As the country grapples with two more horrific tragedies, blame gets pointed at guns and the president. About 35 years ago or so, Pennsylvania, along with almost every other state, began closing its state mental hospitals, saying they were too costly to run and in many instances provided inhumane treatment.
Overall, these hospitals served a very important purpose, and their closure can be directly linked to the problems we’re experiencing in our country now.
One federal legislator was having trouble with his son’s mental challenges and could not find a place to take him for help; the son eventually killed himself. Other families have experienced the same dilemma.
Additionally, violence is rampant on television, in the movies and in video games. Years ago, we had oversight of the industries that spew out the violence. That oversight was ruled unconstitutional and now we’re all suffering from the breakdown in our society. The internet is the new Wild West — anything goes there, every type of hate imaginable can be found and most of it is protected under the Constitution.
Several people discussed the shootings in Texas and Ohio and said that the causes are much deeper than guns and guns laws. Yes, we do have to look deeper. And until we recognize that we have to clean up the exposure to violence in our entertainment industry, police the internet and redevelop a system of mental health facilities that we shut down, we won’t be addressing the problems and finding real solutions.
Gary M. Levinson