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There were people shouting and one particular voice caught my attention. This was a man’s voice and what caught my attention was the way he was shouting incoherently. I could not understand a word he said and immediately I knew that he had some form of mental illness. Getting closer, I saw that there seemed to have been some form of tag of war between the shopkeeper and the man shouting. The man was pulling a bag of oranges that the shopkeeper was holding, shouting that it was his. Those gathered were busy trying to help the shopkeeper get back his merchandise when the man pulled out a dirty broken bottle with what appeared to be mud inside. It took the intervention of the police and the ill man was bundled into the police car without “his” bag of oranges and taken away presumably to be locked up.
I felt like helping the helpless man, as it seemed no one wanted to listen to his side of the story. Later when he brought out the dirty bottle, I felt that he was not to blame, but I was at the same time angry with him for disturbing the peace. His aggressive action and reaction to this situation angered me as I felt that had he sought professional help, this whole incident would have been avoided.
This was an avoidable situation. Mental illness had predisposed this man to acting in an irrational manner. The shopkeeper and the public failed in their part when they resolved to take sides against this sick man. The situation should have been handled better. The shopkeeper and the man should have been allowed to resolve the issue. However, given the physical state of the ill man, it was understandable that the onlookers, me included, would have reacted as they did. This experience did not go as it should have and the manner in which the ill man was dealt with was somewhat unfair.
The reaction of the onlookers was not appropriate and they should have tried to resolve the issue in a calm manner and not presume the ill
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