The Shooting Of Anthony Hill:Where Mental Health and Militarization Meet…Again

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The Latest unarmed man to be shot and killed by police was an American Vet named Anthony Hill. Anthony Hill Served our country for 5 years in the United States Air Force. He was 27 years old. When Anthony returned from serving he dreamed of a career in music, and according to his family and friends this budding career gave him purpose and joy. Anthony had a beautiful girlfriend, who got along with his sister, and ya’ll know if you can befriend the sister you must be special! Anthony’s sister is a hard working young adult who was about to set out on her own life adventure in Los Angeles, California.

These young women along with their mom, and other family members were loving and supporting  Anthony while he suffered with Bipolar Disorder, exasperated by PTSD.  According to the Department of Veterans Affairs 11-20 out of every 100 veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have PTSD in a given year.

What this family and millions like them didn’t  have was the overall support needed to care for a vet who so desperately needed it. We have heard it time and time again that our Vets need more support when they come home but it’s up to the citizens to hold our local elected officials responsible for not moving heaven and hell to get that support.

There are many other issues to unpack  with this senseless shooting. Militarization of the police, systemic racial profiling, lack of support for vets and their families, to name just a few. As society continues to unpack these complicated issues one thing all citizens can agree on is that the job of the police is to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Anthony Hill, was as vulnerable as human being could be in public. Completely naked, and unarmed. Most people see this as a clear cry for help. That is how his neighbors saw it when they called the police for what they assumed would be a simple de-escalation, this system made the choice to gun him down. The very system he protected for 5 years of his very young life, killed him,  when he needed their methods of training most.

He and the people who loved him, deserved better. His neighbors deserved better. He served in the Military because Anthony believed we ALL deserved better.

Tonight millions of people will be watching Empire, a Television show who has dared to address among other serious issues, what Bipolar Disorder can like, and how it affects family members. Anthony also watched this show and gave profound commentary when he advised us to take a look deeper at what Bipolar Disorder looks like, as demonstrated by one of his facebook updates. Even in his final days he challenged us to be better, to look deeper and for those who suffer to remember self care: “To Love Your Life!”

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