That irrational fear of veterans

| February 8, 2012

Joe Momma sent us a link yesterday that sounded too unbelievable to be true, so I had to do some more research, but apparently it is true. According to court documents. Army reservist, employed at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and living in DC, Matthew Corrigan, thought he was calling a veteran support number because he’d been unable to sleep for several nights. Turns out that he called a national suicide hotline instead. After he admitted to the counselor that he is a veteran and owns firearms, he turned off his phone and went to sleep.

He was awakened at about 4am by someone calling his name through a bullhorn. When he turned on his phone, he found that the police, accompanied by a SWAT Team, were calling him on it telling him to come out of his home. When he did, they cuffed and stuffed him.

He wouldn’t let the police search his house, so they broke down his door, which he had locked behind him when he came outside and searched anyway. One officer was reported to say, when Corrigan denied his permission for a search; “I don’t have time to play this constitutional bullshit”. Yeah, because it’s involving one of those dangerous, armed veterans, and they don’t deserve the constitutional rights the officer would have afforded a gang banger.

The police found three firearms, a rifle and two handguns. I’m pretty sure the handguns were illegal in the District without reporting and registering them. And that’s probably why he’s facing charges for that evening, after nearly three weeks in police custody after the incident.

There’s more to the story, that you’ll have to read at the link. The only reportage I can find on this story is in gun rights blogs and blogs from the right side of the spectrum. So it doesn’t really register on those Liberals’ WTFmeter.

I’m pretty sure he shouldn’t have owned two handguns in the District, but apparently no one would have known about the guns if he hadn’t admitted it to the counselor, who I guess told the police. Not inspiring confidence in suicide hotline counselors here.

But, I wonder how many SWAT members show up at every investigation of a potential suicide situation. It seems to me that if they’d got Corrigan to the door and found him in a single piece and not suicidal, they would have left him alone, if they hadn’t also known he was a veteran and had firearms.

Category: Guns, Veterans Issues

Comments (50)

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  1. UpNorth says:

    I don’t think he’s asking for enough money, to be truthful. When you have a government(D.C.) that holds the Constitution in contempt, you end up with employees of that government holding the Constitution, and it’s citizens, in contempt.

  2. Just A Grunt says:

    You would think that somebody on the SWAT team had prior military experience. If the events occurred as described I can’t see anyway this doesn’t get tossed for illegal search and seizure, but I have to keep reminding myself this is civilians we are talking about.

  3. AW1 Tim says:

    I hope he sues the living hell outta the folks who own and operate the hotline, the person who he talked to, the police and swat team members, and anyone else he can connect to this event.

  4. Chockblock says:

    It’s that these “extremist vets” are easy to catch and the image plays well with scared liberals. They hate the military and they hate guns, so therefore vets with guns who are over the edge play well when it’s time for more money for the Sorry We Ain’t Trained guys.

    The problem with most suicide and mental health hotlines is that they assume that if you have a weapon, you’re gonna harm yourself. It’s “Common Sense”[tm] that males will shoot themselves with their own guns. I wonder if that suicide hotline would ask a woman if she owned firearms.

  5. BooRadley says:

    I posted this to my kid’s facebook. Sunday, the sunday school lesson was “Is Military Murder?” I’m pretty sure my kids are the only kids in the class who are either enlisted (2) or seeking a commission (1) or planning to enlist when old enough (2). I tried to explain to the kids why it made me so angry that they had this lesson without a teacher with the experience to pull it off or including Christian veterans – mainly because of the hostility toward vets… but I think you made my point. Thanks.

    note: I edited this to make less hate-filled.

  6. UpNorth says:

    Eventually, like JaG said, the guns should get tossed, fruit of the poisoned tree and all that. There’s no way they can claim exigent circumstances, they had him out of the house and away from the guns, in custody.
    And, this should see the suicide hot line being renamed the “Matthew Corrigan National Suicide Prevention Hotline”, and the “Swat truck” and the uniforms carrying the words, D.C. Metro SWAT, Matthew Corrigan, Owner. Just for shits and giggles, he really ought to ask the court to determine that these so-called SWAT members be trained up to national standards, just to embarrass the hell out of them.

  7. Lucky says:

    @ #2, that would assume that there were such things as Police Integrity and I would hope that Mr. Corrigan takes good notes, and wrote down everything he remembers about his conversation with the helpline weasel and their name, and the badge number of Officer Fuckstick, because, as a Cop, he cannot be saying shit like that in public. This is the digital age, everyone has a camera, and can instantly upload to Youtube… I hope that Cop gets popped by IAB right quick. BTW, if you ever want to piss off a Cop in a non-violent way, tell them that they have absolutely NO integrity. Gets them every time, as their word is pretty much what their job hinges on. If you are a Cop that can’t be counted on to testify in Court without it being questioned as to whether you are being truthful, then you can’t really be a Cop anymore….

  8. Lucky says:

    *Police Integrity in the DCMPD…

  9. UpNorth says:

    Sorry, Lucky, your point about integrity doesn’t wash. Most people I know just consider the source. So, nope, it doesn’t “get them every time”.

  10. Lucky says:

    Ah, but stating it will piss many of them, especially the older ones off right quick…

  11. Spade says:

    “Police Integrity in the DCMPD…”

    lol, that’s a good one. Somebody tell you that or did you make it up?

  12. OWB says:

    Or not. Those who have it do not feel a need to prove to to every punk who questions it.

  13. OWB says:

    err, #12 was directed @ #10

  14. Graybeard says:

    With the President and Congress standing around pissing on our Military, what can you expect from the DC Police State goons?

    The U.S.A. is in deep trouble – we’ve got to get rid of these goons in office & elect someone who understands and respects the Constitution.

    Unfortunately, I’m not seeing any good candidates anywhere…

  15. Lucky says:

    I figured that one out on my own, that sentence is an oxymoron! @OWB, I know that, however, these days, seeing the quality of recruits many PDs are getting is almost surreal. I tried out (long story) for a PD last year, and one of the participants in the physical agility test smoked up literally 5 minutes before attempting the test. She freaking reaked of pot, and because she was honest and fessed up to it, they let her continue, and she passed the poly, having said she smokes pot right from the start. From my buddies in the previous academy class, she is now a Probie with that PD…

  16. Lucky says:

    @ Graybeard: General Petraeus, but he wants no part of politics…

  17. This is such bullshit.

    I can’t even rationally comment, I’m too angry.

    How long are we going to have to watch otherwise law-abiding veterans get arrested for gun possession for guns that if there were any reasonable gun laws, they would have been able to register in the first place?

  18. Lucky says:

    Army Sergeant, I actually agree with you on this one. Its incredible bullshit, the fact that Hollywood stereotypes from 30 years ago are allowed to become the norm when anyone hears of a Vet having an issue is serious bullshit

  19. Frank says:

    Fruit of the posionous tree. Everything coinfiscated during an illegal seach is not admissible in court. Done end of prosecutions case.

  20. cacti35 says:

    Don’t know all of the story but in the years I was in charge of a sheriff’s office with a tactical team we would have had no reason to make a dynamic entry for someone wanting to off themselves with no innocent people in jeapordy. We would have waited him out and more than likely he would have come out. Of course I am coming from the pacific northwest where we still believe in the 2nd Amendment, so what do I know. We aren’t as smart as the folks that run D.C.

  21. Spigot says:

    If there is any justice at all, every LEO on that operation will end up as a virtual indentured servant for Corrigan, as will the District.

    They’ll all be paying him incredible sums of money for the rest of their lives…

    Then, he can afford to live in a locale where rights enumerated in the Constitution are actually respected and complied with, in accordance with the framers’ intent.

  22. OWB says:

    Wondering just what will happen to his handguns when the court releases them back to him. Will there then be probable cause to actually stop him to confiscate them??

    • Jonn Lilyea says:

      According to the court document, he lives in Virginia now. They have open carry there. All he has to do is get his guns out of DC, which might be a challenge.

  23. fm2176 says:

    Police officers with integrity? I’m sure there are many, but a certain VA State Trooper doesn’t have any. Maybe I should forgive and forget, but I still hold a grudge after misinformation put out in court cost me money and freedom (a misdemeanor, but still) fifteen years ago. I lost the first case, appealed, then the cop put me in a worse light and I got a harsher sentence. The good thing is that the Trooper has motivated me to excel in my current career, and if I decide to seek a second career as a LEO, I plan to accomplish much more than writing speeding tickets and making teenagers out to be hoodlums.

    I don’t know a whole lot about law, but my recent studies do give me hope for this guy getting justice. If it went down like he says, then the search and seizure was illegal. The cop that made the comment is downright stupid and likely one of the many that hide behind his badge as the ultimate symbol of authority. The suicide hotline should pay a hefty fine and damages for violating his privacy (if he didn’t state he was going to harm himself or others, why notify the police?). $500k is too small an amount to ask for in my opinion, though perhaps it is an indication that Corrigan is not yet another person looking to get rich off a quick lawsuit.

    If he lives in VA now and the charges are dropped due to illegal evidence, I can’t imagine him not getting his guns back. Of course, it would probably take a judge issuing a court order for a cop to drive a few miles south to VA for him to get the guns and ammo back. As OWB states, MPDC could and probably would arrest him as soon as he took the guns back into possession inside of DC.

  24. What a great way to get a guy some help. When I returned to my civ cop job after OIF, I went to a call from a wife- her husband was in the Gulf War and was “having problems.”
    I just sat down and chatted with him…listened to him talk and told him anytime he needed to talk, we could sit down and swap war stories.
    (Funny thing is, after he heard some of mine, he dicided his problems weren’t that bad.
    We didn’t kick down his doors, just listened.

  25. Lucky says:

    CI, I attended a Police Academy for a southwestern VA city last year. I was told by a vast majority of the instructors that my talent for engaging people in conversation (learned from years in VA) would be quite useful on the street, as I could make friends easily, and they needed that to help their image and rep, as they gave had issues with shootings and driving patrol cars through houses in the past. Well, the LT in charge of that school did not like that, and did not like the fact that I was close to a couple officers, having served with them in Iraq. He fucked me over every chance he got, and I resigned because be was shifting to patrol after our academy and would have continued to make the job shitty for me and my fellow vets. Then, the Chief straight told the local media, he would rather hire college students than combat vets, as they have more education and are as he put it, more professional. The whole experience has left a bad taste in my mouth, I will always respect Cops, but now Idk if I ever want to be one after that.

  26. Greg S says:

    SFC Corrigan and I served together in the Army Reserves, he is a top notch NCO and Drill Sergeant. He has had troubles with PTSD for many years. Hope everything works out for him.

  27. fm2176 says:

    #26,

    Hopefully that attitude isn’t prevalent in Louisiana. I’m from VA and can imagine that some chiefs do have that mentality. They likely never served in the military themselves, however, or they would see the vast different between a 22-year-old college graduate and a 22-year-old veteran. Of course, more and more of us are taking some college while we are in, so the educational gap is lessening, and all of us are ingrained with ethical decision making and other skills that would undoubtedly make us better LEOs than the average college graduate.

  28. fm2176 says:

    CA makes more sense than SW VA, I suppose. Most Virginians south of Mannassas are staunch supporters of the military.

  29. Lucky says:

    I meant my time in CA as in civil affairs, this happened close to Blacksburg…

  30. Anonymous says:

    Makes you wonder if the hotline would have reported this guy if he’d been a strung out crack dealer with firearms who had an attack of conscience…

    That said, I’m suprised there isn’t more information about this out there, but that could just be the sign of a squared away NCO handling this as quietly and as professionally as possible.

  31. AW1 Tim says:

    This whole issue tiers in with your earlier post, Jonn, about color-coded sheets to fill out and the stigma of saying you need to talk to someone.

    Once the word on the street gets out about this soldier’s experience, and what happened to him, how many guys do you think will have second thoughts about calling up a hotline to talk to someone? How many guys will say it isn’t worth the risk of having some cops busting down my door in the middle of the night?

    It’s just another link in the incident chain, and another reason that vets are suspicious of new & improved “programs” and forms of “assistance”. All of us have been burned before and I. for one, am very wary of asking for help anymore from folks I don’t know.

  32. fm2176 says:

    #31 Lucky,

    Oops, sorry about the confusion. I guess that chief must have been a fan of VT or something. The way people are about LSU down here, I wouldn’t be surprised if I get passed over by Baton Rouge PD (one future employment possibility) in ten years, retired from the Army and with at least my BS in Criminal Justice), for a drama major who went to LSU for a semester…

  33. NHSparky says:

    If even half of what this guy says is true, the DC cops are so screwed it ain’t even funny.

  34. Lucky says:

    FM2176, actually, he roots for Tennessee… And btw, I do have a BS in CJ with a minor in Crime Scene Forensics… Finished my senior year in Baghdad online between Convoys, QRF, and SDNCO duties. The LT was only ever a LEO too, I think both have a resentment for those who served IMO

  35. swamper says:

    fm2176, I’m not from B.R., but my impression of some of the guys I’ve met with the LSU PD have been good. I’m a civilian but have attended several handgun and carbine classes at their range when instructors have come in to teach. They allow the use of that range even when the majority of the class is civvies. The ones who attend are pretty approachable. I like that kind of dynamic.

    In fact, there is a class there this March. I’m not gonna be able to make that one though. 🙁 Here’s a link to the description if you are interested. Hope I’m not out of line posting this link, Jonn.

    http://www.bayoushooter.com/forums/showthread.php?72088-March-17-18-Rangemaster-Tom-Givens-Defensive-Handgun

  36. Concerned Veteran says:

    Just a little advice to any Veterans using the VA for medical care. They are no longer asking if you have guns, but only if you have access to guns. Never, and I mean never, answer in the affirmative. The information goes in your permanent medical record and is also added to a database. I recommend you also keep any minor personal/family problems to yourself, because everything you say is added to the record. They also make notes on your appearance, body language, speech patterns, and how you react to questions. You can, and should, request copies of the notes from each appointment. That way you can verify the accuracy, and in the event you find anything erroneous, immediately request it be corrected or removed from your records. This vilification of Veterans isn’t isolated to those outside the military affiliated community. Like the majority of federal agencies, the VHA/VA is full of liberal/progressives, the majority of whom have never worn the uniform nor consider it honorable to do so. They are there to “help the poor, misguide who didn’t have any other choice but to join the evil military” and of course, to make outrageous salary/benefits with little to no accountability. Just my two cents.

  37. UpNorth says:

    Of the 6 police departments and one sheriff’s department in the area where I worked, one department has a vet as a chief, and no one would want to work for him.
    The rest of the chiefs/sheriff are administrators, they got to administration as quick as they could, and stayed there. It’s dangerous on the streets, inside you only have to worry about spilled coffee and paper cuts.
    They honestly don’t see a difference between hiring a college student or a vet, they don’t see any difference in the life experiences of the two, so why take a chance on one of those “angry vets”?

  38. Just Plain Jason says:

    Concerned Veteran, paranoid much? How do you know they are giving you the real notes and not the safe to see notes? Goddamnit I shouldn’t say shit like that…

  39. OWB says:

    We do know for certain that VA notes remotely suggesting mental instability will be used as justification for disallowing ownership of guns.

  40. Sig says:

    We were talking about this at drill this weekend. Our basic conclusion was “yes, absolutely call OneSource (or whomever) if you are having issues, and yes, absolutely lie about access to weapons.”

  41. Concerned Veteran says:

    #40, FYI, in the state where I currently live, in order for a Veteran to get a concealed carry permit, they have to have their application signed off by the VA medical center in addition to the background check, finger prints, etc. I would hazard a guess that civilians don’t have to do same. And lets not forget that the secretary of homeland security has labeled combat Veterans a higher security threat than muslims. Yeah, paranoid. Right.

  42. Aroberts says:

    Woah,what state asks for the VA to bless off on a vets CCW? I hear all this shit over and over about dont tell them you have guns blah blah blah but you know what, my shrink doesnt give a damn that I own a gun and she knows that I carry concealed. The question came up and was answered. I have purchased guns since then and there were no issues what so ever. I really wish people would stop the fear mongering it just makes vets even more likely to avoid the VA at all costs.

    The thing is, the guy called a crisis line and told them he had access to firearms. I dont know the whole story but something isnt adding up. I would be almost willing to bet that there is a whole lot more to the story than we are being told.