Jeezus Kerrreyst…. Clearly some of the individuals involved need to be put in handcuffs and dropped into the swampy morass that is the Louisiana justice system but the teacher is not in that group….
Tyler Haire was locked up at 16. A Mississippi judge ordered that he undergo a mental exam. What happened next is a statewide scandal.
…During his childhood, Tyler had been found to be suffering from seven different mental disorders, the first diagnosis coming when he was just four years old; he had threatened to bomb his school; he had chased his two siblings with a knife trying to stab them; his family suspected that he’d strangled a cat to death with his bare hands; he’d been hospitalized on several occasions and later placed in a home for troubled boys.
The local prosecutor joined the defense lawyer’s request for an evaluation, and Judge John A. Gregory immediately signed an order to have Tyler assessed at the state hospital in Whitfield to determine if Tyler had a factual and rational understanding of the legal proceeding against him, as well as whether, at the time of the non-fatal assault, he knew the “difference between right and wrong.”
“It is therefore ordered and adjudged,” Gregory wrote on April 23, 2013, “that the defendant Tyler Douglas Haire be given a mental evaluation at the earliest possible date.”
Tyler’s evaluation would not happen for three and a half years.
During the 1,266 days Tyler spent in the Calhoun County jail before he received his evaluation, he was never once visited by a psychiatrist. He went without any of the multiple drugs he had taken as a boy. He received no educational instruction.
The town of LaPlace, Louisiana, lies along the Mississippi River, a stone’s throw from Lake Pontchartrain and the Maurepas Swamp. It sits in the heart of an area that’s become known by locals as “Cancer Alley,” a vast industrial stretch between New Orleans and Baton Rouge where dozens of petrochemical plants dot the landscape.
One sign posted by a local advocacy group warns the town’s 29,000 residents that they are “more likely to get cancer due to chloroprene air emissions.” The warning refers to the Denka Performance Elastomer plant at the edge of town, where a vast network of pipes and valves stand testament to industry.
The facility looms over Fifth Ward Elementary School, where children run around the playground oblivious to the toxic emissions in the air.
The White House’s response to the island’s emergency stands in stark contrast with the aid it provided to Florida and Texas.
There’s a lot of sewage still to clean up.
….Pollution reports submitted to Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection show that, due to power outages and flooding caused by Irma, human waste has been spilling into streets, residences, and waterways across the entire state. At the time of this article’s publication, at least 113 “Public Notices of Pollution” had been submitted to the DEP. Combined, those discharge reports showed more than 28 million gallons of treated and untreated sewage released in 22 counties. The total amount is surely much more; at least 43 of those reports listed either an “unknown” or “ongoing” amount of waste released, and new reports continue to roll in—sometimes as many as a dozen per hour.
In other words, Irma was a literal shitstorm. But it’s no laughing matter. Sewage spills pose a major threat to public health, and they’re likely to become more common due to two increasingly connected crises facing America: an aging infrastructure and climate change.