Letter: Nothing compassionate about mental health ‘fix’

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Letter: Nothing compassionate about mental health ‘fix’


I recommend the Wikipedia article, “Gini coefficient.” Especially scrolling-down to one graph in particular: “Gini Index–Income Disparity since World War II,” which illustrates a fundamental social and economic problem, intensifying since the beginning of the Reagan Era: The gap between rich and poor is widening. We are now one of the least equal countries in the world.

In terms of income injustice and its ramifications, we are like a ship with a leak in the hull.  A leak that could be repaired, in this case with tax policy and other measures. Instead, we fail to make the repair, thinking we can save the ship by throwing stuff overboard. We begin with our least valued passengers, the poor.  When it comes to throwing the poor overboard, look no further than the unhoused on our streets–our Gini refugees.

And, we keep growing a culture of adaptation to that hole in the hull. Most recently with a mental illness “homeless fix” proposed by Republican state legislators: AB 2020. Here we throw carefully delineated civil liberties overboard, in a quest to impound the most visible and problematic of the unhoused – all while failing to address the most salient of facts: Nothing is more mentally destabilizing, for more people, than a chronic lack of housing.

This culture of adaptation has so infected us that our local “liberals” are holding hands with a newly “compassionate” Assemblyman James Gallagher.  I’ve heard Gallagher rant about homeless people. I heard scapegoating and crowd-pleasing authoritarianism, not compassion.

— Patrick Newman, Chico

 



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