Monday, October 19, 2009

Deinstitutionalization Sure Was Peachy For This Guy, Wasn't It?

Deinstitutionalization Sure Was Peachy For This Guy, Wasn't It?

From the October 18, 2009 Syracuse Post-Standard:
Schroeppel, NY - When Deanna Candee and her son, Adam, returned from a shopping trip Saturday to their Schroeppel home, they suspected something was wrong when they saw the garage door open.
Candee’s home had been ransacked. An intruder was still inside.
As her 25-year-old son moved toward the cellar to check out a noise, Deanna, 48, started into the house, said Wilson Candee, Deanna’s father-in-law.
The intruder confronted her and grabbed her by the hair, Wilson Candee said. Adam heard his mother scream, went to her aid and pulled the intruder off. He and the stranger began to struggle.
The fight ended, Oswego County Sheriff’s officials said, when Deanna grabbed her pistol and shot the man.
Phoenix police found Timothy Hartigan, 39, dead in a bedroom when they arrived shortly after 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
Sunday, Wilson Candee provided details about the struggle based on his conversations with Candee, his grandson, and investigators.
Candee legally owned the gun with which she shot Hartigan, sheriff’s department officials said.
Wilson Candee said the intruder’s motive did not appear to be theft. Money left in a wallet was untouched and no articles appeared to have been gathered for removal, he said.
But he said he was told the house had been thoroughly vandalized with doors broken, glass smashed, and pictures and knick knacks knocked from the walls. Cutlery was strewn along the hallway leading to the bedroom. There also were signs that the intruder had cooked bacon and eggs, he said.
Hartigan had a history of mental illness, according to his former wife, Denise L. Cunningham, and a man answering the phone at Hartigan’s mother’s home who identified himself as Hartigan’s brother-in-law.
When Hartigan was taking his medications he was a great guy, a good father to his two children and a good friend to many, Cunningham said. He was artistic and enjoyed drawing and woodcarving, although he did less after he was diagnosed, she said.
“When he was on his medicine he was a good person,” Cunningham said. “He would never have dreamt of doing this.”
Cunningham said her former husband was diagnosed a decade or so ago and recently had been treated at University Hospital.
“His son and I had just gone to visit him ... we actually saw him a week ago today,” Cunningham said.
The hospital released Hartigan on Tuesday, she said. Hartigan’s illness could not be learned Sunday.
A spokeswoman for the hospital declined to comment, citing privacy regulations.
Hartigan was no longer living at the downtown Syracuse YMCA, where he had resided about eight years, Cunningham said, and she didn’t know where he was living after his discharge.
This is, unfortunately, a recurring situation for many of the mentally ill since deinstitutionalization: in and out, in and out, homelessness, shelter, and back again. The problem is never really solved. For those with schizophrenia, the institutional setting didn't really solve the problem, either, but at least they weren't going to be killed in a tragedy like this. Once Deanna Candee knows why this happened, it is likely that whatever trauma this incident has for her is going to be worse--once she realizes that Hartigan wasn't in his right mind, and this entire disaster could have been prevented.

There are so many of these tragedies--and yet the mainstream media choose to ignore it, because it doesn't suit their agenda.

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