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The Week


Ted Cruz read Green Eggs and Ham to the Senate, and for all they know it could have been a chapter of the Affordable Care Act.

Aaron Alexis, who murdered twelve people at the Washington Navy Yard before being killed himself, added one more horror to the list of recent mass shootings—Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, Virginia Tech. Like his fellow killers, Alexis was mentally unbalanced. He had been discharged from the Navy Reserve in 2011 for what was blandly called a “pattern of misbehavior.” In 2010, he was arrested in Fort Worth for discharging a firearm in his apartment because his upstairs neighbor was too noisy; in 2004, he was arrested in Seattle for shooting out the tires of someone else’s car during what detectives called a “blackout.” Notwithstanding these episodes, Alexis, an information technologist who worked for a subcontractor, had a security clearance and was able to slip a shotgun—a weapon that not even ardent gun controllers wish to ban—with him into the Navy Yard. America’s decades-long experiment with deinstitutionalizing mental patients has brought chaos to their lives and death to others when the disturbed are violent. Treatment can be more sophisticated than the warehousing of the old days, but treatment there must be.

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