I really don't like it when organizations I belong to take detailed stands without consulting their members. The fact is, it's not just access to mental health services that needs improving, it's the commitment of society to protect itself from the mentally ill. Now before you jump all over me:
Two years ago the man down the street from us was repairing his roof. When it got dark he quit and went inside to spend the evening with his wife and son. My own son was friends with the older brother, who had moved into his own place as he and my son were both in their late 20s. The younger son, who I will call Cameron, had a history of mental health problems. He got plenty of care and attention from the mental health professionals and his parents, who were educated and caring people. About 1 a.m. Cameron, who had just quit taking his antipsychotic medicine, realized his parents were actually demons. He picked up his father's hammer and killed him. His mother escaped by hiding behind cars parked in our street. It was Cameron's choice whether to take his medicine and everyone had to live with it. Where is Cameron now? Living in a halfway house in town free to meet and greet you and me. Another case in point: A good friend of my son's was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and received plenty of care and attention from his own educated and caring family as well as many mental health professionals. As long as he took his medicine he realized government agents really weren't after him and led his life. He too decided to quit taking the pills and was arrested after flooding a commercial building which housed some government offices, among other tenants. Caused hundreds of thousands dollars worth of damages. Luckily nobody was hurt. My family and I are average ordinary people and other people could tell similar stories. Neither of these cases involved guns. But we just let the (literal) madness go on and on, pretending that people should be able to choose whether to be psychotic and run riot or not. The violence will not stop until we get serious about what free choice really is.