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So now we face our demons and children lay dead.

In the 1970s this nation decided to end institutional care for the mentally ill. It was supposedly better to allow the mentally ill to use outpatient services. There were two reasons given for this massive change in society: First, end the horror stories of abuse by minimum wage workers with low educational skills. Secondly, make it cheaper for States by letting families handle the problem on their own through their own insurance.

At the time, I thought it would be better to spend money to hire qualified people to serve the needs of patients, rather than let them wander the streets. Many families abandoned their mentally ill family members due to prejudice regarding mental illness. Or, patients who were too ill and abandoned, wandered away to live on the streets alone.

Consequently, hundreds of thousands of people suffering from mental illness, now came to live and move freely through society. No great effort was made to ensure that outpatients received their medications or treatments, since political correctness had been the movement to undo institutions. Save money and let them be free from responsibility was the new battle cry.

Instead of putting money and manpower into our institutions to improve them, we politically corrected ourselves into a huge problem.

We see now that political correctness can sometimes be taken to the extreme. 20 children have now paid for this extremism.

It isn't always about guns. It is about our own stupidity. We keep getting rid of things that work well, as long as they are maintained and dump them when it is inconvienent to hire and pay for qualified people to care for our mentally ill.

Outpatient care of the mentally ill is appropriate for those who have responded well to treatment and are willing to continue to get better. It is not appropriate to allow the mentally ill, who refuse or ignore both medications and treatment, to wander the streets.

We are so goddamned stupid, it kills.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - Wendy Connors

    by Wendys Wink on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 04:53:05 AM PST

  •  exactly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wendys Wink, Burned, Larsstephens

    the grief we all feel now should be the impetus to make of this horror more than just the availability of automatic weapons, but also the unattended mentally unhealthy in our society

    if there's a will, we can learn from this fresh hell

    details about the killer's mentality should be analyzed and treatment policies changed

    no question that it's not just the easily-available weapons that need critical thinking by the public

  •  "We are so goddamned stupid, it kills." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wendys Wink

    100% agree with that statement!!!

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

    "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 05:27:17 AM PST

  •  Oddly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wendys Wink, beltane, 6ZONite

    those most abandoned, the largely un-medicated mentally ill living on the streets, do not go around engaging in the mass slaughter of innocents, or each other. I know a few locally, that have used mace or fists over some imagined intrusion, but that's as far as it goes.

    The last mentally ill homeless person that I knew to be shot by a gun was temporarily living in a group home.

    I don't know where I'm going with this. It's just what I see.

    There is something else going on that pushes these mostly well housed although obviously not well young white men over the edge.

    •  Perhaps people are "going over the edge" due to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6ZONite

      stress from a government that fails to work for the people, but only for the arrogant rich.

      People are being decimated economically. No jobs. No increase in disposable income for over 40 years, etc.

      And we wonder why people crack-up. Jeez.

      Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - Wendy Connors

      by Wendys Wink on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 05:50:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This latest shooter came from a well off family (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wendys Wink

        From what I've read.

        I don't discount the premise of your diary or the horrible state of things in general, for the mentally ill and those that just break from stress. Our government is certainly not good at taking care of some its own most needy.

    •  As the son of a GE executive (0+ / 0-)

      the shooter presumably had ace's to mental health services that many other Americans do not enjoy. The thing is, mental illnesses are mostly no curable and are only partially treatable even in the best of circumstances. While improved access to mental health services are an important goal in its own right, I don't see how it would prevent these types of crimes in a society where guns are just out there for the taking.

  •  small quibble about the PC reference (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beltane, Wendys Wink, 6ZONite

    since it as a term is used as a pejorative by wingers to describe things which offend them but which they rarely understand or else have full comprehension of:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Another quibble is that the 1970s were not the ones for the gutting of mental health services as Carter managed to pass Mental Health Systems Act of 1980.  Reagan, in his drive to "downsize government", led to much of the "mainstreaming" of mental health pts and other ill considered actions
    http://www.miwatch.org/...

    •  True, but the process was standing in the wings (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6ZONite

      waiting for Reagan.

      Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - Wendy Connors

      by Wendys Wink on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 05:52:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, 'governor reagan' (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6ZONite, entlord

        gutted the mental health institutions here in California as part of a successful campaign to eliminate a majority of social programs (including public libraries and old-growth redwoods, etc)

        ...and then the former host of 'Death Valley Days' (prophetic for Californians if you ask me) ran with his plan all the way to the White House. Successfully.  

        "the most beloved president of all time"

        peg noonigan can kiss my arse

        "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

        by Sybil Liberty on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 06:28:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  No telling the numbers of people (0+ / 0-)

    who live their lives in prison, who should have been placed in a mental health system long before they committed the crimes that landed them in prison.

  •  It's important to remember how (0+ / 0-)

    awful living conditions were in so many of the state mental hospitals. They were overcrowded and underfunded. I have a friend who was twice involuntarily committed to hospitals in Massachusetts. He suffered from manic depression, but the only treatment he received was to be placed in a straight-jacket and dosed with Thorazine. After a few weeks he was released, without any support. Fortunately he was a student at Harvard and got treatment through the school.

    I agree that our society needs to invest much more into mental health care and treatment. Re-institutionalizing people is not a panacea. I think that most people would be better off living in the community with a strong support network. support network.

    My former sister-in-law suffers from schizophrenia and she has been in and out of institutions her whole adult life. She always seemed to do best in halfway houses, even though these were underfunded and frequently operated by people more interested in making a profit off the state, than in providing care for their clients.

    Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

    by OIL GUY on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 07:20:31 AM PST

  •  This is wrong on so many levels (0+ / 0-)

    I realize that after such a shocking even many of us are tempted to link issues that matter to us to the event.

    But the problem of de-institutionalization has nothing to do with this massacre.

    First of all, the alleged shooter was a high functioning, intelligent kid who would never have been institutionalized. Moreover, his parents were very, very rich and he would never have ended up in the public mental health institutions that were shut down.

    De-institutionalization happened for a lot of reasons-not just to save money. There really were horrors in mass mental health institutions. Moreover, it was becoming clear that no amount of upgrading of staff or facilities would improve the model. Large scale mental health institutions were bad for patients no matter how well run or funded. The better situation for most would have been small scale institutions with more integration with real life. It was these small scale institutions that were never funded after the big institutions were shut down.

    Too many people were institutionalized for bad reasons. People were institutionalized because they were gay or lesbian; they were institutionalized because they were women who liked to have sex (nymphomania); they were institutionalized because their families found them annoying, unpleasant, eccentric or inconvenient (even if not actually ill). One could go on and on.

    But the main point is that this shooter would never have been affected by institutionalization in the first place because of family wealth and his high function, and up until this tragedy was exactly the sort of person with both mental disabilities and mental health issues who should not have been institutionalized, and wouldn't have been.

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