Saturday, November 24, 2012

Double Murder/Suicide in CA Senior Home

Three people died recently in double murder/suicide in California at the Golden West Tower, a senior home. Residents and the staff had complained about the elderly shooter, saying that Chuck acted strange, but no one acted on their complaints. People who suffer from mental diseases are much more likely to be harmed than to do harm, but ignoring mental illness endangers the entire community. Tragedies often happen when mental illness goes untreated. Sometimes, soldiers on the battlefield experience a mental meltdown like Sgt. John Russell did in May 2009. Should signs of PTSD be ignored and soldiers remain armed in combat zones, endangering our troops? Sgt. Russell shot five of his fellow servicemembers in Baghdad and was charged with murder. Cho Seung-Hui, the Virginia Tech shooter who killed 33 people, including himself, had a history of mental illness. But nothing was done when Cho's college professor warned about Cho's apparent mental state. America's list of avoidable disasters is lengthy. People die because of the "danger to self and other" rule that usually bars enforced psychiatric treatment in the absence of a dripping knife or smoking gun. See an excerpt from the news report about the avoidable tragedy at Golden West Tower below.

 Dog Justice for the Mentally Ill and Their Communities

Three Dead in Murder/Suicide in California Senior Center (AP) -- Three people died Tuesday in what appears to be a double murder-suicide at a senior citizens' high-rise south of Los Angeles, police said.A man in his 80s apparently shot two women shortly after noon before turning the gun on himself. Police are still investigating the man's motive, but residents and staff from the senior center told NBC4 that the man had been behaving erratically, and many of them were seeking to have him kicked out of the complex.

"People knew that he was a little bit off," Golden Tower employee Alex Galindo told the TV station. "People were warned, but nobody did anything, so I know there's going to be blood on a lot of people's hands. That's all I can say at this point."

Police help residents return to Golden West Tower after being evacuated for safety
In the video at the link below, Chuck was described as being an "unstable, violent, angry man who was feared by residents and staff members alike." More information about the senior center shootings is at the second link. See also links below that carry news about the Virginia Tech Massacre and about Sgt. Russell's mental meltdown in Iraq during his third consecutive tour of duty.

Golden West Tower Shooting: Three Dead In Murder-Suicide At California Senior Center [Video]

Three Dead in Murder/Suicide in California Senior Center

"Virginia Tech Massacre"

Save Sgt. Russell Petition Launched by AIMI

Fairness for acute mental patients means making timely treatment available. However, it is unwise to rely on people to make rational health decisions while experiencing psychiatric crises. A condition called Anosognosia makes it impossible for acute mental patients to recognize their own illness and seek or willingly accept treatment. When in crisis, family members or authorities must be allowed to help keep sick people and communities safe by authorizing involuntary commitment. One of the main reasons why acute mental patients revolve in and out of jails and prisons is because Anosognosia makes patients feel they do not need to stay on their psychiatric medications and keep appointments with their health care providers once they are freed from incarceration or hospitalization. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice certified assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) programs, which combine mandated psychiatric treatment and subsistence assistance. Learn more about AOT programs and Anosognosia at the website for Treatment Advocacy Center . Treatment for mental illness must stop being withheld until after crimes. If people in crisis do commit crimes because their symptoms were ignored, they do not deserve to be imprisoned for behavior that arose out of their disability. Society can avoid tragedies like the three deaths at Golden West Tower by (1) making it easier to commit people in crisis to inpatient hospitals for evaluation and treatment, and (2) using mandatory AOT programs to maintain mental health for acute patients upon release from hospitals and prisons or jails.

Most stories in DogJustice blog are about brutality against acute mental patients. Please see the blog's index for titles. Thanks for your interest in creating safe environments for America's most vulnerable citizens and for communities at large.

Golden West Tower, scene of double murder/suicide - an avoidable tragedy

Sgt. John Russell

Cho Seung-Hui

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