Insanity is the Killer

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

In 2012, a man named Min Yongjun attacked and stabbed 23 little children at an elementary school in Chenpeng Village in Henan province, China. All of the children survived, but many of them suffered from their fingers and toes being cut off. This does not even include the trauma they were put through. Min Yongjun had no criminal history prior to the attack. Fast-forward to what happened in Las Vegas, Nevada, and there occurred the killing of 58 people at a Harvest Music Festival with 515 wounded. The suspect, Stephen Paddock, had no criminal history prior to the mass shooting. But there is no question that like Min Yongjun he suffered from mental illness. Stephan Paddock’s father, Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, was on the F.B.I. (Federal Bureau of Investigation) most wanted list for bank robbery 50 years before and he was described as being “psychopathic.”

I am thoroughly convinced that Stephan Paddock, like Min Yongjun, were indeed mentally ill and had inherited their mental illness. There is also no question that both had planned to attack those victims who were most vulnerable and cause as much death and carnage that was possible in both their countries. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility, but no one is buying this line because it is becoming clear that insanity was the thing that truly played the devil in the details. Mental illness is in my view one of the biggest health and medical crisis in this country today. The same in my view is true in China. Truth be told we do not provide real help for many of those who are mentally ill as we should, and in many parts of this country people who are truly mentally ill receive little or no help.

In my own personal instance, I can think of two cases where two people did not receive the medical help or therapy they truly needed for their mental conditions. One was a young man who tried to commit suicide (he succeeded the second time). He was only given some medications and got to see a psychiatrist only once a month. Many of us who were around him have no idea what those medications did to him, what the side-effects were, and why he was not given greater priority for his medical condition. In the end, all the help he received was no enough. One lady familiar to us did not receive any better treatment than the guy we knew. She is still alive, but she is barely able to function and is for this reason barely stable. We feel bad for her.

Since the elementary school attack in Chenpeng Village (and other such similar attacks in China), the Chinese government and local authorities have greatly increased security around not only elementary schools but also high schools as well. I am sure that hotel security will be greatly increased also. But in this country as well as in China and in many other countries, mental illness is still treated as a taboo subject. People who may be mentally ill will more likely than ever be pushed towards the margins as they are more likely now to be suspected as being “criminal” more than as people who have problems and greatly need help. There is no question that Stephan Paddock had planned this thing long in advanced, had chosen his strategy well, and had no conscience for the innocent people he was going to hurt and kill. This is mental illness at its worst. We as a country have to do more to help people like this before they become a ticking time bomb ready to strike at the innocent or do harm to themselves.

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