Healing, bumper stickers and mental illness

I’m still heartbroken. I’m also emotionally exhausted. I won’t talk too much.

This morning I attended a healing service at Congregation Chaverim for Gabby Giffords and the other shooting victims. More than 150 people were there, around eight police cars full of police people, and around 20 news media folks. Since I’m one myself, I’m pleased to report that they were appropriately respectful.

Driving away from Chaverim I found myself behind a pick-up truck sporting this bumper sticker: “Keep the change. I’ll keep my freedom, guns, and money.” Pretty weird on this day of all days, don’t you think?

Later, I started thinking about yesterday’s horrific rampage becoming another opportunity to malign people with mental disorders. To me, killing innocent people is the height of craziness. People who want to be compassionate and contributing members of society don’t qualify.

Then I read today’s Whatever blog by John Scalzi, which is well worth considering. One of his friends raised the same concern: “Maybe you could remind folks that the people with mental disorders are around them, right now, being mentally disordered? Also, being lawyers, parents, farmers, soldiers, nurses, truck-drivers, teachers, college students, judges, 5th graders, fishermen, mechanics, martial arts instructors, writers, and general good folks. Just like them,” his friend wrote.

They are usually not your violent criminals. I recently interviewed Ray Lederman, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, for a story about reducing the stigma of mental illness.

“People with mental illness are more likely to be victimized by violence than being the perpetrators of violence,” Lederman told me.

I’m not sure how the topics in my headline meld. You can figure it out. Or if I do, I’ll let you know. Good night.

This entry was posted in Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s