Once again, with the latest mass murder, we get the standard mental heath arguments. Either “He should have been locked up in a mental ward.” or “It wasn’t his fault. He was mentally ill.” or both.
The reason we have so few in the mental health hospitals now were the demands to stop any sort of involuntary commitment unless it could be proven that a person was an immediate danger to himself or those around him and as soon as he might even possibly be judged to be recovered from that acute state he would be released.
It was an over reaction to a system that was abused, where too many people were just warehoused or conveniently put put of sight. It was part of the whole civil rights movement of the 60’s to empty the hospitals. The standards, such as they are, that are now in place are likely too loose, but many mentally ill people can and do present a perfectly normal outward appearance. Violent fantasies are not illegal, and for some people are probably a useful outlet.
Where do we draw the line? Who decides? On what basis? Do we commit people that shouldn’t be or free people who should be committed? No one can know enough to always be right, no matter how many controls you try and put in place. There are no solutions to the mental health issue or many other similar questions. There are only trade-offs.