Mental Illness and Guns
Ever since a member of the dangerous white nationalist “Patriot Prayer” group was killed during a confrontation in Portland, law enforcement focused on a middle-aged man named Michael Forest Reinoehl.
“You know, lots of lawyers suggest that I shouldn’t even be saying anything, but I feel it’s important that the world at least gets a little bit of what’s really going on,” Reinoehl told Vice. “I had no choice. I mean, I, I had a choice. I could have sat there and watched them kill a friend of mine of color. But I wasn’t going to do that.”
“Reinoehl said he became aware of the pro-Trump truck parade when he saw what he described as “hundreds of trucks with flags on them,” while driving earlier with his teenage son.”
Later, video appears to show Mr. Danielson, who was wearing a hat with the insignia of the far-right group Patriot Prayer, confronting Mr. Reinoehl on a street along with a few other people. One person was shouting, “We’ve got a couple right here.”
The man who captured video of the shooting, Justin Dunlap, said it appeared that Mr. Danielson reached to his hip.
“He pulled from his side, just like he was pulling a gun,” Mr. Dunlap said.
Reinoehl is an Army veteran and father of two. Reinoehl believed he and a friend were in danger. He acted in self defense. He did not turn himself in because right-wing militia members were collaborating with law enforcement. Reinoehl then went into hiding. He moved his family to a safe place after shots were fired into his house.
“They’re out hunting me,” he said. “There’s nightly posts of the hunt and where they’re going to be hunting. They made a post saying the deer are going to feel lucky this year because it’s open season on Michael right now.”
Law enforcement killed Reinoehl trying to arrest him.
“Americans with mental illnesses make up nearly a quarter of those killed by police officers,” Pete Earley, whose mentally ill son has twice been shot with stun guns by police officers, has written for The Washington Post. As Earley also points out, “115 police officers have been killed since the 1970s by individuals with untreated serious mental illnesses.”