Cleveland School Shooting – Mental illness mismanagement

October 12, 2007 at 12:57 am (Opinions) (, , , , )

Yesterday (October 10th, 2007) there was a shooting at a Cleveland School called “SuccessTech”.  This school is located in Downtown Cleveland, Ohio.

It has been reported that the shooter, Asa Coon, was none to have been mentally disturbed.  His official record shows that he was locked up in Juvenal Hall twice for domestic violence.  This violence was committed on  his part against his mother.  Also, he was hospitalized at a Psychiatric Hospital as well, where he threatened to commit suicide.  He also refused to take psychotropic medication that he was prescribed.  It was clear and documented that he was mentally disturbed.  Yet Cleveland Schools continued to allow him to attend school as if he did not have a mental condition.  Also, the Cuyahoga County Board of Mental Health allowed him to live at home in the community.

At one time those who were or could be dangerous to themselves or others due to mental illness were kept in a safe place until they became well.  These facilities were known as State Mental Hospitals.  These facilities would keep someone as a resident and give them treatment and a safe place to live.  Not only would they protect the patient, but they also protect the community at large from things the patient might do as a result of their illness.  However, the states have since abandoned these facilities and no longer provide adequate care for these patients.  Instead, now they are sent to freely live in the community with a prescription for some medication that a doctor suggested that they take on a regular basis.  No supervision, active treatment, etc.  We wonder why things like school shootings, bizarre murders, etc occur.  Yet we forget that there are seriously mentally ill people living among us who are not being treated.  There is no longer a place that will force them to get the help that they are needing and look after their well being.

These State Hospitals were closed in the late 1980’s by the state governments in order to save tax money.  The question they faced was what to do with all the patients that depended on the state for their shelter, care and food.  The state’s answer was simple: Send them to live in low cost apartments on their own, and let them fend for themselves.  In today’s times, psychiatric hospitals are nothing more then a joke.  At most, they hold someone for two weeks.  They person might see a psychiatrist once, if they are lucky.  Usually, no care is provided out side of a prescription being written and the patient being asked to take some pills at times.  Should they refuse to?  No, big deal…then don’t.  Most of the time you will just see patients pacing the halls with nothing to do waiting for their week or two to be over.

Mean while we have people in our communities thinking it’s OK and makes sense to walk into a school and shoot people they don’t like, or whoever else gets in the way.  Or any other of the bizarre crimes that you can think of.  Could things have turned out better if Ohio handled Asa’s mental disorder differently?  What if it was determined that he should have stayed at a psychiatric institution until he was healed mentally?  Should we be blaming these crimes on too much exposure to violence?  Or rather should it be blamed on the lack of proper management and care of our mentally ill?   The mismanagement of mental illness in Ohio and this country has got to be reformed in order to curb these kinds of crimes.

What do you think on this issue?

Here is a link describing Asa Coon.



  1. Asa Coon In The Blogs: Ohio school shooter gave.. » My News Wire . net said,

    […] Cleveland School Shooting Mental illness… Yesterday (October 10th, 2007) there was a shooting at a Cleveland School called ?SuccessTech?. This school is located in Downtown Cleveland, Ohio. It has been reported that the shooter, Asa Coon, was none to have been mentally disturbed. His official record shows that he was locked up in Juvenal Hall twice for domestic violencePosted in Axelilly?s Ponderings ( 0 links from 0 sites) […]

  2. disturbed » Cleveland School Shooting - Mental illness mismanagement said,

    […] the rest of this great post here […]

  3. Julianne Lechman said,

    There is absolutely no minimizing the scope of this tragedy. I am not defending anyone involved.

    I am concerned, though about the impact this higly unusual kind of incident is having upon other college students in The United Sates.

    In retrospect, Aso is identified as “disturbed,” as a former patient in a psychiatric hospital–who, during his stay there threatened to commit suicide.”

    It seems that based upon these points, folks thought they should have seen this coming. We knew he had a mental illness. We knew he was prescribed psychiatric medications. We somehow learned that he threatened suicide.

    It all added up. Of course he was a killer. Why didn’t we see it?

    There are many, many young adults entering college who have a psychiatric condition. Some of those people might choose to include a diagnosis in their health history. They might list medications prescribed to treat that illness. They will be “known to be disturbed,” in the words of the writer.

    It might get out that they were suicidal while they were in the hospital. Which is why a hospital exists, and why people go there in a crisis. Is that what defines a killer?

    Let’s not pick out shooters based on labels, or on archaic ideas about what a state hospital is for.

    Lots of other responsible, healthy students who have a mental illness are losing their civil rights because they’re being marked and policed. An illness doesn’t make anyone a killer.

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