Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Painful irony in murder of VA police officer

Michael Kennedy’s delusions that the town was full of aliens may be what led him to kill Officer Vicky Armel and seriously wound two other officers on Tuesday in Fairfax, Virginia.

Ironically, Officer Armel understood that untreated mental illness is a medical problem, not a crime. A few years ago, she personally walked another similarly ill young man through the system with the goal of getting him treatment instead of jail time.

This case reminds us of both the importance of treatment for severe mental illnesses and the fact that untreated mental illness can, in fact, lead to violence.

Law enforcement officers know too well the dangers of lack of treatment. Officers like Vicky Armel also know the importance of getting people help. It is ironic and sad that she never had that chance with Michael Kennedy.

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