It could have been you or me

Rushing Gabrielle Giffords to the hospital

A deranged young man shot Arizona Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, point blank in the head and killed six others on Saturday, including a nine-year-old girl.

The murderer, 22-year-old Jared Loughner, was described by one newspaper as an “unstable loner with radical political views.” He posted a number of rants on YouTube against the government and referenced terrorism. A former classmate indicated he was “obviously very disturbed,” according to an article in the New York Daily News.

Thousands of unhinged people are roaming around the United States. They might be our neighbors and our co-workers, our relatives and our friends. We might suspect something is wrong but we usually don’t do a thing about it, except maybe run to the other side of the room, the street, or the office.

Even when an “unconnected” fellow human being wants to seek help on his own, our medical system will thwart him. The best insurance plans cover only a small percentage of the psychiatric costs, which makes treatment accessible to only a few.

To make matters worse, our political arena today is often defined by threatening rhetoric and ideas, which can send deranged people right over the edge.

Of course, we’ll never be able to completely eradicate mental illness. But if we can do anything to prevent lunatic actions like we saw this weekend, we owe it to mankind to get cracking.

One Response to “It could have been you or me”

  1. Duchesse says:

    Adequate mental health services are essential. I live in a country with universal health care, and we still have people suffering from mental illness (or just plain angry) who kill innocent people- with guns, by pushing under subway trains, and other means. People here say we should have more mental health services but I believe that some people would not avail themselves, even if the service were next door.

    The #1 mental health issue here is not random violence, however, it is dementia and Alzheimer’s; the incidence is escalating rapidly as the population ages.

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