I recently read several articles about dementia and gun ownership. Quite a few of the comments were; “Substitute real bullets with fake ones!”, “Tell them either the gun goes or you go” (the caretaker – usually a sibling), and “demented people have no rights; therefore, they should not have a gun!”
While disturbed at most of the answers, I had to look inward and ask myself; “Will I know the time to put away my guns?” and “Will that decision be made for me and against my wishes should I become demented (more than I am)?”
One article described the five early-warning signs of dementia (aside from Alzheimer’s disease). I though that I would share my response to each.
Early sign of dementia #1: Personality change
A warm, friendly loved one may seem to morph into a bit of a grouch — at first occasionally, and then increasingly.
The more I learn about people, the more I love my dog. The more I learn about politicians, the more I love any dog.
A gregarious person still jokes and talks a lot but begins to say inappropriate things or make odd accusations.
Please do not read some of my posts.
A mild-mannered loved one begins cursing.
I do not but the wife does. She must be demented.
Early sign of dementia #2: Problems with executive functioning
I have always had problems with functioning executives.
Early sign of dementia #3: Vision problems
Could nearsightedness and needing new glasses have something to do with that?
Early sign of dementia #4: Language problems
Well, gosh darn it! Speak English!
Early sign of dementia #5: Social withdrawal
Are there penalties associated with that, like with early withdrawal? How about that I am a dedicated introvert, you twit!
Not to make fun of dementia as it is, indeed, a serious set of conditions and many suffer directly and indirectly from the effect of dementia. I believe the once popular term for dementia was an “addled” mind.
In the 2001 movie “A Beautiful Mind”, actor Russell Crowe played the part of John Forbes Nash Jr, a quirky, socially inept, egoistical and a mathematical genius at Princeton University in 1947. The story line follows his bouts with schizophrenia and his struggles to overcome it.
Ronald Reagan’s physicians diagnosed him with Alzheimer’s approximately five years after he left office. Many claim that Alzheimer’s is a pre-cursor to dementia and some claim it to be a component of dementia. (It was Governor Ronald Reagan of California who signed the Mulford Act in 1967, “prohibiting the carrying of firearms on one’s person or in a vehicle, in any public place or on any public street.” The law was aimed at stopping the Black Panthers, but affected all gun owners. Twenty-four years later, Reagan was still pushing gun control. “I support the Brady Bill,” he said in a March 28, 1991 speech, “and I urge the Congress to enact it without further delay.” ) There is a story about him saving a nurse with an unloaded revolver but any ownership of personal firearms is relatively unknown.
More recently, Glen Campbell, the 75-year-old musician admitted that he has Alzheimer’s disease and he is preparing one last album and a farewell tour. As one doctor put it, “In a few months, it’s likely that Mr. Campbell will have trouble remembering the lyrics to that same old song (Rhinestone Cowboy). After a year, he won’t recognize any of those cracks in the sidewalks along Broadway.” Recently California took away his driver’s license. It is unknown (to me) if he owns any personal firearms, but there was a report (supposedly around the time of filming “True Grit” with John Wayne) that he was shooting a .50 caliber rifle at a Southern California shooting range.
It was said that when Johnny Cash recording his last song “Hurt” that it was a reflection of the dementia that he was experiencing in the last segment of his life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmVAWKfJ4Go. I had also recorded a version of the song but, (hopefully) I still have a ways to go: http://www.writeworksatl.org/Music/JustCountry.html and click Hurt.
For some of us, two points in our lives symbolized freedom: our first car and our first firearm. Nobody had to tell me when I was ready for both, as I sensed that it was time. I do not expect somebody to tell me when to hand over my vehicle keys or relinquish my firearms, as I will sense that also, if I have my wits about me.
Will I know the time.