This Monday, a man in New Hope Minnesota shot and wounded two police officers at a committee meeting where they had just been sworn into service. They returned fire and shot Raymond Kmetz who it seems went into the situation hoping to be killed.
Looking back at the gunman’s life, reporters have found that he was troubled with mental health issues which caused him to lose his home, be committed to a mental hospital, and threaten police multiple times. Although the hospital diagnosed him with organic brain dysfunction which made competency unlikely, the court failed to prolong him from his commitment in 2013. You can read more about this tragic story in The Star Tribune.
My heart breaks for everyone involved in this story. The officers that are wounded, the family that was pained over the years, the members of the council who were traumatized, and certainly Raymond Kmetz himself. The amount of paranoia and anguish that it sounds like he was in is very troubling. How can we allow someone to get to that state of mind?
In fact, this whole case leads me to question how society addresses mental disorders. Why are they not looked at as serious problems? These illness can lead to death of the individual or even others. Something needs to change.
This man needed help. What stops us from being willing to give it? How many people saw him and looked the other way or figured that he was someone else’s problem?
Last night, I called into a radio show talking about this case. The announcer thought that I was a mental health professional, not someone who had been in mental health treatment. Oh well. Hopefully, I was able to be a bright light and shed some light on this horrible situation. Here is a link that I talk in starting at 12:30 and ends a bit after 22:20 – Al Mamberg show. Be warned, I was very nervous and surprised that they kept me on so long. And if you want, listen a bit longer to hear what the next caller and Al say about me. That was one of the highlights of my day. 🙂
The voice for these people who struggle with mental illness beings with us. We need to say that mental disorders are not a joke or something to take lightly. They are serious issues that impact us all.