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Christine D Patterson

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David Samuel - Hanging By A Thread of 50 Years to Life
by Christine D Patterson   
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, September 11, 2009
Posted: Saturday, July 05, 2003

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I always thought that Mental Illness was a Disease, not a crime. The question is why are there so many being locked up today behind this Illness? This is Story # 4

Why do we fear the person that is mentally Ill? Is it because we do not understand them, or is it just easier for us just to lock them away because we cannot deal with someone else’s problem? By locking them away, we feel that we are safe, but the truth of the matter is that there will be more people. Mental Illness is a disease. This is the true story of one such person who has a disease that we fear, and because of this he is doing 50 years to life for an Illness that we are afraid of.David Samuel was born in 1951, in Shreveport Louisiana. Throughout Mr. Samuel’s childhood, he had learning disabilities and could not be around people. However, he made it to high School. One day in high school, he got into an argument and was struck in the back of the head with an ax. He never went to the hospital for treatment. He hid the incident from his sister (who he was living with) in fear that she would be mad at him. He still suffers from headaches and dizziness to this very day. Mr. Samuel never finished High School and landed up with an eleventh grade education. The streets became his new home. Mr. Samuel started running with the wrong crowds, to which he began to drink and smoke marijuana. He suffered from mental illness, severed depression and hallucinations. The only treatment he received was his own. He stepped up to cocaine and more alcohol.His self treatments led him to auto theft and stripping cars. He used the money to buy more drugs. He soon became out of control, which eventfully led to more crimes like burglary and robbery. He was never able to hold a job because of his psychological problems and drug use. In 1979 he tried to turn his life around buy getting trained as an auto mechanic for two Nissan Dealerships. The problems of drugs and his hidden secret that he feared the most led him back to drugs to which he felt safe. He was convicted of another robbery, because of drugs use to support his only known self treatments. Now Mr. Samuel is 50 years old and for his last crime of petty theft of a pair of shoes from a Pay less Shoe Store, he is now serving 50 years to life. He has already served nine of those years. He knows what he did was wrong, but he cannot understand why they gave him 50 years to life for a pair of shoes? We have a law under proposition 36 which is suppose to help a person who has drug addiction, but it is up to the judge’s own discretion who goes to the program. Now if you have money, you will get into the program. You do not have a chance if you are poor and of a minority race. Is this fair on a human being? Did Mr. Samuel know what was happening at his trial? Did his lawyer know or even bring up that the fact that he only had an eleventh grade education? This man suffers from Mental Illness which should have been treated long ago. Now he is put behind bars to where he will die if we do not step up and say; “Hey!” “Maybe we can do something for this man which should have been done a long time ago.” The court used a 20 years old prior against him, which he already did his time for. Was this fair? It is safer to just lock to person up, rather then to help him. We need to stop throwing a person away like they are a piece of trash. This does not solve anything. We need to learn how to stop the cycle, starting with the children who need help, rather then waiting until they are adults, and then we can say to ourselves, “Out of Sight” “Out of Mind”. This is why the Three Strikes law needs to be amended. How many more will go to prison like Mr. Samuel’s case. It’s time we open our eyes and mind to reality of the truth. The fear we all are hidden deep down within ourselves.  



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Reviewed by James Justice 4/18/2004
Mental illness is one of the hardest things in life to deal with, I know because I suffer from it myself. Luckily with the right medications many of these illness can be treated. With mental illness comes a shame, something you fear that no one ever finds out you have. Often something we as the mentally ill don't want to accept for ourselves. Thanks for the write and trying to bring some awareness to this subject. Peace!
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 7/7/2003
it is so sad how the mentally ill are treated, even today; it is pathetic! more should be done to help these people who suffer from its ravages! :( (((HUGS))) eye-opening write! thanks for sharing!
Reviewed by Carolyn Red Bear (The Bear Paw) 7/6/2003
Very well said!! The reason they have this three strikes law is because it makes it easy for them to lock people up, that way they have their high paying jobs!!!! And it doesn't happen just to the mentally ill! Wish we could share more.... keep writing, it needs to be heard....
In Spirit,
Reviewed by Angela 7/5/2003
There are too many cases where mental illness is automatically classified as a reason to "lock" a person away. The 3 strikes law is just another excuse to "do away" with people that the government doesn't want to deal with, thus Mental Illness patients. This is ludicrous!!!
Reviewed by lashanda 7/5/2003
This is a very touching story. Its very sad when a young person has a mental illness. now days, people are so scared of mental illness that they just lock them up, and they believe this is solving the problem when in fact its just ignoring the issue.

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