If you’re not living under a rock and have some form of connection to the internet, then you’re no stranger to the Kony 2012 viral video that reached over 70 million viewers within 48 hours of its release. Hell, you don’t even need an internet source to know about this since the media jumped on this quick, as well as many radio talk shows and news outlets.
As well as receiving tons of praise and accolades, this campaign has also received much criticism, and it didn’t help the cause any when the creator, Jason Russell, was recently video taped walking around naked and acting super bizaar on a street corner near his California home. The video shows Russell, butt naked, pacing back and forth, talking to himself, rambling, clapping his hands, and doing aerobics. Jason was obviously exhibiting characteristics of someone “under the influence” and almost looked like a sleep walker. Any normal person watching the video would have to agree that this was not normal behavior and I’m sure Russell himself, after watching himself in the video, is saying “who the hell was that?!”
There aren’t a lot of answers right now, especially since the family is choosing to deal with this privately. You can’t blame them though. This is embarrassing and it’s no one else’s business. But i want to touch on a side of this story that you aren’t hearing much, and that is “mental illness”. We have no idea what Jason’s mental state has been for the past several years or is now. For all we know he could have had a mental condition that was never going to surface unless he was put under the stress and demand that he received upon the launch of this Kony video. People have nervous breakdowns everyday as well as panic attacks, bipolar episodes which include manic highs and lows, anxiety attacks, and more.
If you’ve ever witnessed someone having a seizure, it’s an obvious sign of distress and is clearly a mental issue that needs immediate attention. No one sits there and watches a seizure victim and points at them and laughs. Your friends would slap you, I hope. Twice. Most people don’t understand mental illness and because it doesn’t have a very clear “face”, society takes it lightly and it doesn’t get the attention that it deserves. It also comes with a social stigma that causes people with any type of mental illness to keep it under wraps. I’ve witnessed first hand what the brain can do and how it’s “malfunction” can cause behavior that catches you off guard and is hard to understand. I’ve been there when for no apparent reason a friend goes from being happy, laughing, having drinks to throwing their phone out the car window on the freeway and attempting suicide, only to snap later and ask “did i just take all of those pills?! why?”.
We all remember Charlie Sheen and his antics, which lasted quite a while, way longer than it should have. This was clearly a man with a mental condition that wasn’t being treated, wasn’t taking the proper medication, and was left untreated for all the world to see. The diagnosis was bipolar and all of the signs were there to support it. What did we all do? Yes, we laughed. And yes, a lot of what he did was hilarious and off the wall, but that’s what a breakdown will do, it’ll make a person do “crazy” things. No one is winning when it comes to mental illness.
With all this said, I ask you all to step back and give Jason Russell a break. Take into consideration that this young man was not himself and i think it would be safe to say that this was not the result of some type of bad trip on drugs. Shame on all of you who are posting videos ridiculing him or calling him names. I hope that you never have a break down and that your mind is always healthy. We don’t poke fun at an elderly person with Alzheimer’s who is wandering the streets, lost, having no idea where the hell they are. Let’s give this same amount of respect and consideration to someone who was caught off guard by a similar fate.
Jason will recover and should be fine. He will have to live with this for the rest of his life. If you pray, then pray for him and his family. If you don’t, then maybe write to him and show him your support and wish him well. And if you’re a perfect human being who never makes mistakes or falls, call me, I’d like to know your secret.
Wish you and your family well Jason.