Texas’ Damning Disgrace

February 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

The Sacramento (California) Bee editorialized the other day, in response to Gov. Perry’s recent ad campaign beckoning California businesses to check out Texas:

“Check out a state that ranks dead last in the percent of its population with high school diplomas. Come check out a state that is last in mental health expenditures (emphasis mine) and workers’ compensation coverage. Come check out a state that ranks first in the number of executions, first in the number of uninsured, first in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted and first in the amount of toxic chemicals released into water.”

The Old Curmudgeon used to keep a similar list of Texas’ accomplishments in things it should be ashamed of, and failures in areas other states take pride in, but after filling two pages with such feats he decided to move on to less-demoralizing pursuits. But Curmudge’s list did not include the last in mental health expenditures ranking. Not that he is surprised; turns out it is yet another one of Texas’ proud traditions.

San Antonio Express, June 28, 1893

There are 4000 insane people in Texas, while the aggregate capacity of the asylums is but 1500 patients. Where are the 2500 unfortunates who cannot be accommodated? Principally in county jails and poor houses.

Good God!

Think of demented men and women cooped up in prison cells, attended only by those whose business it is to deal with criminals! Of unfortunates entitled to every care, to the most skillful medical attendance, the most pleasant sights and sounds, herded on a poor farm with vagabonds!

Is that the way Texas ministers to minds diseased? Compared with such methods shooting the unfortunates were humane – the avatar of mercy! Texas, paying a coterie of political hacks $40,000 a year for sitting idle, or meddling in matters of which they know less than nothing, while maniacs are shrieking in county jails, must cause the world to wonder! Governor Hogg putting back the sugar bounty lest it compromise the “dignity” of a convict sugar camp, while demented women are wandering around the desolate county farms, must have tempted the thunderbolts of the Almighty.

If we cannot spare the money to enlarge our asylums; if we are so wretchedly poor that we cannot take care of our unfortunate, let us send a committee to charitable Boston to implore the aid of the Puritans! We allowed Yankee railway magnates to complete our World’s Fair building for us; why not pass around the prescription list and beseech aid to enlarge our asylums?

There is no greater or louder crying shame in Texas than her totally insufficient provision of accommodation for her insane.

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