One of the hardest decisions I ever was called to make, I made just the day before Christmas. We were picking up some final things we needed for Christmas dinner. After getting all we needed, we headed to the deli to pick up a few things for that night's dinner. We'd realized that we had focused so much on THAT dinner that we had forgotten that the was other meals we had to think about. As we picked out a few things, a woman came into the store sputtering and raging. Tis the season to be out of sorts so I didn't think much about it.
She headed towards the deli and I could hear her more clearly. She was cussing and swearing loudly and under her breath at the same time. Some of the things, that she said, which accompanied the cursing, led me to believe that this wasn't someone just having a rough day, but this was someone who was dealing with mental health issues. She got in line up behind me and continued cursing and exploding in anger, at the world not at any one in specific. I noticed the people at the deli notice her and they looked tense and concerned but not frightened.
She started talking about weapons. About taking a gun and shooting people.
The store was crowded. A panic would end up in several people being trampled. Our order was handed to us and we headed off towards the till. I spotted a manager. I made the decision. I rolled over to him and mentioned that there was a woman at the deli counter who was cussing and swearing and exploding into short bouts of anger, all that was fine, I said, but my concern was that she'd started talking about weapons. I wanted to explain more but the manager burst into action. It was like at the mention of the word 'weapon' he just vapourised.
On our way out of the store I told Joe that I'd found it a difficult decision to make, I didn't think she was a danger but I am not a psychic nor am I always well able to read the danger in situations. I thought it best. Maybe my actions will help her.
Joe said, grimly, "Yeah, and maybe the cops will shoot her."
That brought me up short.
Oh, my, god. The police haven't been showing a lot of cool or a lot of compassion for people with mental health concerns - several shootings have really brought that to the fore.
What have I done? I wondered.
I still don't know if I did the right thing.