Your Brothers Keeper
Setup: You are married, and have a twelve year old daughter. You are the coach of your daughter's soccer team and regularly play at elementary schools. You have a strained relationship with your 36 year old brother, who is an Oxycontin/Valium addict. Your brother is unemployed, has an 8th grade education, has never lived anywhere other than with mom and dad, and has other mental health issues.
Story: Two weeks ago you get a call from your crying mother saying your brother assaulted your father, held his illegally obtained .40 to his own head saying he had no reason to live and "give me a reason to shoot myself!" He then jumped in his car and left. Your parents will not call the police because your brother says he will just shoot himself. Your brother typically has similar episodes about twice a year. This is the first time there has been physical violence involved. Your mother goes on to say that your brother may be heading to your home. When you hang up with your mother you holster your firearm, put your shotgun within reach, and wonder if he might actually show up. Doors and windows locked, lights out. By this time your daughter is crying, worried that he will show up; your wife is sure he will. You are secretly half-hoping that he does so you can do your "point shot, controlled pair, aimed pair" routine...you would have no hesitation in putting him out of his, and everyone else's misery....this is a reviewed and carefully considered decision, it's not something you've decided in the moment....ok, ok, at least it makes you feel a little better to think that. You know you should leave the house and call 911, you decide not to...you're thinking if you call the police and they do find him and he commits suicide, your parents would never forgive you. You later think you should have done it anyway. For the last six months you have been worried that you will get a call in the middle of the night saying your brother has murdered your parents. He's just about the last person on the planet that should own a firearm.
As it turns out, your brother never shows up and the following day claims that he doesn't really remember much of what happened. Mom and dad sweep this episode under the carpet as per their norm, and ask you not to tell him you know what happened. You have since decided that the relationship with your brother is over until he is drug free, having spent 90+ days in an inpatient treatment program, and is working with a therapist to resolved whatever internal issues cause him to have his bi-annual flip outs. Your daughter will not be visiting grandma and grandpa at home until you are satisfied that your above conditions have been met.
Problem: You are concerned that your brother will show up at a soccer game and want to "talk". How do you protect your family when you are coaching your daughter's soccer team...on school property? Should I be walking away from the team to protect all of the other girls from what might happen? You feel you should have your gun on your hip, but that's not an option. You've thought about a no contact order, but that won’t prevent anything. You would not be surprised if he showed up at your home or a game, hoping for a violent confrontation.
Also, feel free to critique "your" actions in the "Story" section above since you are fairly certain you could have handled it better in hindsight. :wink:
I think these "scenarios" are getting a little out-of-hand. I mean, why don't you just add that he is mean to children and kicks dogs and cats?
Using your scenario, I would call 911 anyway and get his firearm away from him.
He's actually quite fond of dogs and cats.
Originally Posted by high pockets
Maybe it's true and he's looking for advice.
Those are some pretty harsh ideas, though. I get that the brother is a screw up, but he's still your brother, and if one can't rely on family for help, then life is looking pretty bleak.
I've known my brother for his entire life, and I don't think I would get over shooting him. Try to help him; that's my advice. The best way to do that is harder to say.
That's what the family has done since he was 14....help. I think that's the problem..he's never had to deal with his issues because someone has always been there to do it for him.
Originally Posted by Cold Shot
If this is, in fact, a true issue, then I feel it is the OP's responsibility to protect his parents by getting his brother's firearm (illegal firearm at that) away from him and some kind of control over his actions. The OP posted that he is concerned that his brother will kill his parents in some fit of rage. If that fear is accurate, then his brother is likely a ticking time bomb, and the parents acceptance of his actions are putting the entire community at risk.
Contacting the authorities at this point, may well save someone's life.
Rant over - back to minding my own business. I have enough problems in my own family.
Okay, SERIOUSLY!! How many times have we seen mentally unstable people snap and end up as mass shooters?
Originally Posted by Sharpender
Everyone screams, "Why didn't anyone DO anything?" And here is a PRIME example of a whole family having ALL of the warning signs (including an illegally possessed firearm) and being completely and totally IRRESPONSIBLE regarding their son/brother.
Sorry, Mom and Dad, you'll thank me when I save him from killing himself or others by calling the police and getting his butt some genuine help!
ETA: I BELIEVE that in most states, if someone has proven to be a threat to himself or others he can be committed against his will. An assault to his father and a gun held to his own head with statements along the lines of, "give me a reason to shoot myself" certainly qualify. Of course it would mean the parents stepping up to the plate and going on record about the event. I would be doing all I could to convince the parents its in their best interest to stop trying to protect their volatile son and save his life by having him committed.
It's certainly a better option than sitting at home with your shotgun planning on executing him when he gets there or fearing he will show up at your daughter's games in an unstable state.
He has an illegally possessed firearm, has assaulted someone already, has threatened to harm himself and people fear he will harm others... the only question that remains is why haven't the authorities already been called?
OK, I'll bite...what are the police going to do?
Tough stuff. As a former drug addict and alcoholic (9 years totally sober) all I can say is don't write him off. Rehab won't help him, you need to introduce him to the only person who can help with this type of thing. His name is Jesus. 10 years of alcoholism and 2 years of cocaine addiction were erased at an altar for me, no treatment, no recovery programs, just atonement via blood, and I have never looked back.
Pray for him, but protect your family how you must.
If he were my brother, I'd kick his tail so far up his butt that he would have to do a handstand to take a dump.
This is tough, because in your scenario you say brother, but I as the reader don't feel that, or any attachment to that individual. So my initial thought is make his life as miserable as you can to make him get better (by this i don't mean shoot him, i mean not worrying about his feelings, taking his gun and destroying it, and giving him the ultimatum of either he submit to your requirements or he gets out of your parents house). But that would be hypocritical because I would do differently if it really was my brother.
I don't mean this to sound negatively, but it sounds like you have realized he has problems for a long time now, but that you have let the situation take a back seat in favor of focusing on your own life. again, that is not demeaning, i am currently, and have been, doing that with my sister in law for 5 years now, but maybe its time to take a more proactive approach. while you and yours should always be #1, i think you should put more importance on your parents. Talk to them, convince them of what needs to happen, and why this can't go on any longer. that would be my first step, then once they are on board, planning becomes easier. (and i might still take away his gun without him knowing, whats he going to do? call the cops...)
just my .02
Granted, I do not know the inner workings of police business but don't need a paper trail of behavior and a police report of the incidents in question in order to prove an individual is unstable enough to be committed against his/her will?
Originally Posted by SIXTO
Evidence to present to a judge and/or doctor to have them committed and adjudicated mentally defective, etc.
At very least can't they investigate the validity of the claim that the individual has an illegally obtained firearm?
There are adult social services but getting someone committed again his/her will is not too easy without some proof of instability.
If the brother has previous, documented mental health issues it would probably help but as for the violence I think that would be a police issue, no?
I'm in the "you can't make this stuff up" frame of mind so this sounds less than completely hypothetical to me.
Looking at the OP's original question, which is "how do I protect myself and my daughter at the soccer field?" - I suppose it's implied that the venue is a school property so carrying a firearm is outside the rules. If you intend to stay within the law, then carry alternatives to firearms - pepper spray, collapsible baton, knives. Pepper spray required common sense, such as knowing which way the wind is blowing; the latter two really demand some training to use defensively. "Condition Orange" level of situational awareness is a must. If you're a believer in Stewart's Law of Retroaction (easier to get forgiveness than permission) or you think the legal principle of "competing harms" is on your side, then you might choose to carry a firearm in spite of the rules.
Looking at the bigger picture, however, both Lima and smolck have excellent points. Do what you can to get this addled-brain person into "the system" to keep him from being a harm to society or to himself - that's Priority One, IMO. Once he's corralled, so to speak, then his treatment options and path to sobriety and a productive life can be considered and dealt with.
I alluded to the idea that helping him may require tough decisions. If you were to have him arrested and involuntarily committed, it would affect the rest of his life. However, if he is completely out of control and it may save his life and other's lives, then it may be the best choice. There may be some other options to look in to before any legal action is taken, such as an intervention, which should be considered. Helping him does not necessarily mean coddling him and allowing him to harm people without consequences.
Originally Posted by Sharpender
The idea of planning to "put him out of his misery" is misguided. He's your brother, and he deserves better from you.
I agree, your brother needs serious help. I also agree you need to take measure to protect your immediate family, by that I mean your wife and children. Your parents know how your brother is. Yes, he's their son and they love him, but they are also enabling him. I know this will sound callous, but that is their choice and they have to bear responsibility for any harm that comes to them at his hands.
Do take out a no contact order against him, by doing so you've helped cover yourself if things go south. Since carrying a gun on school property is not an option, research and invest in the most effective OC available to you, and keep it on you at all times.
You say the handgun he has is illegal. Is he legally barred from owning a handgun? Has he been adjudged mentally incompetent, does he have a criminal record? If so, turn him in to the authorities. It is your responsibility to do so.
Drug/alcohol interdiction programs are great and can do a lot of good. But only after he agrees he has a problem and wants to change his life. Until HE makes that decision on his own, they are a waste of time and money. A good example is Lindsey Lohan. Numerous times in and out of different alcohol and drug programs and she hasn't changed her life at all. Why? Because she doesn't think she needs to.
Your brother is a ticking time bomb. I hope things work out for you and your family.