Feedback from the Issue of Thursday, January 27, 2011
Fitting tribute to Judge John Roll: This is a thoughtful and informative piece of journalism that attempts to put immediate events in much larger contexts ("Unbalanced," Paul Rubin and Amy Silverman, January 20).
Wouldn't it be something to know how murdered victims in the January 8 Tucson massacre might envision what Arizona's behavioral health and social-service system should look like?
In the case of the Honorable John C. Roll, the federal district court judge did leave us a detailed vision of that system. It can be found within a 17-page document, a settlement agreement Judge Roll ratified on June 26, 2001, in his courtroom in Tucson. Yes, 10 years ago, Judge Roll approved the settlement of a class-action suit (J.K. vs. Eden, et al.), which literally includes a written description of "The Arizona vision and principles" of the public behavioral-health system.
The J.K. settlement bears the name of a young man in Tucson with mental health challenges, but was accepted, in fact, on behalf of roughly 36,000 children and youth and their families who depend on Arizona's behavioral-health and social-service systems.
Many of the people interviewed for this story are among scores who have fought to bring that vision of a worthy behavioral-health system to life for the past 10 years. It would be a fitting way to honor Judge Roll's memory for the state's legislators, chief executive, and cabinet members to dust off that visionary document and rededicate themselves to it as the road map to guide operation of the public system of services Judge Roll knew Arizona's children, families, and citizens deserve.
Frank Rider, Raleigh, North Carolina, formerly of Arizona
Legislators' conspiracy to commit murder: Yeah, yeah, yeah . . . If Jared Lee Loughner could've gotten treatment — had been diagnosed as the schizophrenic he obviously is — this terrible tragedy might not have happened.
But crazy people do crazy things all over the country. This could've happened anywhere, except for one thing: It was painfully easy for a nutcase like Loughner to get a handgun in Arizona. All he had to do was walk into a store and buy it.
No matter how good or bad the mental-health system is in Arizona, Loughner could've been stopped with only firearms registration. He would never have been able to buy a gun in New York the way he did, unless he did it on the black market or got one from a gun owner under the table. And from the looks of those YouTube videos — especially the one of him walking across the Pima Community College campus raving mad — this guy would never have been able to figure out how to do that.
Point is, Arizona made it easy for this fruitcake to buy a gun and kill all those people. The state legislators who passed all those so-called "liberal" gun laws should be brought up on conspiracy-to-commit-murder charges.
Carlos Ruiz, Tucson
"Piece of work" is too kind: Governor Jan Brewer is a piece of work. As some have observed, she had the budget cuts to mental health in the works before the Tucson massacre. That is, they weren't her "response" to the tragedy.
Her "response" was to pay no attention to the tragedy and go ahead with the drastic cuts. Far be it from her to actually reconsider her plan — that is, conclude that her plan for cuts needed to be modified hugely in the wake of such a national tragedy involving a mentally ill man.
Linda Wang, Tempe
Just another murder statistic: I just moved here from northern California. I don't own a gun, but with all the violence around here, I feel I should purchase one. I hear of shootouts and house break-ins all the time.
Just because this guy was crazy doesn't mean [it isn't easy to buy a gun in Arizona and] there won't be more violence.
If I buy a gun and someone breaks into my house while I'm asleep, I'm likely to pull the trigger. Then, I'm just another murder statistic.
The whole point is, Arizona needs to step up its gun [restrictions].
Gonsalo Soto, Phoenix
Time for dissenters to tighten the belt: Where are the suggestions for other measures [besides mental health] to reduce?
All you dissenters, now it's time to tighten the belt, and you snivel like little, punk babies. You lefties have all the gripes, but no solutions.
Stop the giveaways, social welfare, and the freebies to illegals, and there might be a way out of this morass we're all in.
Neal N. Lichmee, Phoenix
Wait 'til it happens to them: Yes, let's get rid of costly mental-health treatment. I bet these politicians will change their minds when a paranoid schizophrenic off his medication shows up at their door. Are these people not capable of intelligent thought?
Ron Roberts, Phoenix
Give Loughner the chair!: Deport Loughner! Or give him the chair. I don't want to hear that nothing happened to him because he was insane!
Sam Mendoza, Phoenix
It's the judge and sheriff's fault, apparently: If Joseph Molina [in "Unbalanced"] racked up his seventh felony and was on the street, it was because some halfwit judge never did his job and had Molina locked up long-term.
Both of these men [Molina and Jared Loughner] have obvious mental issues, but don't be naive enough to call this a gun problem or issue — it's not. They could and would have done the same thing or worse with a knife, a bat, or a stolen car.
Fact is, if Tucson had security on scene, this would have either been [stopped] or at least [some law officer] could have shot Loughner when he started shooting innocent people. The Tucson sheriff should be looking for a job right now.
Some people are just mentally not right, and frankly I don't believe you can cure them. Child molesters are a great case in point; they just keep doing it regardless of their punishment. Yet the justice system continues to let them go.
I feel deep sorrow for those innocent victims and their poor families. Damn tragedy.
Joe M. Owens, city unavailable
A toast to the worthless: Perhaps, someday, you or one of your loved ones will become worthless.
Since [mentally ill] people are worthless, it would be great if they left really quickly, don't you agree? Say, to something like a modern-day death camp. Get rid of them all. Then the United States won't have worthless people, only beautiful, wealthy, super-intelligent people who are all-star athletes and artists.
At some point, these [superior] people would be the last left alive.
Jonathan Souza, city unavailable
Blame Obama, not Brewer: More people are upset because of Barack Obama's placing the burden on small business with his healthcare reform than are mad at Jan Brewer.
The only ones mad at her are 1) people who shouldn't be here in the first place and 2) people who pander to and side with the first group.
Because of the new healthcare regulations, businesses that barely make money are going to have to close their doors rather than pay for employee healthcare programs. Which means small businesses and those in the lower-income groups will be hit hardest.
[Also] you should exercise your Second Amendment rights and purchase a firearm to protect yourself and your family. Get yourself trained through the available programs and become a responsible gun owner. Join the ranks of millions of us in this state.
Brian O'Neil, city unavailable
Go to Europe: The two "reporters" [who wrote this article] are pathetic! Leave your opinions out of the piece, and just provide the facts! Cuts have to come from somewhere, anywhere. Do you want to be taxed into oblivion?
Where is the money going to come from? Keep taxing and spending, taxing and spending? One whack-job gunman, and the whole country comes to a complete stop.
Go live in Europe if you want to exist in a European state of mind!
Johnny Ringo, city unavailable
How many more Loughners are out there?: Had Loughner received help in a timely manner, he might not have tried to do what he finally did. How many more ticking time-bomb people are out there right now without treatment options?
J. Curwin, city unavailable
Crazy and screaming: I was driving downtown [on a] Saturday night and was stopped at a red light off 24th Street and Van Buren, and there appeared to be a homeless man crossing the street pretending to [point] a rifle at everyone. [He was] waving his hands around like crazy and screaming.
I thought, my God, if he had a gun right now, it would be another shooting spree right here in Phoenix, and I would be dead.
Sympathy for mental health? It's hard to find: The article has some good points, and mental health is certainly right at the top of important issues that need good solutions.
However, I doubt that these [mental health] cuts are in any way related to Jared Loughner. I can't see [Jan Brewer] looking at the situation and saying, "Let's cut mental-health funding as a response to the shootings in Tucson."
I'm betting it's just one of the more difficult cuts this state is facing due to the current budget shortfall. There is never a good place to cut money, [whether it be] police, fire, parks, mental health, streets, utilities.
I understand it's tough to get sympathy for mental health. Since I've had personal experience with my son, I also know for a fact that help is hard to find.
What most people don't understand when you have a child with emotional or mental-health issues is that it's not usually because of bad parenting. In fact, most parents in these situations put in way more effort, time, and money to make a difference in the child's life.
Brewer's a hypocrite: Amazingly enough, yet not surprising, Jan Brewer is a total hypocrite.
Definition of hypocrite: 1) A person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion. 2) A person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.
Don't you have a mentally ill son, Jan Brewer? Oh wait. You can afford to pay for his services . . . I'm guessing you believe [that the family of] every other mentally ill person in Arizona can afford to pay for their loved ones' services, as well.
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