Mental Health and Free Speech: Readers Write

The Case for Treatment

Chris Walker's story about the county's new jail plan and the needs of mentally ill offenders generated discussion last week ("A $2 Billion Blunder," Aug. 29). Writes a sarcastic Seriousbus, "L.A. County has a policy for dealing with homeless people, called 'Housing First.' Now we know where they're going to be housed. Go, Supes."

The PaleKing agrees: "Incarceration's going to fix that mentally ill problem like it fixes the criminal problem. The prison population already has rates of mental illness at least three times the national average."

Writes 56mv.rider, "It's no mystery why this boondoggle continues — it means construction jobs in the East L.A. area, which secured Molina's vote. More jails is supposedly 'tough on crime,' securing the vote of Antonovich and Knabe. And it means enlarging the Sheriff's staff, which gets the support of the public-employee unions. That it will have no positive effect on the mental health system, and will probably be detrimental, is of no consequence to those on Temple Street, whose only concern is how it looks politically.

"For one of the few times in his life, Zev Yaroslavsky took the correct action. As for Mark Ridley-Thomas, he voted 'present' so as not to offend (too much) his public-employee union backers — a real profile in courage there."

The Case for Henry Rollins

Speaking of mental illness, we promise, we're trying to put this whole Rollins-on-suicide controversy to bed (see "Fuck Suicide," Aug. 22, and "American Bigotry Is Alive in Ferguson," Aug. 29, as well as the Aug. 29 edition of this Comments page). But we got one last letter that we thought was worth sharing — maybe because it's one of the few letters we've gotten lately that's not ripping us a new one.

Dana Martz writes, "What was Rollins' piece? An opinion. He has his thoughts and opinions, and many people apparently do not agree. I am personally impressed with someone who has the guts to say something that is unpopular — something that so many image-obsessed celebrities wouldn't dream of admitting out loud for fear it will ruin their marketability and alienate their fan base.

"I find it amazing that so many people, the people that read L.A. Weekly — who see themselves as out-of-the-box thinkers — jump on a bandwagon so quickly to shame someone for an opinion, demanding theirs be considered but not giving the same courtesy to see someone else's point of view. While some of the commenters decried their loyalty to your magazine, you have earned a fan in me: someone from just down the coast in San Diego. I hope you continue to stand by Henry Rollins and his right to share his opinion. I appreciate that Hollywood still has some truly free thinkers, and not just people posing."

You Write, We Read

Please send letters to L.A. Weekly, 3861 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. Or email us at Full name and contact info preferred.

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