Letters to the Editor

Deputy McEntire showed his heart

Deputy McEntire showed his heart

Re “Pastor cradled his son as deputy shot him” (Page 1A, Oct. 18): My prayers and condolences to the Rose family for their tragic loss. Sadly, they must have feared for their safety when they called 911 for assistance with their troubled son.

My prayers are also with Sacramento County sheriff’s Deputy David McEntire. It truly is a traumatic event, when in the line of duty deputies must take on the burden of protecting those around them while assuring that they themselves will return home safely to their families.

I recently witnessed McEntire assisting a woman with mental health issues. He was professional and compassionate. His ability to patiently get this obviously traumatized woman with mental health issues to focus, and to provide her assistance was a feat in itself.

My heartfelt prayers and support go out to both the Rose family and Deputy McEntire. What a sad day for all involved.

Vi Phillips, Sacramento

A short history of state hospitals

Re “Thank Reagan, not liberal policies” (Letters, Oct. 18): Letter writer Candace Furlong writes that Gov. Ronald Reagan cut funding for public mental health care. A short history is in order.

In the 1960s, the ACLU began advocating for the rights of the institutionalized mentally ill and filing class-action lawsuits. Then, in 1967, the Democratic-controlled California Legislature passed the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, a “bill of rights” for people with mental health problems. That ended involuntary commitments of mental patients to public hospitals in California. Reagan signed it.

The Legislature’s intention was to provide funding for alternative care facilities, but lawmakers never followed through. Legislatures control funding, not governors. Republicans haven’t controlled the California Legislature in decades. Draw your own conclusions.

Janet Quesenberry, Elk Grove

Civil liberties activists forced asylums’ end

In the 1960s, the ACLU brought and won a lawsuit saying the state cannot incarcerate mentally ill people against their will.

Not long after that, many state mental institutions across the country closed. It had nothing to do with the liberals or the conservatives. It was the ACLU. Prior to the lawsuit, if you had a family member who you felt was a danger to him- or herself or others, you could have that person committed for treatment. That is no longer true.

Judith Becker, Carmichael

Many leaders shut psych hospitals

Yes, Gov. Ronald Reagan closed mental hospitals. But he was following in the footsteps of those who became before him, including President Dwight Eisenhower, who began the deinstitutionalization of mental patients in the mid-1950s. Governors followed suit by releasing patients and shuttering state hospitals, including California Govs. Goodwin Knight and Pat Brown.

President John F. Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Act, which aimed to shift mental health patients out of state asylums into community centers allowing patients to live at home, take on jobs and in general enjoy better existences.

Many elected officials are to blame, past and present.

Jana Saastad, Sacramento

Gun control’s day will come, in time

Re “Quest for common sense in the gun debate” (Forum, Oct. 18): Is it fruitless to think, as Gerald Haslam suggests, that we can get guns off the street? Today, yes.

There will come a day after enough students and teachers have been slaughtered, after we’ve turned our schools into armed camps, and the epidemic of school shootings becomes endemic to who we are as a people that citizens will rise up and ask: How can we consider ourselves a civil society if we allow this crazed culture of gun violence to continue?

Only then will we finally resolve to ensure the safety of all by eliminating the twisted interpretation of the Second Amendment.

Jack Pelletier, El Dorado Hills

Brighten your day, vote Democratic

Re “A dark mood in American” (Forum, Oct. 18): The dark mood that grips common America is self-inflicted. It is incredible that Republicans think things would be better if taxes, spending and regulations were reduced.

Republican candidates are in agreement about the reduction of taxes, but it is the taxes of the wealthy they care about. Ending estate taxes, lowering tax rates for corporations and wealthy people, and cutting capital gains will cost trillions of dollars. The tax reduction of a few hundred dollars for the middle class is an afterthought to deceive voters.

Moreover, shall we cut Social Security, Medicare, infrastructure repairs, the Affordable Care Act and whatever else is vital? Can Republicans build schools, hospitals and roads without tax revenue?

Only a Democratic president and Congress can brighten our mood with policies aimed at helping everyone, not just the 1 percent.

Marlene Aderman, Roseville

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