Thursday, January 20, 2011

Involuntary commitment

Pearls of wisdom from Scott Windsor:

OR - when talking about THIS incident, the focus should remain on the REAL PROBLEM of the state of mental health in Arizona and the United States.

i) Since I’m not a resident of Arizona, or a mental health professional, I don’t have an informed opinion to offer on that score. Of course, Windsor has never let his ignorance stand in the way of firmly held opinions–as his exchanges with James Swan over Luther bear out.

ii) I will say, in general, that we’re dealing with tradeoffs. On the one hand there are horror stories involving the mentally ill, who “fell through the cracks.” The “system let them down.” All things being equal, some people ought to be institutionalized.

But, of course, there are also horror stories regarding involuntary commitment. That creates unique opportunities for institutional abuse. To begin with, it’s hard for patients to report abuse, since they are cut off from the outside world. And even if they manage to report abuse, that is easily discounted–since the complainant is crazy, right?

In addition, totalitarian regimes employ involuntary commitment to punish dissidents. Although we’re not at that point in the US, liberals would like nothing less than to turn the US into a police state, with liberals in charge.

So we tend to have the swinging pendulum. When there’s a horror story about a madman who should have been institutionalized, there are predictable cries for stricter mental health laws. But when there’s a horror story about institutional abuse, there are predictable cries for laxer mental health laws.

To seize this for other topics (even worthy ones) seems to be opportunistic at the expense of those in mourning. THAT was the point of "My 2 cents."

i) There’s nothing wrong with using an incident like the Arizona rampage to make a case for unborn babies. To the contrary, you seize the opportunity when a suitable illustration is fresh in the public imagination.

ii) How does it come “at the expense” of the mourners to protect innocent life? Did I say anything critical about the victims? No. (Mind you, there are also situations in which it’s important to correct the record about a particular decedent.) 

No comments:

Post a Comment