Monday, January 17, 2011

Easy for You to Say

Senator Tom Coburn, on yesterday's Meet the Press, stated that there is no need for stronger gun restrictions.  He does not believe that the gun law is the problem.

Coburn believes -- are you ready for this? -- that the problem is in the mental health system.

Jared Lee Loughner was obviously unstable.  We all agree on that point.  He had crossed paths with authorities several times, from college administrator to military screener, and they all knew without a doubt that he was mentally ill.  How could someone this blatantly troubled fall through the cracks?

Coburn believes that the mental health system is the problem.  Loughner fell through the cracks "rather than somebody intervening and helping this individual."

You know, I wholeheartedly applaud Senator Coburn for this assertion.  That is why I will be totally behind him when he introduces legislation to mandate mental health funding for every American.  Because Loughner's mental health problems were a very long time in the making.

As a doctor, of exactly what I don't know, Senator Coburn surely is aware that families and individuals cannot simply be mandated to receive treatment.  Troubled families and individuals may actually want help and not have the financial means to obtain it, much less the know-how to find an appropriate mental health professional.  And then there is the treatment.  Senator Coburn surely knows that for someone with paranoid ideation treatment is not quick or cheap.

It troubles me to have to rain on Doctor Senator Coburn's parade like this, but in the real world, it is people like Doctor Senator Coburn who are preventing people from reaching out to troubled individuals like Jared Loughner, because, frankly, they don't think they should have to pay for the treatment.

Now all we really need is for some sharp interviewer to ask Doctor Senator Coburn where the next Loughner should send the bill.

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