I hate to see historical markers or monuments vandalized. It’s bad enough that my own ancestor’s monument was vandalized in recent years. I mentioned the other day that someone had vandalized the Shaw monument on Beacon Street. It happened while I was working literally down the street. Well, I had a chance to see the damage for myself.
I wanted to cry, honestly. I stopped briefly to talk with a couple of rangers (one from the NPS and one from DCR) and then took a picture. All around the monument were people with their hands over their mouths in shock. People were taking photos, and I heard children ask their parents why someone would do that.
Well, they caught the person who did it, and it turns out that she has a history of mental illness. I don’t know what happened that led her to do this. I feel bad for her, but at the same time, I wonder why she apparently stopped treatment. To me, this sort of thing illustrates why proper treatment for mental illness is so important, and why it should be treated the same as any other illness as far as I am concerned. Insurance companies have tried to not cover mental health treatment for years, coming up with all sorts of rationales. Perhaps this woman had a reason for not taking her medications or seeking treatment, but I sincerely hope that it was not because she could not afford to pay for them. As long as health care in this country is driven by profit, and not what is best for people, I think this sort of thing will continue to happen. And is anyone better off? Certainly not the woman in question, or the family of tourists who got splattered with yellow paint on their vacation, or the people like me who have a strong bond of affection for this monument and what it represents.