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On The Presumption Of Future Guilt

Now is not a good time to be in mental health treatment. Although people talk about reducing the “stigma” associated with “mental illness” labels, give the public a tragic massacre of the dimensions we saw at Sandy Hook, and everybody who has ever received mental health treatment automatically becomes a suspected future mass murderer.

It just ain’t so.

The problem is not medical, the problem is human. You take any individual who is not solely concentrated on making a million dollars by the time he or she turns thirty, and you’ve got a troubled individual. Our view of success is twisted in the extreme. We’ve got all these so called mental health advocates screaming, “Give, give, give”, because  all sorts of behaviors and emotions are being pathologized.

Bad conduct is not a disease. Shyness is not a disease. Boredom and inattention are not diseases. Anxiety and sadness are not diseases. Elation and excitement are not diseases. Silliness is not a disease. They aren’t real diseases anyway, but you can begin to get some idea of how these mental health treatment sales people put out these crazy (and I don’t mean “mentally ill”) 1 in 4 needy people statistics.

With 1 in 4 people characterized as “mentally ill”, it’s easy to see how any individual from out of this large population of people could cause devastating damage with a gun. With 3 in 4 people characterized as not needing “mental health” treatment, it’s easy to see how any individual out of this large population could cause devastating damage as well. Problem is, once that damage is done, the 3 in 4 becomes a 1 in 4. The armchairs come out, and the diagnosing begins.

Multiple murder is not a symptom of “mental illness”. Multiple murder involves the commission of multiple felonies.  The law imagines every man, woman, and child of us to be capable of committing murder. The only people the law picks up as potential suspects in future murders are people who have been diagnosed “mentally ill”.  If they had the rights of people in the criminal justice system they would not be presumed,  individually or collectively, guilty of these future crimes.

Sage advice is something young people aren’t born possessing. Inexperience always was one of the shortcomings of youth, and walking arm in arm with inexperience goes folly. If you’re going to learn by trial and error, you’re training is going to be fraught with many errors. Wisdom, it has been said, comes with age. Inexperience is not a disease either, but the problem with treating it as such is that then wisdom becomes more elusive than ever. There is no wisdom drug on the market, and there is not likely to be one any time soon.

A pill bottle is not a good substitute for parents, nor is a pill bottle a good substitute for sage advice. When the parenting role has been demoted due to conflicting responsibilities and priorities, the social mentoring role assumes all that much more importance. Folly is a right. Making mistakes comes with making decisions. Making decisions comes with freedom of choice. You are going to make a wrong decision. To err is human, to correct an error is also human. When correcting error ceases to be a human endeavor, you will have nothing but errors.

Forcing mental health treatment on people out of a fear of future violence is one of the biggest threats to freedom this country has ever faced. Force involves the deprivation of liberty.  Liberty is one of the fundamental values behind the foundation of this nation. When 1 in 4 people are categorized as “sick”, 1 in 4 people in this nation become suspected future killers. This 1 in 4 is much more than it once was, before mental health treatment, and with mental health treatment, drug company profits, became such a hot item.

The tragedies at Columbine, V-Tech, and Sandy Hook are byproducts of this mental health system pharmaceutical industry honeymoon, romance, and marriage. Perfect children don’t shoot perfect children. Perfect children don’t exist. Imperfect children have been deemed fodder for the pharmaceutical industry. Imperfect children are all children. Inexperienced children are innocent children. Wise children are adults. What did I say? You’re not going to find wisdom in a pill bottle.

Governmental Persecution of Former Mental Patients

What’s wrong with entering the names of people who have been in the mental health system into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, and barring them from gun purchases?

1. The law behind this action deprives US citizens who have committed no crime of their constitutional second amendment right to bear arms. In doing so, it is an UNCONSTITUTIONAL and, therefore, ILLEGAL law.

2. The act of depriving this group of their second amendment rights is an example of PREJUDICE directed people who have been on the receiving end of the mental health system. People who have received mental health treatment are being made the SCAPEGOATS for gun violence in this nation, and gun violence for which they are absolutely in no way, shape, or form responsible; they are being made to pay for gun violence of which they are completely INNOCENT.

3. Statistics show people who have received treatment for psychiatric labels to be more often the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators. They are, as a rule, peaceful, law abiding, and NONVIOLENT citizens. As they are more often the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators, and as it is merely a few frustrated and failed individuals for whom they are taking the rap. This rap is a matter of extreme prejudice, and it is entirely unjustified.

4. Placing the names of former mental patients on, of all things, a criminal background check list, is a blatant example of CRIMINALIZING people who have had mental health treatment. As I pointed out, most of them have broken no laws, and they are, therefore, not criminals. Not being criminals, there is no reason to place them on such a list.

5. When black people are harassed at traffic stops on account of their skin color by law enforcement, we call this harassment racial profiling. Use of the names and information entered into this database are going to be used, as that is its purpose, for doing psychiatric or MENTAL HEALTH PROFILING, that is, targeting former mental patients for harassment by law enforcement. This is not the way we should be treating our fellow citizens, neighbors, and human beings.

6. Through the names and information entered into this database police officers and federal agents are going to have access to people’s mental health treatment records. This access amounts to a BREACH OF CONFIDENTIALITY between patient and therapist at a massive level. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was designed to guard people’s confidential relationships for health reasons, but the law pertains to the mental health system and civil actions, and it can be entirely superseded by the criminal justice system. The result of these breaches ultimately usually serves neither health nor justice.

We’ve got better things to do with our time and energy than to CONDEMN people UNTO PERPETUITY for the mental health treatment they have received. This NICS database only represents one more way of furthering the misfortunes of people who have experienced the mental health system  first hand as patients. It constitutes one more INJURY directed against this group of people, and as such, it cannot be said to be in the interests of mental health and recovery to maintain it.

Let me reiterate for the sake of those of you who may not have been paying attention. The law behind the NICS database is unconstitutional. It is illegal. Former mental patients are being made the scapegoats for violence in this country. Entering information on former mental patients onto a criminal background check database is a form of criminalization. This list is going to be used for mental health profiling, that is, police harassment. It is also going to be used to disarm innocent people who are more likely to be the victims than the perpetrators of violent crime. It is a massive government intrusion and an invasion of privacy. It serves neither the interests of social justice nor of mental health.

Okay then. Why the bad law? Law makers, confronted with a monumental tragedy in the form of a number of copy cat crimes, have to give the impression that they are doing something to relieve the situation. Unfortunately, it is more important for them to do something about the issue than it is for them to do something about the issue that is effective or that makes sense. They have their electorate to think about. If they do nothing, they are going to be savaged in the media and by the public. If they have no guilty parties in custody, then someone is going to have to take the heat. In this case, that someone is the set of people who have done time in mental institutions.

No More Back Stepping

“Mental illness” is a illusion, a joke, an excuse, a flat out lie. Something may be going on, but whatever that something is, it is not ‘illness’.

We’ve got a whole industry supporting the illusion that defective genes cause people to lead difficult lives that can be fixed only through the wonders of modern psychopharmacology. Complete and utter balderdash!

Was Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President John F. Kennedy, mad? The lone gunman theory has evolved into the lone nutcase theory, and this, in turn, has started a trend in multiple murders. As murder has become some unfortunate peoples’ ticket into the national spotlight, you can expect this trend to continue.

I just read where Patrick Kennedy is pitching mental health insurance parity in Colorado. If “mental illness” is an illusion, what does that make mental health? I will give you a hint. Look to the attraction in tent number two.

This insurance parity thing has something to do with equating meta-physical illness with physical illness. Doing so allows all sorts of people to claim permanent disability payments on the basis of meta-physical (non-organic) criteria.

The government shells out, well, not so good money to subsidize this population of newly but artificially disabled people. Dead beat is not so dead beat if you can claim you’re loony toons. Hand in hand immaturity and irresponsibility have a great future before them.

You’ve got a profession that is poisoning people and calling it medicine. You’ve got a profession that is keeping people down, and saying it is “helping” them. You’ve got a profession that, rather than restoring people to purposeful activity, renders a portion of the population perpetual burdens to the rest of society.

I’ve had it with the entire profession. I will truck no more with psychiatry. I’m not the person to set up a Vichy style government in cahoots with these mad doctors. I don’t want to make matters worse. I’m sick of the corruption that pervades the mental health industry from one end to the other.

I think we should work to get people out of the mental health system. I think it is all the more imperative that we get people out of the mental health system because it is actually a “mental illness” system. Furthermore, it is a “mental illness” system on the verge of becoming a physical illness system.

Oh, didn’t I say “mental illness” was an illusion? Let me rephrase the comment that I just made then. I think we should work to get people out of the mental health system because it is actually a social and physical harm system. I think we should clean up this mess we’ve created by getting good people out of bad situations.

Complete irrationality may be the new trend on all levels of society, nonetheless, it is a trend I am hoping to buck. Communication, outside of military service, should never be a one way street. Somehow the typical argument that is winning the day has much more to do with expediency than it has to do with reality.

When people meet one to one, face to face, there is much that they can accomplish by working together. I don’t think we are accomplishing very much by savaging the human rights of an excluded segment of society. My intention is to work in the opposite direction and for the opposite result.

The Extraterrestrial Checklist

I’ve had a few people recommend for me to read Jon Ronson’s book The Psychopath Test, but I have no desire to do so. Everything I’ve read about this book tells me that it doesn’t speak to me. Frankly, I have had enough of labeling people so-called psychopaths, what with the demonizing that takes place every time a suspect of an alleged crime comes up for trial. Maybe it was F. Scott Fitzgerald who wrote, “They’re not like us.”

LeftLion, whatever that is, apparently feels differently. The following Q&A is from Jon Ronson – LeftLion’s favourite journalist, in conversation with James Walker.

The Psychopath Test highlighted the flaws of constructing a checklist to determine this mental condition but as a society we have to do something to protect us from them. What did you learn?

Suddenly we’re in this little us and them dichotomy involving society and, I imagine, anti-society.

It’s impossible to come up with a simple answer but I think psychopaths exist. There’s no doubt about that; whether they’re born or made I don’t know. But they definitely exist. It’s a real condition and they’re dangerous because they’ve got no empathy, so there’s no talking sense to them. Yet, when this psychopath checklist is out in the world, if it’s misused, and I certainly have been a misuser of it (laughs), it can be a really dangerous thing. You can reduce a person to a checklist and obviously that’s no good. So there’s no definitive conclusion to draw, which is a good thing. But when it comes to mental health both extremes cause terrible, terrible trouble and when I say both extremes I mean the anti-psychiatry movement who think that mental illnesses don’t even bloody exist and the psychiatry mainstream. In a way they’re both as flawed as each other and you have to try and find a sensible grey area in the middle.

Psychiatry and anti-psychiatry are extremes…Yeah, right, and that leaves everybody else to come up with their own conclusions.

In the first place, there is no anti-psychiatry movement proper. Anti-psychiatry was a term coined by David Graham Cooper, a psychiatrist, that was never really even picked up by his colleagues and associates. Instead it’s this word biological medical model psychiatry, the predominate school of psychiatry today, would use to stifle it’s critics. Criticism, and the more criticism the more so, is equated with this mostly fictional anti-psychiatry movement. Anti-psychiatry, meaning anything other than biological psychiatry, has been proclaimed discredited by biological psychiatry. Furthermore, disagreeing with the Church of Biological Psychiatry is accounted heresy by the Church of Biological Psychiatry. Heretics from the Church of Biological Psychiatry are subject to impromptu and spontaneous, if inconsequential, diagnosis.

As for existence, the boogieman exists, he just might not be the boogieman that’s keeping your nightlight burning, Mr. Ronson. Sleep tight. Watch out for little pink elephants while you’re at it.

Epiphany On The Threshold Of A Better World

We need to say, and in no uncertain terms, “NO to forced mental health treatment!” Forced treatment is always mistreatment. This totalitarian loophole in our democratic system of government should be closed, and closed for good. The problem is not, and never was, forced this therapy or that therapy. The problem is force in and of itself because force involves denying one of the values we hold most basic to the democratic process, namely individual liberty.

There are just so many ways in which people are made un-free through mental health maltreatment. They can be restrained by restraining devices, they can be subjected to solitary confinement, they can be electro-shocked against their wishes, and they can be drugged regardless of their own feelings on the subject, even when out of the so called mental hospital, more literally a psychiatric prison, and in the larger community.

A new law is not going to fix this old problem at all. A new law will merely add to the confusion. There are so many laws, and in few places is this more true than in the mental health system, that are not being enforced now. We certainly don’t need another silly law on the books. What we need is for the old law that allows this over extended exercise in tyranny to be repealed. When force is not the law, as far as mental health treatment is concerned, then force is a violation of the law the way it is everywhere else.

The mental health system in fact serves as the way in which mental health authorities get around the law. People are neglected, abused, violated, and die in these facilities, and the offenders are let off with little more than a knuckle rapping if that. The people confined to these facilities are not schizophrenics or manic depressives, and they didn’t come from another planet. They are human beings the same as you and me. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are lying words in a lying book used to make human beings out to be something other than what they are.

Violence is growing more and more common in contemporary society. Violence is growing more and more common because of the lack of a sense of community, and because of a breakdown in communications. Violence is not growing more common because of an epidemic of “mental illness”. That is the myth. “Mental illnesses” don’t kill people any more than guns kill people. When all is said and done, it is people who kill people, and it is people who should be held accountable.

Tolerance is the answer. Tolerance and an end to these arbitrary and discriminatory laws. Intolerance breeds intolerance. We see the results of this intolerance in the multiple murders that take place on an almost daily basis here and there. These acts of violence weren’t perpetuated by people with “mental illnesses”. They are intolerant acts perpetuated by frustrated individuals reacting to other acts of intolerance. Build a more livable world, for everybody not just for some monied elite, and such acts of violence should subside to the degree that such a world is actually achieved. There is often a reason, you see, to unreason, and it’s not the sort of reason that should be ignored.

Mass Murder and The Insanity Defence

In the James Holmes case if the insanity defense isn’t on trial, it ought to be on trial. Now every lone gunman with multiple notches on his gun handle has a better and better chance of keeping his skin post massacre.

A recent story in The Globe and Mail, a Canadian news magazine, Angry or insane? Mental state of Colorado shooting suspect faces court scrutiny, explains the matter.

Prosecutors wanting to prove that a gunman methodically carried out last month’s Colorado theatre shooting that left 12 people dead and wounded 58 have a difficult task: If James Holmes pleads not guilty by reason of insanity, they must prove he is sane.

About 10 states in the Union require the state to prove “sanity”. This presumption of “insanity”, in my book, is not quite the same thing as a presumption of innocence.

“It’s totally subjective,” said Marcellus McRae, a former federal prosecutor now in private trial attorney in Los Angeles. It’s not like proving somebody pulled the trigger. That’s objective.“

Totally subjective indeed! On the one hand you have the legal definition of “insanity” as “a danger to oneself or others”, on the other hand you have a definition of the law that says anybody and everybody has the capacity to commit a violent crime. By legal definition then 100 % of the population is “insane”, and could be locked up in a psychiatric institution given the proper authorization to do so.

I know how lawyers and politicians work, and this is where they start pulling out qualifying terms like “reasonable”. Yes, and this is where no amount of reason is going to mend unreasonable law.

Qualifying is, for example, the term “mental illness” as opposed to “insanity”.

If Mr. Holmes is found sane and goes to trial and is convicted, his attorneys can try to stave off a possible death penalty by arguing he is mentally ill. Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty.

Should Mr. Holmes be found to be suffering from Post Massacre Stress Syndrome his chances of evading the grim reaper are pretty good for the time being. Note that we are not here questioning the “sanity” of laws that allow the state, and some people would call it an “insane” state, to put people to death.

All of this attention on the gunman draws attention away from his victims. The living ones will get their day in court, and the dead ones will require their relatives to speak for them. The grief won’t rest so easily. Healing alone won’t do it. The nation must do something to assuage its own guilt in tending to these 71 victims, and by making the number 71, I’m including Mr. Holmes among his victims. The count doesn’t stop there either, each of the victims has relatives and loved ones who will suffer in turn.

There will also be a copycat killer thinking that targeting this school, or that theater, or the government building over there will catapult him or her into the national limelight. I’m just wondering, where are the people to tell them that they have better things to be doing with their time and energy? There used to be better things to do anyway. I’m wondering, where are those better things going for all of us? Without those better things around it sure doesn’t get any harder for a person to snap.