OPINION: More to condemned man than met the eyeFailure to require treatment of a condition like bipolar disorder aids crime.
By: Wenton Peters , Guest columnist
This is a sincere compliment for the manner in which The Daily Republic reprinted an article from the Argus Leader related to the recent execution of an inmate at the state prison. The article told of a person whose whole personality changed from that of a model person over a period of time.
I would like to add a brief postscript, if I may, to that article by stating this is a textbook case of a bipolar disorder which appears to have gone untreated, because it was not mentioned in the article.
For anyone who has the Internet, bipolar disorder is discussed under Google in full detail as being just that, a disorder in which behavior and personality change for no apparent reason or cause, more often than not with less than desirable results. Much the same as we often refer to someone who says something and does another, more often with negative results. In this particular situation, the behavior surfaced as domestic abuse and gradually became worse and finally led to a kidnapping conviction, and we all know the rest of the story.
My point here is that treatment is available, and left untreated, we have seen the disastrous results. The catch is that a bipolar person must cooperate, and who wants to acknowledge that?
There is a five-step process to an extreme emotional event generally accepted as: first, denial; anger, which is understandable; guilt, which is an overwhelming feeling of despair; bargaining, which is a way to reduce the issue to what could have been done differently; and, finally, acceptance. Many never make it past denial and can be in any or all of these at the same time. It is generally accepted this process may take up to two years to process, such as with a death in the family, much less to accept the presence of a bipolar disorder.
We also live in such a reactionary society in which we just treat the symptoms instead of going for a cure of the cause. Incarcerating or levying a fine on someone whose behavior is unacceptable without requiring a cure for the cause is just another crime waiting to happen.
So, why am I doing this? My purpose here is to say that if someone reading this is aware of a person whose behavior has changed due to any one of a number of reasons — alcohol, age, blood sugar, family problems (the list goes on and on) — it should be brought to their attention and maybe, just maybe, we can save some spouse from domestic abuse or worse, as in a violent crime. Then this will have served its purpose, because this stuff is going on every day, even here in Mitchell.
Some of my opinion may conflict with some generally accepted other opinions, and I would invite a more accurate evaluation.