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Families speak out 10 years after mental health tragedy | News

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Families speak out 10 years after mental health tragedy
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News10@9 airs weekday morning at 9 a.m.

SACRAMENTO -- On January 10, 2001, 19-year-old Laura Wilcox and two other people were shot to death by Scott Harlan Thorpe, a 41-year old a mental patient who resisted his family's attempt to seek treatment.

Both families were on News10@9 a.m. on Tuesday.  During the emotional interview, they talked about what has been done and how much more needs to be done. 

"Our daughter would have been 30 this year," said Laura's mother.

One issue they brought up was Laura's Law, which went into effect after the shooting.  The law is now is expiring due to budget issues -- and they are fighting to keep it alive.

We asked News10 viewers if they thought enough has been done to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again. 

Below are their comments:

Mike Thought: Napa State Hospital

Julie Kennedy: No, there hasn't. With the budget cuts, even less is being done to help the mentally ill.

Melissa Perez: No, not nearly enough is being done to help those in need. Whether they need help by asking or having to be diagnosed there are many mentally incapable people crying for help and getting nothing in return.

Jessica Walker: Mentally ill people cannot receive treatment until they are a threat to themselves or others and sometimes it's too late. They receive no help and cannot function in society which is why there are so many homeless.

Carrie Courter: Sadly, this happened in Nevada County, where it is that much harder now for those who need to get help to get it. The bus route (and many mentally ill have no other transportation) only goes to the county mental health building about 3 times a day. It is so far out of the way, that I know a few who don't go anymore because they would get lost.

Kathy Day: Thank you, News10, for talking about this. And thank you, Assemblyman Mike Allen for working to prevent this law from expiring!

Deborah Snider: no

Kathy Boxell-Garel: Absolutely not!!!

Nicole Mahrt: No, enough is not done. Police need more training on how to deal with mental issues and as a society we need to stop fearing it and find ways to get people care. Sadly it's very difficult when they won't take help.

Karen Whelihan: I watched this segment, sad even after all these years... It could have been prevented had the state stepped up and provided the proper facility for people living with mental disorders. When I was growing up in Santa Clara, CA. There was a mental facility called Agnews off San Thomas, whiched housed people with various degrees of mental disorders. I do not recall ever hearing of these shooting rampages like we do now, because the people with these dis orders were not out in society. They were in a safe, monitored enviroment. The state needs to provide facilities like this again, and properly staff them. Insurance should cover them at least 80 percent, if not 100 percent. People with these disorders never recover, medication only masks or numbs the problem.

Robin Borba Besotes: Too many healthcare professionals are throwing out "patient privacy" as I read in this case via a newspaper article. If they don't want to get involved, waste their time or deal with the situation they'll say..."It's patient privacy.". Disappointing.

Dennis Schmidt: No, there hasn't been enough done
My long time friend just committed suicide and he tried to take the kids (teens) with him. He poured gas all over the house and lit it up. It's the third friend in five years to commit such a horrible suicide.

Sue Hughes Martin: Absolutely not most mentally ill people are unable to hold a job for more then six months which means they get no medical benefits. They can get medical, but that does not cover mental help or medications. Each county has a Department of Mental Health but are so overwhelmed they only get seen every three months or so. These people get virtually no help whatsoever. My 29-year-old son is mentally ill and his father and I pay out of pocket almst $1000 a month so he can get the help he needs and still he struggles -- obviously not like if he did not have help but still he struggles.

Brian LeVene: This is the price of freedom. America is the handgun murder country of the world. Make laws to change this, and you are violating people's rights.

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