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Thread: OT - Your Brother's Keeper

  1. #1
    Regular Member Sharpender's Avatar
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    OT - Your Brother's Keeper

    This is OC off topic, but as I've said in the past, I value your opinions.

    Theoretical Scenario

    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 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.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Sharpender; 10-31-2011 at 04:39 PM. Reason: My stupidity.

  2. #2
    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Not much of an answer but who's been worrying about your brother for the last 20 years?

    It would appear that your parents have dropped the ball. If anything happens to your brother they'll be blaming anyone but themselves.

    Your responsibility is to your current family. If the Police need to be involved, so be it. Unless you are responsible for introducing him to his dependency you can't take the problem on as yours.

    If he shows up at a Soccer game, and is "under the influence" your best move would be to use your cell phone, not your gun. Call the Police and let them deal with the issue.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

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  3. #3
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    Seriously your brother held a gun to your fathers head and you did not call the cops. You have children and you have allowed them to have contact with your drug/elder abusing brother, really I mean REALLY!!!!!

    In my world you do not mess with old people or kids with out risking my rath and everyone elses rath I can recrute social services, law enforcement, friends, relitives, strangers etc.

    Sorry to be so harsh but do something and do it now.

    When it comes to your kids you should have a no retreat, no surrender policy firmely embedded in your mind the fact that you are thinking about it means you dont.

  4. #4
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Get your fingers busy typing searches for groups like Al-Anon. There are groups that are set up for family of druggies, too. You "need" to go. It would probably be helpful if your wife and kid also went. Your parents might benefit if you could convince them to go.

    This has nothing to do with enabling, although that is what you and your folks might be doing by not letting him suffer the full consequences of his choices and behaviors. That sermon is for much later.

    The point is that what you describe is someone who is toxic to you and yours, just like some disease germ. You can either avoid the germ or take action to destroy it - those are pretty much your choices. It spounds like you want to select option #1, so let's discuss that.

    You seem to have forgotten that the gun is merely a tool - not the only tool but probably the most effective tool. Your circumstances (soccer coach, school property) are such that you cannot carry that one tool. So start thinking of all the other toolks you can carry/use. Cell phone to call for assistance. Strong talk to your brother telling him to go away (not just when he shows up, but also beforehand). Pepper spray for back up to strong words. Frank discussion with school and soccer league administrators to seek their help by banning your brother from the school/games/practices.

    If you want to set conditions for your brother regarding contact with your immediate family (wife & kid) you need to set them out for your brother. If you want to also do an intervention with the assistance of a trained professional that's one way to do it. But whatever you do make sure you do it in a public place with both witnesses and backup. If you cannot video it at least get an audio recording of the conversation. If you want to try and convince your parents to set conditions on their son you probably, from your description of present circumstances, will benefit from the assistance of a professional or some experienced folks from Al-Anon or similar groups.

    Think of this in the same way we approach firearms training - we need to know what our options are and how to employ them. We need to practice them - not just to become proficient but so that the appropriate responses become "ingrained" so that we do not stand there flatfooted when the balloon goes up. You need to learn and practice how to deal with and respond to your brother. Better to go get training from those that have some prior experience that has been shown to work fairly well than to try and wing it on your own - just like you check out a firearms instructor before taking a class from them just because their name is in the phonebook.

    Feel free to PM me if you want long-distance help. My fees are reasonable (free is reasonable, isn't it?).

    stay safe.
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  5. #5
    Regular Member amzbrady's Avatar
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    intervention, Mom and Dad are enablers. They are just as much the problem as the problem itself. You should have called the police, any outcome would give your brother the help he needs and give others relief.
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  6. #6
    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    You can't help someone who doesn't want help.

    The parents are enablers and only assuring that hitting rock bottom will take a lot longer.

    Secretly wanting to use firearm scenarios is just as disturbing (although being prepared is good).

    Skidmark and Orphan covered my other thoughts.
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    Regular Member Difdi's Avatar
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    I'm sure the denizens of this forum will correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't a Washington CPL exempt you from the 1,000' gun free school zone restriction? And I seem to recall reading something about it being legal to concealed carry even on school grounds if you have a legitimate, authorized-by-the-school reason to be there, and do not deviate from the authorization. The example I recall being given is picking up a kid from school, but would it be illegal to attend a soccer game armed, if you have a CPL?

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    Campaign Veteran slapmonkay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Difdi View Post
    I'm sure the denizens of this forum will correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't a Washington CPL exempt you from the 1,000' gun free school zone restriction? And I seem to recall reading something about it being legal to concealed carry even on school grounds if you have a legitimate, authorized-by-the-school reason to be there, and do not deviate from the authorization. The example I recall being given is picking up a kid from school, but would it be illegal to attend a soccer game armed, if you have a CPL?
    Even with a CPL you would likely be violating the law. You are correct that one is excempt from the 1000' law. However an AG opinion lists A soccer field and the surrounding grounds are a 'facility' and the school can have 'sole' use of that type of facility. If the location is on school grounds, leased to the school or the school has power to exclude public then it may fall under the facility statute. Also, if he holds a position such as coach, he likely has other things to look at as well. Be careful.
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  9. #9
    Opt-Out Members BigDave's Avatar
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    Some might see this as harsh, but treat him as any other threat to you and your family, follow through with the restraining order, might not prevent him from making contact but would be in public record if something did happen by his actions.
    Report any incident concerning threats to the police, start the paper trail just encase you may need it later.

    It would not be a bad idea to purchase a good pepper spray to add to your personal protection and may work well in your scenario at the soccer game.
    Is the soccer field school property or a school event? Does it apply to the restrictions in the RCW's for weapons possession?
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTHunter View Post
    Orphan - the OP stated:



    The fact remains that an assault did occur and the police should have been called. If the OP's parents don't press charges, there is probably little the OP can do.
    As far as his "soccer game scenario" is concerned, the cellphone is his only real option to avoid legal entaglements of his own.
    Certainly looks to NOT be the actions of the rational mind at a minimum.
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  11. #11
    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    Your responsibility is to your current family. If the Police need to be involved, so be it. Unless you are responsible for introducing him to his dependency you can't take the problem on as yours.
    Agreed. Furthermore, if he's a threat when he's high and has a tendency to get high, nor should you do nothing, hoping for the best. Be proactive! If you do talk to the police, without a specific incident which you eye-witnessed, there's little they can do other than take it on advisement. On the other hand, having been notified, if there ever is such an incident, it will be a little less "he said/she said" and more defining of an actual trend.

    If he shows up at a Soccer game, and is "under the influence" your best move would be to use your cell phone, not your gun.
    Also good advice. You may want to establish a plan with your family, where they walk towards the car while you walk towards a couple of trusted friends whose kids are on the soccer team. The bigger the friends, the better.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpender View Post
    ... 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.
    ...

    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.
    Thanks!
    My Hindsight is strong.

    I would strongly urge you to think this over carefully. Hoping for such an event is a very bad sign. Maybe you didn't mean it to sound that way. If not, no harm done - other than the fact that you published it. If you really do feel that way you have some work to do. I fully support your right to defend yourself and your loved ones, and I can certainly understand a strong desire for this whole situation to be over, but as they say, be careful what you wish for. Again, if I have misinterpreted your intent I apologize.

    You absolutely should have called the police. This goes beyond trying to respect your parents' preferences. If they are willing to put themselves at risk out of love for your brother that is one thing - it's a difficult choice at best. By the same token it is not reasonable for them to expect others to take up that same burden involuntarily.

    This sounds like a very frustrating and wearying situation. It may well take (probably already has) more patience than you think you have. I can't offer you much there. The Al-Anon support sounds like a great place to start. They may be also able to help you with the first issue I raised. Avoiding him as much as possible sounds like a very solid decision to me. Sooner or later he will take care of the problem himself if he won't let anyone help him. Best not to be around when he does.

    As far as defending yourself in a gun-free zone, there has been some excellent advice given already, so I don't have much to add. You may want to make others aware of the situation but it's reasonable to expect some people to react negatively and maybe even cause trouble for you, your daughter and the team. You may want to be very discreet in how you approach that, or just bag the idea altogether (I said I didn't have much ). This is where a restraining order can help a little if you spot him coming. Gives you a documented reason to call 911 and take other reasonable steps.

    Keep your chin up and best of luck.

  13. #13
    Regular Member Badger Johnson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpender View Post
    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.
    Now, having posted that if you do shoot him, you are at risk for being prosecuted for premeditated murder. Get the police to cover it. Doesn't sound like he's going to just outright attack you, so time (and help) is on your side.

    Good luck.

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  14. #14
    Regular Member frommycolddeadhands's Avatar
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    I'll echo the majority of people here by advising that you utilize the legal system for all that it's worth.

    -Call cops to report the assault w/deadly weapon against your father (putting gun to his head)
    - Apply for a restraining order (maybe it won't keep bro away, but if you do eventually get into a violent altercation it'll be nice to have that for court to show a documented history and/or provide for a 'reasonable fear of life' defense if need be)

    Really anything you can do to get a paper trail going on your brother and his behavior will help oodles when/if you wind up in court. (I'm not a lawyer, but years of watching Judge Judy seem to support my theory.

    As far as what you can do if bro shows up at your kids soccer game, at a time and place when you cannot have a firearm...Well, lets look into the big grab bag of other tools that you CAN legally have at a school sporting event that may aid you in a violent altercation:

    -Cell phone (call 5-0)
    - Tazers (still legal in 'gun free zones' and will probably get bro's attention when 50K volts go juicing through his body)
    - Mace. (Not a great idea on a windy day, but its better than nothing.OFF! bug spray or similar aerosol cans also work in a pinch)
    - Legal sized folding knife (the old standby for when ammo runs out)
    - blunt objects of all shapes and sizes. (Baseball bat, MAGLITE, walking stick, balpeen hammer, tire iron, take your pick of blunt objects to save your bacon with that won't look overly conspicuous at a kids sporting event, or make you look like a madman in court)
    -roll of quarters (because...um, maybe if you give him a roll of quarters he'll leave you alone.) <-- little humor
    -Sniper on standby in the woods outside school grounds watching your back. <-- couldn't help myself. (really, don't do that....)

    Anyway, to summarize: get the paper trail started on bro. Pick an alternative defense weapon to protect you and the kiddies if you are worried he might show up at a place where you can't legally carry. Use your situational awareness to get police involved ASAP and hopefully they can grab this guy for something before it becomes a violent confrontation involving you and yours, or your parents.

    Good luck.
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  15. #15
    Regular Member okboomer's Avatar
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    Sharpender,

    You seriously need to have an intervention with your parents. Your brother is showing signs of mental instabillity and compounding that with addiction to some serious mind-altering drugs. Not a good combination.

    In my experience, your parents are displaying the classic "it's not a real problem if we don't acknowledge it" enabling that I have seen in many families of drug addicts, mentally unstable, and CRIMINALS. Your parents refusal to acknowledge the violence of this latest incidence is tantamont to a criminal act against your brother. Their refusal to seek professional help for someone clearly in need will only end in tragedy.

    Do you seriously think that your brother wants to harm your parents or himself? I doubt it. But he is in so much pain that it is driving him to drug addiction and at that level, it is a medical problem that can and should be treated by medical professionals. The problem is that he has just escalated to violence and that will happen again and again until someone is hurt.

    Regardless of the choice you make, I think you understand the seriousness of the situation and have already made up your mind that YOU have to act NOW before you lose one or both of your parents or your brother to suicide. At the very least, you must protect your family NOW. I would also suggest that whatever else you do, you inform the school of the situation and ask the principal/school board for dispensation to attend your coaching duties armed until the situation is resolved.

    Another consideration that I don't believe you have fully thought through is what kind of damage can your brother do if he shows up at a game/practice and starts shooting at the kids? Do you see the possibility of the similarities between your brother's condidion and what happened at Virginia Tech?

    Good luck.
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  16. #16
    Regular Member Sharpender's Avatar
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    Thank's to everyone for their feedback/support, etc.. I do truly appreciate it. The comment about having a plan with my wife and daughter should my brother show up at a game is a good point...I didn't think of that and it's so obvious we need to have one. In addition to my firearm (which I lock in my car during games) I carry a blade and a Fox Labs spray. No, I have no intention of using lethal force against my brother unless it is the last option. I simply wanted to illustrate my frustration and how far the relationship with my brother has deteriorated.

    My mom showed up at our game yesterday and stayed for the first half. My daughter was happy to see her. As she was leaving she hugged my wife goodbye and told her that she, dad, and my brother are the only family we have in Washington so we need to figure this out. She said she feels like my wife and I drew a line in the sand and we need to get over it. We won't do it this time. Once again they pick their "troubled" son over their other son (me) who has done everything right his whole life. I can deal with that. What kills me is that they pick their "troubled" son over their granddaughter, and that's unforgivable. My brother assaults my father and threatens suicide, and my parents don't think he's a danger to anyone...unbelievable! They are the very definition of co-dependent. They won't come here to visit..."Your brother is part of the family, if he isn't welcome neither are we." So we are faced with the loss of the relationship with my parents. I no longer have any contact with my brother. Before I would allow my brother near my daughter again I would require him to attend an inpatient treatment program to get off the drugs and be working with a therapist on whatever his core problem(s) are. Is that asking too much?

  17. #17
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpender View Post
    .... Is that asking too much?
    My thoughts (a combination of personal and professional) are that it is asking too little. But that's just me.

    I am sorry that you have been put in the position of having to choose between your parents and your wife/daughter, but you needed to decide who you are more responsible for. It seems that your parents can get by without your support, whiule your wife and daughter depend on you both financially and emotionally. Any other decision would mean you keep, and most likely, take on ever-increasing amounts of turmoil and financial impact regarding a situation over which the only control you have is to get out of it.

    Life really is just like the game of "Lifeboat" where you have to decide who to throw oveboard and when. Most of the time we don't need to throw anybody overboard, but when the time comes it is because our number-one job is to save ourself and our immediate family. Threaten to drag them under with you and you are going overboard so fast it will make your head swim. Too bad it can't always make your head think, too.

    Please consider the suggestions to get some sort of help for you and your family. Al-Anon and the like are free. If you are a church goer you have another resource there. Your health benefits may offer some options for meeting with a social worker or substance abuse counselor.

    stay safe.
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