“We know that the decision to end one’s life is often spontaneous — that’s why eliminating easy access to firearms during a mental health crisis is so important,” – retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli, former vice chief of staff of the Army quoted in Veterans At Risk Of Suicide Negotiate A Thorny Relationship With Guns [via npr.org]

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49 Responses to Quote of the Day: Former Army Vice Chief of Staff: Take Guns Away From Vets in Crisis

  1. And that right there is why so many vets who do need help won’t seek it out… because they don’t want to lose their rights.

  2. Yes, take away their guns, because god knows what a great job the VA is doing to take care of veterans.

    The buckpassing by Federal agencies and its doyens is astonishing.

    • If you visit the VA and say you’ve had feelings of harming yourself or others the next question is: Do you have guns at home? If you say “YES” the sheriff’s dept , with an order from your physician, can confiscate your firearms. I worked at a VA hospital, I’ve seen it happen numerous times.

      • Yeah, they’ll do that, but if you show up asking for real help the Kernersville, NC VA will just turn you away. Sadly there are good people at the VA, but there are so many bad people there who don’t really care the whole system is screwed. While I’m not suicidal and I think that veteran suicide needs to be stopped, when you get treated like garbage by the VA, can’t get basic medical treatment or decent mental health treatment, it’s almost understandable why so many veterans kill themselves.

        The VA gets a lot right, but when a veteran slips through the cracks or has a hard time asking for help, they seem to fail pretty hard.

      • I think the point is if you go to the VA and say your sleep cycle is off they may diagnose you with mild depression and this could get you put on a database to have your rights curtailed. This is really bad as it will make more people avoid counseling, therapy, or even medical care.

  3. Cause a knife or a car off a cliff never had the same effect….

    These people need help not condemnation and conviction

  4. CueBuller got it.

    This happens with substance abuse as well.

    Without going too much in to it, a big hinderince to seeking help for many is being able to see the massive cascade of bullshit and caterwauling that will start– removal of guns, family sqawking about because they want to “help”, possible involuntary commitments– and figuring that the path of self destruction is easier. At least it’s quieter.

    The lucky ones decide that they want to live anyway, and get to a meeting.

  5. Is this an underhanded attempt to cut the health care expenses of the VA? The vets would not seek mental health care if they think they will lose their gun rights. Since they would not seek mental health care, the chances of suicide would increase and as a result, the overall health care costs would drop if they commit suicide since it would end their need for other health benefits.

  6. In other words, “we don’t know what to do, in fact, we have no idea what we’re doing. So we should take their property and their rights under the all mighty mantra of “doing something.”

  7. … this is why commissioned officers need to STFU on any political topic outside their official duties. This clown probably never heard a shot fired in anger. If you look at this REMF FOBBIT’s career, it’s just one cushy staff assignment after another.

    • Let’s not stoop to ad hominem attacks. I’m sure there are at least a few of us commissioned officers here who actually take our oaths seriously. The retired general’s asinine comments are easily defeated on their face, without resorting to painting all officers with that broad brush.

      • To be fair, my adhominem was limited to the clown in question who’s pretending he knows jack shit about veterans when his entire career consisted of coffee runs for general officers.

        I don’t think any commissioned officer who takes his oaths seriously would consider requiring officers to be apolitical in their official capacity to be an unreasonable position. For example, you will never see me associate my political opinions using my personal service record as a platform unless said topic is DIRECTLY RELATED to specific items related to that service. (I’m not perfect, so you may find examples to the contrary, but I hope I never commit an “appeal to authority” fallacy using myself as the authority.)

        That being said, I’m just an old broke down E4, not a general officer attempting to use his stars to push policy.

  8. General Assclown seems to think that veterans should have their 2A rights forfeited? Gee, maybe HE should pay attention to the Constitution he allegedly defended for x number of years, specifically paying attention to DUE PROCESS. Whenever any American, veteran or not, is in danger of having ANY of their rights under the Constitution stripped away from them, there is SUPPOSED to be a hearing/trial before a judge, and the accused has a right to legal representation as well as a right to trial by jury. This gun grabbing by supposed well meaning folks is against everything the veterans in particular have fought for, and their buddies who gave up their life for. To even think of violating the rights of the very same people who served without Due Process is nothing short of a dictatorship. They tried that crap here in Wyoming not long ago, and some concerned citizens as well as the county Sheriff surrounded the veteran’s home and let the feds know it was not going to happen. God bless those folks.

  9. devils advocate here, probably get crucified, but…

    if the person is a danger to them self or others, has a plan, and the means, the means must be removed and the situation, and the person must be de – escalated through either involuntary commitment or some other viable option.

    I have sat all night at a diner talking someone through a crisis. I have asked that a family member remove the weapon from the household til the person is through it. And I have committed people for a 72 hour eval when necessary.

    if a person is going to commit suicide they usually have a plan. One has to disrupt the plan.

    • And there is a program in place for that already. Army calls it ACE- Ask your buddy, Care for your buddy, ans Escort your buddy to help. If SMs get to know their mates and look out for one another the way we’re supposed to, the program works.

    • If someone in the grip of excruciating mental or physical torment has considered their options and has decided that suicide is the choice most in line with their wishes why should they be cajoled into accomodating you ?

      Despite all the trite phrases put forth like “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem” reality does not conform to such wishful thinking.

      MANY conditions both mental and physical are life long afflictions that will never go away.

      For some people the solutions offered by proffesionals are woefully inadequate and amount to nothing more than disappointing half-measures.

      Individuals of a certain age should not be shamed or stigmatized into forfeiting their free will just because their last, desperate decision offends others who would just slander them as “weak” anyway.

    • Yes, you are correct.

      The plan proposed by the dude up there is to remove the means and let the rest happen somewhere, somewhen, somehow else. That is why this is a bad idea.

      The term “Pre-Crime” is just as appropriate here in this discussion because the proposal is to limit someone’s Rights because they might do something in the future. And because suicide trips emotional switches in the brain it the direction heads into the My Feels part of the discussion and strays too far away from rational thought.

      If someone is suicidal, you can help them out. It only takes one person to make a difference.

      It doesn’t help if the person who is feeling suicidal is also feeling paranoid because ‘they’ are going to do what they think is going to help you whether you want the help or not.

      It helps even less when you finally say I’m having dark thoughts and then all these things happen that do nothing to address the source of the dark thoughts… Oh. you are feeling suicidal? Lets take your gun away from you right now, double-time soldier, and now that is taken care of lets set you up an appointment to talk to someone are you available two weeks from next thursday?

    • But what you are suggesting and what the general is suggesting are two different things.

      The general suggests that upon finding out someone is suicidal, the government should take that persons guns. That’s it. You want to kill yourself, we’ll take away one of the many, many avenues of accomplishing that. Improvise, adapt, overcome. No battle plan survives contact with the enemy. I’m sure there are other sayings in the military community that pithily express why this general is just “doing something,” so he can feel better about himself when someone commits suicide.

      I can’t remember if it was here or elsewhere, but one study showed that the most gun control can do is divert suicidal people from using guns. It has no effect on the rate of successful suicides. This was a pro-gun control study.

    • Half the country can be diagnosed with depression at some point. depression is an elevated risk to self.

      Do you want people to avoid counseling or therapy for even mild depression? If I thought I was going to be put on a database to be looked at for losing my bill of rights right as a result of counseling for depression I would avoid it. I would make sure my kids don’t get counseling also. That will be the result of the general’s plan.

      In my state the firearms registration application, and that is just for home ownership, ask’s if you have ever had firearms taken away. The carry licence requires a release for ALL your mental health records.

      These kind of things mean less people will get care.

  10. Its self righteous opinionated pricks like this Butt head, pick on the hurting Vet’s Its sort of Like the Inquisition: we are going to torture you and kill you for your own salvation, How does this Zero know what a Vet thinks! another of the Better than thou Zero’s.
    Another Liberal Demonic party card carrying SOB.We want to control you and you inherent freedom be Damned,

  11. Why is the answer to always take guns away? What about knives, cars, poison, meds, tall buildings and bridges? Screw this General.

  12. There’s a reason he’s listed as “Former Army Vice Chief of Staff” and not Current. His views does not fall in line with the current Political Climate and the Current Administration.

    Never take guns away from legal Citizens or Veterans!

    Say “NO” to Disarmament!!!

  13. Another Flag Officer completely detached from reality and any understanding of the of the oath he took.

  14. Can this joker get retroactively dishonorably discharged?

    Thinking he has failed to uphold his oath of office.

  15. Kicking a man when he’s down is the right thing to do? These people are jokes of what health care is supposed to be. I see a pattern. There’s 10 social workers for every doctor the VA has on payroll. It’s a coup in progress.

  16. The general has a lot of shit on his uniform. Do not see a CIB. Maybe he ran out of room. Maybe he doe not have one because he spent his career riding a desk and doesnt have a foggy notion of the reality of being caught in an L getting hammered with heavy guns, RPGs and small arms, the stuff that PTS is made of.

  17. “We know that the decision to bomb another country is often spontaneous — that’s why eliminating easy access to combat-drones and missle-cruisers during a political crisis is so important,” – Everyone Else.

  18. This general has an attitude toward control of his military inferiors that is not altogether unusual in the military. Control of the troops and their lives is what it’s all about – sometimes to an incredibly petty degree – to a degree that civilians usually cannot conceive. No military service is a democratic or egalitarian organization, and when the troops are on active duty, they give up some rights in the name of good order and discipline in the service – that includes having to submit to gun control military style. Once one is retired or one becomes a veteran, that is no longer true (unless the vet or retiree goes back on base for some reason) and the usual civilian rules prevail. I agree that vets who are contemplating suicide (or whatever) should not lose their rights except through due process before a judge. In the active duty military, it’s much less procedural – the commanding officer just says take the guns/lock him up/commit him, and it’s done – no appeal or recourse. This general just never stopped thinking like that. You must keep in mind that any officer over the rank of colonel (captain in the sea services) is a very political animal – it’s what they have to deal with to get ahead and keep from being forced out. It’s all about who they know, who they blow, and how they blow them to get what they want. Officers below colonels (lieutentant colonels and majors) may be learning politics, but it’s not central to their game. So I see where this general is coming from – but now that he’s retired, it’s just his opinion and means nothing.

  19. Seems like getting them help quickly focuzes on quick distance for the concerned, not a solution at any time for the afflicted.

  20. I worked for “Pistol Pete” Chiarelli when he was an O6 brigade commander.

    This does not surprise me at all. He and Petraeus have little respect for the Constitution they swore to protect and defend.

  21. “We know that the decision to end one’s life is often spontaneous … .” I don’t know that as I have never committed suicide, and I’m not taking his word for it. Also, if it is often spontaneous, how would we know someone was suicidal?

  22. We know from Australia that suicide did not drop one iota when they confiscated guns and over less than a year reduced firearms ownership by half. Access to firearms does not increase suicide at all.

  23. Too bad too many idiots here worship firearms rather than respect real humans. The reality, that more than 20,000 a year kill themselves with guns, has no direct bearing on your, or their, supposed “God given” right to own firearms. Ask any widow, especially of a veteran or soldier, whether they are reassured by the puerile notion that their loved one at least got to pray at the Altar of the Second Amendment one last time before succumbing to depression, PTSD, or other mental illness. There is a broad legitimate range of considerations regarding mental health, and the gun-at-any-cost crowd only makes the entire firearms advocacy movement look insane.
    You morons disgust me.

    • I am a veteran currently still on active duty, and I know that a large portion of the readers and posters here are also veterans. I suspect you are not. If soldiers believed that they would lose their personal firearms because of their service, then we would have an even bigger recruiting/retaining issue than we already have. You can’t threaten people who love guns, and have been trained to love guns, with the loss of their firearm privilege…permanently…The consequence is worse than you might know. If a soldier thinks they will lose access to a beloved hobby and passion (firearms and shooting) they will NEVER seek help for mental health issues. That is a greater danger to the suicidal than firearms. There are thousands of ways to commit suicide so removing firearms from veterans will not prevent suicide. However, it will prevent veterans from seeking help for their issues. So, politely, shut your uninformed pie hole.

    • If the reality (that 20K people per year use firearms to commit suicide) has no bearing on my (or their) “God-given right” to keep and bear arms, then what the fuck is the purpose of your post?

  24. My own father became demented and had several auto accidents, one of which was quite serious and not only he was hurt, but also a woman driver and two kids.

    I took away his keys.

    My father in law asked a relative to safeguard $30,000 for him because he had a business partner that he trusted so little that he though that business partner would abscond with the proceeds of the sale of the business. The relative spent the money and my father in law went to a pawn shop and bought a .45 to kill the relative and the relative’s husband.

    After a short scuffle, I took the pistol away and kept it, thereby saving several lives. The relative never returned the money and my father in law never went to prison for 1st degree murder.

    There’s a place in life for depriving someone of their “rights”. Although, I too have reservations about taking away a veteran’s guns.

    • It’s one thing for a friend or family member to remove the threat temporarily, and the state removing your 2nd amendment rights permanently with the force of law. Once removed the right to keep and bear arms is very hard to restore without money and lawyers, if ever after the crisis has passed.

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