Kristi’s Story: The Insanity of Arming the Mentally Ill
Terry Stadler tears up as he talks about his daughter’s 12-year battle with mental illness. She fought it with everything she had, he says. With repeated hospitalizations, with medication and an electrical implant designed to help with her deep depression. With crisis counseling and years of work with psychiatrists.
On Feb. 6, 2009, she hiked onto South Mountain and called her psychiatrist, threatening to shoot herself. The psychiatrist notified police and met them at the site, handing an officer her cell phone so that he could talk Kristi down. When it was over, police confiscated the gun for safekeeping.
Kristi would spend the next week in a mental hospital and the next month undergoing treatment for alcoholism. She was released into a halfway house but was kicked out in late April because she had been unable to get a job and had returned to drinking.
So, of course, it was time for the police to return Kristi’s gun.
Knowing that she had a history of mental illness.
Knowing that she had threatened suicide two months earlier.
Knowing that she had a psychiatrist, whose contact information was listed on the police report of the February incident. Unfortunately, no one ever called her to ask whether it would be wise to give Kristi a gun.
Instead, police did the requisite ‘Brady check’, verifying that Kristi had never been ordered by a judge into treatment, and proceeded to track her down to let her know she could come get her gun.
Kristi picked up her gun and her bullets on May 7, 2009.
She died just after 4 a.m. on May 8.
‘Had the city not returned Kristi’s gun, she would have possessed a viable civil rights action against the city for violating her Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights,’ attorney Michele Iafrate wrote.
There’s another short video at the link.