In the wake of a particularly contentious fall campaign season, an obvioiusly unstable man, Jared Lee Loughner, opened fire at a “Congress On The Corner” event conducted by Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Twenty people were shot. Six have died; the youngest victim was 9-year old Christina Taylor Green. Ms. Giffords sustained a life-threatening gunshot wound to the head and remains in critical condition. Loughner was subdued at the scene by others attending the event. For more details go to CNN .
In response to the tragedy in Tucson, Arizona last Saturday, Noel Irwin Hentschel wrote a thoughtful and provocative article in The Huffington Post. It is excerpted here:
“The tragic and devastating attack in Tucson, Arizona on U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and other innocent victims including the killing of a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge was, sadly, preventable if the exceedingly ineffective mental health laws in America were changed. America’s mental health system is undeniably broken and must be fixed to ensure that those who need treatment be required to receive it for the safety and well being of society as a whole.
If any good is to come out of this horrifying event it must be for legislators on federal, state and local levels to undertake immediate in-depth hearings that lead to a definitive change of America’s laws for treating mental health patients. Insurance companies must be required to provide the same health benefits for mental disease as they do for all other illnesses so that patients can be properly treated. Legislators must publicly interview expert witnesses who deal on a daily basis with the overwhelmingly bureaucratic and legal obstacles in their efforts to try to help people with mental diseases. To this end, legislators must listen to family members, law enforcement, medical professionals and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI); these are the ones who know the solutions as well as the obstacles…”