Tyler Hadley is just one of the many individuals diagnosed with a mental illness living in an era where social acceptance might be challenging. On March 20, 2014, Hadley was sentenced by a court of law in the state of Florida for the murder of both of his parents, Blake and Mary Jo Hadley, which resulted in Hadley being sentenced to life in jail without the possibility of parole. At the time of the murders on July 16, 2011, Tyler Hadley was just 17-years old. It is quite possible that Hadley’s distorted sense of reality was so overwhelmingly demented that it eventually grew out of control with gruesome consequences. Based on the nature of the murders, it is that Hadley was suffering with a mental illness that eventually caused the young man to think what he was doing to his parents was the appropriate action to take in order to address Hadley’s reasons doing so. Possible reasons may range from a feeling of being misunderstood to having to deal with external factors outside of the home that might appear to be unbearably painful to the individual. Regardless of age, the fact still remains that there are two people who are no longer on this earth because of Hadley, whose state of mind perhaps escalated to such an outrageous level of distortion with reality that it could no longer be kept reasonably under control. Sadly, this outcome could become more frequently repetitive if a person with a similar state of mind as Hadley were to advance to the level of committing an act of violence.
Violence may not always be one of the outcome of behaviors for people suffering from a mental illness, such as presumed to be in Hadley’s case during the time of the murders. It is possible that the other factorizations behind what caused the violent behavior is what is overlooked as a feasible trigger for that one fatal moment when the mind loses complete contact with reality. There are several examples of this kind of catastrophic occurrence happening in society, and ironically happens in social environments where safety and security is presumed to be at the highest level of quality. When two individuals who were believed to be suffering from a mental illness unexpectedly entered the Columbine High School located in Littleton, Colorado, to carry out a terroristic massacre that left fifteen students dead, several others seriously injured, and an immense wave of shock across the nation, it was speculated that this ruthless act was commenced by persons suffering from mental illness. Another more worldly illustration of a case in which someone suffering with a mental illness with a distorted view of reality was that of Mark David Chapman, well-known for being found guilty for the murder of the famous rock musician from the 1960’s, John Lennon. Unlike Hadley, who was speculated to have used a hammer to kill, both case scenarios involved guns as the weapons of choice by the killers.
Unfortunately for those citizens living in the United States and for those at risk of losing contact with reality like Tyler Hadley, the recent budget cuts made by the government to fund mental health programs might have a drastic effect on those suffering from a mental illness as well as the well-being of society in general. Would cutting the budget for mental health programs be such a wise choice to make considering the fact that it is not so much as the guns that kill people, but rather people who kill people? Although there has been a great amount of controversy over the past few years on how the United States Government will adequately handle the issue of gun control in America in proportion to reducing the rising number of murders committed by using firearms, the real culprit could be the state of mind that lies within the person who is even more capable of pulling the trigger.
Opinion by Stephanie Tapley