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My thoughts and prayers with the family of Kelly Thomas!
All of us are part of Kelly’s Thomas’s Extended Family.
About 7 years ago, my son was assaulted without provocation, by a classmate, when he was in high school.
Although my son has never been in trouble, when I first heard that he was in the emergency room and that it was not an accident, I thought what could he possibly have done wrong, because he will hear it from his mom. Being the first one to see my son in the emergency room, his ribs bruised and face swollen and being told that he had been knocked unconscious when he was attacked by surprise, and then that he might lose vision on one, this was heart wrenching.
Then watching the full video last night, and the unprovoked violent use of force, after about 18 minutes of Kelly Thomas peacefully complying with all requests, and the unnecessary violence that caused Kelly Thomas’s death, it brought me back to that horrible day from about 7 years ago.
Watching that video made me realize that we are all Kelly Thomas’s family, and that we have a responsibility to continue to advocate for those who because of their mental illness cannot properly look after themselves.
For Mr. Ron Thomas, who many of us met at Los Amigos and who shared some of Kelly’s mental illness and the length to which they were attempting to get him help, but unable to because he was an adult, and sharing his son’s last words:
“Mr Thomas, my faith tells me that Kelly Thomas’ Spirit is in a better place, and that Kelly’s words are a rallying cry, and a reminder for all of us to be a Dad or a family member to others like Kelly.”
Others Affected and Helped:
I have helped close family members and friends deal with some of their mental illnesses, such as mental fugues from Bipolar Disorder, where they have been disconnected from reality.
But this was only possible because they were able to received continuous supervised care that stabilized them. For example a young man of about 21 whom I met at a spiritual retreat, and about my daughter’s age, was suffering from extreme case of Bipolar Disorder. A couple of times, when he stopped taking his medications, he would relapse back into being disconnected from reality, and he would be institutionalized because he was progressively getting worse and becoming a threat to himself and possibly others.
Over the course of two years, I visited him three times because of three separate episodes, at the Psychiatric treatment facility in Orange. After several weeks, with medical attention and an attorney assigned to ensure his patient’s rights were respected, and his progress and recovery monitored and presented to a judge, he would be released.
In his last episode he got all of the knives in the house and locked himself in his rooms to defend himself from, who knows what. The cops were were ready to barge in and get him out. Luckily, his dad was able to convince them to stand down because he told them of his prior episodes and because he is a really nice and good natured non-violent guy.
His dad talked my friend into coming out peacefully. I hate to think of the tragedy that could have occurred if the police had not allowed the situation to be defused.
Because of various rigorous treatments, the guidance of organizations like NAMI-OC, and the support of his family and friends, my friend has been stable for several years, is working, is happily married, and the proud father of a beautiful daughter.
My friend was lucky, and a tragedy was averted. But we should not wait for another tragedy . . . there is hope!
PLEASE help pass Laura’s Law, in Orange County, which is already allowed by California law, but needs to be approved by each county.
Laura’s Law allows parents or caregivers the authority and ability to demand and provide necessary mental care for their adult loved ones who because of their mental incapacity cannot decide for themselves.
KELLY’s Life Mission:
Perhaps, this was Kelly’s mission to compel us to pass Laura’s Law . . . it is up to us as a community to honor it and make it a reality for all others.
And perhaps in passing Laura’s Law in Orange County, Kelly and his family will have greater justice, and Kelly’s words will change from “Help me Dad” to eventually a message of “Thank you Dad!”
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