After the Sandy Hook tragedy, I wrote the following blog, What you can do about the Sandy Hook shooting. It included the form-letter below, which I encouraged readers to use themselves to send to their own congressmen, either paraphrasing it, or cutting and pasting it in its entirety. I sent it in its entirety to my Representative, Mike Quigley, that same day, December 16th. Today he wrote me an email in reply saying thank you for writing him on the issue of stricter gun control.
Mike Quigley didn’t read my letter. And his assistant, or whomever answers his emails, didn’t read my letter.
My letter asks for improvements to mental health care. In fact, I specifically suggested NOT spending more money on gun control! (Actually, I am probably the only bleeding heart liberal on the planet who is against more gun control.)
I would cut and paste Quigley’s reply here, but the note at the bottom of his letter says the email may contain PRIVILEGED OR CONFIDENTIAL information (yeah, in all shouty caps) and is intended only for my use and that I could be subject to penalties under the law for improper use of it or further disclosure. His email also said, “Do Not Reply” at the top when I tried to reply.
Really? Your letters to your constituents are SECRET? I can be penalized under the LAW for sharing a letter I received from my congressman? WTF?
I can see why you want it that way, though. You’re not listening. No one in your office is listening. You say you will take action on something I specifically told you I wanted you to not take action on. And your idiotic response is proof.
Well, here’s my little secret. I’m a blogger. I’m mad. And I will remember this farcical level of incompetence come election time. And that, Representative Quigley, is not privileged or confidential.
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The Honorable (full name)
(Room #) (Name) House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
In light of the horrible tragedy in Sandy Hook, I would like to call on you as my elected representative to please raise awareness of the terrible state of our country’s mental health care system, and direct you to take action devoted to securing more funds for its improvement.
Yes, the budget is a mess, with fiscal cliffs and huge deficits, but instead of spending millions in Band-Aid-style, feel good fixes (metal detectors in schools) or tangential “cures” (gun control) we should be spending money to treat one of the major underlying problems that leads to this type of tragedy in the first place: people with mental health disorders need treatment and help, not jail time. (NPR: jails struggle with mentally ill) The mentally ill need more facilities specifically dedicated to their care and treatment, and we as a society need to begin to take the stigma away from mental illness and begin seeing its sufferers as we would any person with any other disease.
Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns and for any effort you can make toward improving our country’s mental health care system.
(Sign with your name and address or your letter will be disregarded.)