Letters to the Editor

Free pass for the mentally ill?

Friday, June 08, 2018

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Dear Editor,

I am concerned and disturbed by the attacks on citizens by people who are perceived to be mentally-ill.

Whenever anyone commits a crime it is punishable by law. I am therefore compelled to ask:

1. Should perceived mentally ill people get a free pass when they commit crimes?

2. In the incident that occurred a few weeks ago in Manchester, in which a policeman drove his motorcycle and a reported mentally ill man chopped him in his face, requiring multiple surgeries, should there be a pardon?

3. In the most recent incident in Manchester in which another reported mentally ill man beheaded one man and seriously injured another, should we accept that as unfortunate and move on?

4. Are the stakeholders completely oblivious to the fact that these perceived mentally ill people cause harm and serve no useful purpose when they are left to roam our streets?

5. Since the stakeholders recognise that mentally ill people have inflicted serious wounds and even killed people, what (if anything) has been done to address the situation?

Whenever I reasonably perceive someone to be mentally ill I remove myself from around them. I am not discriminating. I know that at any time they may act out and do something to harm me, so I prefer to err on the side of caution.

There are some who reason that when perceived mentally ill people maim and kill others then justice should be exacted on them. I am not advocating for jungle justice. However, I can understand why people would want to resort to it in such circumstances, since it is unlikely that the mentally ill perpetrator will be punished under law, as would be the case with the regular person.

It is also not unreasonable for me to think that some of these people are using the guise of mental illness to commit these heinous crimes.

The condition of mentally ill people can be improved, and they could become productive members of the society, once they are properly housed and given treatment and care. Why, then, aren't the stakeholders addressing the needs of the mentally ill? We cannot allow perceived mentally ill people to remain a nuisance and cause damage.

Citizens who are attacked by the mentally ill should sue the caregivers, together with the health and local government ministries and the Attorney General, for recklessness and negligence.

Dujon Russell


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