I called the police yesterday to stop an enraged thug choking and dragging a young woman through an open-air parking lot in a strip mall. I think the brute was trying to force her into his car, although she fled when both I and another bystander intervened, and I’ll probably never know. The beast got as good a look at me as I at him: he was unnervingly nonchalant about getting back into his car and circling around to stare me down, claiming “this was none of my business – b*****.” I didn’t bother answering beyond making sure he understood I was calling the police – my goal wasn’t to get the creep arrested, the police would never get there in time. But I was sure as hell going to make him let that girl go. I was so frightened I forgot how to dial a phone for several tries. 911 wasn’t even slightly simple, on what had been a bland, too-suddenly-and-miserably hot Wednesday night in May. And for the rest of the night I was terrified of any car that looked like his. And I suspect I will be for the next few days. I think I’d be exhilarated to hear he’s been caught, and that someday there’ll be justice.
So why in the world would my title for this blog be “Fear and Balance?” The Center for American Progress has a website page devoted to the horrendous ties between learning disabilities, and/or other disabilities and the journey to prison, citing a 2015 US Department of Justice study which demonstrates a nauseating overbalance of people with challenges in American incarceration. The Treatment Advocacy Center examines mental health issues in particular.
The attacker was late 20s, maybe early 30s. Almost still a boy. I desperately want to hope that he needs help, and can get it, rather than thinking he’s just a worthless monster. I want to force my politicians to spend more on schools, and less on bombs. I vote out the “representatives” who increase their salaries by decreasing mental health support. It costs $1,000s of dollars less to provide comprehensive care, and generates $1,000s of dollars more to our society, to empower healthier, happier people than it costs to destroy them in prison. SO WHY DOES ANYONE SAY “NO” to those values???
This is an immeasurably personal issue for me. People I care about – clients, friends, family – have challenges. Their struggles are sometimes tremendous, their courage inspiring. This piece is for them.
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