Victims of the same disease

The Tucson, Ariz., shooter appeared to have suffered from schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia often affects young people of college age.

After living in Norman for more than 50 years, I have seen it destroy the minds of many students who come here with such high hopes for their future.

I have also watched a couple of my childhood schoolmates go insane.

The descent into madness is frighteningly rapid. It is so sad to have an intelligent conversation with someone one day and then, a week later, see that same person now insane.

I will always remember one young man who won the trivia game we were playing one night, and the next time I saw him, he was chewing on the trivia game cards and talking about the FBI watching him and sending in people who looked like his family members, but who were actually secret agents, out to get him.

I have seen it so many times, and it is such a heartbreaking thing to see happen to these people, that I have studied it some. The paranoia — voices these victims hear in their brains, the loss of ability to reason and make rational decisions — destroys their lives and affects people close to them.

I feel sorry for everyone involved in the Tucson shooting. They are all victims of the same horrible disease.

—Roy Neher

Roy Neher

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