Since I posted the update on “Crazy Mike” this morning, I’ve noticed a few things. One is that the Facebook page appears to have been taken down. Another thing is that there has been additional speculation regarding his history.
My colleague at CSO Magazine, Joan Goodchild, sent me this note awhile ago:
Bill, I haven’t had a chance to read this whole post, but saw the first few graphs. The headline caught my eye. Crazy Mike was not in Vietnam. That was always the urban legend around him, but he is about 10-15 years too young to have served in that war. Despite the fact that he is associated with Haverhill, he is actually from Groveland and I went to high school with his younger brothers. He is just a severely mentally-ill person. I knew him well back in the day. As you know, every one in the area does.
Another friend said she’s heard that he is actually from a wealthy family and simply chooses to live as he does.
With all this in mind, my main point is unchanged:
Whatever his past, the fact is that he’s a human being who suffers from severe mental illness.
Many people have chimed in about their own run-ins with the man, and I have noticed that some folks feel genuine affection for him.
As stupid and sad as it was for people to latch onto a page that simply made fun of Mike (some of the comments on the page were nasty and pathetic), I think most people are decent, have good hearts and mean no harm.
Hopefully, this discussion will make us all more careful in how we treat others going forward.