Today’s writing is going to fall under that “little bit of everything else.” I did finish a book night before last but that review will come later today. Today I want to focus on a situation that happened very close to my home and had a great impact on friends that new the people involved.
First let me just say that I live in a very small rural are of Louisiana where nothing out of the ordinary ever happens. We all watch the news and see when tragic events happen in other places, assuming that it will never happen to us. This week proved just what can happen in our little bitty area. Tuesday of this week, a mentally ill young man took three hostages in a small rural bank in a parish near mine. The events unfolded over several hours and ended in tragedy with one hostage being killed and one in critical condition.
Since this terrible thing happened, I have been so disappointed in the lack of humanity by people in my own area concerning the perpetrator. Granted, we all have a certain amount of dislike or hatred for the young man because of his actions, but what I am seeing repeatedly is the focus not being on his mental illness, but on his and his family’s foreign background.
This young man was an American citizen, born in this country by foreign immigrants. His family not being from America does not in any way make him less of an American citizen. His name was indicative of his Yemen descent but that also does not make him any less of an American citizen. His religion has been brought into play in the comments about him, however, our country was based on freedom of religion. What people SHOULD be concerned with is that he was mentally ill and obviously had not help with his illness.
Mental illness in America is prevalent but many times left untreated. We have progressed significantly with medical treatments but it seems that mental illness still carries that taboo and people avoid discussing it and focusing on it as they should. A mentally ill person should be treated just as a person with some dreaded disease such as cancer. They should have access to the same medical treatment facilities that a medically ill person has.
Awareness of mental illness needs to be stressed. The stigma of mental illness needs to be done away with. We need to become a society that embraces mental illness and treatments just like we do cancer and other diseases. Until we do this, these senseless tragedies will continue to happen….and they will happen regardless of a person’s race, religion, family or any other factors. It is simply a sickness that we must work harder to identify and treat.
Off my soapbox for the day now. My next blog will be back to normal and will be a review of Burn by Maya Banks. Have a great day and please remember Tensas Parish in your prayers or good thoughts. They need it to heal!