Saturday’s Winnipeg Free Press had an article about a man who while suffering from schizophrenia murdered a fellow bus passenger. This happened nine years ago. The man who committed the murder has been receiving treatment ever since and the Criminal Code Review Board has now determined he can live on his own in the community. The comments people have made online about the article display varying attitudes towards mental health issues. Many Free Press readers find the review board’s decision difficult to understand and are asking lots of questions.
If you want to read a book that addresses this very situation I would recommend Cage of Stars by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Dave and I listened to an audio version of the novel many years ago and its story raised so many good questions that I put Cage of Stars on the list of books I studied with some of my highschool English classes. In Cage of Stars a schizophrenic man murders two young girls and after rehabilitation and medication he also returns to a regular life with his family and in society.
The parents of the murdered girls are devoutly religious and find it in their hearts to forgive the man who killed their daughters but their older sister simply cannot. The story shows just how deeply everyone involved is effected, and helps the reader process and think through the many questions that can arise from such a situation. I think the book offers lots of alternative perspectives and could be a starting point for some excellent discussion.
Other books that would be good for discussion……