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Bedlam

It’s really a fairly typical north Phoenix neighborhood. Thunderbird Road and 51st Street isn’t in the news that often, but now we’re asking:”What could possibly go so wrong?”

Tuesday night, Michael Sanders went to the home where his estranged wife lived, shot her and burned her body, shot and killed their 14-year-old daughter, the wife’s brother and finally himself. Who knows what really prompted that horror story — that atrocity. Perhaps, no one will ever know. Oh, certainly there will be speculation and observations from family, friends and neighbors.

I work with someone who was close to the family. But even she couldn’t get into Michael Sanders’ brain. Regardless of anger, possible jealousy, stress — we’ve all experienced those emotions — but we haven’t killed anyone. Isn’t it a fair assumption that Michael Sanders behaved that insanely because at that time in his life he was mentally ill? That’s not a defense.

It’s a warning. Most communities have thrown up their hands in despair attempting to adequately treat the mentally ill. And Michael Sanders just told us that it’s not working.

I’m Pat McMahon.