We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
There are no cures for the most serious, chronic psychotic mental illnesses. Such patients can be helped in many ways but can never be normal, and many such patients, for a variety of reasons, do not cooperate with help that is offered.
Very few of these people are violent, and many of them just prefer to be left alone to live in their strange worlds.
How does one "help" such patients when they have no desire for help and treatment but are unable to live in the real world? Asylums existed for a reason.
It is a thoughtful essay, but I will object to the term "policy" because it implies government action in a situation in which nobody knows what is best to do. "Help" has to be individualized, not manualized.
That may well be true. However most homicides and serious unprovoked physical attacks are committed by the mentally ill (diagnosed or undiagnosed).
In a way it's kind of like saying most people who drive under the influence don't have accidents. But it misses the point because most deadly accidents are caused by drivers under the influence OR distracted. This is little solace to the family whose father or child is killed by a drunk driver.
If you watch enough news it is not uncommon to hear of a adult child killing one or both parents. As the story becomes better known it always seems that the child had mental health problems and/or was taking drugs to treat mental health problems and something precipitated the final violent act.
I don't have any good answers to the problem, there are simply too many people who have mental health problems and many of them have learned how to act/fake more or less normal and never get any treatment AND many who get treatment don't really seem to get better.
My personal practice is I don't trust anyone I don't know and I don't trust many who I do know.
In my experience, a high percentage of violent crime is caused by the mentally ill (75-80%?), including an unprovoked random murder of a newspaper vendor in my neighborhood last year (less than a half mile away from where I live). The guy attacked three more people in subsequent incidents before the police could do anything. The mentally ill homeless have a certain amount of immunity before the law will/can do anything to stop them.
In my city, it has gotten dangerous enough to where I was considering carrying a gun because of unpleasant incidents between my office and my parking garage at night. In the end, I gave up and moved my parking space to my building, though more expensive, because I just didn't want to take a chance on the zombies and wackos I encountered. So now I am in a protected little bubble with security guards patrolling the building and surrounding space.