Mental Illness – You Wont Like What I have To Say

By John Farnam

Schizophrenic : This drawing was found in an old asylum, its artist was a paranoid schizophrenic.
Schizophrenic : This drawing was found in an old asylum, its artist was a paranoid schizophrenic. View more images by Schizophrenic
Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-( Mental Illness:

This morning’s double-murder in VA brings up a difficult subject: “mental illness.” And one that is hard to discuss frankly without incurring criticism and hurting feelings.

So not all will like, nor appreciate, the following:

Whatever the current buzz-word/psycho-babble term in vogue, be it “ disturbed,” issues with “anger management,” “emotionally unstable,” “ schizophrenic” (whatever that means), “troubled”, “EDP,” “criminally insane,” “ crazy,” “psychopathic,” et al, these people are extremely dangerous, as we see!

Since we no longer have mental hospitals, people who are genuinely mentally ill are now freely mixed-in with the general population. Many make up the legions of “homeless.” Many more are in prison.

Others are supported by their families, but in most cases their families are as frightened of them as is everyone else, and thus want nothing to do with them!

Still others are semi-functional, are occasionally employed (but never for long), but people around them quickly pick-up on the fact that they have emotional issues. Like alcoholics, they learn ways to camouflage their “ craziness,” but it invariably leaks out often enough to put people on edge. That is why they are unable to hold a job for anything but brief periods.

What to do?

As a society, I don’t know!        Causes and cures are hard to come by. I’m not sure anyone really knows much about “mental illness.” Still fewer, despite all their degrees, have any capacity to “cure” the problem. We do know it represents a major issue in all cultures, races, and venues.

Should churches and other charitable groups try to “help” these people? Can they be helped? It’s, of course, a matter of personal conscience. But, we can never forget that any amount of exposure always entails real personal jeopardy.

Healthcare professionals and LEOs are, of course, expected to deal with the mentally ill, but they do so at great personal risk, and they know it!

As a family, or employer, should you “take-in” the “troubled” or “ disturbed” youth? Many do, and again, it is a decision of conscience. But, NEVER DISCOUNT THE SIGNIFICANT RISK TO YOU PERSONALLY! It is real and sometimes manifests itself as it did this morning! (warning disturbing video)

As an individual, the most pragmatic/practical advice I can render is:

Have nothing to do with these people. As soon as it becomes obvious that a person has pernicious emotional issues, separate from them immediately, permanently!

You probably cannot “help” them in any event, and significant risk attaches to every contact, as noted above. All of your regular friends should be stable, established, functional, “normal.” None are perfect, of course, but the chronically unstable make poor, and dangerous, company, as we see!

In the end, it comes down to personal management of “risk exposure.” None makes for a boring and pointless life. Too much makes for a frustrating, and short, life. Neither extreme is in your best interest.

My personal philosophy is that my share of danger, maybe more than my share, will likely come my way through no encouragement on my part. I’ll do my best to prepare for it, and deal with it appropriately when it rears its ugly head.

But, there must be an acceptable risk/benefit balance associated with everything I contemplate doing.

Great risk, associated with scant benefit is, in my view, the very definition of a “bad deal!

‘Happiness’ is nothing more than good health… and a bad memory” ~ Albert Schweitzer


About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

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You as the author are advocating shunning as the answer to association with mentally ill persons. That is not the answer. Would you shun your spouse because of depression?


What an unadulterated load of BS! Lots of myths, stereotypes, unfounded opinions, bigotry… If any of your former students were really brave, willing to be honest with you after you’ve shown your ignorance & bigotry, you’d probably find that just like the national average, about 20% of them have some form of brain disease. Listen to the experts, the people who know what they’re talking about because of experience & education. And stick to your own area of expertise. I don’t listen to actors when they talk about politics, why should I listen to you in this case? Because the… Read more »

Robert B Young, MD

With the greatest regard for your extraordinary firearms training: No, John, I don’t like what you say. But I suspect that what I don’t know about defense training is comparable to what you don’t know about mental illness. The mentally ill act violently less than the general public. You’ve trained many thousands of people to shoot, John. You didn’t realize that about 1 in 5 of them had some psychiatric illness at the time, as is always the case. You can’t avoid them, because they don’t usually stand out. They’re just people like you and me dealing with their problems.… Read more »


“All of your regular friends should be stable, established, functional, “normal.”” Damn, I guess I’ll have to let go of my liberal friends.


As one of those “mental health practitioners” who often work with mentally ill folks, I have a couple of pertinent observations about the article. 1) The vast majority of citizens are not capable of recognizing mental illness when they see it in others. The media depictions are vastly off, and most people either blow off major symptoms as “personality quirks” or else see ANY sort of social oddity as proof positive of mental illness. This suggests that it may be very difficult to follow the article’s prescription to avoid people with mental illness. 2) As far as being careful of… Read more »


Good commentary on the article. In general I have to agree with the logic of the statement. Survival of the fittest in the long term is determined by cognitive dissonance. If someone appears to be unbalanced in some way the normal reaction from logical thought processes is to remove yourself from the influence. I fundamentally disagree with the article, however. I have mild depression and mild OCD. One of my best friends has compounded mental disorders. I have a family member with severe schizophrenic bipolar disorder. They both have conditions controlled by medicine while my issues don’t require it. But… Read more »

The Harp

I suppose it could be said that anyone who willfully decides to obtain a weapon, knife, hammer, ball bat, iron pipe or even a firearm and kill another human being for merely existing probably has a few deck plates that are not securely fastened. I happen to be good friends with several people who work with and around the mentally disturbed among us and they are not optimistic about the probability of “curing” them. They persist in their efforts only out of a sense of duty and I admire them for that. Mr. Farnam is in some cases correct in… Read more »

Grey Beard

I think yours is the most cogent comment on this article. I, too, believe that those who are adjudicated mentally ill must be separated from “normal” society for their own benefit and the benefit of society. As an inpatient in a mental institution they will always receive their medications and other treatment as prescribed by Competent physicians. My greatest fear is that the definition of mental illness would be left up to the government at some level. There lies the greatest danger to the public as that was what Stalin did to his opponents. He had them declared “mentally ill”… Read more »


the author of the article hits the nail on the head . and also apparently a number of the easily offended , which is what america is made up of these days. the mentally ill are the main reason that these horrific crimes are so prevalent in america and maybe the rest of the civilized world . other than euthanizing the mentally ill or locking them up there is really no solution .


“the mentally ill are the main reason these crimes are so prevalent” Um, no, the reason we have mass murders is because people can’t protect themselves. In the last 50 years, nearly all the mass murders have been in “gun-free” zones. And nearly all the street crime has been criminals killing criminals, often in the commission of other crimes. Very few have actually had a brain disease. The reason they show up in the news is because the news reports on UNUSUAL things. Also, do you have any clue how many different brain diseases there are? So saying “the mentally… Read more »


The author was right, in that he would be attacked. But I’m glad that someone other than myself has brought up the pertinent issue, in that we have a lot of violent mentally ill people among us. When Ronald Reagan relaxed the mental health laws that we had protecting us, he unleashed a Pandora’s Box of evil upon us. Now, if we are to commit someone, they have to be an immediate danger to themselves or others before that can be done. What that means is that they have to attack someone in plain sight, or themselves. Only then can… Read more »


It wasn’t just Ronald Reagan who closed the Psychiatric Hospitals. Liberals sued claiming the mentally ill deserved their freedoms just like the rest of us. The US Constitution does not allow forced confinement except in criminal situations or with extreme judicial action. Most mentally ill are NOT violent. Many suffer from a neurological injury. Studies say 60 to 80%. Until recently, sports related mTBIs (mild traumatic brain injuries) were ignored and even denied they existed. The psychosis and cognitive struggles that can result from these injuries can make it very difficult to fit into and compete in society. One year,… Read more »


What I do know is growing up in the 50’s in Michigan there were Mental institutions that took care of the mentally Ill folks then the liberals got into their lets help them out and started closing all the Mental hospitals. So now what you have is they are either in prison with the criminals or they are walking among us. Thank to the bleeding heart Liberals, bottom line bring back the mental institutions so we can help them. The only problem now is how/who defines sane vs Insane, we probably should start in Washington DC.

The Dude

Ronnie is the one who closed the hospital’s.


Wow, looks like Farnam has awakened some “mental health” activists (or just a couple of fruit cakes)! Bottom line is he is correct. There once was a time when these folks could be checked in to state home mental facilities for treatment by them selves, family or authorities after court hearings. Now they thanks to the ACLU, which and this is fact, is a communist found law organization, these folks run free on the streets-for a miserable life and are not to be helped. Many are the so-called homeless folks (which degrades the real homeless folks who are trying to… Read more »


There are still psych hospitals, and people can still go there for treatment, or be compelled to do so by a court.
And no, most people with a brain disease are not violent, not a threat to anyone. If they are, it’s usually only to themselves. You should be happy with that.
But don’t let facts/reality change your opinion.
Just like the anti-gun fanatics stick to their ideas.


As having been a healthcare professional for over 40 years, I agree with Pete and Jamie. There are still mental health hospitals, there are cures, if only through medication and the last thing you want to do is shun these individuals. One thing you can do is to push for Congress not to cut mental healthcare through what might be termed, special interests or entitlements. The mentally ill are not all dangerous, but all do your help to secure them better available services.


You say ” Have nothing to do with these people. As soon as it becomes obvious that a person has pernicious emotional issues, separate from them immediately, permanently!” What if one of them is a family member? 1 in 4 people have some sort of mental illness or personality disorder. Most of them are not dangerous and need our help. If you have a family member who has a serious mental illness you know the challenges that are facing these people. Hiding from them or burying your head in the sand does not help. Although there are some people that… Read more »


I agree and would hasten to add that we have to realize that government cannot and should not be expected to protect us from all threats. More laws are not the answer. As was pointed out, many who are mentally ill present no threat to society, the very few that do cannot always be detected and there is simply nothing we can do to prevent it.


Sooooo…. you think the mentally ill are the new zombies? You’re a moron. Wait until you’re old and have dementia. I hope you’re shunned and your family fears you.


The only thing I learned from this absurd article is that the author doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to mental illness. He needs to educate himself, and would be a good place for him to start.


This “article” is hysterical garbage. You admit you don’t know much mental illness, you claim others like professionals don’t know much, but you know who to shun; the people with “pernicious” issues. Classy.


You know I’m glad I came to the comment section to see that most people also thought this article was uninformed garbage. This article is just as bad as the hysterical illogical arguments of those who say we need to ban all guns. I have a very gifted brother who became schizophrenic during college. Luckily my family was able to get him the help he needed and after struggling to keep full employment (as the author notes) for a few years, he’s been able to regain the confidence he needed to survive in the workforce. The reason so many schizophrenic… Read more »