WLOX Editorial: America needs to address Mental Health - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

WLOX Editorial: America needs to address Mental Health

A horrible tragedy was prevented in Midland City, Alabama. Police killed 65 year old Jimmy Lee Dykes after he kidnapped a 5 year old boy and holed up in an underground bunker on his property for a week. Police felt the child was in imminent danger when they acted.

At the start of the ordeal, Dykes shot and killed a school bus driver before grabbing the child. That driver, Charles Albert Poland is being hailed as a hero, as he should be. Physically, the child is fine.

But there's another tragedy in play here. Dykes was a decorated military veteran. Somewhere along the line, he slipped off the tracks.We don't know if he was suffering from mental illness. We don't know if he ever was treated for mental illness. We do know he was a veteran and he was stopped before he could kill again.

This seems to be another example of a country that doesn't take mental illness seriously. Americans should demand better and more available treatment for mental illness. That treatment may not stop every tragic event, but it could certainly end some of the carnage.We as a country have already paid too high a price for us to wait any longer.

That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to editorials@wlox.com, or post your comments below.

Rick Williams
WLOX-TV General Manager

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