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1987 NOVA Newsl. 1 (1987)

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NATIONAL  ORGANIZATION FOR V/CT/M ASS/STANCE





     Newslett


                        Volume  11, Number 1


;er


January  1987


The Crisis Response Team Reports

  on Edmond, Oklahoma Massacre
                   by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D., with Kart'linn D. Huntting


Dr. Mantell is chief psychologist for the
San Diego Police Department, an assistant
clinical professor at the medical school at
the University of California, San Diego,
and maintains a private practice.

  We  cry with you, we pray for
you,  we  care about  you,  our
friends. That's not the usual sort
of note a letter carrier expects to
find left for him or her along the
delivery route.
  And postal employees aren't ac-
customed to seeing their post office
adorned with wreaths and baskets
of flowers. But then again, postal
employees are also unaccustomed
to seeing and hearing fourteen of
their fellow workers hunted down,
cornered, and executed.
  After all, besides a school or a
McDonald's restaurant, what could
be a safer place? A post office, of


course. Another symbol of stabil-
ity, constancy, and security. Right?
  Wrong.   Twenty   years  ago,
Charles Whitman   gunned  down
forty-seven people, murdering six-
teen, on the campus of the Univer-
sity of Texas, shattering the illusion
of safety.
  James Oliver Huberty  told his
wife one summer  day in 1984 that
he was going hunting ... hunting
for people. On that day in July,
Huberty committed  the bloodiest
one-day rampage  by a single gun-
man  in the history of the United
States. Where?   A  McDonald's
restaurant. He randomly executed
twenty-one  men,  women, and
children while Ronald McDonald
towered  over the helter-skelter,
winking and smiling, his plastic ex-
pression somehow a cold reminder
of the false illusion of security.
  Next came the post office. And
this time it was another twisted,
angry soul who  brought  a com-
munity to its knees, Patrick Henry
Sherrill.
  Human  induced violence leaves
its mark not only on the body, but
on the spirit. Like a malignancy
stealthily creeping within an indi-
vidual, so too steals the psycholog-
ical aftereffect.of a major traumatic
event. The post traumatic stress as-
sociated with violence influences
many  beyond the immediate circle
of victims. The very heart of a com-
munity  can  be deeply  affected
when  such catastrophe strikes.
  Beverly Raphael, writing in 1975
about crisis counseling, noted that


rescue workers have been ignored
by health professionals despite sig-
nificant mental and physical com-
plaints following crisis situations.
William Kroes, in his classic 1976
work  entitled Society's Victim:
The Police, portrayed our nation's
law enforcement professionals as
being at higher  risk for stress-
related diseases than people in less
stressful occupations.
  A  study encompassing  20,000
police officers from twenty-nine
different police departments re-
vealed that twenty percent of the
officers had drug related symp-
toms, twenty-three  percent had
significant alcohol related pathol-
ogy, thirty-seven percent reported
marital/family problems, and, most
noteworthy, thirty-six percent had
serious health problems including
heart and stomach disorders.
  Since 1980, I have been the chief
psychologist for the San  Diego
Police Department. My   involve-
ment  with  police officers grew
from work I did with the police in
the aftermath of the mid-air colli-
sion of a Boeing 727 and a Cessna
172 in September 1978.
  The officers who responded im-
mediately to this tragedy had no
              (Continued next page)


  In  This Issue:
  * Network   News  ......  3
  * Profile.............4
  * NOVA Awards .......6


This newsletter is published with funding from the Office of Justice Programs of the U.S. Department of Justice (Grant number 85-SN-CX-0006). Views expressed in the
Newsletter do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the U.S. Justice Department or of the National Organization for Victim Assistance.

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