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Letter

Anyone involved in today’s gun debate who says we don’t have a mental health problem in the U.S., needs to open their eyes and stop hyperventilating about gun control. In the 60s, I volunteered at several mental institutions including one for the criminally insane. There were many institutions that served mental health needs. Since the mid 70s, the States/Feds have closed mental hospitals and swept the people with mental issues under the carpets, or more accurately into the streets. It appears that the view is — ignore it and it will go away. Just look at the streets of many of our cities and it is obvious that there are a very large number of ticking time bomb people who need serious help. Ignoring them is dangerous to society, and inhumane. Granted helping them, as any society should, is difficult and costly but not doing so even more costly. The easy way out is to push gun control as it “only” costs the constitutional rights of citizens, but does nothing to help people who are in dire need of assistance. Gun control is perceived to be more valuable to an election campaign than working on the mental health crisis. This is sad and a testimony directly against the hollow politicians we currently have seeking office. Where are the politicians and citizens who will address the mental health problem? They should be ashamed but they aren’t and we shouldn’t let them get away with it. Mental illness directly or indirectly affects millions in our society — their constituents. I guess addressing the mental health crisis is not seen as a way to get elected. Sad that no one is willing to get off the gun story and onto the mental health story. Sane people don’t go out and do mass shootings. Let’s get our politicians to focus on the correct, not the expedient issue.

Bob Cote, 

Polson

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