Tuesday, January 12, 2010

When will America wake up?


The Contra Costa Times is reporting today that a man (with untreated mental illness) in Pittsburg (CA) was firing his gun out of his home for no reason:
PITTSBURG — A standoff that prompted police to cordon off several city blocks in the Central Addition neighborhood for nearly six hours Monday has ended with the arrest of an Pittsburg man.

Police surrounded 793 E. 11th St. at 11:20 a.m. while they negotiated with 55-year-old Gregory Alexander, who allegedly fired a handgun outside his home, Lt. Brian Addington said. It remained unclear why he fired two rounds, but police said Alexander has a history of mental illness and threatening neighbors.

The Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown, Penn. today tells the story of a woman, who apparently had a serious mental illness, being stabbed to death by her sister:
A woman told police from her Johnstown hospital bed that a verbal dispute with her sister had escalated and her sister had ended up stabbing her.

Following the stabbing, Pamela L. Tunstall, 45, of Central City, was found bleeding along Route 30. She died by the roadside as medical technicians struggled to save her.

Pamela Tunstall died of multiple stab wounds to the neck and chest, Coroner Wallace Miller said. Richards indicated that Pamela Tunstall’s background might include a history of mental illness.

From 1919 to 1933, the years of Prohibition, when the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages were banned by our Constitution, there must have been some rational Americans, ordinary people who had no money at stake in booze, who thought to themselves, "What the hell is my country doing? This ban is insane. It brings all these evils of crime and violence and it harms civic society. We were so much better off dealing with alcohol as a regulated commodity before the 18th Amendment was approved. Can't we just go back to the status quo ante?"

I've had that thought many times with regard to our nonsensical War on Drugs.

And lately, it has occurred to me how much better off our country was when we had public mental hospitals and involuntary treatment for the severely mentally ill; when we had the sense to know that people with brain disorders cannot make good decisions about their own health and the decency to force treatment upon them.

The entire result of "freedom" for people with schizophrenia and other serious mental maladies has been a disaster: homelessness, senseless crimes, family strife, suicides, murders, rapes and needless endangerment. Our criminal justice system, our prisons, jails and police departments are being overrun by this madness.

When will America wake up to realize how much better off we used to be?

1 comment:

DJ said...

If you want to help restore sanity to our laws involving commitment, please go to treatmentadvocacycenter.org or if you are in NY, to kendraslaw.org