Oklahoma County Jail Acting as Surrogate Home for the Mentally Ill


The homeless who are mentally ill and living on the streets is an issue that won’t go away but it is pretty much totally ignored by our city and state officials. The Oklahoma County Jail is acting as a surrogate home for a lot of the mentally ill in this city and that is true around the state.This has been an ongoing problem since Frank Keating closed down all of the state’s mental hospitals. And kicked thousands of the mentally out on the streets or back into homes with rel…atives not the least able or ready to cope with them. But for Keating and friends it was a problem solved and one that was to be ignored.

It’s a lot more fun to give tax breaks to a few cranky rich old white guys than it is to deal with the very real issue of mental illness and homelessness and what to do with those who cannot do for themselves nor whom have a family structure to help them when they need help the most. I fear sometimes that one day that could be my fate and it is a very scary scenario.

When 1 in 6 adults and 1 in 4 children in Oklahoma face hunger issues everyday and all our state elected officials care more about making sure their rich buddies get another tax cut, it’s then you know where their priorities lie. But they always seem able to convince enough of the now rapidly shrinking middle class and lower income voters to vote against their own best interests to keep getting put back in office.

Their mantra is God Guns and Gays (meaning hold up your allegiance to God as a banner; stand up for any idiot with enough money to purchase a gun; and hate all things Gay). Sadly it works very well!

And so it goes more and more people who need to be receiving treatment for a variety of mental issues and for a variety of reasons end up out on the streets and our Mayor, our state legislators and our governor pretend everything is hunky dory and we’re Doing Fine Oklahoma. It’s like the three monkeys ‘See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil’, ignorance and denial of knowledge is a powerful tool when you don’t want to have to deal with a problem.

When people who profess to be Christians will not do anything to change what is happening in our state and to our citizens, you can easily figure out why so many young people are turning their backs on religion. Where is the Christian Charity so many of our rabid right-wing evangelical so-called followers of that Jewish Rabbi from Nazareth profess to have?

When it comes to looking poverty, low wages, homelessness and mental illness in the eye and trying to help those on the lower end of the economic scale they can come up with great passages from the Bible (that have no relationship to Jesus or his teachings) about why these people are at fault for being where they are. Their reasoning isn’t sound but it’s something they recite at the drop of a hat to salve their conscience and like their reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance it has no meaning other than to make them feel better about doing nothing.

Bob Bearden
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