Thursday, June 21, 2012

There are Two Sides to Every Story

Everyone here in Western New York and even some parts of the USA, has been talking about the events that happened on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at the Erie County Medical Center. For those of you reading this that don't know the story, a surgeon at the hospital shot and killed his ex-girlfriend (a nurse at the same hospital), point blank in the head 3 times. Due to the nature of the incident, the whole medical facility was put on lockdown and there was a man hunt for the doctor, who was later found dead from an apparent suicide. Of course the initial reaction was that of shock and concern for all those involved. Then it seemed to have turned into something else. There were angry posts and status on Facebook. Conversations about the incident were escalated and many were screaming for the doctors’ blood. I, on the other hand, could only ask, "What causes a person to suddenly snap?" To many people's surprise, this cold blooded killer was also known to be an excellent doctor, a good father and an all around nice guy. So what happened? I mean, what really happened to this man for him to just drive off the deep end, guns blazing? Literally. He had been married before and divorced and it was stated by a couple ex-girlfriends that he was possessive and abusive. It was noted in the media, that there were rumbles of domestic abuse and the good doctor even went so far as place a secret gps system in his girlfriends’ car to know where she was at all time. He's crazy, right? A weirdo and a nut job. But prior to that devastating day, the couple had been together for four years. Four years is not a short amount of time. And I know what some of you are going to say. "It doesn't matter how long they were together! No one deserves to be abused." and "It can take years for a person to leave their abuser." And yes, all of that is true, but we don't know what happens when people close their doors. How do we know that the abuse wasn't both ways and to what extent? We don't know the nature of their relationship and frankly, when you have lots of money and power at your disposal, it makes things a lot easier to shallow. Not to mention that fact that, she was a white woman and he was a black man. It’s like OJ Simpson all over again. And once again, I know people are going to be like, "race has nothing to do with it!” As far as America is concerned, yes, it does and that's just the reality of our country. Its sad, but its true and the media is going to play on it and misconstrue it until we as a country say no more. Now, I'm not making this a race issue, that's not my real concern with this whole thing, but it needs to be brought to people’s attention, instead of being swept under the rug or ignored or treated like the kids from Flowers in the Attic ( I love that book!). No, race is not my real concern as far as this incident goes. My issue is that this man was in Special Ops for years! He's a military man and not just any military man; he was in Special friggin Ops!!!!! Is no one else seeing the connection? No? Ok, let me break it down for you. We as Americans don't do enough for our veterans. We don't do enough for the people who serve this country. Putting up a yellow ribbon, or flying a flag outside your house, or welcoming them back at the airport is just not cutting it! In so many instances, the person that leaves home is not the same person who comes back. Our US military members have the highest suicide rate of any group of people in this country. They come home to no jobs, no support and quite often in need of mental health professionals that are not available to them. No Benefits, no homes and yet a parade and Christine Aguilera singing the Star Spangle Banner is suppose to be enough. And just because someone doesn't come home showing immediate signs, it does not mean that issues won't manifest years later. I'm not saying that the doctor being in the military is the reason why he snapped or that it’s an excuse or even that every military person has mental health issues. But what if this was the case for the doctor? Had he had the proper mental health support, could this situation have been avoided? This is a lose-lose situation because so many lose out. A young woman is dead and she leaves behind a 4 year old child who has no mother now. Her parents have no daughter and there are many who mourn her loss. But, the doctor had a family and friends too, just like her. His son has no father and will forever wonder if his dad really was a monster. His brother will question what happened. Hell, even my grandmother was one of his patients. And while I spoke with her yesterday, she just said "He was a really nice man". There are so many questions that will never be answered, but I keep this thought in my mind, there is always two sides to every story. Two sides to every coin and no one wins in situations like this. We have to learn from this, all of us, not just the people involved. Instead of ignoring signs that someone is in trouble, talk to them or at least suggest some help. We are all so consumed with our own little bubble that we don't see the destruction all around us. There are always two sides to the story, the question is, what part you will play in both. Sending love to all those involved and all of you Malinda

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