Help them before they kill – Michael Benjamin –


Over the weekend, a knife-wielding man apparently committed “suicide by cop” in Times Square and another reportedly stabbed his mother 41 times. It’s past time to do more about serious mental illness – in New York and nationally.

Locally, recent months had other stabbings and shootings by men whose mental issues had gone untreated. Nationally, James Holmes (Aurora, Colo.) and Jared Loughner (Tucson, Ariz.) had psychiatric histories, too – as did the Unabomber, Dylan Klebold (Columbine, Colo.) and Long Island Railroad shooter Colin Ferguson.

Each time, families and authorities failed to intervene before it was too late.

Meanwhile, perhaps a third of our prison population consists of mentally ill people – and our homeless shelters are also full of similarly troubled folks.

Here in New York, one obvious first step is fixing the “holes” in Kendra’s Law, which permits but too often doesn’t require the involuntary commitment of people who’ve become dangers to themselves and others.

Enacted after a young schizophrenic shoved Kendra Webdale to her death beneath a subway train, Kendra’s Law has reduced rates of violence, crime, arrest, incarceration, homelessness and hospitalization.

But mental-health advocate DJ Jaffe argues persuasively that loopholes in the law still make it hard for families to get treatment for a loved one. Many bureaucrats would rather avoid dealing with the hard cases, and the law often lets it them get away with it.

Read more – Help them before they kill –

Please read this comment from a Teresa Pasquini, a California mother with a mentally ill son. Then read, “A mother’s lessons: Reflections from Teresa Pasquini.”

Grateful for your excellent piece from a “once hope filled mom” in California whose son feels alone and thrown away in a state hospital on a civil commitment when Laura’s Law could give him the help he needs in the community.


About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email FOMB08@GMAIL.COM.
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3 Responses to Help them before they kill – Michael Benjamin –

  1. Bill O'Reilly says:

    Well said, Michael.


  2. Pingback: Help them before they kill – Michael Benjamin – | MichaelBenjamin2012′s Blog | birthfatherssupportnetwork

  3. gold account says:

    “Here’s a tip: when a uniformed man with a badge and a gun tells you to do something, shut up and do exactly what he says,” opined the Herald, which serves the reddest community in “Red-State” America. A more suitable example of the martial law mind-set would be difficult to find.


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