Man With Gun Stopped by
Woman With Heart

93 reports the story of bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff talking Michael Brandon Hill into surrendering to police, concluding “The only thing that stopped an emotionally damaged, despairing and unloved young man with 500 rounds of ammunition was a compassionate woman sharing her own story of damage and despair, and telling him she loved him.”

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. The mentally ill person doesn’t look mentally ill (right? smile) but the black woman definitely looks like a woman.

    This slightly mentally ill comment is being deposited for the amusement of other slightly mentally ill people.

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    • I wish I could comment on every article on this subject out there, that being lonely & hopeless does not necessitate the label of “mentally ill.” We need to form an organized army of commenters to address these sorts of things…

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    • YES – I wish we would idolize people like her instead of Beyonce, Rihanna, Miley, all the sports figures, all that silliness. The Real Housewives, the Kardashians – I wish we would ignore them and celebrate people who really deserve to be emulated, instead. This country’s priorities often seem so screwed up

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  2. All I can say is, “Another psychiatric success story.” It’s amazing the percentage of these shooters who have been “helped” by the mental health system and are either on or are withdrawing from psych drugs. If the system were so helpful, how are these people acting out so badly in ways we never, ever saw when I was a kid?

    It is apparent that this woman knows more about mental health treatment than those who were trying to help this young man. She talked to him, she listened to him, she cared about him, and she had the courage to do the right thing even though she was scared. She is the kind of person we need providing care for people with mental/emotional/spiritual challenges to face. Why can’t the MH profession learn from this kind of scenario?

    Go, Antoinette!

    —- Steve

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    • Amen. It occurs to me that she was putting into action what Open Dialogue acknowledges as a cornerstone of its success – “tolerance of uncertainty,” by which, if you read Seikkula’s book, turns out to mean not becoming completely unhinged when someone on the edge looks like they might fall off or push someone else. Just imagine the carnage if a stuffy “professional” tried to diagnose this man and then follow an “evidence based protocol”. The first thing we all need to do is be convinced in our core that the “patient” is a full human being, much like us, that we are also fully human, and that the safest thing to do is to make real human to human contact. Without that foundation, nothing but harm will follow from “treatment,” whether psychosocial or biological.

      It will be interesting to see how this man’s “mental health” history is spun to protect the medical model and to push for still more of the medical model. We need to push publicly for recognition that psych drugs not only often cause people’s lives to spiral out of control, but also are direct contributors to violence. I’ve never seen any of these news articles point out that initiating, stopping or changing doses of SSRI’s greatly increases the risk of violence.

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    • The sad & tragic part is thinking what his life has been like & what it’ll be going forward. No happiness/little relief is likely in the cards for him. As happy as I am to hear how Antoinette acted & what a wonderful person she is, I’m also extremely sad thinking about that poor kid’s life & so many others like him who are done such an injustice/disservice by those in their lives, by this country’s culture & by psychiatry/mainstream mental health treatment.

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    • Of course she buys into it, anon, it’s what the “experts” tell us ad nauseum. To not believe in it requires some serious going against the grain, some kind of experience which opens one’s eyes & keeps them open even amidst an onslaught of “information” to the contrary. There are two narratives here, one of the efficacy and power of compassion, and one of the supposed latest science of the medical model. People just truly don’t realize that the medical model is bullshit because it is not called out as bullshit often enough if ever. That’s where we need to come in. I think a lot of people saw the power of her compassion but they just don’t know what to think because science and medicine have apparently told us that they can detect differences in people’s brains or the genes which cause these ‘disorders’ (none of which is true), but if it’s framed as “official science,” people believe it.

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  3. Timothy Hill, brother of the alleged shooter, told WSB TV (view parts one and two of the interview) that Michael Hill had a long history of mental illness. According to his brother, Hill was placed on Adderall, a drug commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), at the age of six. He had a history of behavioral problems in school starting at age 13.

    Hill’s brother said that Michael Hill had a “long history of medical disorders including bipolar,” but that he was never given help. At one point, Michael Hill was on so many medications that it was “like a drugstore.”

    Hill’s brother said “Medical disorders ” While posing as “authorities” on the mind and mental health, psychiatry has no scientific basis to call anything “medical”.

    “In fourty years, “biological” psychiatry has yet to validate a single psychiatric condition/diagnosis as an abnormality/disease, or as anything neurological, biological, chemically-imbalanced or genetic.” —Dr. Fred Baughman Jr., child neurologist, Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.

    Same story over and over, drugging for ADHD at an early age then symptoms of bipolar. Look up the ‘side’ effects of Adderall then the symptoms of bipolar and find the SAME SYMPTOMS.

    Amphetamines starting at age six. Michael Brandon Hill , another life destroyed and turned to hell by the child drugging industry.

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