HuffPo reports that Arizona allows anyone concerned about the mental health of another to report them to authorities to have them evaluated, even as they’ve slashed the mental health budget there. (Many other states are of course doing the same.)
But the key to recovering from mental illness is wanting to change. States can’t force that nor can they lock someone up for acting oddly. This is a good thing, as such detention power could obviously be abused. Some states can invoke a 72 hour mandatory psychiatric hold, but after that the person is free to leave.
Someone close to me was bipolar, went off her meds, ended up homeless and not in contact with reality. Friends got a 72 hour hold on her and it worked. Today, several years later, she’s recovered, and happily married with a responsible job. She really wanted to change and has worked hard at it – and takes her meds religiously.
In any big city you see people wandering around talking to the invisible people. Should they be locked up? Is there any possible way to know if one of them might pick up a gun and start shooting? Not to my knowledge.
My friend DJ says, look, you can kill someone with a machete too. Sure, but you can kill them much faster with a Glock with a 30 round clip and machetes are much harder to hide. On the other hand, he and I live in an area where guns are part of the culture and there’s practically no shootings.
We have a culture of confrontation now. That can obviously make for trouble if mixed with mental illness and guns. I have no easy answers. What do you think?