May 5·edited May 5Liked by River Page

I happen to be in Augusta, Georgia and today walked by a couple of clearly mentally ill African American men pacing along the walk that runs by the Savannah River.

I commented to my friends how cruel it is that in America people who are clearly mentally ill are not institutionalized and given proper care, but instead are abandoned to suffer on their own, and potentially threaten others.

All because of a discredited Old School 1970s-era ACLU dogma that successfully insisted individual liberty be applied to individuals who are clearly unable to care for themselves in the most basic way.

I actually think the Marine and his helpers were heroic; they could easily have been knifed or shot but stepped up anyway to protect strangers. Jordan Neely's death was tragic and entirely preventable if America still had the mental health infrastructure that was dismantled a generation ago.

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This has gotta be clear to more people every day: the left doesn't give a shit about people. We're nothing more than potential weapons for their agenda.

The greatest thing we can do, in their eyes, is die for the cause - whether we want to or not.

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I agree with pretty much everything you've written, up until the last paragraph. Then you state that i) the Marine wasn't a hero, and ii) follow that with a loose statement equating the Left and Right in terms of cruelty, with "a pox on both your houses" vibe.

That Marine _acted_ in response to a dangerous situation where others were potentially in danger, putting himself in danger in the process. This is in astonishing, _heroic_, contrast to the current default position of 99% of Americans, who will literally do _nothing until they themselves are directly threatened (and even then they usually sit there).

Consider this - I just saw a video yesterday on Twitter of another lunatic (black) on a subway, who came into a car acting crazy. When the woman he sat next to attempted to move away from him, he grabbed her hair and dragged her over, _forcing_ her to sit next to him. So she did, looking absolutely terrified, silently mouthing "help me!" - while the rest of the passengers did nothing.

So ask yourself 2 questions: 1) Would you just sit there, terrified? and 2) If you were sitting there, terrified, wouldn't you be incredibly grateful for someone like that Marine? (He would have helped you - at risk to himself.) I'm going to say, if you're being honest, "yes" on both counts.

Your equation of right and left at the end is, frankly, cowardice. Yes - there are a-holes on the right who are celebrating this tragedy. But they are few and far between. Most people on the right that I know pretty much agree with your take on this.

In contrast - most people on the left _want_ to believe AOC's distorted version of this. They want to believe the Marine's a racist. They want this lunatic to be a hero. They want to believe that America's hopelessly broken, and that it's all the fault of everyone on the right. They want to be mad, and to punish the "deplorables". They want this badly enough so that that Marine is very likely to go to jail over this - regardless of the actual circumstances.

And when that happens, the likelihood of anyone stepping up the way that Marine did will decrease. And we will continue our slide towards living in a country where you will be sitting on a subway, terrified, held by your hair, next to some lunatic. Meanwhile, everyone else on that train will be gazing into their smartphones, intently ignoring what is happening to you.

You _know_ this. So please have the moral courage to omit this equivocation that a distressing number of journalists see as a necessary coda to their articles.

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I live in a large west coast city and my work regularly brings me into vacant, damaged or otherwise abandoned buildings. Virtually all are occupied by people like Jordan Neely. The total squalor and hopelessness of these spaces is difficult to describe, and I suspect the people advocating for a hands off approach to the mentally ill and drug addicted have never seen it in person. A guy living in the basement of a fire damaged house, shitting in one corner and sleeping and getting high in another probably isn't there because tech bros made his rent go up. The policy of neglect mixed with a weird form of valorisation ultimately isn't any different from the shitty right wing idea of just letting them die off.

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Great piece! The response from the hard right is unfortunately predictable. The far left also follows a dangerous pattern that you hinted at. The fundamental assumption made by the social scientist "Marxist" types that make up the far left is what leads to all these problems in the first place.

They see everything as merely power structures and oppression. Homelessness is a result of unfair economics and social attitudes, not a careless society who ignores crippling addiction and mental illness. Climate change happens because capitalism is greedy and evil, not because fossil fuels have raised the standards of living for billions. Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of poor people don't commit crimes, crimes are caused by poverty. You can do this with any issue the far left is obsessed with.

There's no such thing as human nature, economic principles, or anything that isn't "social structures". As a result we get this weird reaction to tragedies like this. "Either totally demolish society and turn it into a utopia, or don't do anything at all!'. That's why we see so many rational, but not perfect solutions ignored. Nuclear power, YIMBYism, the enforcement of laws, institutions for the severely mentally ill; these aren't perfect solutions, but they are sooo much better than what we have. I beat up on the left for this because they are supposed to be the party of the "educated elite" and they control the major cities of our country. Ironically, when they let the dumbest (and sometimes the most "educated") part of their base get out of control, the most vulnerable suffer.

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This a completely morally appropriate, clear sighted analysis, and totally heart breaking. He did deserve a place to be. He should have been there instead of the streets.

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I'm getting out my Hallelujah and Amen just this once. Great piece.

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Powerful economic interests have developed to "serve and support" the homeless population in large cities. These same people argue against institutionalization as cruel while they pocket the millions cities are spending to address the problem. Many cities spend more per capital on the homeless population than they do on K-12 education. In Seattle it is estimated that 90% of the homeless are mentally ill, addicted to opioids/meth or both. Currently there is a fentanyl overdose death every 8 minutes in the US. The addicted homeless for the most part cannot help themselves. Institutionalization would allow for treatment and isolating them from their drug supply, a chance to get back on their feet. How is giving them a better chance of survival and escaping the streets cruel?

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Thank you for writing this up; it’s provoked uncomfortable thoughts for me, so while I cannot say I “liked” it I am glad I read the whole piece

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This is very sad.

Give you two guesses why the vocal left doesn’t want to define nor allow standards for mental health.

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