Mental Illness Claims 9, wounds 10
2011 is off to a tragic start. One week into the New Year, the nation's TVs are tuned in to the "Tragedy in Tucson."
Jared Loughner showed up at a Tucson Arizona town meeting hosted by representative Gabrielle Giffords and opened fire on her and the crowd, killing nine and wounding ten.
The media feeding frenzy that ensued has brought to the camera acquaintances, chat room buddies, and Pima College administrators all eager to share their opinion that Jared is mentally ill. From his now infamous actions, that goes without saying.
Why didn't any of these do-gooders tell someone their suspicions before he went "Postal?" As I listened to the interviews and heard "he was really quiet and a little strange," or the chat buddy that claimed she feared for her life, the same thought kept going through my mind. Everyone knew something wasn't quite right, yet no one called his parents, authorities, or the mental health hotline.
The real issue no one bothered to explore is actually an enormous problem everywhere. In the 21st century, one would think identifying and treatment of psychiatric disorders wouldn't be so in the closet. Unfortunately that is not the case. Everyone's lives have been touched by someone that suffers from some sort of mental illness, whether it is anorexia or bipolar disorder, but it is hardly dinner table conversation.
Most of the people I have encountered with a mentally ill loved one barely acknowledge their existence let alone the fact that they're ill. No one wants the stigma of a mentally deficient loved one to ruin their public image. So a lot of these potentially dangerous people go on day to day slipping further down the rabbit hole as a loved one quips: Oh that just crazy Eddie; he's harmless! Or my personal favorite: He just marches to a different drummer; pay him no mind.Continued on the next page