Two Mendocino County slayings and a grueling five-week manhunt that ended with the shooting death of murder suspect Aaron Bassler all might have been avoided had he received mental health care, say mental health advocates.
Nesch said she tried to help Bassler's family get assistance for him and now is advocating for county supervisors to adopt the provisions of California's “Laura's Law,” which may have made getting that treatment easier. Fort Bragg officials have made a similar request.
Bassler's mental health had been on the decline since he was 18 or 19, said his father, James Bassler. His behavior — including numerous arrests and an obsession with space aliens — is consistent with schizophrenia, said representatives of the Treatment Advocacy Center, a national nonprofit group that pushes for mental health treatment.
In early 2009, Bassler was arrested in San Francisco for tossing a fake bomb and drawings of aliens over the fence of the Chinese consulate.
Bassler's family said they'd tried to get him into treatment but he refused, which is not unusual, advocates say.
How many more of these situations does it take to get California (and the rest of the country) to recognize that this isn't just a matter of compassion and concern for the mentally ill--but also preventing unnecessary tragedies?
I am taking a day of vacation tomorrow to try and get caught up on my prep for class, so that I can devote this weekend to putting My Brother Ron onto Kindle and print on demand format. If there was any question about the need, incidents like this demonstrate it.