Chris Tomlin O Come all Ye Faithful

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Mental Illness and Violence

www.policemag.com

This is a quote from today's Washington Post

  "...The Post found that the great majority of people who died at
the hands of the police fit at least one of three categories: they were
wielding weapons, they were suicidal or mentally troubled, or they ran
when officers told them to halt."

"The research also noted whether victims were mentally ill or
experiencing an emotional crisis, a category that came to account for
one-quarter of those killed. Officers fatally shot at least 243 people
with mental health problems: 75 who were explicitly suicidal and 168 for
whom police or family members confirmed a history of mental illness. The
analysis found that about 9 in 10 of the mentally troubled people were
armed, usually with guns but also with knives or other sharp objects.
But the analysis also found that most of them died at the hands of
police officers who had not been trained to deal with the mentally ill."
Washington Post Article 

Please explain to me the logic that would murder a person who is suicidal. Equally disturbing: why would anyone kill a person suffering from mental illness? The article said that close to a thousand civilians were killed by police officers in 2015. Over one quarter  were killed because they were mentally ill.

I'm not one to speak badly about police officers. I know they are supposed to be there for our protection. But this had me shaken.

Where is the crime in mental illness? What is the danger we pose? A piece of good advice if you are mentally ill would be to NEVER carry a weapon. I know that to those who are paranoid, it may seem necessary to carry a weapon but that is a psychotic assumption and it should be noted that if you are carrying a weapon you are basically inviting the police to shoot you.

 Police need to be trained to understand the overwhelming fear a person who is paranoid is experiencing...and just the fact that the officer is uniformed would tend to spawn panic in the mind of the person with SZ. They should be spending at least as much time in training to learn how to defuse the paranoia of a mentally ill person - --as they spend in learning to handle a weapon.
Obviously a sociopath would present a danger but it is obvious that those with SZ are lumped together with sociopaths in the minds of the police...Police need some basic training in mental illness. They need to understand that they are targeting an innocent civilian who is suffering from a devastating illness of the brain.

I have been roughly treated, manhandled and knocked to the ground by police officers. It would only take things a little farther and I could have been one of those who were killed. Not only that but if a police officer came at me, I would run too. And merely by running in fear, I could be killed..  Police should know that when a psychotic person bolts, it is not to be assumed that that they are guilty or dangerous or carrying  a weapon.  Psychotic people would run if ANY ONE pursued them and if the pursuer wears a uniform that only adds to the terror being experienced by the mentally ill person.

Please.  Let those who are in positions of authority understand.  Mentally ill people are not dangerous nor are they evil.   And a  person who has mental illness --if they are stable and medicated--are no more dangerous than anyone else. In fact there are studies which show that the mentally ill are FAR more often the ones on the receiving end of assault and violent crime. It is sad that the authorities are the ones doling out the violence and are the ones whom we may fear.
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