Kristi’s suicide though tragic could have just as easily been a murder. That is not to say that I place blame on the Phoenix police for her death, it is to say that if she had killed someone else (which could have very easily happened) then I would place blame on the lack of gun control laws that allowed the Phoenix police to put a gun in the hand of a mentally unstable person.
This deeply disturbing story began more than a decade ago, but the only part of this story that needs to be retold is the end. Kristi Stadler was a woman who had been hospitalized several times for depression. She was on medication and she had an electrical implant to treat her depression. She had attempted suicide more than a few times over a period of 12 years.
This mentally unstable, heavily medicated and suicidal woman legally bought a gun which she had in her hand when she called her psychiatrist to tell her she was going to use it on herself. This mentally unstable, heavily medicated and suicidal woman who legally bought a gun had it taken away by the officers who responded to her psychiatrists 911 call. These responders from the Phoenix police department upon arrival at the scene where her psychiatrist was waiting used her, the doctor’s, cell phone to talk to Kristi and calm her down and get her to relinquish her weapon.
These same officers, for fear of a lawsuit for violating this mentally unstable, heavily medicated and suicidal woman’s Second and Fourteenth amendment rights, returned this weapon back to her.
With the gun that the police returned to her in her hand Kristi called a crisis counselor named Luis. And this is what she had to say;
“I went and picked up my gun today because they gave it back to me because they’re very, very stupid, and now I have my gun, and it’s loaded, and I’d like to shoot myself. So there’s my dilemma. I’m a little drunk…when I try to kill myself, I’m usually drunk. It makes it easier. I’ve tried this many times, and I have been unsuccessful, but a gun makes it very easy to be successful in killing yourself.”
Sometime after 4 a.m. the following morning Kristi Stadler shot herself with that same gun.
When Kristi walked into the gun dealer’s where she legally purchased this gun the background check that all gun dealers run before any gun sale should have included her history of mental illness and the fact that she was on medication for depression and the fact that she had an electrical implant to help treat her depression and the fact that she had been hospitalized several times for depression and the fact that she had attempted suicide. More than once. Having been provided with this information the sale should have been denied.
When Kristi had her weapon confiscated the Phoenix Police Department the requisite ‘Brady check’ that they are required to run before returning any confiscated gun should have included her history of mental illness including the fact that she was on medication for depression and the fact that she had an electrical implant to help treat her depression and the fact that she had been hospitalized several times for depression and the fact that she had attempted suicide. More than once. Let’s not forget the reason why the police confiscated her weapon in the first place. What the ‘Brady check did include was the fact that Kristi had never been ordered into treatment by a judge. Having that information and only that information they contacted Kristi and told her she could come pick up her gun. Yet again, let’s not forget the reason why the police confiscated her weapon in the first place. That alone should have been all that was needed for them not to be violating Kristi’s Second and Fourteenth amendment rights by not returning her weapon to her.
A person with a history of mental illness, who is on medication and has an electrical implant to treat depression, who has attempted suicide, more than once, shouldn’t be protected by any amendment rights that allows the ownership of a gun.
Kristi could have just as easily used this weapon she was legally able to own to kill her daughter that was taken away from her by the child’s father, who did so because he feared for the girl’s safety. She could have just as easily used this weapon she was legally able to own to kill the child’s father to prevent him from taking her daughter away, who did so because he feared for the girl’s safety. She could have just as easily shot her psychiatrist when she went to where Kristi was and where the police were dispatched to because she was threatening to use her gun to shoot herself. She could have just as easily shot of those same police officers who responded to the 911 call.
If she had threatened anyone else’s life with her gun like she did her own she would have been charged with the felony of armed with intent to use’ or possibly even with attempted murder. Would the police have returned the gun to her then? No. If the police would have been responding to that kind of 911 call and confiscated her weapon because she threatened to use it on someone else which would have undoubtedly resulted in her being convicted of a gun crime she would no longer legally be able to own a gun.
Kristi’s father Terry Stadler sued the Phoenix Police Department. His lawsuit was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton. She noted that the Police followed the law by returning Kristi’s gun to her. Judge Bolton had this to say;
“Plaintiff suggests that the court develop a new limitation on the constitutional right to bear arms that would require all state and local governments to determine that an individual is not at risk of committing suicide prior to returning a seized firearm, the court believes that establishing such a limitation is a legislative function, not a judicial one.”
Upon the dismissal of his lawsuit Terry Stadler was ordered to pay 450,000 dollars to cover the Police Department and the state’s legal fees.
Who is to blame for all this? I point the finger at the Right Wing NRA members and their supporters. I point the finger at the politicians who are so greedy for these NRA’s money that won’t cross them for fear of losing the support of these very powerful lobbyists. I point the finger at a system of government that gives organization’s like the NRA power as lobbyists. I point the finger at all the self-righteous ‘Americans’ who use the over 200-year-old constitution written by men who were trying to free themselves from foreign rule and who were arming themselves to protect their new-found untested form of government in a battle for freedom and the outdated amendment that was written during a war that was not fought by citizens armed with the unimaginable types of weapons and ammunition that is available today in a country with 37 more states than there were at the time these rights were given to the people.