The Lord moves in strange and mysterious ways.

Being an obsessive/compulsive is far more burden than joy. Just ask my wife: my sock drawer is impeccable but the stress of everyone in my home is a little higher than what is considered “normal”.

But every once in a while it will open a door that would’ve been closed otherwise.

Like when you read a story about a veteran who was raided by the local police and the news account calls him an Air Force crash rescue helicopter pilot from the 1960s. The phrase doesn’t sit well. Why not just say he was a Vietnam helicopter pilot? There’s no leap there…really.

My OCD wouldn’t let it sit. I couldn’t just state what was so obvious about the man. Once you make one “leap” than you make another. Each successive assumption logarithmically raises the chances of you stating something that is false. In the field of “alternative news” (real news) where you are constantly covering astounding issues that have never before seen the light of day, getting caught in making an unfounded or exaggerated claim means instant death to your credibility.

So I surfed and found that there were several sites stating Mr. Arthur Lovi was a Vietnam helicopter pilot.

But they were blogs. Blogs mean “opinion” and we’ve all heard what opinions are like.

Time to hit “tactical pause” and move away from the story I was working on and drill down into Mr. Lovi’s case. That meant sleuthing his phone number and giving him a call. Chances are you won’t find the current number and if you do, you won’t be able to talk to him for any number of reasons.

I did get through but the voice of an older man said he wasn’t in. I left a message and thought, “That was him, he’s screening calls and isn’t interested.”

Less than 10 minutes later my phone rang. “Is this Johnny?” said the voice. “Yes it is,” I answered. “This is Arthur Lovi.”

I asked Mr. Lovi if he would talk to me about the day his guns were taken by the police. He, in turn, asked me if I would like him to start at the beginning. Intrigued at what “the beginning” was, I said, “Of course, sir.”

It began the day Arthur’s beloved wife Cindy came up the stairs with a basketful of laundry. As she walked in to the room, she collapsed onto the floor and said, “I’m just so tired all of the sudden.”

Immediately, he knew something wasn’t right. She was never sick, least of all like this. Now she was always tired and began to bruise easily. It was clear she needed to see a doctor.

The Asian man she saw was nice enough. She was a learning disability teacher and he said he was sure she had just picked up a “bug” from one of her kids. He prescribed her antibiotics and told her to come back in 3 days.

Later that night, Lovi heard his wife talking to a family friend who was an EMT. When she said that the doctor didn’t draw blood from her, he was furious and told her to go back immediately and ask to see a different doctor.

Blood was drawn this time. By 3 PM the results were in. By 5 PM the couple was sitting in front of the doctor wondering what was so urgent.

Cindy was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia—a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow. It was 9 years later and Lovi was able to give me the details like he had lived through them yesterday.

Cindy was immediately admitted into the hospital where she received 2 units of blood.

A doctor stopped in to visit. She was visiting from Northwestern University. It was her opinion that Cindy should be seen by a specialist, so she was brought into Chicago.

However, she deteriorated rapidly. On his next visit to her bedside, Lovi was shocked to see his wife on a respirator. Overnight, her heart had stopped and no one could explain to him why. The doctors decided to force her into a coma to aid her in her fight to live.

On a subsequent visit, the doctor told Lovi that his wife had flatlined again during the night. He asked Lovi that if her heart failed again, did he want to bring her back? “Of course!” was the grieving man’s reply.

But the cancer was ravaging every organ in Cindy’s body.

10 days later, she was gone.

Arthur Lovi never got to say goodbye to his wife.

___________________

It was supposed to be a routine check-up but the Physician’s Assistant told Lovi that his blood pressure was high. She asked if he knew what was causing it. “Stress” was the answer he gave.

Since the death of his wife, Lovi had lost his mother, his son-in-law, his 3 year old granddaughter (drowning victim) and was forced to put his dog down.

The PA asked him if he would be willing to talk to a therapist. He figured that it couldn’t hurt.

If he only knew…

The first visit was strictly background information. He would need to come back for another.

The returning visit went differently. For some reason, the therapist seemed fixated on Cindy. The old wound had never healed and Lovi was starting to get upset. It was then that she asked him if he harbored any anger or ill will towards the doctor that had misdiagnosed his wife and cost them precious time in fighting her cancer.

He responded by saying that, he didn’t want to go to jail, but 9 years ago, if he had seen that doctor on the street, he would’ve punched him in the nose.

Finally, Lovi had had enough. What should’ve been a helpful therapy session had turned into a draining interrogation.

He got up and told the psychologist, “We’re through here. This isn’t doing me any good. Not only am I not coming back for another session but I’m done with the VA as well.”

The psychologist looked as if she had been slapped.

She then pulled out her trump card, “I’m afraid I’m going to have to inform this doctor of how you feel about him.”

“Go ahead and tell him,” Lovi exclaimed, “he already knows and avoids me as soon as he sees me.”

“I’m also going to have to tell the police,” she said.

Later that day, Lovi got the call from the Arlington Heights, Illinois police. They wanted to know if he had any guns.

Lovi didn’t hesitate. Yes he did. —Two antique revolvers and a blackpowder musket.

At 11PM that night, Lovi’s son told him that he need to come to the door. What he described to me as a “SWAT team” was standing outside. Lead by a short officer whom Lovi called a “pompous little ass” they began to throw threatening questions at him; “So we hear you want to break the legs and slit the throat of the doctor that mishandled your wife’s disease.” Lovi was stunned at the exaggeration and wondered where the accusation had originated; the psychologist or the police?

“Where are your guns?” he demanded. “On the mantel,” Lovi explained—displayed as any antique would be.

As Lovi turned to get them for his accusers, they all rushed into his home. Immediately he said, “Hold on! You need a warrant to enter my home.”

The short cop shot back, “If I come back with a warrant I will tear the ____ out of this house.”

The tactic did exactly has they had planned; thoroughly intimidated and wanting to preserve his home, Lovi allowed the cops to enter.

Immediately they snatched up his weapons but were confounded by them. “How do you get the bullets out?!” they asked. The single-action .22 and top-break .38 were obviously too confusing for these defenders of the peace. Lovi told them, “I’ve never loaded them. I have 5 grandkids. You can look here and see that they are empty.”

Upon examining his custom-finish .22, one of the officers said, “Oh this is a keeper!” Startled, Lovi shot back, “Just what does that mean?”

Arthur Lovi was on edge. Perhaps if he knew that selling firearms taken in by failed gun “buy-back” programs was proving lucrative for some precincts, he might’ve been even more upset.

“Do you have an FIOD card?” the quick-tempered cop asked. In the state of Illinois, any citizen wishing to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights must first subject themselves to an extensive identification program and personal history check, the results of which are a “Firearm Owner’s ID” card granted them by the Illinois State Police.

Lovi presented it to the angry man standing in front of him. “I’ll hold on to this for a while,” the cop stated. “And we’ll be keeping these as ‘evidence’,” he added.

“Evidence for what?” Lovi shot back, “I haven’t committed any crime!”

Instead of answering him, the feisty officer replied, “Come to the station tomorrow and get a receipt.”

And they were gone.

Lovi was in shock.

But it didn’t take long for him to regain his senses.

Via a Freedom of Information Act request, he was made privy to the conversation between the Arlington Heights PD and his psychologist. It turned out that she did not say she felt Lovi was a threat to himself or anyone else.

Arthur Lovi began to get angry. He told me “I don’t look for trouble, but I’ll go to the Nth degree to straighten something out.”

He wasn’t exaggerating.

In 1995, Lovi was with his family in Venice, Florida. They took a little drive to Sarasota to look upon the beautiful beaches and waters of the Keys. While they were driving through a large parking lot, Lovi was cited by a local police officer for driving the wrong way in a posted area.

The only problem was, it wasn’t posted.

When the officer asked, “How would you like to pay for this?” Lovi sensed a racket at work. He noticed that there were a lot of college kids there and many of them were being pulled into the same net he had been. He found it upsetting to see some of them so desperate that they were begging people for money to pay their ransoms.

Lovi refused to pay the ticket.

When he got back to Venice, he called the Sarasota PD to make them admit the parking lot was not posted. He spoke to a female sergeant who agreed with him but when he asked “Are you tearing it up?” she said, “We’re amending it.”

Amending it? That didn’t sound legal.

Not only did they “amend” the ticket (with several new infractions), but they sent an officer to Venice to get the original back from Lovi.

This was a scam that would make any third world banana republic smile.

Arthur Lovi then spent well over $1,000 in cost and effort to return for court, fight the citation and win (Cindy told him he was crazy).

The original fine was for $69.50.

___________________

The Arlington Heights Police Department began to sense they had stuck their hands into a badger’s den.

Lovi got a call from an officer that used to work with his wife. Was it OK if he came for a visit?

Whatever, Lovi thought.

The “visit” seemed somewhat less friendly when the officer showed up with two more beside him. What did they want?

Lovi noticed they seemed uncomfortable and that they weren’t making much eye contact.

Soon the officer who originally called started to talk about Cindy, what a good person she was and how the kids used to call her “mom”.

If they came to upset him, it was working. Finally Lovi had had enough, “Shut your ___ ___ mouth. What do you want?”

“I’m afraid for your health,” the officer said, “I’m going to call an ambulance.”

Shocked, Lovi said, “You can call but I won’t’ get in it.”

“Then I’ll have to cuff you and force you in it,” the officer said.

Four minutes later, an ambulance was in front of his home. A few minutes later, Lovi was forcibly stripped, given a hospital gown and sitting on a gurney, waiting for a doctor to examine him.

When the doctor came in, he exclaimed, “What the hell’s going on?” Lovi immediately demanded to be given his clothes back and vehemently refused to be seen, especially to have blood drawn.

The doctor made him wait.

In time, he came back and said, “I want you to talk to someone,” and produced a psychologist who began barraging him with questions. “How do you feel?” she asked.

“I want out,” Lovi defiantly stated.

Eventually, he was released and his son drove him home.

It was time to get a lawyer.

A local attorney demanded $5,000 to work the case. Lovi knew he could do better than that. He called the NRA and, after the representative heard his story, they proclaimed, “Wow! You need a lawyer.”

The NRA recommended Louis Meyer, a defense attorney and expert on the Bill of Rights. After hearing what Lovi had to say, Meyer took the case on a contingency basis, without the exorbitant charge up front.

I spoke with Mr. Meyer who informed me that there was another reason the Arlington Heights PD tried to manipulate Arthur Lovi into being diagnosed as mentally unstable: this would’ve allowed them to revoke his Firearm Owner’s ID card.

It was research for my column on the use of mental disorders to rob citizens of their 2nd Amendment rights that caused me to look into Mr. Lovi’s case in the first place.

Meyer, along with attorney David Mierswa of Skokie, Illinois, got fast at work forcing Arlington Heights to return Lovi’s guns to him.

When he did receive them back, there was over $350 in damage done to his custom .22 revolver. Mr. Meyer told me it was because the Arlington Heights Police Department was in the process of dismantling them.

Arthur Lovi's antique handguns
Photo by Daily Herald Staff Photographer Matt Welsh

What he did not receive was his FOID card. He was told it was in the mail to Springfield. Upon further investigation, however, Lovi found out that he had been lied to and his card was sitting in the Arlington Heights PD evidence vault.

Thanks to the work of his attorneys, Arthur Lovi is on the road to recovery and a jury trial has been demanded.

Several lines of the complaint accent this disturbing story:

Defendant LAVIN, from the Arlington Heights Police Department, spoke with Plaintiff’s therapist regarding Plaintiff’s statements. Plaintiff’s therapist told Defendant LAVIN what Plaintiff had said. Additionally, Plaintiff’s therapist told Defendant LAVIN that she did not believe that Plaintiff was a threat to himself or others and that an immediate medical evaluation was not necessary.

The doctor that treated Plaintiff’s wife was contacted by the Arlington Heights Police Department. The doctor informed the Arlington Heights Police Department that he did not feel his safety was in jeopardy. …

The Defendant-Officers did not have a search warrant, probable cause, exigent circumstances, or any other legal justification to seize Plaintiff’s antique firearms and FOID card.

If this could happen to a 72 year old veteran in good standing with the community, do you think it could happen to you?

Thanks to many new laws and regulations, making an unfounded accusation that brings a militarized SWAT team down on you at 3 AM is all too easy, as the latest rash of “SWATTING” pranks has shown in the haven-state for such laws, California.

That power is in the hands of any neighbor who doesn’t like your lawn clippings falling onto his property. Imagine a government official who has access to every electronic or voice communication you’ve ever sent or received, all coming across their desk simply because they looked you up, as NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has claimed. One bad joke about a public official, one angry thing said after that late-night drink…suddenly the promise of surveillance advocates that “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to hide,” no-longer gives you any confidence.

Lovi had just seen the Snowden story, himself. In light of what happened to him and where it was all heading for citizens in general, he asked me with pained emotion, “Do we live in a Communist country?!”

I couldn’t answer.

After hanging up, I had to sit for a few minutes while the severity of what I had learned weighed down on me. It was then that I realized I had forgotten to ask Arthur Lovi if he had ever flown in Vietnam.

___________________

FURTHER READING

* ARTHUR LOVI v. VILLAGE OF ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Arlington Heignts Police Department – COMPLAINT
* Overkill in the Suburbs – Courthouse News Service
*
Arlington Heights Man, Police In Dispute Over Confiscating His Guns – The Daily Herald
* Arlington Heights Resident, Antique Gun Owner Arthur Lovi Challenges Village of Arlington Heights on 2nd and 4th Amendments – The Arlington Cardinal
*
Police Confiscate Veteran’s Antique Guns Following a Visit With His Therapist – The Blaze
* Illinois Veteran Suing Police for Confiscating His Firearms Following Therapy Session – Guns.com

Johnny Cirucci

Author Johnny Cirucci

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