In the wake of a mass killing at a Florida high school that left 17 dead, and other tragic events garnering smaller-font headlines—such as this weekend’s unprovoked murder of a medical student at a Massachusetts public library—President Donald Trump says America should consider repopulating mental institutions with dangerous people ill-suited for both jail and the streets.
“We’re going to have to start talking about mental institutions, because a lot of folks in this room closed their mental institutions also,” Trump told a majority of America’s governors on Monday. “We have no halfway. We have nothing between a prison and leaving him at his house, which we can’t do anymore. So, I think you folks have to start thinking about that.”
In both the Florida and Massachusetts murders, locals repeatedly warned police about disturbing behavior by the perpetrators. Might the option of institutionalization have saved lives? In these cases, the answer seems a clear yes. Why, then, does merely bringing up the subject of mental institutions evoke cruelty?
The number of residents in American mental institutions peaked in 1955. Coincidentally, 1955, as proven definitely in Back to the Future, ranks as the sanest year in U.S. history.
When society open the gates of the lunatic asylum, society becomes the lunatic asylum.