Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Fate of the Mentally Ill

Here's something to think about: For every victim of a murderously violent schizoid there are hundreds of mentally ill people who die on the street. You see them every day, begging at street corners. At some point in time, they'll die in their pathetic, little encampments under a bridge or in a thicket down by the river.

At a time when diversity and rights and concern for the environment are spoken of endlessly, it's a testament to the impotence of our society that such poor creatures as these wander about uncared for while we talk and talk and talk about social justice.

Loughner wasn't a homeless beggar, but he was insane. Tim brought up the key conundrum in a comment elsewhere on this blog.
I like to think that all of us who haven't committed any crimes have the right not to be pulled off the street and incarcerated, not just the mentally ill. I seriously hope that she isn't proposing that government officials be given the authority to haul in anybody that they deem to be "insane" and therefore a "danger to the public". That's much too loose of a standard, they'd be able to pick up pretty much anybody that the government found annoying or inconvenient.
All of life being imperfect, there is no answer to this. There are trade offs to everything that we just have to accept. We've chosen to prevent the government from rounding up political dissidents by labeling them as mentally ill in the same way as we have chosen to allow citizens to protect themselves by allowing them to carry weapons. Sometimes the crazies get guns and shoot people. It's going to happen. Life is imperfect.

Meanwhile, congresswomen get the best of care and the mentally ill die under bridges.

For some time I've wanted to collect a gallery of photos of the San Diego homeless to share on this blog, but I just can't bring myself to do it, even from a distance with a telephoto lens. They are, after all, God's children, too, not animals to be filmed on safari. This post will just have to go photoless.

1 comment:

Mostly Nothing said...

When I lived in OB, there was one particular homeless guy that I saw. He had a sleeping bag, green, that he carried on his shoulders, up and down Sunset Cliffs.

I never stopped to talk with him, while driving by. I never saw him begging along the Beach or on Newport.

But my day was not complete, and I worried, if I didn't see him walking along the road.