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1pg: She mentions state-run treatment centers, but weren't those really just prisons under another name? Most of the "patients" were not free to leave... How do we handle this? It is very difficult to get someone committed (as it should be!) unless they agree to it. Most of the truly ill aren't going to agree to it, so a court action is required. Being committed against your will is, in essence, prison.

All good points, good questions.

I hate the idea of warehousing the mentally ill, but fortunately there are plenty of alternatives.

First. In between families and police -- which you mentioned -- there are at least two alternatives: home visits by a psychiatric social worker, and halfway houses. We don't need to force the mentally ill into asylums as in the old days. We (all of society) merely need to make sure they take their meds, or get their therapy, or whatever it is that they need to remain non-destructive of themselves and others.

Second. Almost all "normal" people are able to detach themselves from total emotional immersion in entertainment, whether it is violent movies, pornography, graphic novels, animé cartoons, or whatever. The problem lies with the small proportion of people who are not able to detach. They may seem normal in the workplace and in social interactions, but put them in a situation in which they are drawn into "entertainment" that triggers deep volcanic emotions, and there is trouble. Unresolved physical and sexual trauma is usually the cause, but there are other factors as well. I think we need to start curbing over-the-top violence in our entertainment, to protect ourselves from those who are drawn in to such an extent that they lose track of the boundary between "reality" and "art".

We don't yet know the facts about Adam Lanza, and I hate to guess what went on in his home or in his mind. However, I don't think we need Adam Lanza to make a public health case against blood-and-sex drenched entertainment. The evidence is already quite strong, and would be stronger had not Congress stripped the CDC of funding for the study of violence as a public health issue.

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