Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Relatives Say White House Trespassers Needed Treatment, Not Incarceration

From the Treatment Advocacy Center's Blog:

(Sept. 23, 2014) With more than 800 rounds of ammunition and a machete, Omar Gonzalez, a war veteran, jumped the fence at the White House, entered the building and made his way toward the North Portico before being arrested by Secret Service last Friday. 

secretserviceGonzalez, 42, was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, among other mental illnesses, according to his ex-wife Samantha Bell (Ex-wife of White House intruder Omar Gonzalez says he needs help,” NBC News, Sept. 23).

Gonzalez told a Secret Service agent that “the atmosphere was collapsing and he needed to get the information to the president of the United States so that he could get the word out to the people," according to an affidavit obtained by NBC News.

“There were telltale signs that he did need help,” said Sergeant Haslach, who described himself as one of Gonzalez’s closest friends (“Omar Gonzalez recalled as a good, if troubled neighbor,” the New York Times, Sept. 23).

“He needs proper care. He needs proper treatment and throwing him in jail is not going to do anything for him,” said his ex-wife. “He is beyond that.” 

Shockingly, or not shocking at all, Gonzalez wasn’t the first White House trespasser who reportedly suffered from mental illness this month.

Earlier in September, 26-year-old Jeffrey Grossman was arrested after jumping the White House fence in attempt to talk to the president about how mental illness is treated. Grossman has reportedly suffered from mental illness for “sometime” and was recently turned away from an out-of-state hospital because he lacked insurance coverage (“White House trespasser was seeking better mental healthcare,”, Sept. 18).

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