Wednesday, October 28, 2015


            A critical part of the multifaceted approach needed to solve this nation’s gun violence—particularly school shootings—is greater emphasis on mental health care.
            Unfortunately, The National Review could not resist distorting the facts and demonizing those with whom they disagree. In a recent editorial the magazine wrote, “The common thread in these tragedies is not the killer’s choice of weapons, but his unhinged state of mind.” That is true, right on National Review! It would sound as if the influential conservative magazine is throwing its editorial weight behind expanding and improving mental health care.
Unfortunately that’s not the case.
            The magazine could not resist lambasting liberals. The next sentence reads, “Liberals pushed the ‘deinstitutionalization’ movement of the 1960s that made it almost impossible to keep mentally ill people safely locked up.” The National Review is distorting the facts. Large state and federal run mental health facilities existed well into the 1980s.
Both liberals and conservatives played roles in closing mental health facilities—a policy that has had led to the plummeting of mental health care.
            New Jersey and Virginia, the two states I am familiar with, have closed mental health hospitals with disastrous results. Both states have privatized mental health care and the result has been a marked decline in the quality and amount of mental health treatment.
            What a shame a major national magazine couldn’t resist trying to score points on the bodies of students, staff, and faculty.
            In the final analysis, we don’t need to waste time and energy arguing whose fault it is that our mental health care system is underfunded and so woefully inadequate.
We need to stop blaming each other for past mistakes and turn our attention to the gun violence crisis.

            We need liberals and conservatives to stop pointing fingers at each other and come together in the common cause of ending the epidemic of school shootings.

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