My brother had schizophrenia. My brother should never have had a gun.
— Joanna Laurich McCleland
Three years ago, when I was 6 months pregnant with my son, I got call no one should have to get. My older brother was found dead in the basement of his house when he failed to show up for work. His body had been there for three days before it was discovered. As best as we can surmise, his girlfriend had broken up with him on Friday night and in his grief he got drunk, destroyed his house, then shot himself in the head.
My brother should never have had a gun.
My brother had schizophrenia that was believed to have been caused by years of methamphetamine abuse in his early 20s. No one is sure if he was still taking his medication, but in light of what happened I doubt very much that he was.
New legislation allowing mental health caregivers to recommend that certain individuals not be allowed to purchase or possess guns may very well have saved my brother’s life, but we will never know for sure.
My 3 year old son, Henry, and my brother are the reason I joined this campaign. I don’t want my son to think mental illness is something to be ignored, and I will not let my brother be forgotten.