Episode 951 | Gun Violence in NM Part 4: Mental Health

Episode 951 | Gun Violence in NM Part 4: Mental Health


>>THIS MONTH, NEW MEXICO
InFOCUS HAS BEEN LOOKING AT GUN OWNERSHIP.
IN LIGHT OF RECENT EVENTS, WE WANTED TO EXAMINE MENTAL
ILLNESS AND HOW IT RELATES TO GUN VIOLENCE.
ALTHOUGH MENTAL ILLNESS IS OFTEN BLAMED AFTER MASS
SHOOTINGS, PEOPLE WHO ARE DEALING WITH PSYCHOLOGICAL
PROBLEMS ARE ACTUALLY MORE LIKELY TO USE A GUN TO
COMMIT SUICIDE. OUR CORRESPONDENT GWYNETH
DOLAND SAT DOWN THIS WEEK WITH LOCAL EXPERTS IN LAW
ENFORCEMENT AND HEALTH CARE WHO ARE TRYING TO IMPROVE
REACTIONS BETWEEN POLICE AND PEOPLE WHO ARE MENTALLY ILL.
>>MY GUESTS TODAY ARE STEPHAN MARSHALL, WHO IS THE
DIRECTOR OF THE NEW MEXICO LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING
ACADEMY. DR. DAN DUHIGG IS A
PSYCHIATRIST WITH UNM HOSPITAL.
HE SERVES ON THE MENTAL HEALTH RESPONSE ADVISORY
COMMITTEE. AND RACHEL O’CONNOR IS THE
HEAD OF THE COMMUNITY SERVICES DEPARTMENT AT
SANTA FE COUNTY. THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING WITH
US TODAY.>>THANK YOU.
>>DAN, I WANT TO TALK TO YOU FIRST.
WHEN WE HAVE SITUATIONS LIKE THIS SHOOTING IN ORLANDO, OR
THE ONE THAT HAPPENED IN GERMANY THIS WEEK, THE
MOTIVES ARE OFTEN VERY COMPLICATED, REALLY, BUT
PEOPLE OFTEN SAY, THIS PERSON MUST HAVE BEEN CRAZY
TO DO THIS THING. AND THEN PEOPLE SAY, WELL,
WE NEED BETTER ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH CARE, AND WE
NEED TO CHANGE OUR LAWS ABOUT WHO HAS ACCESS TO
GUNS. WHICH OF THESE IS IT?
>>SO IT’S A GREAT QUESTION, AND IT’S A NATURAL RESPONSE
BECAUSE PEOPLE WANT TO EXPLAIN THE UNEXPLAINABLE.
BUT NOT EVERYBODY WHO ENGAGES IN A MASS SHOOTING
OR WHO KILLS OTHER PEOPLE NECESSARILY HAVE MENTAL
ILLNESS. SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST ANGRY.
SOME PEOPLE JUST WANT TO CAUSE PAIN AND SUFFERING OR
PUNISHMENT FOR OTHERS AND AREN’T MENTALLY ILL,
NECESSARILY. BUT THE SECOND PART OF WHAT
YOU SAY IS TRUE, WE DO NEED MORE MENTAL ILLNESS
SERVICES, WE NEED TREATMENT FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE ACTUAL
MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS OR MENTAL ILLNESS, AND WE DO
NEED A CHANGE IN SOME OF OUR LAWS.
FOR INSTANCE, WE NEED CHANGES IN STATE LAWS THAT
ALLOW LAW ENFORCEMENT TO TAKE GUNS AWAY FROM PEOPLE
WHO HAVE DEMONSTRATED VIOLENCE OR WHO A LOVED ONE
OR COMMUNITY MEMBER SUSPECTS OF BEING VIOLENT, OR THAT
THEY’RE AFRAID THAT THEY WILL BE VIOLENT.
AND SO OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT IN THE STATE NOW DOESN’T
HAVE ACTUALLY THE CAPABILITY TO TAKE WEAPONS AWAY IN THAT
CASE, AND THAT REQUIRES A CHANGE IN STATE LAW.
>>STEPHAN, WHEN WE’RE TALKING ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS
AND GUN VIOLENCE, AS DAN HAS SAID, MENTAL ILLNESS ISN’T
ACTUALLY A VERY GOOD PREDICTOR OF WHO IS GOING TO
COMMIT A TERRIBLY VIOLENT ACT.
THEY SAY THAT OTHER BEHAVIORS, LIKE PREVIOUS
ARRESTS FOR ASSAULT OR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, OR
MULTIPLE CONVICTIONS FOR DWI, THINGS LIKE THAT, ARE
BETTER PREDICTORS. WHEN YOU’RE PROFILING
SOMEONE, WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING AT SOMEONE — YOU WERE IN
THE FBI FOR 20 YEARS. WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING AT
SOMEONE, IS MENTAL ILLNESS ONE OF THOSE FACTORS, OR
WHAT DO YOU VALUE MORE THAN THAT WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO
FIGURE OUT IF SOMEONE IS GOING TO DO A REALLY BAD
THING?>>I THINK CERTAINLY MORE
THAN MENTAL ILLNESS, YOU WANT TO LOOK AT ACTIONS.
PRIOR BEHAVIOR IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE
BEHAVIOR, BUT MENTAL ILLNESS, AS DAN WAS SAYING,
IS A VERY SMALL PART OF IT. THERE’S ALSO ISSUES SUCH AS
WHAT THEY’VE ENGAGED IN IN THE PAST.
THE PROBLEM IS, WHEN YOU TRY TO TALK ABOUT LAWS TO
ADDRESS THIS, THE PROBLEM IS, PEOPLE LOOK AT SPECIFIC
EXAMPLES AND SAY, IT WOULDN’T HAVE PREVENTED THIS
CASE, AND THAT’S VERY TRUE. THERE WAS NO HISTORY OF
SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS SHOWN IN MOST OF THE SHOOTERS THAT
WE’VE DEALT WITH IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, WHETHER THEY’RE
CLAIMING TO BE MOTIVATED BY TERRORISM OR SOMETHING ELSE.
>>BUT WE OFTEN DO SEE THIS PATTERN, RACHEL, OF THESE
MULTIPLE INTERACTIONS WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT BEFORE A BIG
ERUPTION OF VIOLENCE, AND IN SANTA FE COUNTY YOU HAVE
CREATED A MOBILE CRISIS RESPONSE TEAM THAT HELPS
PEOPLE RESPOND TO CALLS WHERE THERE IS SOME SORT OF
MENTAL CRISIS, MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS GOING ON.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM IN SANTA FE COUNTY THAT YOU ARE
TRYING TO ADDRESS WITH THIS MOBILE TEAM?
>>I THINK, GWEN, IN 2014, WE REALLY LOOKED AT WHAT WAS
HAPPENING IN SANTA FE COUNTY, AS WELL AS THE
LARGER STATE OF NEW MEXICO AND THE COUNTRY, AND SAW
THAT THE ISSUE OF THE INTERSECTION BETWEEN MENTAL
HEALTH AND LAW ENFORCEMENT WAS CREATING A SITUATION
THAT NEEDED TO BE DEESCALATED.
AND SO AS A RESULT OF OUR HEALTH ACTION PLAN, WE
FUNDED A MOBILE CRISIS TEAM, AND THEY’RE REALLY THERE TO
PROTECT LAW ENFORCEMENT AS WELL AS SOMEONE IN CRISIS BY
AVOIDING HAVING A SITUATION ESCALATE.
AND I THINK THERE ARE A NUMBER OF THINGS THAT WE’RE
TRYING TO PREVENT. ULTIMATELY, WE’RE TRYING TO
PREVENT VIOLENCE IN OUR COMMUNITY, WE’RE TRYING TO
PREVENT SUICIDE, WE’RE TRYING TO PREVENT
INCARCERATION, AS WELL, FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO REALLY NEED
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES RATHER THAN LAW ENFORCEMENT.
>>NOW, YOU CAME TO THIS POSITION FROM A BACKGROUND
IN PREVENTING INJURIES. WHAT IS IT THAT YOU THINK
ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS WE CAN DO TO PREVENT
GUN VIOLENCE RELATED INJURIES IN SANTA FE COUNTY
OR IN NEW MEXICO?>>I THINK THE MOBILE CRISIS
TEAM IS ONE. IT’S ONE THING THAT’S
HAPPENING ACROSS THE COUNTRY IN TERMS OF AN INTERVENTION
OR STRATEGY THAT WORKS. I THINK AS SOME OF MY
COLLEAGUES HAVE TALKED ABOUT TODAY, LOOKING AT WHAT THE
LAWS SAY, LOOKING AT ACCESS TO GUNS, LOOKING AT
INCREASING MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES, A VARIETY OF
FACTORS REALLY NEED TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT, AND SOME
OF THOSE ARE SIMPLE THINGS LIKE GUN LOCKS AND HOW WE
STORE WEAPONS AND THOSE KINDS OF THINGS.
BUT I REALLY THINK IT’S A COMBINATION OF THINGS THAT
NEED TO COME FORWARD.>>NOW, RACHEL MENTIONED
SUICIDE, DAN, AND I WANT TO COME BACK TO YOU ON THIS,
BECAUSE NEW MEXICO HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST SUICIDE RATES
IN THE NATION. IT IS THE SECOND LEADING
CAUSE OF DEATH FOR YOUNG PEOPLE IN NEW MEXICO.
WE HAVE BEEN VERY FORTUNATE HERE THAT WE HAVE NOT SEEN A
TERRORIST ATTACK OR A MASS SHOOTING ON THE SCALE THAT
WE HAVE SEEN IN OTHER PLACES RECENTLY.
IS SUICIDE THE MOST IMPORTANT GUN VIOLENCE
RELATED ISSUE THAT WE SHOULD BE LOOKING AT?
>>IT IS, AND THIS IS THE UNTOLD STORY ABOUT GUNS.
MOST OF THE CONVERSATIONS THAT WE’RE HAVING ABOUT GUNS
AND GUN VIOLENCE ARE ABOUT MASS SHOOTINGS OR ABOUT
CRIMES AND HOMICIDES, AND YET THE LARGEST NUMBER OF
GUN RELATED DEATHS ARE SUICIDE.
IN NEW MEXICO, IT’S ABOUT 68% OF GUN RELATED DEATHS
ARE SUICIDE. NATIONALLY, IT’S ABOUT 62%.
SO THIS IS THE MAJORITY OF GUN RELATED DEATHS, AND YET
THAT’S NOT THE CONVERSATION THAT WE’RE HAVING.
>>WHY IS THIS TRUE ABOUT SUICIDE?
WHY IS THIS SUCH A BIG PROBLEM?
>>WELL, IT’S A PROBLEM ESSENTIALLY BECAUSE GUNS ARE
SO EFFECTIVE AT COMPLETING A SUICIDE.
SO THERE ARE MANY MORE SUICIDE ATTEMPTS THAT ARE
NOT COMPLETE, THAT DO NOT RESULT IN DEATH, THAN THOSE
THAT DO RESULT IN DEATH.>>ARE WE TALKING ABOUT
PEOPLE WHO TAKE PILLS OR TRY TO HANG THEMSELVES, OTHER
THINGS LIKE THAT?>>EXACTLY.
SO SOME OF THOSE DO RESULT IN DEATH, BUT MANY OF THEM
DO NOT, ALTHOUGH THERE’S A DISPROPORTIONATE COMPLETION
RATE, OR RESULT IN DEATH, WHEN A GUN IS INVOLVED.
ESSENTIALLY, THE WAY I THINK ABOUT IT IS THAT IT’S JUST
SO EASY TO DO SO MUCH DAMAGE.
YOU MOVE THAT TRIGGER JUST A FEW MILLIMETERS AND YOU HAVE
AN AMAZINGLY DESTRUCTIVE FORCE.
SO WHEN A GUN IS USED IN A SUICIDE ATTEMPT, IT IS MORE
LIKELY TO RESULT IN DEATH THAN ANY OTHER ATTEMPT.
>>AND I THINK ANOTHER THING IN THAT REGARD THAT WE HAVE
TO LOOK AT IS WITH A NUMBER OF THESE ACTIVE SHOOTER
SITUATIONS, THEY SEEM TO BE SIMPLY EXTENDED SUICIDES OF
PEOPLE WHO HAVE HAD WHAT THEY CONSIDER TO BE
MEANINGLESS LIVES AND THEY WANT TO GO OUT IN A BLAZE OF
GLORY AND BE REMEMBERED. I THINK THE MOST RECENT ONE
IN ORLANDO, THERE’S A VERY GOOD ARGUMENT TO BE MADE
THAT THIS WAS SOMEBODY WHO WAS FULL OF SELF-LOATHING
FOR WHATEVER TENDENCIES HE MAY HAVE HAD AND WAS VERY
SELF-DESTRUCTIVE. WE SEE THAT WITH A LOT OF
THE ACTIVE SHOOTERS. THEY TAKE THEMSELVES OUT AS
SOON AS LAW ENFORCEMENT RESPONDS, AS SOON AS THEY
SEE SOMEONE COME THROUGH THE DOOR, AND IT SEEMS VERY
OBVIOUS THAT THAT WAS THE PLAN IN THE BEGINNING, WAS
THAT THEY WANTED TO END THEIR OWN LIFE, BUT THEY
WANTED TO DO IN A SPECTACULAR FASHION SO THEY
WOULD BE REMEMBERED.>>I THINK, ALSO, THAT
SUICIDE CAN TEND TO BE REALLY IMPULSIVE, AND SO
THAT MAKES A REALLY DANGEROUS COMBINATION WITH A
GUN. IF YOU HAVE EASY ACCESS TO A
GUN, YOU CAN PERFORM SOMETHING RELATIVELY QUICKLY
THAT CAN BE VERY DEADLY.>>PARTICULARLY IF YOU’RE
INTOXICATED, WHICH IS ONE OF THE HUGE RISKS WHEN IT COMES
TO SUICIDE AS A WHOLE, BUT SPECIFICALLY SUICIDE WITH A
GUN. IF YOU’RE EITHER INTOXICATED
WITH ALCOHOL OR OTHER ILLICIT SUBSTANCES, THINGS
THAT DIDN’T MAKE SENSE TO YOU BEFORE MIGHT ALL OF A
SUDDEN MAKE SENSE, OR YOU MIGHT IMPULSIVELY DO
SOMETHING YOU MIGHT NOT EVEN REALIZE HAS LETHAL
POTENTIAL, BUT YOU ACT ON A WHIM, AND UNFORTUNATELY
THERE ARE THESE DIRE AND LETHAL CONSEQUENCES.
>>SO, WE’VE TALKED ABOUT ALCOHOL BEING AN ISSUE ON
THIS SHOW PREVIOUSLY, WE’VE TALKED ABOUT DOMESTIC
VIOLENCE, WE’VE TALKED ABOUT A HISTORY OF VIOLENT
ACTIVITY, AND YOU MENTIONED, STEPHAN, THE ORLANDO
SHOOTER. PEOPLE HAD REPORTED HIM TO
THE FBI, PEOPLE HAD COMPLAINED THAT HE WAS
SAYING CREEPY THINGS AT WORK, HE HAD ABUSED HIS
WIFE. THERE ARE LAWS IN SEVERAL
OTHER STATES, CONNECTICUT, INDIANA, CALIFORNIA, THAT
ALLOW LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS TO TAKE GUNS AWAY
FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE ACCUSED OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, OR
THEY’RE IN A CRISIS SITUATION, THEY’VE BEEN
ADJUDICATED MENTALLY ILL, OR THEY’RE IN A MENTAL HEALTH
CRISIS. AS A TOOL FOR LAW
ENFORCEMENT — WE DON’T HAVE THIS IN NEW MEXICO — WOULD
THAT BE HELPFUL? WOULD IT MAKE A SIGNIFICANT
DIFFERENCE IN PREVENTING GUN VIOLENCE, WHETHER IT’S
SUICIDE OR INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE, OR SOMETHING ELSE?
>>I THINK THAT WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT TO ANSWER FOR
A VARIETY OF REASONS, ONE OF WHICH IS, AS WE SAID, SOME
OF THESE CASES JUST POP UP. THE ORLANDO SHOOTER DID HAVE
A HISTORY OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
THE WORLD IS FULL OF PEOPLE WITH HISTORIES OF DOMESTIC
VIOLENCE, HISTORIES OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE WHO NEVER GO
ANY FURTHER. JUST LIKE THERE’S NUMEROUS
MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT DANGEROUS.
TO PREDICT FUTURE BEHAVIOR WITH THAT KIND OF CERTAINTY
BRINGS UP ALL SORTS OF CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES WHEN
IT COMES TO DUE PROCESS RIGHTS.
PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS, THEY HAVE A RIGHT
TO EQUAL PROTECTION. IF WE START PREJUDGING THEM
BASED ON CONDUCT THAT IS NOT NECESSARILY GUARANTEEING
FUTURE ACTIONS, THEN WE END UP IN ALL SORTS OF
CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES. SO IT’S A VERY COMPLICATED
SITUATION TO GET INTO. AGAIN, FEDERAL LAW ALREADY
PROHIBITS MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE FROM ACQUIRING
WEAPONS. IT DOES NOT SEEM TERRIBLY
EFFECTIVE.>>WELL, WE DON’T HAVE
LEGISLATION IN NEW MEXICO THAT WOULD IMPLEMENT THAT
HERE.>>RIGHT.
BUT THERE IS THE OPPORTUNITY, AND WHAT WE
HAVE SEEN ARE FOR NEGOTIATED RELEASES OF WEAPONS, SUCH AS
A CONDITION OF A BOND, OR A CONDITION OF A RESTRAINING
ORDER, THAT WEAPONS ARE REMOVED FROM THE HOME.
SO THERE ARE SOME PROVISIONS OUT THERE LIKE THAT.
I’M JUST NOT SURE IT WILL SOLVE ENOUGH OF OUR
PROBLEMS.>>IF YOU WERE THE KING OF
THIS COUNTRY, OR THE BENEVOLENT DICTATOR, THE
SUPREME RULER OF AMERICA, AND YOU COULD PUT A DENT IN
THIS PROBLEM, YOU COULD SOLVE A BIG CHUNK OF THE GUN
VIOLENCE PROBLEM THAT WE HAVE, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO DEAL WITH CONGRESS AND YOU DIDN’T
HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE DANG CONSTITUTION, WHAT WOULD YOU
DO?>>I DON’T KNOW.
IF I HAD THAT KIND OF POWER, OR THAT KIND OF KNOWLEDGE,
I’D BE IN A DIFFERENT POSITION.
I THINK WHAT WE HAVE TO DO IS, WE HAVE TO LEARN FROM
HISTORY, WE HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO RESPOND.
BUT AGAIN, PREDICTING BEHAVIOR IS ALWAYS GOING TO
BE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. THAT’S WHY WHEN WE LOOK AT
ATTACKS LIKE IN ORLANDO, WE LOOK AT IT MORE AS AN ACTIVE
SHOOTER SITUATION. WE HAVE COMPLETELY CHANGED
OUR RESPONSE TO ACTIVE SHOOTERS SINCE COLUMBINE IN
1999. WE HAVE TO REACT QUICKLY.
WE’VE LEARNED THAT MOST SHOOTERS IN THAT SITUATION
WILL COMMIT SUICIDE WHEN CONFRONTED WITH LAW
ENFORCEMENT, SO WE TRY TO MAKE THAT CONFRONTATION AS
QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. THAT’S MY AREA.
WE RESPOND. PREDICTING WHAT THEY’RE
GOING TO DO IS SOMEBODY ELSE’S CATEGORY.
>>RACHEL, YOUR AREA IS PREVENTING.
>>THAT’S CORRECT.>>SO IF YOU HAD THAT MAGIC
WAND, BENEVOLENT DICTATOR, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
>>I THINK SOME OF THE THINGS THAT WE’VE ALL TALKED
ABOUT HERE ARE IMPORTANT. I THINK HAVING AN INTERFACE
BETWEEN MENTAL HEALTH AND LAW ENFORCEMENT IS EXTREMELY
IMPORTANT. IT’S EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, AS
HE JUST STATED, THAT WHEN CONFRONTED WITH LAW
ENFORCEMENT, YOU OFTEN ESCALATE THE PROBLEM.
AND THERE’S SOMEONE THERE TO SERVE AS PROTECTION FOR LAW
ENFORCEMENT, AS WELL AS PROTECTION FOR THE
INDIVIDUAL. BUT I THINK IT HAS TO BE A
COMBINATION OF THINGS. I THINK THERE ARE LAWS THAT
COULD BE CHANGED IN TERMS OF THIS ISSUE, I THINK THAT
CERTAINLY SOME OF THE EASY SAFETY STEPS WITH REGARD TO
GUNS, AND I THINK ON THE FEDERAL LEVEL, THERE’S A
VARIETY OF STEPS THAT SHOULD BE TAKEN, AS WELL.
>>DAN, WE JUST HAVE A MINUTE.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR WAND?
>>WELL, I DON’T THINK YOU NEED A WAND, AND I DON’T
THINK YOU NEED TO THROW OUTS THE CONSTITUTION.
CALIFORNIA HAS IMPLEMENTED THIS, AND IT’S REALLY IN
LINE WITH THE CONSTITUTION, WHERE WHAT YOU DO IS YOU
TAKE PEOPLE’S ACCESS TO GUNS AWAY TEMPORARILY.
AND IT’S BASED ON KNOWN RISKS.
SO, FOR INSTANCE, IF YOU’RE IN A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
SITUATION, IF YOU HAVE REPEATED DWI ARRESTS, IF YOU
HAVE A HISTORY OF VIOLENT MISDEMEANOR CHARGES, YOU
MIGHT GET YOUR ACCESS TO GUNS TAKEN AWAY FOR UP TO
FIVE YEARS. AND YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO
PETITION TO GET THAT ACCESS BACK AFTER A YEAR.
A PSYCHIATRIST OR PSYCHOLOGIST EVALUATES YOU,
AND THEN A JUDGE MAKES THAT DETERMINATION.
SO IT’S NOT CONTRARY TO THE CONSTITUTION, IT’S NOT
PERMANENT REMOVAL OF ACCESS, BUT IT’S REMOVAL JUST LONG
ENOUGH TO HOPEFULLY DELAY ANY KIND OF REPEAT OF
VIOLENT ACTIVITY.>>I WANT TO THANK YOU ALL
FOR BEING HERE WITH US TODAY AND TALKING ABOUT THIS
THORNY ISSUE.>>THANK YOU.

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