Fresh on the heels of the Loughner insanity in Arizona comes a story about a (seemingly) unbalanced individual at Portland State, my alma mater, stabbing a fellow student amid a bout of paranoid confusion. While Andrew Richardson, who accrued thousands of dollars in medical bills, not to mention the unpleasantness of being STABBED, for heaven's sake, and the University are still determining how to deal with the aftermath of the attack, it's clear from the comments following the story that mental illness is still hugely misunderstood in our culture.
Richardson was worried enough about Heath Avery that he filed a complaint with the housing authority at PSU. The question now is whether or not PSU did enough to assess the situation and take the steps to keep students safe after the complaint.
Make no mistake, it's difficult to deter a determined assailant. But it looks like Richardson did his part in making his feelings known here; that's a large step forward in a culture in which keeping one's head down is the status quo.
"They want it to seem like (the campus) is a sanctuary in the city, and it's not," Richardson said. He's correct. From the screeching street preachers and the scores of homeless folks in the library and parking garages, PSU is the most urban of all of Oregon's universities. It's a great place--a lovely, charming place, to be sure--but that doesn't make it safe...
I spent the morning fulfilling one of my resolutions for the new year. I reformatted the text on the Kindle edition of An Autumn Harvest and lowered the price to $0.99. I also formatted the book for hardcopy purchase via Create Space and reformatted the Smashwords version as well. Everything should be in place and available for purchase/download prior to the weekend.
I'm enjoying Peter Straub's A Dark Matter quite a bit. At about the halfway point, I find the character depth and varied narrative viewpoints really well rendered. Straub, much like Stephen King, has an excellent way with conveying youthful exuberance in his characters.
And finally, I'd like to say thanks for all of the thoughtful e-mails after Oregon lost a fantastic national championship game last Monday evening. No, I wasn't despondent, but it did take Jeanne and I twenty-four hours to bounce back. We put a lot of emotion into that game and this season, and we couldn't be prouder of our home state of Oregon and its fine football team, the Ducks. Time to turn our attention to hoops now, and get ready for 2011 on the gridiron.
But thanks again for the e-mails. Loads of great pick-me-ups, which were much appreciated...