At this point, we have no idea whether Jared Loughner is mentally ill. However, I would wager that he is – that he has a serious psychotic disorder, most likely schizophrenia. If so, it is extremely sad and deplorable (though not surprising given the fact that mental health services in Arizona were cut from an already reduced budget by $36 million dollars last year) that he did not received the appropriate care he needed from mental health professionals. From press accounts it seems that there were ample warnings to initiate an intervention.
Unfortunately, in times of financial difficulties mental health services are always the first to be cut in state budgets. In the long run the consequences of shortsighted solutions to state budgetary restraints always costs us greatly. The tragedy at the Safeway in Tucson is only the most recent and obvious of the negative consequences that our society has and will suffer, whether we know it or not. Most of these negative consequences have and will go unnoticed by the general public. Nevertheless, I would wager that the ranks of the homeless will continue to rise, that arrests have and will increase among the mentally ill, that suicide rates have and will continue to go up, and that hospital emergency rooms have seen and will continue to see an increase with those suffering with mental health problems.
What will it take for us to realize that the price we pay for cutting services nearly always is greater than any savings we may achieve?
The following is from Democracy Now: