Inside Opinion

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Tag: Laura K. Sorensen

Aug.
14th

A failed mental health system, a mother’s plea, a tragedy

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Almost never have we devoted this space to a subject we covered just a day earlier.

But almost never have we run an op-ed like the one you’ll find on the opposite page, by Reno and Jennifer Sorensen. They are, respectively, the brother and mother of Laura K. Sorensen, the young woman accused of shooting three customers in a store near Wauna on Saturday.

They tell a story that ought to be mandatory reading for every lawmaker in Washington. Every lawmaker in the country, for that matter.

Our focus Tuesday was the folly of underfunding treatment for the severely mentally ill and imagining they’ll get by unsupervised, untreated or unhospitalized. Left to themselves, they inevitably wind up in some kind of trouble.

Many are preyed upon. Many wind up in jail after committing offenses they wouldn’t have committed had they gotten the care they needed.
Jail is no substitute for a functioning, accessible mental health care system – the kind of system that might help disturbed souls before they act on delusions, fear and anger. Jail is no place for someone whose fundamental problem is schizophrenia, paranoia or some other psychosis.

They don’t heal there. Many jails – including Pierce County’s – can’t afford and don’t have full-time psychiatrists. Jail staffs can’t require psychotic inmates to take medications. The atmosphere and sheer stress of incarceration work against recovery.
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Aug.
14th

A family’s portrait of the accused Key Peninsula shooter

We had two surprise visitors this morning: Jennifer and Reno Sorensen, mother and brother of the 20-year-old woman accused of shooting three people Saturday – apparently at random – at a store on the Key Peninsula.

Laura K. Sorensen stands charged with attempted murder. Jennifer and Reno wanted to tell the family’s side of the story – a harrowing account of living with a severely disturbed girl prone to delusions and violence.

They’d written that story and asked if we’d run it. We saw it as an opportunity to give readers a rare family perspective on a shocking incident of

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