The PJ Tatler

Did We Empty Our Mental Hospitals Only to Fill Up Our Prisons and Graveyards?

Read this and tell me that we didn’t.

Do you have the impression that mass shootings are happening more often? Your impression is correct. In 2000, the New York Times published a detailed survey of 100 “rampage killers” who committed mass killings between 1949 and 1999. Of the 100, 73 had taken place between 1990 and 1999. Two other studies have also reported a definite increase in such shootings over approximately the past 25 years.

So why are they happening? Approximately half of them are caused by individuals with untreated severe mental illness. For example, this was true for the shootings at Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, and Newtown and, based on preliminary reports, may also be the case for the Navy Yard shootings. Over the past half century we have emptied out our state mental hospitals so that today we have only 5 percent of the public psychiatric beds compared to 50 years ago. And in discharging the patients, we have failed to insure that they get ongoing treatment.

The culprit: The Community Mental Health Centers Act, signed into law with good intentions by President John F. Kennedy.

What if we don’t have a “gun problem” or even a “video game problem,” but a soul problem that we’re treating with political correctness and chemicals?