Eli Sanders’ While the City Slept is a riveting account of rape and murder committed by a mentally ill man in Seattle,WA. Sanders won the Pulitzer Prize for his newspaper reporting of the crime and he does an excellent job with his descriptions and histories of the victims, the criminal, and most of all the state of mental health assistance today. A lot of people think of big corporations, money, technology, rain, certain rock bands, etc. when they think of Washington state but just like most states (in fact it is one of the worst), Washington chooses to spend its tax money on almost everything but mental health. Huge tax breaks are given out to corporations while fewer and fewer spaces are available in mental health institutions because of lack of funding. The mentally ill are usually poor and are just not going to be as attractive to politicians as corporations like Boeing and Microsoft. Until 2014, whenever families could not take anymore and brought their mentally ill family member to an emergency room, hospitals just strapped them to a gurney and put them in hallways for indefinite amounts of time because the state’s mental institutions had no room for more (actually they did have a lot of room they just couldn’t fill it because of the lack of funding). Thankfully, this was recently made illegal but that just means the ill person is put back out on the street. Sanders says that in 1955 when we still had many mental institutions there were 500,000 people in them. By 1980, after we had closed a lot of them and went with a “community treatment” model (which doesn’t seem to be working) that number had dropped to 155,000! The criminal in this case, Isaiah Kalebu, should have been in treatment (involuntarily) long before he committed these horrible acts but between the lack of funding, different courts/schools lack of communication with each other and his resistance to any help, other people were going to be victimized, it was just a matter of time. How many times do we have to hear this kind of thing? Why does a place like Seattle have such outdated software in its court system that it can’t communicate with other courts in the same area? Great book.