This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 24, 2004 10:23 AM. The previous post in this blog was Sing along. The next post in this blog is Internet classic. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, December 24, 2004

Everything's fine, go about your shopping

More details are available today on the fatal shooting outside the downtown Meier & Frank store yesterday morning. It turns out that both the shooter and the victim were at least borderline mentally ill and homeless.

The Oregonian's spin, of course, is that everything's o.k., downtown is still wonderful, this could have happened anywhere, it's safer than L.A., bad timing with the holidays and all, but let's go back to our grand plans of streetcars, high-end hotels, aerial trams, and tax-free condo towers.

Swept under the newspaper's enormous rug is the fact that Portland has far too little by way of meaningful treatment for the thousands of mentally ill folks who fill our jails and walk our streets frightening people. Ex-Police Chief Mark Kroeker hit the nail right on the head some time back when he remarked that we have "open air mental health treatment" in this city.

That and an aerial tram. The Great Legacy.

Comments (1)

My entry about the shooting fell somewhere between the 'compassionates' and the guy who is being called 'harsh', Dunshee. I merged the shooting with the dilemma of the downtown department store. That probably means I wasn't compassionate enough.

In my opinion, the degree of force the gunman used will be the issue, not that he used force per se. Despite the aggressive behavior by the decedent, the accused likely could have escaped without killing him. It would have been reasonable to use some force, but not so much force. I suspect the murder charge will be reduced because the gunman was provoked.

Additonal mental health funding? I'm for it. But, it should be applied to preventive care, before people are living on the streets. The hardcore homeless are damn near impossible to do anything with. I began covering the homeless as a reporter a decade and a half ago. What strikes me most now is the intransigence of street people who have come to prefer the street. Many of them are seriously mentally ill or substance abusers. Sometimes, they're both.

Ironically, Thursday night, I experienced another episode involving a mental health patient. I was waiting for the trolley across from Good Samaritan when a woman came running past with a man in hot pursuit. He was yelling, "Stop her!" "Stop her!" At first I thought it was a domestic violence incident. Then I noticed the woman was wearing a flimsy hospital gown and barefoot. She dodged through traffic across 23rd and made it a few blocks, before being caught. The cop (?) or mental health worker (?) then handcuffed her and shoved her into a vehicle. They drove away from the hospital, leaving me to wonder where. Having to think about two mental health episodes in one day reminded me what a serious problem we have in that area. Kroeker may indeed have been on to something.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Everything's fine, go about your shopping:

» 'Tribune' Reporter Allowed To Go First-Person from The One True b!X's PORTLAND COMMUNIQUE
In the midst of the Christmas holiday, everyone's abuzz over the downtown shooting which occurred on the transit mall Thursday morning, and [Read More]

» I'm Harsh? No, Life's Harsh; Then You Die. from Just Some Poor Schmuck
In regards to my earlier post on the shooting death of the "homeless" man in Portland; Portland Communique finds my position "harsh" and Jack Bog calls for more mental health care. But is my position really harsh, or is it... [Read More]

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