Mental Illness and Time Square

Just yesterday a man ran over dozens and killed one pedestrian in Times Square. In multiple videos that have appeared on my Facebook news feed show the car driving as normal as anyone would, then suddenly, taking a random u turn, and seemingly putting his foot right on the gas, and not letting up.

My immediate reaction was shock. My second reaction was to ask what was wrong with this man? Something clearly was not right. Nobody just blazes down a street out of nowhere, running down innocent people like Grand Theft Auto. I knew there had to be a sure reason for his actions. I also assumed it had to be drugs or something psychologically was terribly wrong with him.

Before reading the news story for myself, I am like every other lazy American and read through the comments on the video. Though the video itself is shocking, what appalled me even more were the dozens of people making comments like, ” Kill him“, “Terrorist attack“, “No questions asked, this man should be ran over and then hung on Times Square“. As if the situation wasn’t already bad enough, the majority of people’s responses were to kill the driver, no questions asked.

Sure enough, the news reports came out. All in all, the man had a mental illness, a reputation for having DUI’s, and suspicion was that he had recently smoked some pot laced with PCP. I knew before learning any of this that NORMAL people do not just start driving down the street aiming to run anyone in site over. Something clearly was not right.

I think the comments on the video prove exactly what the reputation for mental illness in our country gets. Man acts like a maniac, so lets kill him? The mans friends have even pointed out that they thought something was not right with him for a long time, his family admitted he had suffered from hearing voices, and police say he was spewing out conspiracy theories. What sticks out to me as a red flag is that people KNOW this information and this man still did not get the right help or any at all.

Mental illness has been brushed under the rug and a difficult problem for us to talk about for too long. This entire situation could have been avoided if this man could have received the proper treatment or even been able to talk about what he was going through for someone to get the obvious red flag. This story isn’t the only case where mental illness has ended lives. People commit suicide and take other innocent lives from hearing voices and having underlying mental illness that never gets addressed. The comments on the videos of the Time Square happenings just proves the point that people don’t seem to really care about what caused the problem in the first place. Instead, they want the quickest solution, even if it doesn’t help or change the world for good in the long run.

This mans case could be used for further research on the mental illness that he has and others alike. If we can learn something from him, rather than kill him off, we might actually be able to keep situations like this from happening in the future. It’s too easy to point fingers and just do away with people. But this is just ONE case that didn’t get proper treatment too late. There are thousands of people just like this man out there, and who knows what could set them off.

Helping people is not only good for them, but everyone else. If there is something to be learned, we need to study it and acknowledge it rather than killing it. If you are experiencing unwanted feelings or thoughts or even hearing voices, talk to someone. If you know someone that needs help, be that person that helps them or gets professional help to them. Mental illness is not going to stop. Mental illness will keep taking lives if we don’t discuss it. Think, talk, and learn.


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