Dangerously Mentally Ill

Many of the people who knew Jared Loughner, the man accused of Saturday's shooting rampage in Arizona, say they saw disturbing signs in his behaviour. Some say they thought he was likely to commit a violent act. But despite the alarm bells, no one intervened. We ask what - if any- obligation we have to intervene when people exhibit troubling behaviour.



PART ONE

It's Wednesday, January 12th.

Stockwell Day has asked his department to review Canada's freedom-of-information laws, after they were ranked last among parliamentary democracies.

Currently, We look forward to hearing the findings. Or not.

This is The Current.

Dangerously Mentally Ill - Panel

We started this segment with voices of two of Jared Loughner's former classmates and one of his former instructors. Jared Loughner is the man accused of killing six people and wounding 14 others in a shooting rampage in Tuscon, Arizona. Each of those three people say they saw disturbing signs in his behaviour. One described him as a mentally unstable person ... that scares the living crap out of me. She said she used to sit near the door in math class, just in case she needed to escape quickly. And she added that he is one of those whose picture you see on the news, after he has come into class with an automatic weapon.

Jared Loughner was suspended from the Pima Community College in Tuscon, and told he would not be allowed back until he had a mental health consultation. But that appears to be where the interventions stopped.

This morning, we're asking the wider question - what -- if any -- obligation do any of us have to intervene when people exhibit disturbing behaviour? Doctor E. Fuller Torrey is the founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center, a non-profit independent US organization that advocates for those with severe brain disorders. He's also the author of The Insanity Offense: How America's Failure to Treat the Seriously Mentally Ill Endangers Its Citizens. He was in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Margaret Somerville is the founding director of the McGill Centre for Medicine Ethics and Law. She was in Montreal

Related Links:

Website mentioned by Dr. Torrey in today's segment: www.cfact.ca

Thursday's National Call-in Promo

Last week, Steven Page hosted a special Friday Edition of The Current ... all about mental illness. We have been flooded with responses to that program ... stories, questions, concerns. And we want to hear more. So tomorrow -- as part of the CBC's Live Right Now initiative -- we're planning a national phone-in edition of The Current to hear from you.

Steven Page will be back again, along with Doctor David Goldbloom, the Vice-Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. We want to hear your stories about what it's like to struggle with mental illness in Canada.

So, if you have dealt with mental illness ... if you work in the field ... or if you've helped a friend or family member cope with mental illness, come back tomorrow and phone-in. We'll have the toll-free number for you at the top of the program tomorrow morning. And we'll post it on our website as well.

Other segments from today's show:


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