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Letters: Support, not brute force, for the mentally ill

June 16, 2012
  • Rom Thomas' mentally ill son Kelly was killed during an altercation with Fullerton police in July.
Rom Thomas' mentally ill son Kelly was killed during an altercation… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

Re "'Dad! Dad!,'" Opinion, June 12

Itoo was devastated by the anguished cries of Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill adult, for his father as police bludgeoned him to death. I had an adult child with mental illness. Erik was not quite 41 when he committed suicide.

During the 23 years that his illness plagued him, he was Maced, bludgeoned and jailed for his inappropriate behavior. He was homeless most of this time. Because of severe cuts in social services, he had no regular mental health professional who followed him.

There are so many like him on the streets; they are the sons and daughters of regular people who had hopes and dreams for them. We join groups and vote for programs that would help them, but we are a small, mostly invisible group. We as a society need to provide for our own — together.

At least our law enforcement personnel can be taught a humane way to deal with them; these are petty criminals at best. They act "weird" and frighten us, but their illness is real. If we want the problem to "go away," then we must deal with the problem with support and compassion, not brute force.

Julia Cage-Lindsay

West Hills


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