Man with a gun at Central High School.”

Gudger told him to drop his weapon; he demanded she drop hers. Once, he tried, unsuccessfully, to lunge for her gun. Cowan repeated one thing only, Anderson said. That he wanted to pull the fire alarms. “I don’t know why, we can only speculate about that and I think everyone will speculate why he wanted to pull a fire alarm,” Anderson said. “Either to get the kids out of class or, I don’t know. We don’t know.”

Flattened against the bushes, Ashley Thacker waited two minutes, she thinks. “I didn’t hear anything else, so I thought Officer Gudger had arrested him.” She was wrong. As she approached the school, two assistant principals opened a window and yelled at her to run away. Crying and shaking, Thacker ran to her car and drove a half-mile to her parents’ business.

 The view from the classroom

At about 9:15 a.m., a shaken voice came over the intercom. “Code red. Lockdown.” There was profanity in the background. This was no drill, students realized. With the announcement, teachers sprang into action – locking doors and papering over windows, turning off the lights and closing window blinds. Students huddled in the corners of classrooms, sitting in the darkness and searching for information with a storm of text messages.

Casey Deel, a 17-year-old senior, was on his way to a doctor’s office when his girlfriend, Alicia Edwards, sent him a text at 9:15 a.m. “There’s a code red lock down. im scared,” the 16-year-old junior texted from her government class. “r u serious?” Deel texted back. He skipped his appointment. In Kayla Nichols’ cosmetology class, students squeezed into a storage room the size of a parking space, and locked the door, the 17-year-old said. Ryan Kendrick was in algebra class, just off the main office. The 17-year-old senior thought he heard the gunman making threats – about not leaving the building alive and taking others with him – and Gudger urging him to calm down.

Then he heard a volley of gunshots. Kendrick and his friend, Andrew Ray, began to pray. Landon Sillyman was in his honors biology class, where the teacher had instructed students to put their heads on their desks in the darkened classroom. The 14-year-old freshman estimated the suspense lasted about an hour. But it was all over in minutes, Anderson estimated.

One hundred and twenty seconds after Cowan drew his gun, two deputies, Lt. Steve Williams and Sam Matney, arrived. They entered through separate doors and met Cowan and Gudger – still in a moving standoff – as they reached a science pod behind the cafeteria. Cowan wavered; he jerked his gun from Gudger to the other deputies then back again. The three officers told him, again, to drop his weapon. He wouldn’t. So they opened fire. Some students counted five shots, others counted six. Anderson would not say how many rounds hit the gunman.

Cowan fell to the ground, his shoes just feet from door to the library full of teenagers. The pistol in his hand had seven bullets in the magazine and another in the chamber. He had a second handgun in his back pocket, loaded with five rounds. “That’s how close he was,” Anderson said. “We all know this could have been much more dangerous.”

Yes, it could have been much worse. It could have been another national headline about multiple deaths, sparking a national outcry for stricter gun laws. But it wasn’t. Why? Because the good people of Tennessee have enough sense to place armed officers inside of our schools to protect our children.