It’s a well known-fact that I chart our national slide in just about everything to the reign of St. Ronnie: from fiscal insanity, political inanity, and to the rise of pundits like Sean Hannity, it all begins with him.
It’s a harsh indictment, but it is defensible.
When we talk about guns, the rise of the NRA to practically protected status started with Reagan and continues to this day. Even Mitt Romney had to pretend that he enjoyed hunting varmints to win over that craven crowd. The Stench became a lifetime member of the NRA at some point during the primaries. It is that important.
But, you say, what’s this about mental health?
One of the things that is not widely known outside of California is that Saint Ronnie closed down the public mental health institutions in California when he was the governor (and despite popular belief, they did not all become members of Congress upon release); he said that they were too expensive and he didn’t want himself nor his pals to pay for them. Prior to that, there really was not an epidemic homeless problem nor crazy people wandering the streets having arguments with the voices in their heads.
Also, there were not mass murders nor acts of terrorism, or at least not on the scale and frequency we see today. And before you say it, I’ll say it for you: “correlation is not causation.” But there is a nexus between mentally ill people and gun violence.
Susie Madrak over at Crooks and Liars has a harrowing piece up that I think is required reading. In summary, it is one mother’s experience with a brilliant but violent child and how there is nothing, nowhere to turn except to the criminal court system. It’s appalling.
Anyway, reading the post about the mother with the kid who alternates between extreme brilliance and extreme violence, it is easy to see how someone who clearly needs help could legally buy a gun. So as we (hopefully) start to discuss some kind of gun regulation following the horrific events of this past year, let’s also try to force some sensible mental health standards. These things are related somehow, we need to acknowledge that they are part of the problem, and we cannot address the horror of little children being slaughtered without discussing how this young man never got the help that he needed, too.
(BTW, not one pro-gun Senator agreed to be on Meet the Press today, and they tried to get them on the air.)