proposed laws

PA Bill Number: HB102

Title: In hunting and furtaking licenses, further providing for eligibility for license.

Description: In hunting and furtaking licenses, further providing for eligibility for license. ...

Last Action: Referred to GAME AND FISHERIES

Last Action Date: May 24, 2019

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South Fayette Township Municipal Building 515 Millers Run Road, Morgan, PA

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South Fayette Township Municipal Building 515 Millers Run Road, Morgan, PA

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We Hear You: Guns and How We Treat the Mentally Ill :: 03/11/2019

Dear Daily Signal: Amy Swearer hit the nail squarely on the head with her commentary article about the reduction of institutional beds for the mentally ill and its impact on society (“How Mass Deinstitutionalization Harmed the Mentally Ill”).

When we were younger, my wife and I adopted a son and brought him home when he was a day old. When he was 9, we noticed some very bizarre behaviors.

We had him seen by various psychiatrists and he was determined to be bipolar, rapid cycling, and likely psychopathic. By that time we had two other biological children.

It was a nightmare. Our son became so violent and out of control while we tried different medications that we put him in a private residential facility. Unfortunately, the facility was designed for behavior issues, not mental illness. After a year and over $60,000, they told us to come get him, that there was nothing they could do. 

On his 18th birthday, he took what he could carry, had a friend pick him up, quit taking his meds, and chose to live a life of poverty.

Our son is now 25, has been in and out of prison several times, and uses drug rehab as an escape from drug dealers looking to collect. He stays for a couple of weeks and then gets kicked out for noncompliance. 

Based solely on my 25 years of experience with him, I see several impacts on society that never are mentioned. Of course there are the crime, drug use, and theft to pay for the drugs, which then lead to violent drug dealer turf wars. Yes, our prisons are full of undiagnosed and/or unmedicated, mentally ill inmates.

What isn’t talked about, though, is that much of our poverty is a result of mental illness. The mentally ill have an irrational thought process; my son and his friends have no concept of the future. They live for today and the moment. If they have a job but a friend has a problem and needs help, they just don’t go to work and then lose their job.

When they get paid, they don’t save the money to pay bills or to buy groceries, it’s used for recreational purposes such as drugs, alcohol, eating out, buying gadgets. Then when they have to pay the rent, car payment, insurance, or the electric bill, they can’t. Eventually they lose where they are living and then quit their job to deal with life.

It’s a cycle that they repeat for most of their lives. It’s not a lack of education; you can’t teach a rational thought process. When our son was 12, he could describe trickle-down economics and how reducing taxes improves the greater economy. Yet when he has two nickels, he’s looking to spend a quarter.

The way we treat the mentally ill today is to give them free housing, utilities, food, clothing, a phone, cash, and maybe a job and means to get to work. We house them in compounds we call subsidized or government housing, and as long as they stay in their area, we really don’t care what they do.

They can do all the drugs and alcohol they can find, sit around watching TV and playing video games. But as soon as they slip out and interact with normal people, we put them in the system, giving them probation requirements that they can’t comply with, and then send them to jail and prison where they network and learn how to be a better criminal.

Over the years, we tried inpatient hospitalization. Beds are too few, and if the patient refuses to take his meds or to participate, he or she is kicked out.

Of course they are noncompliant. What I have seen is that they think there is nothing wrong with them; it’s the rest of the world that’s wrong.

Look at Eric Harris, one of the teenage shooters in the Columbine massacre. Upon reading the psychiatric evaluation from the FBI psychiatrist, our blood ran cold. Many of the basic behaviors Harris exhibited were also exhibited by our son and his friends.

I know all too well how expensive treatment is. But given the cost of incarceration, the cost of various social programs, the cost of crime, I’m not sure that actually treating the root cause would be any more expensive in the long run. And regardless, it’s the right thing to do.

While our son was incarcerated, we tried to get the judge to force him to take his medications. The judge said our son had rights, and the court couldn’t force him.

The system is horribly broken. At least some of these citizens could be somewhat productive and contribute to supporting themselves as well as society, if we were to treat the root cause and not the symptoms.

Thank you for the insight your articles provide.—Mark Smith, Manchester, Tennessee


Thanks for Amy Swearer’s excellent article on deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill. It would be nice if it got greater coverage. I will do my part by tweeting it.—John Jamison


The problem, it seems to me in reading Amy Swearer’s commentary, is that we as a nation are more interested in protecting the aliens who illegally came here instead of our own (“The Role of Mental Illness in Mass Shootings, Suicides”).

Treatment for the mentally ill has been ignored, same as the homeless here in the United States. If more treatment were provided to the mentally ill, the murder rate and suicide rate should drop.—Mary Brandeberry


Cliche: Guns don’t kill people, people do . Can we go deeper in the root cause?

The sanctity of life is at an all-time low. Many reasons and many answers—individual selfishness and a lack of fear of God among them.—Raymond Schrem


If the government would stop interfering with families and their disciplining of their children, things would be better.

Remember, the government through the public schools forbids any signs of Christianity, supports all kinds of sexual debauchery, forces the homosexual agenda on our children, violates children’s constitutional protections, and counsels children against their parents’ authority.

So, yes, I hold the government fully responsible for all these shooting incidents.—Bob Shoemaker


If we don’t include the increasing addiction of elementary school students to violent video games, in addition to older teens and other adults, we will be missing an important piece of the puzzle.

Check the profiles of young mass shooters, and you’ll find heavy use of violent video games. Elementary school kids are hooked for hours a day on the game “Fortnite,” and unsuspecting parents haven’t a clue what their vulnerable kids are watching on the family computer and at friends’ houses.—Marcy Thobaben


Schizophrenia was mentioned at least once in Amy Swearer’s commentary. Though not brought out here, schizophrenia has also been mentioned as a possible result (or probable, depending on the commentator) of the use of marijuana.

Increased occurrences of this illness need to be considered in light of the trend toward total legalization of marijuana, which  was found back in the 1970s to be a risk to mental health.

Recent writings have explored the idea that legalization of this drug is not the result of later research concluding that earlier research was faulty, but the result of intense lobbying by entities with a financial interest.—Bob Robb


Regarding Amy Swearer’s commentary on the anniversary of the Parkland school shooting, one factor ignored by gun control proponents is the reality of evil in human nature (“A Year After Parkland Shooting, Gun Control Activists Still Misdiagnose the Problem“).

NPR recently interviewed Robert Runcie, superintendent of the Broward County school district in Florida where the Parkland shooting occurred.

A male who tries to kill someone for no reason is not a “gentleman” but an evil monster, and his shooting of the future superintendent’s mother was a criminal act of attempted murder, not a “hate crime.”

Until our society and leaders address the intrinsic evil in human nature and quit hiding behind mental health and gun violence as convenient excuses for sadistic acts, we will never be able to effectively cope with this problem.—Bert Chapman