What If He Was North Korean?


Then would we start dropping bombs tomorrow on Kim Jong Il? Or Arab? That would have been convenient, because it would have immediately made it an act of terror. Which it was of course. An act of terror on the homefront, by a citizen of this country. The shooter came here when he was eight years old, so the mental instability and rage that manifested itself yesterday? Made in America.

Seriously folks, let’s not make this about race. Already Korean-Americans (or Asians in general since the many races are often lumped into one category), are anticipating the backlash to come. When teenagers shot up Columbine and when Timothy McVeigh bombed babies in Oklahoma City did we blame white males?

Does race play a role in all that goes down in this country? Of course. Discrimination, cultural values and norms, race is one of many things that contributes to who we are, the good and the bad. But there are actual substantive issues to deal with here, issues that don’t lead us to easy, bigoted conclusions.

Take mental health dollars. Did you know that last year the Bush Administration failed to fully fund the promised $300 million for mental health services for veterans? Talk about a vulnerable population.

In fact, the Bush Administration has tried to cut mental health funding across the board, year after year, budget after budget. These are dollars that go to health centers, schools, hospitals, where they can help us address serious illness before we get to this point.

In his latest budget proposal the president has proposed the following:

-a $159 million cut for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
-a $77 million cut for the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS)
-a $20.8 million cut for Mental Health Transformation Grants (planning grants for states)
-a $2.64 million cut for Youth Suicide Prevention

And, you knew this was coming:

a $17.3 million cut for School Violence Prevention

Fact:

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  • Elizabeth Gettelman is a former managing editor and public affairs director at Mother Jones. To follow her on Twitter, click here.