Monday, July 3, 2017


William Morva is a mentally ill 35-year-old man who in 2006 killed sheriff’s deputy Eric Sutpin and hospital security guard Derrick McFarland in Blacksburg, Virginia. He is scheduled to be executed on July 6th for those murders. An appeal is pending on the desk of Governor Terry McAuliffe.

Under a new law signed by President Trump, even though Morva’s delusional disorder had been diagnosed before he killed McFarland and Sutpin, he would have been able to buy a gun.

The press has reported that long before the murders, there were clear signs Morva was not well. Morva’s senior year in high school his parents moved to Richmond, but he stayed in Blacksburg, presumably to finish school.

In Blacksburg, he was seen walking barefoot in the winter and sometimes slept in the Jefferson National Forest under leaves. Customers at a local coffee house remember his diatribes about politics and religion. And, during this period he confided in family and friends that he had “special powers” and could fix the world.

In August 2002, the Virginia Tech police found Morva half-naked on the floor of a women’s bathroom on campus. Despite these, and other signs of serious mental problems, Morva went undiagnosed and untreated.

In 2005, Morva was arrested for a series of botched robbery attempts. He was kept in jail for a year and received no mental counseling or treatment. His illness deteriorated. In August 2006, while being transferred to the Montgomery Regional Hospital for treatment, he knocked out McFarland, took his gun, and killed him. The next day, he killed Deputy Sutpin.

Here is a glaring example of serious mental illness going untreated in Virginia. And despite all the promises to improve mental health care in the state, the sad truth is Richmond spends less money on mental health care today than before the Virginia Tech shooting. 

And what is being done at the Federal level? The President and Congress have made it legal for the William Morva’s of the world to get guns easily.

The body count builds. On June 30th, at a hospital in Bronx, a disturbed doctor formerly employed at the hospital, got an assault rifle and killed one and wounded six others (June 30, 2017).

In Pennsylvania, Bianca Nikol Robertson, 18, was shot and killed in a road rage incident. Robertson had just left a shopping mall where she had bought clothes in preparation to begin in freshman year in college in Jacksonville, Florida (June 30, 2017).
There is more. Early in the morning of July 1, 2017, 25 young people were shot and wounded at a Little Rock nightclub when an argument broke out.

On and on it goes. How do the leaders of the self-proclaimed “Greatest Country in the World” react to this violence? They cut mental health care and make it legal for the mentally ill to buy guns.(To be continued)

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