Call Me English

A little corner of the world where I talk about what I want.

Posts Tagged ‘mental illness

Aurora

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It’s been almost a week since the horrifying mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado that left 12 innocent moviegoers dead and dozens more wounded. It’s been almost a week since we saw the photos of the man who did it, the man who by all accounts is educated and, prior to this psychotic break, just another child of upscale white suburbs.

When will it end? How many more of these heinous crimes against peaceable assembly must we endure before we finally address their root causes: poor treatment of mental illness and ease of access to firearms of mass destruction. I grew up in New York City in the 1980s, so I will never understand why anyone needs to own a gun. All it took was watching the scene in Ghost where Patrick Swayze was shot and killed for me to hate guns forever and to constantly worry about whether my parents would come home safely from eating out with friends.

Since I accept that we will never see a constitutional amendment banning guns outright in this irreparably polarized country, I am hoping that we can instead undertake efforts to curtail gun violence through regulation – and one fine place to start is by getting large-capacity magazines off the market for good.

I can’t tell you how sad I was when I read that gun purchases spiked in Colorado in the wake of this senseless act. What kind of sense does that make? A bunch of people get shot in an enclosed area, and you think you need more guns? If everyone in the theatre had been armed, I guarantee you that easily twice as many people would have died.

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Written by Dave

July 25, 2012 at 14:38

Homelessness

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Earlier today, a young woman was walking down the street around the corner from my apartment building.  She was carrying out an errand for the salon she works at.  A highly agitated homeless person described as slovenly and mentally ill tried to snatch her bag, and when she resisted, he stabbed her in the abdomen.  It was covered extensively on the local news and in blogs.

The victim’s injuries are not life-threatening, but the assailant was able to flee the scene.

This attack is very frightening because it has the aroma of a time from 1965 to 1995 when the city was not safe. At all. Random acts of violence committed by the unsheltered and neglected mentally ill in an area of the city unaccustomed to disturbance of any kind should raise concerns for all of us because they highlight three things we straight-up suck at as a society:

  • Properly treating mental illness
  • Eliminating homelessness in a compassionate but effective way
  • Race/class relations (the assailant in this case was black, as determined by surveillance cameras)

I asked a staff member in my building about this very thing… about whether we might be going back in time to the bad old days.  “The truth is,” he told me, “crimes like this never stop. They just don’t happen often enough around here to numb you. In some parts of the Bronx, this is known as a Friday night.”

So how do we do it? How do we get the homeless off the street?  How do we properly treat the mentally ill?  Do they wish to be helped, and do we wish to do the real work of helping?

Written by Dave

July 17, 2012 at 22:53