Salter: Shooting highlights mental illness, gun violence

How many stories have I written over the years about the fact that Mississippi has a long, sordid history of simply jailing the mentally ill because it’s cheaper to lock them up than it is to treat them and keep them on their meds? That’s as much a decision by local governments as it is one by state government.

Few states have had more experience with life at the crossroads of racial strife and untreated mental illness than has Mississippi. Listening to accounts of Dylann Roof’s justification for murdering parishioners at a church Bible study, one is easily transported to the bad old days of racial violence in the South….

…The insanity that is the kind of racism Roof espouses should not excuse the clear commission of a hate crime. But offering the argument that stronger gun laws will keep racists like Roof from acting out on their impulses is a fool’s errand.