Letter: Wake up, America

Saturday, November 11, 2017
Wake up, America

Another horrible mass shooting. I really thought Sandy Hook would shake us from our stupor, and that we would honestly start evaluating what is happening in our country. Instead, we wait and make excuses.

Anyone committing this type of crime is suffering from mental illness. Perhaps it is the result of drug addiction, exposure to violence at home or in the media, genetics, PTSD or many other influencing factors. Whatever the cause, it is time to address the status of our mental health system and make some major changes.

In 1963 President Kennedy proposed closure of state hospitals as we knew them. They were replaced with community outpatient facilities. This has been a dismal failure. Many of the mentally ill lack the security of a home and supportive family and friends, and need a live-in facility that provides safety and consistent treatment. Some mental illnesses are safely treated on an outpatient basis, but it is unfair to expect an ER physician to provide the time needed to properly evaluate and stabilize a psychiatric patient in crisis.

How many more will be sacrificed before we own up to our mistakes?

Our current president says the latest mass murder in Texas was “caused by mental illness and not guns.” The shooter was indeed a perfect example of a person with mental illness who, through a series of missed opportunities, was not identified and consequently allowed to purchase multiple guns.

If the citizens of this country believe building a wall will correct our problems, think again. Perhaps our money would be better spent on an overhaul of our mental health system.