Issac Zamora and Societies Responsibility

Last Tuesday, September 2nd, a shooting spree took place in Washington state resulting in the deaths of six people. 28 year old Issac Zamora, a man with a history of mental illness, has been charged with the crime. According to the Seattle Times, Dennise Zamora, the suspect’s mother, said her son was “extremely mentally ill” and had been living in the woods on and off for years. She said her son wasn’t aware of his mental illnesses. Among those killed was Sheriff Deputy Anne Jackson. Dennise Zamora said Jackson was aware of her son’s illness and told the Zamora family to call her anytime for help.

You would expect nothing but rage from the families of the victims, but following is a statement from Sheriff Jackson’s family:

We, the family of Anne Jackson, want to acknowledge and extend our profound gratitude to all those people, relatives, friends, complete strangers, and the law enforcement community who have come forward to assist and comfort us in this tragic time.

From the depth of our grief, not only for Anne, but for all of the families affected by this horrific event, we also want to say how proud were and are of Anne. She was committed to her work in the finest sense. She saw her job as an opportunity to help the people of her community.

She was a cheerful and giving soul, loving and beloved. We know that she knew, and had offered her personal help to the family of the man who committed this terrible act, because she had experienced the pain of a similar mental affliction suffered by her own brother.

The sorrows and tragedies of mental illness affect the health of the whole community. We wish to make it clear that we hold no animosity toward Issac Zamora or his family.

Anne Jackson will be remembered with love and respect by everyone who knew her.

What an amazing statement. It shows a family who truly has experienced the pain of having a family member with severe mental illness. Imagine if you lost a love one in a shooting. Would you be able to state that you “hold no animosity”?

When I was placed in the hospital for suicidal depression, I was advised I couldn’t own a gun for 5 years. This man had a history of serious mental illness and had just been released from jail a month ago! The Seattle Times additionally states:

Zamora was under state supervision and considered a high-risk offender, with convictions for theft and drug possession. In a news release, DOC Secretary Eldon Vail said Zamora had been released from jail during the first week of August. He had been serving time for felony drug possession, according to court records

How come there are not stricter gun control to keep them out of the hands of men like this? He was considered to be a high risk offender. What kind of society are we that allowed Zamora to roam free with a gun?

Why was this man, who has a long history with the police, and who was severely mentally ill allowed to run free? Why wasn’t he institutionalized? Was it complacency? Was it budget cuts? I don’t know.

I am not saying that Mr. Zamora is not responsible for his actions. He took the life of six people and must be held accountable for them. I think it is imperative, however, that we look at ourselves. How much society is society at fault? What can we do to prevent these type of events from happening all to often?

My thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims, including Issac Zamora and his family.

  14 comments for “Issac Zamora and Societies Responsibility

  1. September 13, 2008 at 02:59

    I live On the Kitsap Peninsula, across Puget Sound from Seattle. It was reported here that Mr. Zamora wrestled the gun away from Anne Jackson. He killed her and then started his rampage in his own neighborhood,using her gun. They did not know this at first. At his arrainment, he said “I listen to God. I kill for God.” Such a terrible thing that did not need to happen. His mother was trying to get him help, but seemed to have been turned away. Once again, our system failed the innocent. My heart goes out to all involved!

  2. Michelle
    September 10, 2008 at 06:31

    Compassion is the way,wish I had more!

  3. Wellness Writer
    September 9, 2008 at 15:58

    I would agree there must be tougher laws for people who are mentally ill and violent and won’t take medication. It’s a tragedy!Susan

  4. September 9, 2008 at 15:13

    @flirt I’m sorry to hear that things are similar in Canada. It is crazy how easy it is to get a gun in the U.S. as if everyone is sane enough to own one. @julieanne There is so much money wasted. Wouldn’t it be nice if we’d all quit fighting each other. Imagine how much money we’d have, especially here in the U.S.

  5. September 9, 2008 at 14:21

    I am from Australia and my sister suffered from postnatal psychosis which was terrifying for her and has resulted in her suffering for many years afterwards. The mental health system in Australia is failing as well. In the past year she has had to fight cancer while raising a child with severe learning disabilities and there has been no support for her except from family. There were times when she was going for radiotherapy and then would have to go and pick her son up from school and continue with her day. And on top of that she is dealing with mental illness.I don’t know what the answer is but with so much money going to places that don’t need it, I think it is time the governments started to look after mental health patients and their families. Perhaps then tragedies like this could be avoided.Julieanne

  6. September 9, 2008 at 12:10

    I am in Canada, where the mental health system has similar problems but modified by a lack of pervasiveness of guns, thank goodness. The shift towards deinstitutionalization without the provision of sufficient supports has still been deadly in come cases though. It is so sad – and in most cases, so very unnecessary

  7. September 9, 2008 at 05:24

    @jenny First, thank you for reading the blog. You are correct about the crisis in mental health occurs in other states. Here in Los Angeles county those that work intake at the mental health clinics have one primary job…to turn people away. When I was in crisis recently I sought help and was turned away. I was told to come back when I got [email protected] and bryan Personally I would love to see all guns eliminated from our country, but I realize that is never going to happen. I do think there needs to be more controls and restrictions to prevent further events like this.

  8. September 9, 2008 at 05:20

    @mtyler I agree it’s society’s failure. With this man’s background it should never have [email protected] golch I agree mike that a person is responsible usually to stay on their meds, however, frequently, as with many schizophrenics, the individual never truly understands they have a [email protected] You know your history hell. The idea to deinstitutionalize was a good idea that didn’t work. It’s time we the accept it’s failure and make changes to our mental health policies.

  9. mtyler77
    September 8, 2008 at 20:42

    It’s society’s failure, really. There should be much tougher gun laws regarding people who have mental problems. This is a tragedy that never should have happened. Nice write up on it–and I appreciated hearing about the amazing family that had so much compassion as they did.

  10. September 9, 2008 at 03:38

    I feel for everyone involved with Isaac Zamora, including him. Anne’s family is amazing. I don’t think I could do it. The gun laws here do preclude anyone who’s ever been involuntarily committed to a mental hospital from purchasing or owning a gun. That doesn’t cover people who went voluntarily to a hospital, even if they went under duress. Perhaps not the best law in many cases, eh? Rather a mess. I don’t carry a gun or want to, but I was brought up in the South and dislike the idea of my ability to taken away. You know, though, dislike it or not, it might well be a good idea.

  11. September 9, 2008 at 02:40

    I really feel sad for those people who died =(..They are good people and deserve to live a longer life so that they can help other people. I think that they should give more attention on gun laws because it is really dangerous if in the hands of a person that is mentally ill.

  12. September 8, 2008 at 23:57

    I’ve been reading this blog for about a month, struggling to work up the courage to deal with my mental health (I strongly suspect I’m bipolar, but have only been diagnosed with depression.) I live in Seattle and this is a story that is played out at least once a year. It is extremely difficult to get mental health help if you don’t have insurance. The crisis clinic just wants to medicate and send you on your way, unless you’re suicidal or homicidal…then they’ll do more, but even then there is little help. I’m sure it’s the same in other states and cities. This family’s response to this tragedy can only help, if only in a small way, the perception of those with mental illnesses.

  13. September 8, 2008 at 22:57

    Unfortunately, with the deinstitutionalization movement in the 70’s there was supposed to be outpatient and community-based programs, so that things like this could not happen. But, there isn’t even the money to provide basic needs. The unfortunate thing with institutionalization the court has to deem someone incompetent to care for themselves or be a danger to himself or others, which they are reluctant to do, because the Office of Public Guardian (or in the case of adults Conservatorship) have twice the number on their caseload than they should in California.To hold someone involuntarily in California, he probably would not qualify especially if he had a support system.The mental health system. Heck, the health care system in the US is a mess and isn’t getting better.My hunch is that he obtained the gun by other means than purchasing it legally.This is a really tragic and sad story and life. If I search in my heart, I am pretty sure that if I knew the family and what they tried to do to help that I would feel for them and not hold any ill-regard for them or their son. But, I say that now; however, one never really knows until they are in their shoes. My heart goes out to them.

  14. September 8, 2008 at 21:20

    as a person whos is bipolor and occaisional susicidal I grief for the familis who have losr loved one. and yes sometimes mentally ill poeple will not understand that they have a problem. mine is under control by the steps that I take, as long as I make sure that I take my medis I m not threat to no one.Issac Zamora is a sad cases of what happens when someone does not do what needs to be done.

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