Letter to the Editor

Our own handiwork

Los OsosDecember 21, 2012 

The chickens are coming home to roost — in every nook and cranny of this country.

What chickens, you ask?

First, listen to the cacophony of voices decrying the elementary school massacre. They focus on a simplistic concept of “good” and “evil”; mechanistic solutions (give everybody a gun; take away all guns); punishment, despite our already punitive “system,” with torture and “kill lists”; and caging, despite our already incarcerating a larger percentage of our citizens than almost any other nation.

Second, recall (nobody else will) that this country defunded governmentsupported psychotherapy during the years following 1980. We converted Community Mental Health Centers, many established by JFK in 1963, into capsule and pill dispensers. We closed down the counseling component of universities and colleges (including Cal Poly) and began referring troubled students to CMHCs — where, absent a florid psychosis, they were not treated.

Having eliminated most services for the mentally ill, degraded those still offered, and dealt with offenses by the mentally ill by locking them up with brutes — both inmates and guards, and despite a “lock them away forever” plan, we now can sit back and admire our handiwork.

Or not.

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