Dealing with risk
Jill Edwards Says...
My 54 year old brother falls asleep in his Lazy Boy most nights after drinking too much in front of the TV. He has been a drinker for a long time so this is not new. Lately has started sleeping with a loaded handgun right next to the chair. He says people are looking for him but he won’t say who or why. He is a nice guy and he is on a disability pension and pretty much keeps to himself so I can’t imagine who would want to hurt him. I am scared he is going to accidently hurt someone else but he won’t listen to me anymore and he has been acting really weird the last 2 months or so. He is not himself and I think there is something seriously wrong but I don’t know what to do? He is paranoid and armed and drunk. Someone is going to get hurt. What do I do?
I am assuming that you and your brother live in the same house, so this is an immediate problem for you. Drinking for a long time can affect mental health, or poor mental health may encourage someone to drink. It would seem that your brother suffers from drinking a lot and having some degree of confusion which has led to this fear. I would like to be sure that he is not involved secretly in taking any drugs as well, as this might increase his fears and his risks. Like you I am a little concerned about the weird behaviour of the last 2 weeks. When you say he wont listen to you, I assume that you have told him that you dont like the gun being around and he wont listen to that.
It is a difficult decision to make, in terms of action, as strong action on your part might make him more scared and more dangerous and a bigger risk to you. I think it might be useful to talk to people who know him, also other family members, and get some advice from them, see if you can get to know more of what is going on. It would be proper to consult a local doctor, preferably one who has seen him before. You also have the option to consult the local mental health professionals, and if all else fails, you may need in the end to talk to the police.
It is a judgement call as to how much you can let him know that you are concerned because of accidents that happen with guns, if you notice that he gets angry, or markedly more paranoid, then you may have to leave this to the professionals. You also do not tell me if there are other people in the house, who are also at risk. This is an important aspect.
My advice is to think this over and talk to someone who knows him and together to reach a decision as to how to deal with this situation. I think the doctor will be helpful. You can make an appointment yourself to talk to the doctor.
My best wishes to you.
Page last updated Jan 25, 2013