Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How Many More Deaths Is It Going To Take?

From the October 3, 2011 Santa Rosa (Cal.) Press-Democrat:
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.


  1. Don't forget the death (murder) of Kelly Preston in Fullterton, CA. He was known to have issues and when the police came to investigate someone prowling cars to break into, they came upon Kelly who was unable to comply with a bully's..er...cop's instructions and then the cops proceeded to kill him.

  2. Within two blocks of my home in Santa Monica is another man about our age who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his late teens. He was a straight A student in Jr. high school, and started downhill in late high school. For a while he could walk dogs for the neighbors, but now he just roams the streets standing outside fast food places and liquor stores bumming change and smoking cigarettes.
    It is interesting who is blamed for "emptying out the asylums."
    I always tell people it was the ACLU and the Cal Legislature, but you can't argue much with articles of faith.

  3. The ACLU and the California legislature certainly have their share of blame, but there are many other factions and causes of this stupidity. I'm going to try and get the book available in Kindle format this weekend.