Saturday, August 1, 2015

Execution by Mental Illness; A Shooting Has Me Thinking There Has To Be A Better Way!

Okay, I'm back on my "Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid for our boys . Police shoot to kill". We talk inclusion yet, we live in a country where individuals with mental health issues not only suffer the realities of their illness's - but as a result of our collective ignorance - are vunerable to execution by default. 

This week there was a fatal police shooting in our town on our main street, Ventura Blvd. A busy street with families walking and visiting bookstores, clothing shops and eateries. Its always felt like a safe place for everyone, not a street where you expect to see a police officer kill a man.

I wasn't there, when the shooting occured. I just heard  people talking about how they couldn't drive on Laurel Canyon because the police had it cordoned off. Then I turned on the news to hear a man had a gun, and the police shot him. My first thought was sadness in general for a terrible situation. The next morning I scanned the internet to find out what had happened, and I read this:

“He was just firing into the air while there were children and parents walking around. He was just firing into the air,” Keshishyan said. “Police showed up, and they told him to drop his weapon…He wasn’t listening.”  Witnesses said he fired at least one shot in the air and then police opened fire.

After police tried to negotiate with the man for about five minutes, the man “held up his gun and aimed toward the police, and that’s when they shot him,” Keshishyan said.

Another witness, Wyatt Torosian, said police fired two shots, sending the “bedraggled” man back and killing him in front of the Union Bank building.

“That was it for the man. It was very dramatic,” Torosian said.  Torosian, who was inside a nearby Starbucks, said he was told the man had fired into the air. A third witness described five or six shots being fired by the man.

The armed man hadn’t aimed at any other people on the street, Keshishyan said. He had held up some kind of object that appeared to be in a bag toward police and then put it back down, she said “And they shot him”.

What I hear in this news report - and please know I am biased in support of those who cannot speak for themselves - this individual did pose a threat to our community, and he did not seem to comprehend the officer's directives. This should not have been a death sentence. 1 in every 54 boys in this country has Autism, and lack the social skills to survive a situation with Law Enforcement.  I'm afraid for my son. Lord knows, there has to be a better way.


  1. Awful. First of all, where did someone who has a history of mental illness get a gun? Secondly, where is the training for police to handle the mentally ill?