Thursday, April 25, 2013

Institutions; this is a fix???

 A few days ago, tragedy struck in Boston. Horrendous and frightening, it seems that the world becomes more violent with every tick of the clock. Boston wasn't the start and nor will it be the finish, I am certain. The schools, too many now to list, {A sad fact all by its own self}, the theaters and libraries, the places we have always called "safe" have become the places to now fear. We have for so long considered certain places to be off-limits, so to speak, to terrorists and creepers and violence that goes beyond the norm. "Small-town, U.S.A., populations so small that we do not expect nor fear something like a mass killing to happen are no longer a safe bet either. Illinois and it's little towns of 600 people, is now on our front page. Families and young boys, shot and killed... a little girl wounded is just one part of the violence we are seeing today.

 My wife and I packed up all we had, gave up a really good job, sold our beautiful home and moved to "small-town" Iowa Falls, Iowa thirty years ago. We left Omaha, Nebraska because the violence was too much and we did not want our daughters raised in such an environment. Small town, small violence occurring, we always felt. It was a good move and never did we regret it, but now time has passed and even the little towns are not safe from the world outside. I find myself looking at everyone that enters the place that I am at and thinking of the violence that has spread throughout the world. What a sad place we have come to.

 That said, I will go to where this was taking me. As I was reading peoples comments, I was alarmed at the mention, time after time after time about the mental state of the offenders. Bipolar pops up every time someone shoots a person or stabs someone or causes harm to anyone or anything. Knowing that we are a "tag it or label it" people now, it seems simple to say that the offender Must be bipolar or he/she would never have done that. Even more disturbing was the huge amount of people that determined that "locking them up" or "Bringing back the institutions" is the way to fix everything. Those statements not only scare me but offend  me. They are spoken by people who know as little about the institutions as they know about being bipolar.

 I am and have been for a very long time, Bipolar. I have my issues and through my doctors and self-help, I deal with it as best I can. I have never wanted to kill someone nor have I ever had thoughts of blowing anyone up. I don't sneak around and hurt people and am probably a bigger threat to myself than I will ever be to anyone else. To say "institutionalize" people that suffer from a mental disorder is to say "lock up all the Arabs or South Koreans" because someone of the same nationality killed someone. "Institutions," as one commenter stated, "don't let those people out. They will make sure we don't have anyone running around that is unstable." Really???????  Hmmmm??? Then why are people, when they are caught and it is discovered they were in a mental health facility, running around?

 Institutions are not nice places to go. It isn't like a resort or as if you are on vacation. Stories told and documented show that they are simply places to place a person that the rest of the world doesn't understand nor wants to. Many were closed down because of the practices they used on patients. To lock someone up because life wasn't or isn't perhaps as easy for them to deal with is cruel and will NOT save the world from people that hurt others. Do some need help to cope? Of course they do but the locking them up is just an easy way of saying good riddance.

 Not every killer is bipolar and some lived next door to people for years and no one ever said "Oh look, he/she is bipolar. We better watch our children. We live in a violent world today and it doesn't matter what race, religion or mental status you are, there are killers from every walk of life. The world needs something but what the answer is, I do not know. What I do know is that locking up the people with issues will NOT fix the world. Please don't label those that suffer from disorders. It isn't going to change anything.



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