Monday, November 07, 2005

Asking "why?": First step in reform

Perhaps looking from almost 2,000 miles away at a mother who ended the lives of her three children allowed the editor of the Texarkana Gazette to gain this thoughtful perspective. Lashaun Harris, as you will recall, threw her three young children to their death off a pier in San Francisco – she was not taking medication for her schizophrenia at the time.

The editor of this Texas paper – a state all too familiar with tragedies like this one – chooses not to finger-point but instead to ask questions about what could have brought a woman and her three sons to the end of that now infamous pier. The answers hold the beginnings of solutions that can bring help instead of headlines to the next Lashaun Harris, Andrea Yates, Dena Schlosser, Julie Rifkin ...

And the main question?
The problem with the benchmark of having to be a danger to oneself or others is that often the damage has been done - tragedy has struck - when the dangerous behavior becomes, at last, recognizable enough to meet that standard. Why can we not make sure people who need medication stay on it?

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