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LETTER: Evil vs. Mentally Ill 

Jeff Katz, you could not have penned a better article regarding Trooper Chad Dermyer (“The Good Guys,” Back Page, April 6).

I’m a social worker and part of what I do is train other social workers. My main gig is working with people who are in acute crisis, often wanting to end their own lives or being so ill they cannot care for themselves.

I became angry Sunday when I read a letter in The Richmond Times-Dispatch about the need for more mental health funds to “help” people like James Brown III, the man who killed Dermyer.

My profession, and the other mental health professions, are doing a disservice to our country when we place the label of mental illness on my every person who is simply bad. I say this when I teach my graduate students and sometimes it pisses people off, but it is true. Furthermore, it really denigrates people with serious mental illness, most of whom are more afraid of others than a threat to them.

Brown appears to have wanted to hurt someone and he chose a decent young man because that man was a cop. This does not make him mentally ill, it makes him evil. Until we address this fact and the need for increased services for our mentally ill neighbors, we’re simply spinning our wheels as a community.

Paul Brasler
Henrico

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