Here’s a column from July that makes the point: It is scandalously difficult to get treatment for the mentally ill, even the violent, in America today. Misplaced civil libertarianism and romanticization of mental illness led to deinstitutionalization in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Now, 95 percent of the inpatient beds we had in 1955 are gone.
It’s important not to stigmatize the mentally ill. At the same time, there is a small subset of mentally ill people who are dangerous. They are responsible for an estimated 50 percent of rampage killings. In the name of personal autonomy, we have made it almost impossible to force them to get treatment. The horrifying consequences are all around us.