Sunday, June 8, 2014

A mentally ill man stabbed two children repeatedly in a NY City elevator


I chose to post this story for a couple reasons.

First of all, there are many people in New York City who suffer from various types of mental illnesses and they are not being helped.

Second of all, many of these people commit crimes, they are arrested by the police, they are diagnosed as being mentally ill, but they are then thrown in jail and do not receive treatment for their mental illnesses - and they become even worse. They are then released from jail and commit worse crimes.

So here is a story about two children who lived in a housing project in a terrible neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York City.  A housing project is a giant series of apartment buildings provided by the city for poor people (they pay very little, if anything, to live there).  They had left their apartments to go outside and buy ice cream and as they attempted to ride the elevator back to where they lived, a man entered the elevator and began stabbing them with a knife. He killed a 6 year old boy but did not kill the 7 year old girl (even though he stabbed her 12 times).

It turns out that this man has a history of mental illness, everyone knew this, and nobody helped him.  Now, he will go on trial and he will be treated like a monster and found guilty and thrown in jail.

America has more people in jail than any other country in the world.  America is a country that believes in punishment and deterrence (deterrence - you punish anyone who commits a crime to stop others from committing crimes), yet it has one of the highest crime and violence rates in the world.  The approach this country takes to crime and violence is clearly not working.

Here is an article about this:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/brooklyn-elevator-accused-stabbing-man-chelsea-cops-article-1.1818258

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

to be accused of: it has not been 'proved' that he stabbed the children; for now he is being accused of stabbing the children - it is being claimed or stated that he stabbed the children

to stab - to take a sharp object, like a knife, and to use it to violently and forcefully pierce the skin of another person

schizophrenia - this is when you cannot tell what is real and what is not; it is a severe mental illness which makes people do violent things

suspected in other attacks - it is thought he has attacked other people in the past

to be arrested - to be caught by the police

near-fatal - almost causing death (if something is fatal it causes death)

urinating in public - peeing in public; you urinate into your toilet bowl; so this guy was caught by the police urinating in a public space but they did not realize he was the killer they were all looking for. After the police let him go, he apparently stabbed a man in a neighborhood called Chelsea.

a brutal attack - a very violent, aggressive, vicious attack

the suspect - the person police believe committed the crime

to cling to life - to hold onto life, to continue to live but just barely

no meds and no psychiatric referral - no meds means no medicine to help him control his aggressive feelings; no psychiatric referral means they did not recommend that he should go see a psychiatrist nor did they provide him with a free doctor that could help him, even though he clearly needed help

a murderous ticking time bomb - a time bomb is an explosive device which will explode if given enough time; if a person is called a ticking time bomb, that means he can explode and harm people under the right circumstances

a unsuspecting public - the people of New York could not have known they were in danger from this guy

a paranoid schizophrenic - this is someone who feels that others are trying to hurt him and who does not know what is really happening in his life

in the slammer - in jail

to strangle - to put something tightly around another person's neck to stop blood from getting to the person's brain

operating without a safety net - he did not have any type of support or help after he left jail.  A safety net is usually placed under circus performers who walk on the high wire.

when he was sprung - when he was released (spring, sprang, sprung)

Clinton Correctional Facility - a jail, a prison

critically injured - seriously injured

she pleaded with officials for help - she begged them to help her brother, she continually contacted them and emotionally sought their help

to be diagnosed with something - this is when a doctor identifies an illness or mental illness

aspects of drug-induced psychosis - apparently he was taking drugs that made him lose touch with reality even more

discharged with medication - when they leave prison they are also given medicine

behind bars - in jail

to be busted - to be arrested, caught by police

a manhunt - a hunt for someone suspected of committing a crime; a search for a man

vandalizing - he was writing something in paint on public property, to vandalize property means to ruin it or destroy it

graffiti - writing on public walls or property in paint or marker

spoke volumes about his twisted state of mind - what he was writing indicated he was suffering from severe psychological problems

punctuated - a period is a type of punctuation ---> .  so is a comma ---> ,  He ended what he had written with this symbol:   ;)

weighed in on - gave his opinion on

unleashing - allowing someone freedom

an ex-con - an ex-prisoner (con stands for convict - a convict is someone convicted - found guilty of - a crime)

a de facto mental health system - so the mayor (leader) of NY is saying that jails are not mental health hospitals, but, in reality, they are being used to hold severely mentally ill people.  de facto means 'in reality'

tragic - horrible

a lament - an expression of sorrow or sadness

to be charged with a crime - to be officially considered, by the police, as the person who committed the crime.  The person still has the right to go to trial in order for the state to prove that he committed the crime. If you are 'charged' with a crime, the police say you committed it and have filed the paperwork to the prosecutors office for the trial.

a butcher - a person whose job it is to cut up dead animals for food; they are calling the killer a butcher because a butcher uses a knife to kill and cut up animals

in a cell - a small room

raving - loudly complaining

booed and jeered at him - to boo is to literally say, "Booooooooo!" It is an expression of hatred and disapproval.  To jeer is to also express that you are not happy with someone.  However, this guy is severely mentally ill and nobody helped him - why aren't they booing and jeering at the state officials who did nothing to stop this person from killing others?

a prime suspect - a unique suspect, the best suspect

a wake and funeral - a wake is when the dead body is presented in a coffin at a funeral home for a night; a funeral is when the dead body is buried in a cemetery (buried - placed in the ground).

I'm going to be there with bells on - this is not a common expression. She seems to be saying that she is eager to see the killer punished.

She's not out of the woods yet - she is not safe yet

sanity - being mentally sane, having good mental health

allegedly - apparently, supposedly

blacked out - lost consciousness

correction officer - jail guard

deemed fit to stand trial - this means a psychiatrist said he was not crazy enough to avoid going to court.  So one group was saying "He's really crazy, he is not responsible for his actions." Another group was saying, "What!? He's not crazy!  Punish him!  he knows what he is doing!"  Deemed fit means that a person is considered Ok or fit or acceptable to go on trial.

a parole officer - the killed had been released from jail on parole; this means he had to meet with a representative from the state every few weeks in order to maintain his freedom

committed, involuntary commitment - being put into a mental hospital after prison to make sure that the person cannot harm others

hallucinations - you see things that are not there

through the project - the housing project (the building where poor people live)

flyers - sheets of paper

plastered - put up, glued up

wasn't taken into custody - was not taken to the police station

DNA results - if people are arrested in NY, the police can take a DNA sample. Apparently they found a DNA sample on the knife that was used to kill the boy and they traced it back to this mentally ill man

depicted - shown, represented

muscle-bound - having huge muscles

arraigned - a formal legal proceeding in which formal charges are brought against a suspect 

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