For those of you who don't live in the Seattle area four police officers were brutally slain by a mentally ill man for reasons unknown. Ambushed by this waste of sperm the cops were shot in a coffee shop and the man went on the run. Finally he was pulled over by a local deputy and a gunfight ensued resulting in the shooter's demise.
Yesterday there was a memorial service for the four victims, one of, if not the, largest processions this state has ever seen. Many citizens of Washington paid tribute to the folks who are hired to keep our communities safe and donations were made in abundance to the families of the fallen officers.
When the man was shot in what started as a routine traffic stop many friends quite candidly told me about how glad they were that he died. I'm no advocate of the death penalty, but I have to admit I don't feel terrible that the man is no longer with us, but still I did feel a bit of empathy for him.
Yes I know this man committed a heinous crime that's unforgivable, but as the public soon learned the guy was mentally ill. He claimed he was the messiah, had a police record longer than most, and could be called an above average nut job. With a long history of chemical imbalance it appears the man never had a chance to live a normal life, nor did he receive appropriate treatment for his illness. Consequently his family suffered the pain of living with someone with that condition and have now lost a loved one.
We still have a lot to learn about sickness of the mind, and of the brain itself actually, so I wonder if the man could even help doing what he did. Part of me feels like so many failed him, judges, lawyers, family, and friends seem to have made little attempt for him to receive medical treatment. Had they done so those four police officers may be alive today.
My friend has a brother-in-law recently diagnosed as being a bit off. Believing his house to be toxic he moved out into a hotel room. After a couple of weeks of staying away from home thinking he'll get carbon monoxide and lead paint poisoning he called his wife from his car saying he was coming to get the baby away from there to keep the child safe. She did not think that was a good idea and called the cops from a different phone.
The police caught up with him and attempted to pull him over, but he would have none of it. The cops had to use a pit maneuver to stop him. He's now relaxing in a mental health center, but still making life difficult as he won't claim it on his insurance, depleting the couples' bank account, and accusing everyone on being in on some huge conspiracy against him.
I feel sorry for my friend's sister, who's now stuck raising a child by herself and having a husband who is a direct threat to the baby's safety. Thankfully the man's under treatment, but since he refuses to use his insurance to pay for it they may have to let him go soon if his wife cannot come up with a huge amount of cash.
I tend to mock the mentally ill sometimes. When I hear stories about crazy folk who go all tin foil hat nuts I admit chuckling to myself, but I feel bad later knowing they can't help it and they may be a danger not only to themselves, but the public in general. It's something I should take a bit more seriously, but when crazies come up with stories about how Dick Cheney has an island for hunting Eskimos and Eric Roberts is employing mind control techniques by bugging their keyboards, I can't help but smirk.
"For too long we have swept the problems of mental illness under the carpet... and hoped that they would go away." - Richard J. Codey