Maybe this title should be a simple question: Should a man or woman who commits a nonviolent crime while under such a nasty and unpredictable illness such as the popular but not understood schizophrenia be jailed, when they have no way of knowing what they are even being jailed for? Long question, I know, but the answer could be pages. There are different types of schizophrenia, also. I am trying not to talk of only myself, but I am limited to only 500 words.

Years ago I was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia. I am now 45 years old and psychiatrists and therapists are still trying to figure out what goes on in my brain. Sorry, but before I go on, I just want to say that I hope this article will bring more attention and help to other schizophrenics that are in need of more psychiatric attention than they are of jail time.

Anyway, I have been in and out of jail since I was 16 years old. A couple of these situations were mental hospitals in which I simply lied my merry way out of them. Believe me, if I knew then what I think I know now, I would never have been so childish and I would have paid more attention to what I could have become, and less attention to the terrible and constant noise in and out of my head that was and still is commanding me to live in a world of chaos and confusion.

It is very hard for a normal person to understand this illness. I will give you an example of what I go through every day. Imagine yourself, or even give it a try with about four people and yourself.


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Try to carry on a conversation with one person while at the same time three others are talking to you about three different subjects. That’s not all. Now imagine visual hallucinations on top of the noise and confusion and in a world that is completely different than the average person’s. I would tell you about my realization (world), but unfortunately I am about out of words.

I would like to tell you about the crimes that I have been charged with but I have no understanding of such crimes and I haven’t had an attorney talk to me since I have been charged. This was at the end of December, 2013.

Anyway, I take my 821 mg. of different medications and still my symptoms are very real and very severe. All I am asking for is for the public to be sympathetic and understanding to the very much not understood schizophrenic. Thank you very much.

PAUL MICHAEL BECKLEY

Bennington native
Marble Valley Regional
Correctional Facility
Take a closer look

Regarding the July 25 Banner article, "Sup’t: Shires Won’t Disrupt Schools:" I think we need to look closer at the rest of the story.

The superintendent says the schools will be able to handle an influx of students, so long as they do not exceed projections by a large amount.

No more than 12 K-5 students: that’s an estimate, it could be higher, it could be lower. The superintendent apparently used a formula that nobody else uses. We have a board member saying, "They’re telling us that they are at capacity, classes meeting in hallways and closets," so there was a proposal to convert the stage at Molly Stark into class room space? The board chair said earlier this month, "Monument School is packed with 24-25 in a class up there, BennEl is packed, so we have no more room."

Another board member says a low-cost way to combat rising class size is to hire a part-time teachers aid. Does anybody really want their student taught by a part-time aid in the hallway or in a closet? Supt. Culkeen said his estimate was lower than the 36 that SVSU chief financial officer Rick Pembroke previously projected because Shires Housing does not make one bedroom units available families to rent. Not even single parents? Even if you accept this, they still have 14 two-bedroom and 2 three-bedroom apartments. Using the accepted formula of 1.5 students per unit, this equals 24 students causing a higher school tax.

Mr. Culkeen further states "this isn’t going to be the last housing project." No, but the next one might be more appropriate.

This is an example of additional burdensome conditions which would allow the Selectboard and the Development Review Board to reject this development.

MALCOLM IRONS

Bennington