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Another verse of Sympathy for the Demos? On Saturday, the 1st of September, 57-year-old Michael Shereda was surrounded with family, celebrating the joyous occasion of one of his granddaughter’s first birthday. Nearby, 22-year-old Miguel Mansour, sat on a bench inhaling a hallucinatory gas. Mr. Shereda moved, alone, to tell Miguel to stop his lawless conduct in front of children.
On Friday, September 7th, over 100 people gathered to honor Mr. Shereda’s memory as the murdered man was laid to rest. Miguel Mansour is in jail, pending psychiatric evaluation, prior to possible prosecution for first-degree murder. He had stabbed Shereda in a rage.
Witnesses said the victim allegedly had asked the suspect to stop taking drugs at a park bench at Grant Park in front of children when the suspect flew into a rage and attacked him. The victim was knocked to the ground and then stabbed more than one dozen times, said Amanda Pasho, who lives across from the park.
“(The victim) fell to the ground, he had blood all over him,” Pasho said. “He had his arms up to fend off the man from stabbing him. The man put his knee in the guy’s abdomen to hold him down and then put his arm across his face and began stabbing him with a knife, like non-stop, just jabbing at him with the knife.”
SHEREDA, Michael. September 1, 2018. Age 57. Best friend & companion of Debbie. Loving father of the late David, Angel (Mark), Erin (Josh), Tami (Matt), Jillian (Dion), Angelina (Martinis) & Kelly. Treasured grandfather of Madie, Christian, Preston, Kalli, Keegan, Marky, Steven, Jeffrey, Nathaniel, Paisley, Anthony, Kaycee, Noah, Kylee, Kobe, Kassidy & Brightyn. Proud & adored great grandfather of Alana-Sophia & Greyson. Cherished brother of Jerry (Kris), Joan (Dan), Nancy (Nick), Janet (Leo) & Jimmy (Becky). Fun & loving uncle of many nieces & nephews.
Yes, it was Miguel Mansour who was seen killing Mr. Shereda, and he was apprehended in the same park. But who is responsible for the killer being there and daring to kill a community elder? A follow up story starts to unfold the chain of causation: the suspect had a warrant and had been released from a mental hospital.
According to Macomb County Probate Court records, Mansour showed signs of mental illness on Dec. 9, 2017, after which Sterling Heights Police Officer Lamar Kashat petitioned the court to admit Mansour to a mental hospital.
Mansour “wanted to pour gasoline on himself in an attempt to kill himself,” Kashat wrote Dec. 11. “He stated he wanted to kill aliens and eat them.”
Psychiatrist Dr. Basivi Baddigam recommended hospitalization. He diagnosed Mansour as bipolar and depressed “with psychosis,” court records show.
“He feels people can read his mind, and TV talks to him,” Baddigam wrote. “He wants to kill aliens. He admits mood swings and currently feeling depressed.”
Mansour was released Dec. 13 from Henry Ford Macomb Hospital East in Mount Clemens.
We are each dealt a genetic hand, and then life’s cards are laid down in a fateful game of Texas Hold Em. We all see the cards coming out on the table, and seek to explain mental illness by visible events. But, some people are dealt very bad genetic cards. In the case of several early adult onset mental disorders, things go badly wrong at the same time as lots of events we might seek to blame or control.
The onset of schizophrenia is typically in the late teens, early 20s. Men will usually develop schizophrenia between the ages of 18 and 25. Women tend to develop it about five years later. Bipolar disorder usually begins in early adulthood, although there are some children and adolescents who develop it. And there is an increase in the incidence of major depressive disorder after the age when puberty is reached.
Taking illegal drugs is not the “cause,” although it might be the “trigger,” and is frequently a disastrous attempt at self-medication. What is needed is sufficient support, with potentially coercive authority, to keep ill people’s brain chemistry sufficiently regulated to sustain normal thinking. But, Congress started emptying the mental hospitals over a generation ago, passing feel-good legislation for “deinstitutionalization” without ever funding all the community-based mental health systems needed, to keep people on the medications that promised to let most patients function, outside four walls. Maddeningly, the linked story in this paragraph was published in the New York Times in 1984.
With Congress and presidents supporting deinstitutionalization, it was hardly surprising that courts would start finding more and more for mentally ill individuals, against state and local authorities’ power to commit and hold individuals against their expressed, supposed will. Hence, a police officer saw the signs, and acted, a psychiatrist saw the signs, and acted, but two days later, an unstable man was released into the community.
At the time of the murder, there was a bench warrant for the arrest of Miguel Mansour.
In a case unrelated to the Utica homicide, he faces one count of third-degree home invasion and three counts of misdemeanor assault for an incident in June, according to Macomb County Circuit Court records. On Aug. 27, Mansour -– who was free on a personal recognizance bond — failed to appear for a circuit court arraignment/pre-trial conference. Circuit Judge Edward Servitto Jr. revoked a personal bond and signed a bench warrant for Mansour’s arrest.
So, a man was so mentally disturbed that he set off alarms with a police officer and a psychiatrist. Then he got only two days in a hospital, in December 2017. Then he was arrested for violent misdemeanors in June 2018, and released until a hearing at the end of August. This should have been an occasion for another, more serious, mental health intervention. The arrest warrant did not trigger any special alarm, informed by the potential risk of a mentally ill young man spiraling out of control. Under current law, it is most likely that Mansour will be convicted and imprisoned, where he will be one of many violent mentally ill inmates, medicated at state expense.
We have seen Congress act decisively and rapidly. See Obamacare, when Democratic majorities enacted a party priority. See the 2017 tax cuts, when Republicans acted on a party priority. Then see the very mixed response to the opioid epidemic, with President Trump doing what he can, while Congress picked and chose limited favored programs, rather than a comprehensive approach. President Trump’s comprehensive program to address the opioid epidemic includes a call for increased mental health funding. He announced this in his May 2018 Presidential Proclamation of National Mental Health Awareness Month:
My budget also requests new funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to ensure more adults with serious mental illness receive Assertive Community Treatment, an evidence-based practice that provides a comprehensive array of services to reduce costly hospitalizations. Additionally, my budget maintains funding for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant, which helps ensure that individuals with serious mental illness receive appropriate treatment in a timely manner. Further, it includes new targeted investments to help divert individuals with serious mental illnesses from the criminal justice system and into treatment. Finally, it funds important suicide prevention activities.
So, here we have another, in a decades’ long series of deaths, resulting from our elected officials emptying the mental hospitals, without then funding promised community safety nets. When we are truly motivated, enraged, and mobilized, our Congress critters move decisively, and with lightning speed. So, click away, shake your head with me, post a comment, and then? Will we, the people, truly demand real action at every level of government?