Galveston County prosecutors are right in attempting to get Donald Neely out of the court system and into a mental health treatment program. It’s the only humane, socially responsible thing to do and the only thing remotely likely to benefit Neely, who was homeless and had been diagnosed with a couple of mental disorders, and the community against which he’d become a serial trespasser.

The only problem with the plan is that it’s an ad hoc solution cobbled together at least in part because of public outcry over the methods mounted police officers used Aug. 3 during Neely’s sixth arrest for criminal trespassing at a public building in downtown Galveston.

Michael A. Smith: 409-683-5206;

(24) comments

John E Sr. Macrini

We've failed....??? I guess if the family of Donald Neely has not sought help via The Gulf Coast Center, then it becomes the responsibility of general public through the police and courts to do so. Michael, I'm sure you've heard of The Gulf Coast Center. When Mike Winburn was director, GCDN used to post events and celebrations of the Gulf Cost Center regularly.

Debra Criss

Stop blaming the family. If he had no family, or was estranged, what would your diversion be?

Raymond Lewis

Agreed Debra. Most families have long ago exhausted their emotional and financial resources. They do their best but are simply incapable of coping with a severally mentally ill family member. As Michael has pointed out, there are too few alternatives even with Gulf Coast.

I'm willing to bet the Neely's have tried for years as best they could. The last thing they need is blame. Neither does any similarly challenged family.

John E Sr. Macrini

Save that money you are willing to bet and donate it to the Neely's since you have framed this dilemma as emotional and financial exhaustion resulting in incapability and too few alternatives. You could use your influence in the community to help.

Raymond Lewis

I do Mr. Macrini. Hopefully you and others do as well.

Brian Tamney

iif the family couldnt help him it damn sure aint my problem!!

John E Sr. Macrini

No diversion, it would be up to the police and courts to begin remediation. When the police did their job, they were vilified for doing so. We need to throw more money at the problem.

Bailey Jones

Outcomes are based on priorities. Texans don't care about the mentally ill. Except, of course, when we need someone to blame for the latest mass shooting.

Carlos Ponce

Texans do care for the mentally ill. But placing them in appropriate facilities is difficult. I still think Neely just wanted three hots and a cot and being re-arrested would help him attain this goal. He voiced no objection to being arrested. His sister reported Neely thought the police were "nice".

Wayne Holt

Carlos, I have agreed with the majority of what you've written on this topic but with all due respect, I don't think that was the case at all. I have observed Mr Neely at night probably more than anyone on here and I can tell you by his consistent actions, he did not act like someone who, in any way, was capable of thinking like that. I believe the family's mention of a diagnosis is correct: bipolar and perhaps even less functional than we customarily think in terms of that condition.

His behavior was consistent with someone in their own world, not someone who was trying to game the system. Of course, that is also a very good reason that people shouldn't automatically assume this situation did not have the potential, at some point, to become dangerous.

Carlos Ponce

Hunger can be a intrinsic motivator even in those "Whom the gods would destroy".

Phrase taken from the poem "The Masque of Pandora" (1875), by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. "Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad."

Gary Scoggin

Crime, homelessness, poverty -- Mental illness is at the heart of many of the problems plaguing our society today.

Alan Waters

Jose': I have to say that I believe that you are right on target. Family first should be the answer. We all know why they put together a legal team so quickly and it isn't to help Mr. Neely. We are finally seeing the real issue. Why was Neely arrested and why has he been arrested so many times in the past and no one threw up a red flag.

Jose' Boix

Alan: Thanks, but it seems that we both are "a group apart." it seems that this historic statement “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” is really history. What a shame!

Jose' Boix

To me the 2 salients points are:

1. Mr. Neely has family locally; the family should be the first line of help; they should have been the "drivers" to get help; and,

2. Somehow very quickly Mr. Neely's family was able to put together legal counsel.

The added concern to me was the failure of the social services, police and even the business frequented by Mr. Neely; why there was no noted actions to try to get him in contact with the family and/or help?

Somehow, to me those were the significant issues that needed to be dealt with. Letting something like that linger on for the time it took, and then developing a resolution after the problem went off-kilter is beyond sad. Just my thoughts.

Bailey Jones

This is we have government - to provide the safety net to catch people when family, friends and society fail them.

David Hardee

OR - you can perform an analysis of the last 63 years and find the undeniable evidence that since the government "great society" intrusion the personal responsibility, family, marriage, education and etc have been corrupted.

Sharon Stratman

Mr Boix, we have lawyers crawling out of the woodwork who work on contingency and the promise of fame or notoriety. Psychiatrists have months-long waiting lists for those of us that have insurance. If that situation were reversed, we would have a much different situation here.

Jim Casey

Those of you saying the family is responsible literally have no idea what it is like trying to get help for an adult who is mentally ill or addicted to alcohol or drugs. There is no place to "send them" against their will. it is impossible to compel an adult to do anything. And it is close to impossible to get anyone declared incompetent who has not already committed great harm.

You may now write me off as a bleeding heart liberal and return to viewing Fox News.

Charles Douglas

Mr. Casey, no offense, but with all the near impossible legal means available to help the mentally ill, what are you and GDN, doing, or saying, concerning the lobbying of federal, state and local law-makers about positive and affective changes needed to rectify situations like what happened to Mr. Neely? It is easy to just blame the police!!! Mr. Collins elaborated on this somewhat in his Op-ed a week or so ago, when he said, "ALL OUR HANDS ARE DIRTY!" In my opinion there are others standing in line to be blamed way before we should be hammering the police. Allow me to sum up with this.....lets get Proactive, juxtaposed to being Reactive!!!! Let me also say as a ex manager, any business, city, or organization setup without a process for quality/ excellence of output, performance, or control of their people and/or product, will be lagging behind the pack in their overall potential for growth and greatness.

Mary Gillespie

Jim Casey is correct: the first thing we need to do is change the law to make it possible to commit the mentally ill against their will. People as sick as Neeley usually refuse treatment.

Mike Zeller

Jim Casey [thumbup]

Jim Forsythe

Galveston County is starting to take steps in helping people that are in need of mental health. Unless people in need help get it, they will not get better by themselves. Some people may think that a person with Bipolar Depression and other mental health are just looking for a handout but what they need is a hand up. Hope anyone that thinks that all they are looking for is a hot and a cot, does not have to deal with the realty of mental health.

Jun 4, 2019 GDN :Galveston County Commissioners’ vote this week to create a mental health court is an encouraging step and should be commended.

Charles Douglas

Jim, this is one of the things I referred to in my post earlier. That's Galveston County, now What about the Texas Legislature, and The DC CONGRESS? I was not beating up on Mr. CASEY Mike, I was trying to instill some proaction in the process. Mr. CASEY, and GDN, has louder voices which will be heard in far more places than any of our voice Will!

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