It’s a sad day when someone is trying to do good in this world and instead, ends up with so much public scrutiny that it forces him into a mental breakdown. That’s what appears to have happened to Jason Russell, the man behind KONY 2012, and his bizarre naked outburst. Let’s just hope people don’t judge him and his mission because of this–especially when others are likely the ones who caused this action in the first place.
Just to recap, last Thursday Russell was captured on video in what appeared to be a complete nervous breakdown at a busy San Diego intersection. Recorded by someone in a passing car, Russell was pacing and ranting, spewing out f-bombs, pounding the sidewalk, screaming about the iPhone, its digital assistant, Siri and the devil–all while completely naked.
The video posted on TMZ.com and has since become another source of public criticism and a further attack of Russell and his mission to take down Joseph Kony and bring him to justice in order to save the children who are being turned into soldiers, slaves and murderers in Uganda.
In a statement released by his wife, Danica Russell, she attributes this behavior to the stress of the last few weeks:
Let us say upfront that Jason has never had a substance abuse or drinking problem, and this episode wasn’t caused by either of those things. But yes, he did some irrational things brought on by extreme exhaustion and dehydration. On our end, the focus remains only on his health and protecting our family.
Invisible Children CEO Ben Keesey concurs and stated that the scrutiny surrounding Russell’s video and Invisible Children have adversely affected him:
The past two weeks have taken a severe emotional toll on all of us, Jason especially, and that toll manifested itself in an unfortunate incident yesterday.
As Dr. Gail Saltz told Today, stress can indeed lead to something like this:
Someone who is under tremendous scrutiny, who has never been so before, that is a lot of pressure.
Up until now, there haven’t been any indications that Russell had any sort of mental health issues. He’s just a guy trying to do good in this world, and like I said, it’s a sad day when those intentions are met with such fierce negativity and scrutiny from some people. As a result, the amount of stress Russell has likely endured had to be huge.
To all of the naysayers and critics out there, it’s fine if you have different opinions or thoughts on how to help these children. But instead of spewing hateful, critical, negative comments, how about going to Russell and saying, “How can I help?” Like I always tell my kids, there are two types of people in this world: those who make things happen and those who wait for other people to make things happen. At least Russell is the former.
Let’s just hope that this episode doesn’t completely derail the KONY 2012 mission and its applaudable attempts to do what is right. Everyone needs to focus less on the personal issues and keep the end goal in mind: saving these children.