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Honored Advisor
Posts: 11,091
Registered: ‎05-13-2010

Re: Guns

My recollection was that massive deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill came about in the Reagan years. You started to see lots more homeless people after that. Before those waves of people unable to cope were dumped onto an unprepared society, there was the occasional bum that wandered through looking for a handout.

Mike says there were always hoboes in boxcars when he worked the railroad, but that was s a fringe element. They were out there when my grandfather worked the same line in the years leading into the Great Depression.

I think that the abuses of people submitted for care, often in state-run hospitals, led to the mistaken perception that they were better off set loose. There may have been some notion that new meds could manage them chemically. I guess it was not understood that missing a dose led to missing many....

We have traded a lot of mental health facilities for prisons. Much of the prion population is attributed to mandatory sentencing for non-violent drug offenders. The point might be made that they are self-medicating, instead of taking prescribed meds for underlying mental problems. Once prisons became largely privatized, a new lobby was created.

I support decriminalization of certain drugs - marijuana primarily - to help lighten that load on our resources, in terms of money spent. Statistics show that 7-8 % of Americans use pot. I suppose a debate can be held over its status as a gateway drug, but how different is it than to say that beer drinking leads to hard spirits? I think pot is no more harmful than alcohol, possibly less so.