City Desk

Jared Loughner Story Is A Sad Cliche

Today, the Washington Post chronicled Jared Loughner's journey from IHOP-loving Normal to alleged Killer. The AP wrote its own Loughner bio with shitty poetry. These stories were your typical five-days-since-Tragedy  stockpile of reporting, fast-paced Dateline-esque narrative, and limp attempts at explaining mental illness (From WaPo: "And then Jared Loughner slipped into a world of fantasy that was no online game.")

We've all read this story before. As a reporter, I've done this story many, many times over the years.

There was the case of Osman Abdullahi.

There was the case of David Kerstetter.

There was the case of Seung Hui Cho. And before Cho, William Charles Morva attempted to terrorize the Virginia Tech campus.

And there was the case of Kyle Hulbert.

These were just the young men I wrote about since 2001. Young men who suffered through mental breakdowns or moments of crisis without adequate government interventions, who ran out of meds, who ended up in an unregulated group home, who got ignored. Kerstetter didn't hurt anybody before he was killed by police in his own bathroom. These are just the infamous cases of alleged police breakdowns, murder, and massacre. What about the kids no one reads about?

A new study by the Rand corporation found that 60 percent of D.C. adults diagnosed with depression and enrolled in a medicaid managed care organization did not receive treatment. That same study found that 72 percent of D.C. children with depression also went without treatment. Another recent report noted that even kids who enter into our juvenile-justice system do receive adequate mental-health treatment.

What are we going to do about those kids?

*file photo by Darrow Montgomery.

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  • drez

    Agree 110%, Jason.
    The real take-away story here is how little help there is for people with severe mental illnesses. Yes, there are problems with providing such care (consent, finding of imminent threat, etc). But as things are, people are doing damage and dying each day.
    It's a fucking crime.

  • Typical DC BS

    @drez: 100% correct! I have a neighbor across the street from me that was a walking time bomb until he was zombified with drugs after numerous encounters with the DC police. His poor parents have been putting up with him this way since he was 16 (he's now 30). Their life is hell, as there are no facilities for his condition (he's no threat as long as he takes his drugs) and they won't give up on him again as he deteriorates rapidly whe he's in jail or on his own. If he's not monitored constantly, he stops taking the drugs and soon winds up attracting the attention of police (he has a thing for teen-age girls).

  • J

    Jason - I totally agree. I have been saying for years that a big part of the homeless problem on the DC streets and violent offenders is associated with metal illness. There is no help for these people. Unless you have experienced it first hand- most people just dont understand how difficult it is for parents and friends of the sick. I hope you explore this problem more thoroughly. Thanks

  • Rick Mangus

    More crap Jason?

  • Truth Hurts

    Excellent insight and sad, but true, commentary.