Byline Text

Focus, President Obama, Focus!
The New Debate - Part Two

While the debate continues over how to prevent horrific tragedies such as the one that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, it was nice to see on February 4, 2013, that President Obama focused on mental health illnesses as part of the issue surrounding the cause of many recent tragedies. This is proof that the pressure from various organizations and the American public to address mental health illnesses and access to care is starting to have an effect. However, appointing someone to oversee a committee to study why cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from mental health care would possibly create a problem is not the answer. While we believe it will most likely take several years to organize the committee and find answers, President Obama has stated that in the interim, we must rush quickly and pass new gun control laws on assault weapons, large clips, and universal background checks.

Do our politicians really believe that the American people will fall for this? No senator or representative should even consider voting for any type of new legislation unless real reform to mental health care is included in the legislation. This reminds us of when taxes were raised on people and promises were made of spending cuts down the road that still have not happened and may never happen.

During the ten-year period that an assault rifle ban was in place, it had absolutely no effect on the number of violent crimes committed using these types of firearms. Only a fool would believe that in repeating the same thing again, you would achieve different results. In fact, according to Albert Einstein, it was considered insanity to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. However, we see billions and billions of dollars taken away from mental health care and related services, and then wonder why people with mental health illnesses cannot receive appropriate, necessary, and timely treatment.

We see our government continuously saying we cannot afford mental health care programs and then taking away funds from these programs. This leads to those with a serious mental health illness not being able to access or receive the treatment they need. Decreasing mental health care services and making it more difficult to access appropriate and timely mental health care services often results in tragedies. On the other hand, we see our government continuously pouring funds into unnecessary programs and business ventures that often result in failures and bankruptcies, as well as creating new laws when the ones we already have often are not even enforced. We believe it is a no-brainer and as long as our government continues down this path, there will never be any meaningful changes.

On another note, what will be next? If our government really believes that the American people are unable to see through this, why doesn’t the government just put the Consumer Protection Agency in charge of managing our 401Ks and create a government ran one size fits all retirement plan? Once they are managing everyone’s 401Ks, they could run the deficit up to between 20 and 22 trillion dollars and influx billions of dollars of cash into the economy which would cause the American dollar to be on the verge of collapse. Once that happens, they would then have an excuse to take everyone’s 401Ks in order to save the American dollar. Then maybe they will finally say they have enough money to address mental health care.

We do believe that some common sense safety measures should be put in place such as background checks on all firearms purchases and possibly requiring homes in which an individual with a mental health illness lives in to have all guns stored in a combination lock safe or another secured method that does not require a key. It is important to focus on common sense solutions that actually work while at the same time addressing access to mental health care services rather than on political agendas that focus just on putting more government control on the American public.

On February 4, 2013, FOX News had a segment with a FOX News contributor who stated that we need to change the HIPPA laws so that everyone’s mental health records would be part of a federal database. It is this individual’s belief that it is acceptable to violate someone’s constitutional right to privacy so that we can deny them their second constitutional right. Of course, all mental health illnesses will be included regardless of severity, type of illness, length of illness, or recovery. As an example, let’s look at bipolar disorder. This is a serious mental health illness and how often do we hear that someone with bipolar disorder is responsible for a tragedy? In fact, we have seen the opposite. We can name a few individuals with bipolar disorder who have either received appropriate treatment or learned how to deal with their illness with the support of loved ones and have very successful lives: Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Patty Duke, Billy Joel, and Robin Williams. We could go on and on. Essentially, a one size fits all approach would not work in this scenario either.

In closing, we still believe it needs to be a package deal with real professionals and real input using real intelligence. Not a vice president who talks to a lot of people, tells people how it is, and then tells the American people that it has all been figured out. Those damn guns, anyway.

If you have not read the first part of this series, you can read it here: Part 1: Sandy Hook & The New Debate

If you would like to read the third part of this series, you can read it here: Part 3: Response to President Obama's State of the Union.

For more information on the topic of mental health care, please read our article, The National Mental Health Care Crisis.




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