Turning A Blind Eye To Mental Illness Takes Another Innocent Life – But You’ll Never Hear About It

Turning A Blind Eye To Mental Illness Takes Another Innocent Life – But You’ll Never Hear About It

Over the weekend in Seattle, yet another murder by an allegedly mentally ill person occurred.  A popular English professor at a local community college was killed while walking through Seattle’s Pioneer Square after a soccer game.  But unlike other murders where someone with a mental illness randomly kills and attacks, you probably won’t hear about this one, except in local media, for one reason – the killer used a knife, not a gun.

Troy Wolff died after being stabbed multiple times by someone who police are currently investigating as someone with “diminished mental capacity.”  He died trying to protect his girlfriend, who was the initial target of a crazy man with a knife.  She is still in serious condition at the hospital, and the assailant was arrested by Seattle police at the scene.

For Seattleites, this is a terrible flashback to yet another random murder 16 years ago, when Dan Van Ho, a mentally ill man, randomly murdered retired fire captain Stanley Stevenson with a butcher knife as he walked back to his car with his family after a baseball game.  Ho was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to the state mental institution.

We hear all the time about the mentally ill who get their hands on a gun and commit murders.  Think about what we have learned about alleged Aurora shooter James Holmes, or, back in Seattle, the known mental illness of Ian Stawicki, who entered a coffee shop over a year and a half ago and started shooting.  He killed 5 people in that café, then killed a woman in the process of carjacking her vehicle.  Seattle police eventually shot and killed him, but the carnage left was heart-wrenching and devastating.  His family knew he was mentally ill, but claims to have had no idea that he was capable of this kind of violence, even though he had assaulted family members in the past.

The Café Racer shootings, as they are known locally, made national news.  Troy Wolff’s murder will not.  There is nothing compelling about his story to the national media.  Locally, his murder will be forgotten, except by those who knew him.  And the courts, the police, and the public will still not look mental illness in the eye and confront the terrible truths that keep claiming innocent lives.

While those on the left like to repeat how “Reagan closed mental health hospitals” and blame the right (which is a myth), there is no denying that it is now left-leaning and left-wing groups like the ACLU who are now blocking and making it near to impossible to get people with mental illnesses committed to get help.  The courts are so concerned with not infringing on the “rights” of the mentally ill to continue to be mentally ill, especially if they refuse counseling, medication, or any other treatment, that they completely overlook the rights of people not to be assaulted or murdered by those same mentally ill people.

The rules on involuntary commitment in Washington State are rightly stringent, but extraordinarily limited when it comes to a longer period than 72 hours.  Of course, family members have to admit that their loved one actually has a problem that makes them a danger to themselves or to others.  In many of these cases, family members were either willfully blind or could not convince the courts that the mentally ill person was a dangerous individual.  And naturally, we only hear about these mentally ill people once an innocent person, or many innocent people, have died at their hands.

Troy Wolff died as the result of knife wounds, not gun shots.  His death is not any less tragic or regretted than those who lost their lives in Aurora, or Newtown, or at Café Racer.  But his death won’t stir the same outrage because of his manner of death.  If he had been killed with a gun, there would be endless debate on how someone mentally ill got a hold of a firearm.  There will not be any debate on how a mentally ill person got a hold of a knife.  There won’t be a call to ban knives.  There won’t be a “national discussion” on how to keep knives out of the hands of the mentally ill.  Troy Wolff will simply be another sad statistic, unless we finally, FINALLY decide to treat the issue of mentally ill people who have a known history of violence seriously.  We have to think about if we, as a society, want to continue to pretend that the violent and mentally disturbed among us are not going to make someone that we love into the next statistic.  We have to take mental illness seriously by involuntarily committing people and getting them real help, which means moving real money into those kinds of programs.  I can tell you what that would look like in Seattle – no more money for bike lanes or walking trails, for example – but that would upset too many special interest groups who want that money.

So those interest groups will wring their hands over a dead man, who died protecting someone he cared about.  But because his death doesn’t further their political beliefs, and may even make them think about unhappy things like locking crazy and dangerous people up indefinitely, as soon as they are done wringing their hands, they will open them back up to get more public money for their special projects.  They can keep hoping that the next mentally ill person who snaps and kills doesn’t hurt anyone they care about.

Those are odds that, eventually, the innocent end up paying for.

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  • Rose says:

    Where is justice falling thru the crack? The buck stops with the one with the most power. Stated “We the People” has become “we the people”?
    The people of Seattle should be outraged enough to unite with all…all the people who loved or even knew of Mr.Wolff…unite to make sure this does not happen to one more innocent person. Not one more family heartbroken. Let not him have died in vain. They have computers. They have their own social network. Yes, America is at war; every thing we hold dear is being attacked and destroyed. Do we continue to play the blame game..or do we say yes l will be responsible to what is right because what is right is a “content of My character”…..then we have come back to our American foundation. Then we build being responsible to our families, to each other, to our community…and it spreads….our country…..and maybe to the world. Maybe because “We the People” because of the very principle of choice can not force what the content of their character can be….that would not be true to our character. God help the people of America be what He planned them to be…..then America will become what He planned..then He will continue to bless America and the content of her character….”We the People”.

  • Rose says:

    Sorry l am not that tech so yesterday’s comment about Mr.Wolff l meant to do a little editing ….let him not have died in vain….l sincerely mean that to be encouraging not critical as l myself am in a huge battle. I may not win but l am going down fighting. I may not be able to do much but l can do do something.

  • Joe says:

    “And the courts, the police, and the public will still not look mental illness in the eye and confront the terrible truths that keep claiming innocent lives.”

    With all due respect, including the police in this statement is outrageous. Since I became a police officer ten years ago, mental illness has come to dominate police resources. It is no exaggeration to say that no one in society is more heavily engaged with this problem than police. Every shift I am in contact with a variety of mentally ill people, from transients to suicidal people. Police are, and must be, limited by the law. When someone “falls through the cracks” it is not because police are failing to use some sort of magical resource. In many cases it is a lack of resources, in others the Fourth Amendment.

    Go do a ride along with a cop in an urban area, then try telling them that they have failed to “look mental illness in the eye”.

  • Rose says:

    Just was checking to see if there had been any comments or progress made about Or from Mr.Wolfs’ family and read Joe,the police, comment. I am so glad to read his defense of his profession….ten years and he is still passionate…..l was a teacher for forty years and got ‘slam dunked’ by every body in society,…but back to Joe and my question to him would be…..after you see this and are frustrated by it daily…..WHAT DID YOU DO NEXT? And there Joe it comes back to responsibility. So many things come to my mind….surely you are not alone in your observations …surely your local association could petition lawmakers….it all comes back to we the people….our dollars and our vote. Mr. Wolf died because somebody in the past failed to be responsible. Mothers against drunk driving changed the law…it can be done…… Now ok…Joe..and l hope and pray you are still reading this because l am going to share my battle with you….l will make it another comment…not to take away any from Mr. Wolf…..but you are going to see…with all due respect….the role the police definitely have in the foundational cracks in this nation.

  • Rose says:

    Comment to Joe, the police man. I am a proud American who is living through what most Americans would never image happens in America and let me tell you the criminal role( be it criminal neglect/fraud or both) that the police played. For safety reasons l have to be a little vague ….but three police detectives from the outset of our cases never…and this is such a lie told in America…assumed innocent until proven guilty. Their investigation,repeatedly,beyond reasonable doubt pointed to innocence …..and these are very experienced officers…..withheld disclosure until the system has locked us in….we are as trapped in the system as that pastor is in Iran. We have fallen thru not only the law but the courts as well. Maybe you have never heard of the “innocent project” Joe but listen to their stories. Forced confession, doctored tapes…etc….. Yes, the reality is, the police in this country( now l did NOT say all) have contributed to the decline of America…just as some teachers have…..sorry Joe and thank you for YOUR service!

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