Today I have been unable to get onto Facebook. Actually I can, but apart from read I can’t do anything (and that is torture). No doubt I will have been reported Missing in Action by now. I’m not sure if another quake early this morning (the Christchurch alarm clock) cut Facebook’s cable to the city or whether it is just me they are penalizing for who know’s what.
Anyway I have been checking out the news instead, and couldn’t help to notice a New Zealand news site with a title saying Naked man was chewing victim’s face. You can check it out if you want to, but it’s fairly predictable and I would warn that the video attached is a complete waste of time.
Even before I read this and various US news sites I suspected that this man was mentally ill (although I admit I am no expert), and my concern about how he was treated made me read on. The police shot him dead. Apparently the first shot didn’t stop the man in his actions so the police officer shot him several more times and he died in hospital a short while later.
There just seems something wrong with this to me. Mentally healthy people don’t usually lie on sidewalks naked or, as the report claims, attempt to cannibalize another man (who by the look of the video I wasted my time over) was also, at least, semi-naked. The MSN report I read finished by suspecting that the attack by the man was fueled by “cocaine psychosis”. Does this not suggest the man needed help, rather than to be shot dead?
I admit I don’t know the rules the US police force use to determine when they shoot an offender, and I only have what I read in the articles, but it did seem to me that there were a lot of missing facts here, and that to shoot the man dead was a poorly chosen choice. As regular readers my remember I have little time for guns anyway, so perhaps I slightly biased and if that is the case, so be it.
I guess I really have two problems with this case. One, is the police action to shoot the man. But perhaps what fuels me even more is the media response. The captions they chose to use have been picked to draw attention to the story. It certainly got my attention. They are sensationalist to say the least, and then they finish by admitting they know the man was probably mentally ill. If they were to write without stigma for mental illness, they would have chosen a less sensationalist caption and had some compassion.
It makes me so mad when media do this and they give the impression that all of us are more than likely to act in this way. Wouldn’t it have been better to ask the question of whether the police handled the situation wisely, and what could have been done to help (both) men.
Am I dreaming? This reminds me so much of my post from last month A Man Named Jason… And Why I Cried. Different people, different situation but both cases of the mentally ill being mistreated by both Police and Media. We have a long way to go before the stigma attached to mental illness disappears.
I’d love to hear what you think…
“Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all.”
– Bill Clinton
- A Man Named Jason… And Why I Cried (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)
- Stigma (Passions Profile Challenge #6) (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)
- Peace Not War (Passion Profile Challenge #1) (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)
- Mental Health versus Mental Illness… a Stigma Issue? (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)
- Mentally ill inmates sue to get out of solitary (prisonmovement.wordpress.com)
- Mocking mental illness is no joke (thegazette.com)
- Ways to Follow-Up On ‘Criminalization of’ and ‘Not Servicing The Mentally Ill’: Just Click ‘N Sign (candidaabrahamson.wordpress.com)