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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just more evidence of how badly the mentally ill are treated in this nation

Jared Loughner made it abundantly clear that he needed help.

And that he was a threat to himself and others.

Yet, he never got the help he needed.

From the article:

"In February, Loughner stunned a teacher by talking about blowing up babies, a bizarre outburst that marked the start of a rapid unraveling for the 22-year old, who is accused of slaying six people and wounding 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

"After his first flare-up, campus police decided not to intervene.

"I suggested they keep an eye on him," an officer wrote.

"Loughner's on-campus behavior grew increasingly erratic, menacing, even delusional. Fifty-one pages of police reports released Wednesday provided a chilling portrait of Loughner's last school year, which ended in September when he was judged mentally unhinged and suspended by Pima Community College.


"School officials told Loughner and his parents that to return to classes he would need to undergo a mental health exam to show he was not a danger. He never returned."

This is how the mentally ill are treated in the US. Pawned off on others for help instead of getting help.

And we all suffer for it. Some with our lives.

For the record, here are the facts:

Mental health facilities such as state hospitals closed in the 1960s and 1970s with the expectation that people could help in their own communities. This help never fully materialized. Thus we began using the criminal justice system to deal with the mentally ill.

We have elected to wait until people who are sick commit crimes--sometimes horrendous crimes--until we do something about it. And the thing we do about it is lock them up.

Thus, we've decided to invest in prisons rather than medical treatment even though the former are more expensive, more destructive, and less effective.

But the media at least have yet another crazy person they can use to generate profit.

And for more:


  1. I understand that there are mentally ill people in society, but those that are do not readily admit to it. How do we trust that they are ill we hook them up to some man made machine and it gives us an answer, as though humans have the know all. I think a lot of those that claim mental illness use it as a cop out for their actions because they do not want to take on the resposibility. Also how do you really know if a single outburst of violence really means a person is disturbed, if that is the criteria then a lot of us are probably mental, because I am sure every human has had a violent thought in a time of rage. It is the action we take that sepparates us, and I have learned the hard way that you can not save everyone so who is to say that a mental institution would do anyone any good. Plus all humans are different and when we say mental ill it is a very broad term. There are those that only have mentally ill moments, but live regular, natural lives the rest of the time. Now in the above example I am not talking murder. I am also not saying that this is the case in this particular issue, this guy could really have some problems upstairs, but I also believe people do bad things, just because I believe that humans are estranged and naturally evil, and in things for themselves, rather it be attention, greed, lust, or others. It is the rules and the fear of consequence that keeps most of us from going outside the lines.

  2. Littlebit, we don't always know when a person is mentally ill but in some cases (like this one) it is pretty easy to tell. Mental illnesses often fit a known profile and all signs point to it in this case, including age of onset and the symptoms he had. We're not talking about one incident but instead many.

    As for violence, the mentally ill are rarely violent. They become violent under certain circumstances -- when they have delusions/abuse drugs/and don't get treatment. This guy had all three.

    As for treatment, we know it works -- not hospitalization but instead therapy plus medication. And it's cheaper than the money we will spend to now house this guy for the rest of his life.