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Saturday, July 30, 2011

What Is This World Coming To?

A schizophrenic man was horrifically treated- to the point where his post mortum shot looks barely human and the video of his arrest and his subsequent beating and tazering- five times with a taser on someone who lays there and begs for his father? Does that strike anyone as "lawful" or as "Necessary force?"
A call went out that someone was stealing from cars in a parking lot.
Ok, this is poor behavior. But... desperation leads to acts that one would typically not do. An arrest of someone known as "childlike" for stealing should not involve five shocks with a taser, or a beating.

Schizophrenia is described thus, and I'll try to find a way to say it in simple terms:

Schizophrenia is a complex mental disorder that makes it difficult to:
  • Tell the difference between real and unreal experiences
  • Think logically
  • Have normal emotional responses,
  • Behave normally in social situations

Source: NCBI/PubMed

I've known for years, a kind, gentle man with schizophrenia. He has in his life dealt with his mother's abuse at the hands of his father, her divorce and remarriage, his brother's alcoholism, and his step father's amusement at his reactions... often calling him stupid or purposefully causing him fear. He has a bit of Samson thing...the most gorgeous long, glossy hair, and barely any split ends--- a woman would be envious for about half as much. The stepfather liked to go up behind him with scissors and tell him he was going to give him a haircut until he cried. A big, sweet 35 year old man just wailing because he was terrified he'd lose more than hair, while a man stands over him grinning creepily. A bad marriage full of abuse by the ex, and just beginning to know his son again... his mother dying painfully, going from vibrant and active, to a shell of herself, locked into herself.

And he is as sweet as all get out, always giving... he can't say "no"... although I've tried like hell to teach him that a well-crafted lie is still a lie, and that not everyone is looking out for his good, or intends to help him. He tries, with everything in him to just give the love. He has been institutionalized, homeless, living in what is basically a large tin can, (I had to stay with him when thanks to issues with my ex, there was tampering and I ended up with carbon monoxide poisoning...and got a bed, blankets, food, and help... with him expecting NOTHING in return.) and thrown out after his mother's death, to fend for himself. He made a mistake-those scam checks that get sent... he cashed one, taking it at face value, and spent time in jail.

Through it all, that case, and the one of Kelly Thomas one thought plagues me:  Where the hell are the agencies that are meant to give help, meds and support, and counselling, and assist with day-to-day life? Are we still tossing the sick onto the street to die?!

A childlike man living on the streets does wrong through desperation, with no help... begging for his father... and dying with a face that no longer appears recognizably human. And you can watch him die on Youtube. What a world.
Here's the thing: A man was treated to the point where he did not look human, and died in the streets like a rabid dog. Who lost their humanity? Certainly NOT Mr. Thomas, whose pitiful cries were the most human thing I witnessed in that video, which I am still sickened by. Where were his parents? His father grieves, but where was he before? He died screaming for him, but was living like an animal. Did he know how to ask for help?


  1. Thank you so much for caring about this story, Beth.

  2. There are a few things that trip my sensors. The pain of the disabled in particular will do it. Having been close to one of these sweet, childlike people (And I know, there are some who are violent, I know none of them)- it hurts to see society carelessly tossing people away. 

  3. There's also many different ways to be schizophrenic--I'm a medicated schizophrenic, but I've never had any trouble distinguishing real from unreal nor have I ever been childlike (unfortunately not even when I was a child). There are a couple reasons I got that title. Without meds I will hear voices speaking to me, although they have a helpful nature and while I perceive them as different facets of my personality, I'm fully aware the voices belong to me only. As for emotions, I don't really have them in the traditional sense of the word. I do have some emotions...that part is difficult to explain. My mother was schizophrenic, which my dr. also took into account.

    I'm lucky--I've never been institutionilzed in my entire life and I'm not even a little slow in the head.

  4. God bless Eccentricity. I know there's all types---I've never met one who wasn't actually blazingly smart.