Columns / Discourse / January 18, 2017

One Mind: return and reactions to violence

After the long hiatus, I am back. Sorry for being gone so long, but there were some medical things that had to be dealt with. Long story short, everything is fine, and I should be back for the rest of the year.

On the topic of mental health, I do not think I need to state why this issue is especially poignant this week. For those who don’t know, there was a kidnapping and torture of a young man with Schizophrenia and ADHD livestreamed on Facebook some time ago.

Since that time, much of the argument surrounding this issue has focused around race for very obvious and justified reasons. However, I don’t think the argument should be limited to race. Also, I do not feel qualified to talk about race. I’m white and from the suburbs, so many of the larger scale race issues are not things that I have any experience with. That’s not to say race is not important. It certainly is a relevant issue that adds a lot of complexity to this tragic situation, but so does mental health.

In addition to being angry at the crime, I was also surprised to hear a case where a mentally ill young man was the victim of hatred. Though it is a very serious issue, the victimization of the mentally ill isn’t one that receives a lot of attention. It has also been quite refreshing to look at the outcropping of support for the victim.

Though there are definite arguments that the results might have been different if the perpetrators were white and the victim was black (or some other combination of racial factors) I am going to take the media’s and the American public’s response to this event as a good sign. The fact that this is being seen by so many people and upsetting so many may be a step in the right direction toward tending to the mental health crisis in our society.

Obviously, this series of events was horrible and should not have occurred, but at the very least, perhaps the world can make some good out of it. Perhaps it’s a long shot. Perhaps I’m wrong to be optimistic, but the best we can do is hope.

As always, if you have any comments or questions on the article or would like to share a personal experience with mental illness, feel free to do so. I will gladly post it in the column at your request.

Tony Rogde-Hinderliter

Tags:  column discourse event livestream mental illness race schizophrenia social media violent

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