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I found Eddie Dean’s article on John Hinckley Jr. (“Stalking Hinckley,” 7/25) extremely long and rambling, as if Washington City Paper was trying to fill up space. And that’s my positive spin on the article. As a mental health professional with 17 years of experience, I am dismayed that for such a long article substantial homework regarding mental illness was not done at all.

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For example, personality disorders are not curable, nor are they necessarily benign; in fact, they can be quite disabling. Thus, the assertion made that Mr. Hinckley suffers from no more than middle-of-the-road neurosis is ignorant and misleading, at best. Schizophrenia, an early diagnosis for Hinckley, is also not curable. It can be subject to periods of remission, but it is a chronic disease of the brain. Numerous assertions made that remission equals a cure are purely ignorant hogwash.

Moreover, I find it absolutely appalling that Dean was allowed to stalk Hinckley for so long. Mentally ill patients sitting outside on the grounds of a hospital are not there for public display like some kind of zoo animals. They have a right to privacy. Regardless of the inadequacy of security at St. E’s, what Dean did was legally and ethically wrong in my book, and grounds for a trespassing charge by St. E’s and a harassment suit by the Hinckleys. Perhaps Eddie should visit a psychotherapist himself for treatment of his obsession with Hinckley.

MSW, LCSW-C

Greenbelt, Md.

via the Internet