Thursday, July 03, 2008

In The Blink Of An Eye

His family claims that Andrew James Hanlon was succumbing to bouts of paranoia and bizarre behavior. They never expected that the police would end up shooting the man, but then, who would?

Mr. Hanlon came to Silverton, Oregon in 2007 to visit his sister, and never left. Technically, he was one of the many undocumented Irish who found work in the States. Who knows why he chose to remain? His brother-in-law wouldn't let him live at the house when the visa expired, but that didn't encourage Mr. Hanlon to go home. He found his own place.

The family wanted him to seek help for his delusional thinking, but those suffering from delusions think they're fine and the delusions are very real. He never sought mental health counseling. No one had him forcibly committed to a mental hospital.

When the brother-in-law called the police to report that Mr. Hanlon had broken into the house, he might have hoped that the police would do something, or that Mr. Hanlon would get a fear put into him, and finally get help for his problems. That didn't happen.

Last night, police responded to a call and Mr. Hanlon was shot dead. No details have been released yet, but friends of Mr. Hanlon have spoken out. Ah sure, he was paranoid, he had delusions, he thought everyone was out to get him, but the police should have-would have-could have.

In the days to come, a police report will reveal that Officer Tony Gonzalez felt that his life was threatened and responded with deadly force. No matter that Mr. Hanlon wasn't armed, because in a fight, he could have taken the officer's gun and used it. It happened in Chicago two nights ago, and that police officer is dead.

There's no time to ponder, no time to weigh options or ask the suspect to please hold on for a minute while the Taser is fetched. AJ Hanlon fought his demons alone, but the demons won.

2 comments:

wow said...

Im listenig live as I type to his mother on RTE radio in Ireland, Im sure she would reall enjoy your summing up,well done.

O hAnnrachainn said...

I wish that someone could come up with an answer to the question of how we as family members should deal with loved ones who are going off the rails.