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U.S. Army Mental Health Survey Concerning Private Firearms Ownership

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by P.O.2010, May 25, 2011.

  1. P.O.2010

    P.O.2010 New Member

    Recently my command required all Soldiers to attend a survey called STARRS conducted by the University of Michigan and the National Institute of Mental Health. Apparently this survey is being conducted Army wide. The survey, which is 90 minutes long, contains a variety of questions concerning one's mental health to include questions about whether the Soldier abuses drugs or alcohol, assaults others, suffers from depression, mania, psychosis or anxiety, has committed war crimes (the survey specifically asks if you have killed non-combatants, unarmed civilians etc) or is a suicide risk. In other words, it is designed to determine the prevalence of harmful, antisocial or psychotic behaviors. The survey was supposedly voluntary, however, when your commander and first sergeant are present and you aren't allowed to leave if you opt out most Soldiers get the unspoken message and understand that rather than volunteering they have been "voluntold".

    You can imagine how surprised and displeased I was to find a page dedicated to gun ownership. The survey specifically asks how many guns you own and have in your home. It goes on to ask whether you carry them, the frequency with which you carry them and where you carry them. The survey also goes further specifically asking whether or not you carry other weapons to include black jacks, mace, tasers, knives etc. One question asked whether you carry weapons when going to the grocery store.

    The survey's implication was very clear: if you possess privately owned firearms and/or choose to carry them that behavior is an indication of self destructive or homicidal tendencies on the part of the Soldier, something I deeply resent. When I came to the section that wanted me to detail how many weapons I own and how often I carry them I refused to answer and left the questions blank.

    I for one am sick and tired of private firearms ownership being portrayed as a sign of mental illness or a predisposition to commit crime. I am also sick and tired of the U.S. military treating its Soldiers like children and criminals. As a Non-Commissioned Officer with an unblemished service record to be asked whether I am war criminal and a drug addict is bad enough but to lump in my choice to carry firearms off post in compliance with all applicable laws and statutes with that type of behavior is disgusting. Apparently the lawful carry of a firearm to defend yourself and your family is an indicator of mental illness and maladjustment. Wonderful.
  2. VA27

    VA27 Active Member

    Disgusting but not surprising.

    Some UM grad students probably applied for a grant from NIMH and got it. So you have liberal students writing the questions, and NIMH is the big dog forcing participation.

    Just off the top of my head, I'm thinking (without actually knowing anything about it) that since the suicide rate among soldiers is high (smaller Army means more soldiers serving multiple tours with less time to decompress between tours) that they may be trying to get a handle on the problem and maybe come up with some strategies to reduce the risk of suicide or develop some 'indicators' that may be shown by those most at risk.

    Maybe they'll even develop a way to screen recruits who are most at risk beforehand and either address/correct the problem if possible, put them in non-combatant fields or reject them altogether.

    If the above surmise is true, then I see it as a laudable project executed in typical bull-in-a-china-shop governmental style.

    I could be wrong.

    Of course, back in the 60's they just gave us LSD without our knowledge, so a questionnaire seems pretty tame to me.:D
  3. SimplyChad

    SimplyChad Member

    I havent had to take it yet but im sure it will come. I do know that through the weapons registration program he on bliss that your Lt or commander can disarm you at any time. Just a simple memo and all your registered weapons must be locked in the MP or Company arms room. Whether you live on post or off. I havent seen It on a company level, but Ive seen almost a Platoon's worth of guys have to turn all there guns in because the didnt reach a level of training there commander decided was necessary "to have the privilege of private gun ownership". And they wonder why so many NCO and jr Officers are leaving.
  4. J-Bar

    J-Bar Active Member

    Maybe they are trying to prevent another Ft. Hood, but if they only gave the questionnaire to members of one religion they would be accused of discrimination...

    Dumb either way, of course...
  5. MarkDido

    MarkDido Member

    Private firearm ownership by military personel did not cause the Ft. Hood tragedy.
  6. crossrhodes

    crossrhodes New Member

    Fort hood

    That failure started well above our paygrades
  7. SimplyChad

    SimplyChad Member

    Yep and a E-fuzzy with a 1911 Chl could have stoppe it in it's tracks.
  8. AlexanderA

    AlexanderA Active Member

    If the results are anonymous, and participation is required, a lot of the test-takers will take the opportunity to play with the test-givers' heads. Therefore, the tabulated test results will be worthless. This is how we get statistics that say, for example, that the vast majority of high school students don't know who George Washington was. Don't underestimate the intelligence of people, or their secret desire to "stick it to the Man."
  9. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    How do they knowif you are telling the truth or not? Most people who plan to commit crimes would probably lie about it if asked.
  10. mr.trooper

    mr.trooper New Member

    Doesn't the military recruit 18 year olds? And cant you get wavers now if you have a criminal record? :confused:
  11. denfoote

    denfoote New Member

    Maybe this what Obama means by "I'm working on gun control under the radar". ;)
  12. vaherder

    vaherder New Member

    Anonymous survey who cares. You should have had fun with it. You drink 2gallons of tequila a day, want to have kinky sex with your CO, cross dress, you have killed thousands of unarmed civilains, drive fast, and you have problems telling the truth.

    Back a few years ago my girlfriend was recovering from neck surgery and was in a medical company. As senior NCO she had show up for formation every morning at 600am. They saw this a way of preventing suicides. She loved standing out in the cold and damp weather waiting to be dismissed to go home. And no it didnt lower the suicide rate.

    Problem is most COs have no clue about how to take care of their folks. In many cases the senior NCOs and warrant officers are jokes and looking for a piece and how to scam the system.

    Lack of Leadership is the real problem and not mental health. A good CO takes care of his/her troops. A leader is someone you would gladly follow into combat no matter the consequences. And that may mean you sacrifice your life. You can find many examples on both sides at the Battle of Gettysburg. I met a few good leaders in my 20+ years in the USN.
    None of CNOs or Chairman I dealt with had this quality.
    Last edited: May 26, 2011
  13. Hensatc

    Hensatc New Member

    Simply to play devils advocate:
    Given the apparent prevalence of, and general negative institutional attitude toward mental health issues (especially in terms of combat vets, PTSD, readjustment etc), couldnt it be that this survey is an attempt to get a better handle on the ACTUAL prevalence in an effort to better address and help the soldiers who need it?
  14. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet New Member

    It could, but with some of the questions being asked, seems fishy. I mean, once they know you have guns, what does it matter if you carry it to the grocery store? Some of the questions seema bit more invasive than they need to be.
  15. achttung

    achttung New Member

    Yeah... I'd tell them what they DIDN'T want to hear....

    Im a perfect angel who would NEVER own a gun.

    Doesn't give them anything to cry over.
  16. Toforo

    Toforo New Member

    This isn't the first time for STARRS
    (Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers)

    Previous STARRS results can be seen here -

    and here -

    The CURRENT ongoing study of STARRS refered to by the OP is listed here -

    It's goal is...
    As stated on the site of the current study -
    "A participant's answers will never be shared with anyone in the Army unless the Soldier indicates that s/he is in imminent danger of self-harm or harming someone else"

    Finally - according to the site -
    "Joining Army STARRS is completely voluntary. Responses and personal information will remain strictly confidential. If researchers invite a Soldier to participate, the Soldier can decide whether or not to do so"

  17. medalguy

    medalguy Active Member

    We had something called the Human Reliability Program when I was in the AF way back in the 70's that was used to transfer a lot of guys out of what they called "sensitive positions" but was used more than a few times to "punish" people who the guy in the upstairs office didn't like, and to reward others. The idea was like this program, to point out those who might be less than reliable in a position of stress, and to keep their fingers off the nuclear button. I don't think there were questions about gun ownership but then that was a long time ago in another galaxy. Point being these questionnaires have been floating around a long time and don't appear to have done a hell of a lot of good.
  18. armoredman

    armoredman Active Member

    Sheesh, I had my UZI and AK in the ships armory while on West Pac, and the Captain bought Remington 1100s and a pigeon thrower to use of the aft flight deck. It seems to have changed in only 22 years.
  19. mgmorden

    mgmorden Active Member

    Don't underestimate the statisticians either - they know that a certain percentage of answers are bogus, but most have ways to get around that (larger sample sizes, throwing out of outlying data, etc).

    Trust me, the snickering guy who thinks he's ruining an entire survey by lying on it isn't pulling the wool over anyone's eyes. They know about this type of thing, and how to work around it.
  20. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    But surely the majority of those who did devious things like abuses drugs or alcohol, assaults others, suffers from depression, mania, psychosis or anxiety,or committ war crimes would lie about it? No one would risk answering yes to a question that could get them dishonorably discharged or sent to prison even if the test was supposedly anonomous. Their finger prints ate on it! Most criminals and crazies know to keep their mouth shut.

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