An open letter to Andy Parker

Subject: An open letter to Andy Parker
From: Timothy Haight
Date: 30 Aug 2015

Mr. Parker,

I want to start off by saying that I am deeply sorry for your loss. As the father of two wonderful children, one of whom is a daughter in college, I can only imagine what it would be like to lose her or to ever see her come to harm. That being said, it is as a father who loves his daughter, that I beg you to understand that she should have the right to own the only thing that will equalize her 4’ 10” frame against a man who averages being one to two feet taller, two or more times her size and many times her strength. It is due my having such a bright light in my life that I want to point out the deep flaws in what you are determined to accomplish.

While I agree wholeheartedly that those who are mentally ill should not have access to weapons that can do great harm, I want to say that there is no way to do this without causing equal or greater harm to those who are innocent. Yes, we have police, cameras, pepper spray, and less than lethal options of defense. However I would like to note that police do not show up pre-crime as in movie Minority Report, cameras do not stop crime (if they did then every camera covered zone would be 100% crime free), pepper spray is limited in effectiveness especially if the attacker is on drugs or highly determined, stun guns are not as effective as you see on TV (a quick google search will show many videos where they have little to no effect), and martial arts is not that effective when one is much smaller and weaker than their opponent.

What do define as mental behavior that will cause you to lose your right of self-defense? Do we limit it to Psychosis, sociopathic behavior, suicidal tendencies, and schizophrenia? And if so what else? PTSD? Depression? Paranoia? And at what levels and diagnosis to we draw a line where we can say “You cannot own a firearm? Do we take away the right to self-defense of a rape victim or battered wife because they are now suffering PTSD and depression due to the experience? What do we say to that same woman when she is brutalized again now that we forced her to disarm or prohibited her from owning the one effective means of defense? Do we limit the right of defense to only men who suffer from those illnesses and not women? In that case what do we say to the male who was home invaded and beaten senseless? “I’m sorry that you were beaten and hospitalized but now that you have PTSD you can no longer protect yourself”? What do we say to the individual who seeks treatment for a temporary depression when the lost a close loved one and lose their rights as a result? When, if ever, do we allow the right of self-defense that has now been stripped without due process, to be earned back?

What do we now say to the unknown number of people that will refuse to seek treatment because they know their right to self-defense will be stripped? They will not seek help due to this, I know, I am very pro-gun and have heard hundreds of times every time there is a call for mental health checks. Many say they will never, from the day a law requiring that is passed ever seek help should they ever need it. You will in effect set many people on unknown courses because they will be too afraid to seek out the mental health professional that can guide them through their personal storms.

And finally mental health is a very subjective profession that uses some general guidelines. Remember that this same profession had homosexuality in the DSM as a recognized illness until 1986! My point is that mental health professionals cannot be tasked as gate keepers to firearms. They will also choose to err on the side of caution and deny many their right even for slight or common problems. These professionals do not want to be in the news as being the one that allowed the patient to stay off the prohibited lists by mistake. Mr. Parker I can go on and on but I sincerely hope that you can understand that this course will have many more unintended consequences. In all of the recent shootings, None would have been stopped by what you are proposing, but to the contrary many innocents would be disarmed to no good effect.

Timothy Haight