A man identifying himself as God was arrested by Mesa County, Colorado Sheriff’s deputies while walking naked in a field of a Glade Park property owner, and then released in Grand Junction, according to the Grand Junction Sentinel.The Sheriff’s office did not agree with the man’s assessment of himself, calling the man twenty-six year old Nathaniel Boggs. One neighbor attributed the man’s proclaimations of divinity to drugs, while another called him a “crazy guy.” But, since the matter did not go to court, the issue was never definitively resolved.
Here at Colorado Confidential headquarters, an agnostic stance seems appropriate, since the individual arrested is not available for an interview at this hour.
Snark aside, cases like this one point to a serious failing in the existing criminal justice system and social safety net in Colorado. Behavior like walking through fields naked calling yourself God doesn’t come from nowhere. In all likelihood Mr. Boggs has either a substance abuse problem or a mental health problem. He is an accident waiting to happen. But, despite extreme behavior that brought him into contact with law enforcement, because no charges were pressed, nothing happened. Mr. Boggs could walk into Wal-Mart the next day and buy a gun. No one has made a serious effort to get him professional help. In all likelihood, no one has even contacted his family to tell them that he needs help.
It is well established that substance abuse and mental health problems are root causes of crime that if treated can prevent tragedies later. But, rather than address those causes when they become apparent, our system of criminal justice and mental health treatment waits until someone is actually seriously hurt by an individual like Mr. Boggs, before it takes action.