There were several negative statements in the Nov. 19 letters about Otto Zehm. One referred to him as a “mentally retarded schizophrenic who could not understand what he was being asked to do by the police.” Innocently, he was buying a Diet Pepsi and when the policeman charged in and told him to “drop it,” he asked, “Why?”
“Why?” is an interjection used to express surprise, astonishment, bewilderment, reaction to something unexpected, confusion. Anyone who is innocent would express the same thing. This has nothing to do with mental retardation.
Another statement went on to say “he should never have been out in the street at night without proper supervision” and “his family failed to take responsibility for his mental health.”
Otto had his $500 paycheck in his hand. Apparently, he was well enough to hold down a job where he was respected by his fellow workers and knew enough to use the ATM for his own benefit. Apparently, he had gone into the store periodically to buy candy bars and Pepsis. How was this “dangerous to society”?
This innocent man is dead! He did absolutely nothing wrong, so how can one blame him or his family?