NEW YORK: A photographer for the Times-Picayune of New Orleans who has undergone severe personal trauma since Hurricana Katrina hit was arrested Tuesday after trying to get police to shoot him to death. Police said he claimed he was depressed after he found out he didn’t have enough insurance money to rebuild his Katrina-damaged home.
Police said they noticed McCusker driving erratically in the city on Tuesday evening, then hit several parked cars when they pulled him over. McCusker rolled the window down and said several times, “Just kill me, get it over with, kill me.”
When that didn’t happen, he put the car in reverse and pinned one of the officers between the rear bumper of his car and the officer’s cruiser, police said, and he suffered minor injuries. McCusker drove away, to fabled St. Charles Avenue, “going out of his way to knock down any signs advertising construction,” police told the newspaper.
When he finally stopped, police had to taser him — as he again begged them to kill him.
The police official said, according to newspapers, that this was only one of many examples of the mental damage that Katrina has caused, “and he sees it all the time now.”
WWL has an article today that reports “experts think half a million people in southeast Louisiana still need mental health services.” That in my opinion is an epidemic. It affects children and the elderly and everyone in between. This has been known for some time. As a former social worker I can attest to the difficulties of delivering adequate mental health services in a fully functioning city. Given the lack of community supports and in fact ongoing trauma I just can not see how the towns and cities of Louisiana can meet those needs under present conditions without federal help. Of course that says nothing of the endless economic issues people face. We all know it shouldn’t be this way. Let your your Congressional reps know.