A pleasant Sunday lunch turned into a tragedy when Roger Self rammed car into his family at a restaurant in North Carolina on May 20, 2018, killing his daughter and daughter-in-law and injuring son, wife and 13-year-old granddaughter. According to the family’s pastor, Austin Rammell from Venture Church in Dallas, Self was suffering from severe depression and anxiety for the past few months, but nobody realized that he could be a danger to his family.
According to the pastor, who is also a close family friend, Self had stopped working and confessed to his family and friends that he was going deep into depression. He had even asked his son to take away his guns, merely 10 weeks prior to the incident. Self was referred to a psychiatrist and was under medication but he was increasingly becoming unstable and his illness significantly impaired his reasoning ability.
Self had a law enforcement background and ran a private investigation business called Southeastern Loss Management. He was religious and a faithful churchgoer. According to family and friends, Self was among those who would go out of his way to help others, but the past 2.5 months had been difficult.
Rammell had communicated with Self on Saturday via text messages fearing that the old man might have committed suicide. According to the Reverend, “At the end of the day, we were all unable to help our friend and the result was his mental health carried him to an act that the Roger Self we all knew would have, without a doubt, called insane and evil.”
Connection between mental illness and violence
The terrible incident happened at a local seafood restaurant where the family got together for a lunch after attending Sunday’s church service. According to Rammell, Self’s daughter Katelyn had organized the get together as she wanted to have a good time with her family, hoping that her father would feel better.
According to the witnesses, when the family settled down and ordered drinks and appetizers, Self excused himself and went outside. The family noticed him in his car circling the parking lot. Self then rammed the vehicle into his family seated at a table near the window. Though the police department has declined to comment on his mental health, the evidence gathered so far suggests that the crash was intentional. Self has been charged with two first-degree murders.
Though the correlational link between mental illness and violence doesn’t exist, untreated mental health issues can impair decision-making abilities and judgement capabilities, resulting in acts of violence. Additionally, stigma and victimization of people suffering from mental disorders often make them more vulnerable to physical assault and affect their chances of living a normal life. It is therefore, essential to not let the mental illnesses go untreated and make sure that the affected person gets all the help to recover and lead a healthy life.
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