My friend George was murdered in 1973 running along the beach in San Francisco. I was running with him earlier or would not be alive to write this letter. Today we are all victims of gun violence and need the political guts to take a different approach.
Prayers may work for people who believe in prayers, but thoughts are what make mass killers kill others. Until Ronald Reagan shut down California state hospitals that housed, clothed, fed and kept unstable and insane people secure, they had a safe haven – and so did the American people. Shuttering hospitals to achieve a surplus made it acceptable for unbalanced, unpredictable people to wander the streets without oversight. Add to this the freedom for nearly anyone of age to buy guns, and the latest carnage.
Too often, an individual’s rights to weapons and his own fragmented mind hold precedence over the rights of the many.
Government and we the people need to act on the truth that some Americans have dysfunctional brains and are dangerous. Demand legislators re-establish humane, safe hospitals run by compassionate medical personnel. Current medications treating mental illness mean that people suffering short-term illness can be released once fully stabilized.
It’s tragically past time to acknowledge that severe mental illness requires swift and serious responses that ultimately protect everyone. Create sane gun laws and facilities that reflect Jeremy Bentham’s greatest happiness for the greatest number – this is indeed the measure of right and wrong when it comes to solving America’s gun violence.