So this is happening in my county right now....the superintendent of schools was arrested in June for a dui.... .16 bac. That time, because of his position in our small county, he was not kept in jail, was not booked until about 4 weeks later, and they called his wife to come and pick him up. Fast forward to early Nov. He was just arrested a second time, after crashing his truck during school hours with a bac. of .19. He is an elected official so they can not fire him. He was offered treatment but denies having a problem. His attorney presented a monetary offer to the board for him to resign.... he leaves his position having made for this year, including his severance package, 300,000 dollars of our tax dollars.
There has been so much discussion about this situation on our county pages on FB. Lots of holier than thou postulating about what should happen to him, how he is such a poor example for the kids....although I don't know of any school aged kids who even know who the superintendent of schools is, but technically, that is true.....his behavior has been a poor example. He has shown tremendous poor judgement.
What has struck me is all of the talk of tough love. The seething rage toward him. Any mention of him being really stuck, or really sick right now, of course, by yours truly and a couple other lone voices.....has been met with such vehement outrage and talk of enabling and making excuses for his poor behavior. One woman asked me, "How would you feel if he had hit one of your kids and killed them?" UGH....I don't know.....I would hope I could forgive him for my own sake.
The large amount of money, the threat he posed to the public's safety...all of which are very true...are the reasons given for this intolerance, not just of driving under the influence, but of him as a person. He needs tough love, we can't enable him...one gentleman is determined to "raise his bottom." How, I don't know...it seems that he is using the public humiliation factor.
I asked.....what if we hold him accountable, he pays all of his fines, serves any time in jail that he needs to, he will probably be court mandated into some form of treatment or show that hes going to meetings or something, whether he wants to or not....what if we make him suffer the natural consequences, but we are kind to him? What if we don't call him names on social media, or post derogatory cartoons about him, what if we consider that he or his wife could be reading these comments, what if we step back and allow him the dignity to figure this out with the guidance of the court system and any court appointed treatment?
I am surprised by the prevalent voice being, in essence, "Stone him!"
Then on the flip side, it came out that our most known mentally ill resident...he has stood in front of our McDonalds for years, rocking and talking to himself, had all of his stuff stolen. So everyone pooled together to get him a new change of clothes, a new sleeping bag, some food gift cards, socks, a new walkman with batteries and even a simple weatherproof tent with a tarp, to sleep in. We all buy him food and get him coffee each day and call him by name, and have for years. He sleeps up the street, behind a store...by his own choice. He feels safest there.
So what is the difference between this ill gentleman and the ill superintendent of schools? Why the disparity in treatment?
Addiction/alcoholism is still presently viewed as a moral choice. Mental illness is something that you are the victim of. This has to change. The shame, the stigma, the spiritual walls, the judgement...it all needs to come tumbling down so everyone can heal....the afflicted and the families of the afflicted....
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.....Much much love to all. My big boy will be home the day after Thanksgiving and I will have all of my girls with me tomorrow. I will try to get a family picture to share....