10/20/2005

Mother Accused of Throwing Kids Into Bay

"A woman who was hearing voices tossed her three young children off a pier into San Francisco Bay, authorities said. Rescuers had found one body, and the two other children were feared dead."

How many times does this have to happen before this country starts believing that mental illness needs to be taken seriously? If you go on national TV and tell people you're an alcoholic, everyone feels sorry that you have this terrible disease (just put the glass down, idiot! When did lack of self control become a disease? Oh yeah, right around the time they started doing stomach stapling for people who can't stop eating...), but if someone says they were hearing voices, everyone thinks they're lying.

I have personal experience with a family member who was paranoid schizophrenic. These people don't need to be in jail, they don't need to be living on the streets, they need help. Part of the disease is that they're afraid to take their medication, seeing it as just one more way that someone is trying to "get" them. But the US government keeps cutting back their help (and they certainly can't hold a job until they are taking their meds consistently), and they end up drowning their kids, or living in the streets committing violent acts, because the voices told them they had to. If we're not willing to protect them from themselves, we ought to at least help them so they don't hurt us, or hurt innocent children.

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