Feb 22, 2013

The Hard Streets of Allentown

I've been bothered by the shooting of Saturnino Perez De La Rosa. It's easy to dismiss him as a machete wielder, as I did earlier today. In reality, he was a father, and a man with mental problems, whose family tried to get him help this week. I'm reluctant to second guess the police who responded to a situation. I will say that for a family trying to get help for a loved one, it must be difficult to accept his death, one day later, by 13 bullets. This aspect of the story, and the picture of the man, was presented this evening by Colin McEvoy, of The Express Times.


Whethervain said...

This story really hits home for me. I had a older brother (12 years my senior) that was plagued with psychotic delusions. We also tried to have law enforcement assist us in corralling him as he was flighty (just like De La Rosa was reported to have been) and we also experienced the difficulty in involving law enforcement for "they could not force him into treatment because he had not committed a crime." (Express Times)

He eventually was under a doctor's care and was receiving "shock treatments" at Muhlenberg Mrdical Center for treatment of this condition. but his condition didn't improve.

Sadly, I was on the phone with none other than Bernie O'Hare when an Operator broke into our private phone call to notify me of an extreme emergency - and that I should contact my parents; my brother had taken his own life at the family home (farm).

He left a wife and young son behind. The year was 1980.

In the case of Mr. De La Rosa, I wonder if it would have been possible to just shoot him in the legs (multiple times, if necessary) or SOMETHING so that his life could have been spared. But, I guess you just have to be there to appreciate the whole situation.

Anonymous said...

Oops another human or as some local officials say mongrel slipps through the cracks of a justice system that is unjust and incapable of understanding¿ This is because most look at these humans as a lower life form, and upon opening the doors and making them homeless¿ Sociaties preditors have lied in wait to steal whatever they may have been givin¿ This is simply put as taking advantage of the disadvantaged and goes unpinished by law or just quitly sweept under the rug¿


michael molovinsky said...

@7:19, the closing of the state hospitals, under the rendell administration, certainly didn't help the mental illness situation.

Anonymous said...

Michael, The state hospitals closed way before Rendell.Not a fan of Mr.Rendell but don't fault him for closing the hospitals

michael molovinsky said...

@11:25, allentown state hospital closed in dec. of 2010, others closed earlier in rendell's terms.

Anonymous said...

All of you have hit on very important point here.
Mental illness is rampant in many areas around the Commonwealth, because of the closing of these institutions. Though not perfect, they served a very important purpose in curbing the possible resulting violence that roams our streets untreated.
The "back stories" of these unfortunate folk, who like Mr De La Rosa, sometimes never see the light of day, until it's too late.....PJF

Monkey Momma said...

I'd like to give the police the benefit of the doubt. But, I do extend my sincere condolences to the friends and family of Mr. Perez De La Rosa.

While it makes logical sense that law enforcement cannot do anything until a crime is committed, the reality is that people suffering from mental illness can be an unchecked threat to society. I hope the pendulum swings back to a place where society offers treatment that helps, rather than a cold shoulder. Instead of spending our time and money on government subsidized arenas and restaurants, I'd rather see tax dollars go towards helping folks like Sanurnino.

Bill said...

Deinstitutionalism has been going strong since the lat 1960's and it has been a bipartisan affair.

Anonymous said...

Reference 1:48pm,
Amen to That,and Thank You for extending the expression of thought process that we all are going through, in regards to fixing our priorities to where the tax monies should go towards fixing the ills of the city. Human & Structural.....PJF

Anonymous said...

Police are not trained to " shoot someone in the legs, or something ", when confronted with what they deem to be a life threatening situation.
Additional, multiple gunshot wounds to the lower body, including the legs, are often fatal..
Such was the case a decade ago when a man bled to death on seven street after being shot once by an assailant in the leg. A small dose of the reality of police protocol is helpful rather than holiwood fantasy .
I'm sorry for your loss, God bless your brother and this unfortunate man.

Anonymous said...

THEN -24 state hospitals.

NOW- 8 state hospitals.


MM: Are you trying to discourage responses? Comment Moderation is at times nearly impossible to deal with.

michael molovinsky said...

vor, i know that word/number verification can be difficult, however, if you click on the question mark under the verification box, it will change the word/number combination, hopefully to something easier to decipher

Whethervain said...

Today's below-the-fold front page article pulled the scab off of this emotional wound again; I truly emphathize with this family. I keep visualizing that scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark and the basis for the implied humor portrayed within: the guy with the sword is merely a pesty annoyance and is easily dispatched!

...BUT, I wasn't there.

I WAS there when someone surreptitiously entered our home through our unlocked rear BILCO door and roamed throughout our home in the twilight hours one spring morning. Was never so scared of dying in my life as my wife & I cowered in our locked bedroom while I called 911.

Thankfully, the Allentown police ended it all "peacefully" as it turned out to be a HARMLESS nude drug-crazed zombie who was desperately trying to escape the demons chasing him around our neighborhood.

I didn't press charges (?maybe I should have?). As the scared confused intruder sat sequestered on my front lawn, I felt sorry for him and offered him a bottle of water to calm him. I didn't want to deny him another chance at life and I often wonder what became of him. Had he entered most any other house, he'd probably be dead! Same could be said of my wife & I.

As I sit here now on Easter morning, I don't regret my compassion - and thank God we're still alive.