You read that title right and It is indicative of the culture and societal climate we live in. Why are they the same? Steve Stephens and Aaron Hernandez are both murderers and on the surface level they both committed suicide last week. Most would say that’s where it starts and ends but beyond this both killers suffered from mental illness. While the mainstream media casually calls white terrorists (Dylan Roof, James Holmes, Adam Lanza, Dylan Klebold, etc) mental health victims and paints their atrociousness actions as involuntary juxtaposed to the black Stephens and latino Hernandez we see the contrast. The climate we’re in is a very sensitive to the struggles of mental health victims but we ignore minorities that experience it. To keep it all the way simple: They were both living an internal hell! Whether they deserved to die is not the question here (I believe they should have) the real issue here is how they went out. Stephens started this killing because of his break up with his ex-girlfriend but when he released a video explaining why he killed the Godwin (and planned to kill others) he stated that no one listened to him no one wanted to hear him. For a man that was a youth mentor and, ironically enough, behavioral therapist was suffering from the same problem he was paid to cure. Had someone reached out and talked to him about the break up about his trouble and pain an old man with a family in Ohio would still be alive. And that’s the real tragedy here…

Hernandez is another example of this, I haven’t examined the 3 notes he left next to the bible when he hung himself and I don’t care to. All I know is that an NFL superstar was battling demons in his head that spoke too loud and took him to a life of “gang gang gang”, where disrespect meant a shot in the head to a friend, Odin Lloyd. Where the depth of his depression grabbed his neck and hung him at 3am in the morning and declared him dead at 4am, these are battles that the gridiron will never show. These are battles the face will never show. When a mans hear’s he’s going to jail for life and has the stoic face of a yoga instructor mid sunrise number three you have to know there’s a problem. He had accepted his doom. His fate was sealed. While the media was quick to brush off these two as old news, I ask you to look deeper and realize that when we talk about mental health it can grip and hold anyone. From multi millionaire athletes who are not satisfied with money, fame and women that resort to a life that brings pain to a therapist mentor that seemingly has life put together and control of his being to a 20 piece mcnugget eating killer, we now know mental health has no face! Hernandez and Stephens were in cages, physically and mentally and that’s the real story. This cage doesn’t care about who you are how you look or what your status is.

While their actions were beyond evil, it leads me to ask…how many buttons could be pushed before you or me became Hernandez or Stephens?

 

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