The title of a Fox News article released on December 20, 2012 is “Connecticut killings reopen debate on FORCIBLY committing the mentally ill” (Web-site/URL: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/12/20/connecticut-killings-reopen-debate-on-mental-illness/). This is the latest example of the “force and pain technique” (Web-site/URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgnAY_eXYbI).
“The tragedy in Connecticut has reopened a difficult debate over whether states should be allowed to INVOLUNTARILY commit the mentally ill“. “involuntarily” again = BY FORCE.
“The trend over the decades has been to RELEASE mental health patients, with a number of court cases RESTRICTING involuntary commitment. Last week’s deadly rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School exposed (HUGE) cracks and inconsistencies within the nation’s mental health system. Many say that UNTIL those problems are fixed, IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME before another NATIONAL NIGHTMARE unfolds”. From COLUMBINE (April 20, 1999) to the BELTWAY (Virginia) shootings in OCTOBER 2002 to VIRGINIA TECH (April 16, 2007) to CHARDON HIGH SCHOOL (February 27, 2012) to the AURORA COLORADO THEATER shootings (July 20, 2012) to JOVAN BELCHER‘s MURDER-SUICIDE (December 4, 2012) to KI SUK-HAN being PUSHED OFF A TRAIN PLATFORM (December 5, 2012) and Sandy Hook ELEMENTARY in NEWTOWN CONNECTICUT, WE’VE HAD ENOUGH “nightmares” TO LAST A LIFETIME, with each “nightmare” being more HORRIFIC than the last.
According to former Homeland Secretary Tom Ridge, “It’s a cultural and mental health problem and it’s something we need to address SOON (?) and SERIOUSLY”. POLITICIANS taking things “seriously?” Perhaps. POLITICIANS doing things “soon?” That certainly HASN’T happened recently (2010-now) and WON’T happen as long as the President and at least one chamber of Congress have different political ideologies/belong to different political factions which has been the case between 2010 and now. “We need to BALANCE individual rights with the needs of the community”. NOT MUCH can be considered “balanced” these days.
“A senior law enforcement official confirmed Lanza’s ANGER at his mother over plans for “his future mental health treatment” is being looked at as a possible motive. Police said they had no evidence Lanza had been medicated when the killings occurred. But EVEN IF Lanza had a proven history of mental illness, having him FORCIBLY committed would have been nearly impossible” of course because Lanza is an ADULT.
“Connecticut is one of a handful of states in America that DOES NOT have an “assisted outpatient treatment (AOT)” law. Under AOT laws, like the kind proposed and ignored earlier this year in Connecticut, states can force a mentally ill person into treatment if there is a risk of harm to others. Without them, states typically cannot institutionalize someone unless they’ve already done harm to themselves or others”.
“In the days following the January 2011 Tucson, Ariz., shootings (that left former Rep. GABRIELLE GIFFORDS fighting for her life), friends, classmates and family members of Jared Loughner spoke out about how mentally disturbed he was – but state authorities were virtually powerless to stop him until he killed”.
According to Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer, “Everybody knew he (Loughner) was a grenade about to go off. We have moved so RADICALLY (over) the last 50 years to making it difficult to commit people who are dangerous. THERE HAS TO BE A SHIFT IN THE OTHER DIRECTION”, “the direction” of RATIONALITY. Again unfortunately this DOES NOT seem to be happening. Also, “radicals” are DANGEROUS.
According to Doris Fuller, “executive director at the Treatment Advocacy Center”, “Our mental health system has COMPLETELY FAILED individuals with SEVERE MENTAL ILLNESS and their communities”. This is a “severe” CRITICISM. “We have EMPTIED the nation’s hospitals, GUTTED state and local mental health programs and turned INVOLUNTARY treatment into A DEBATE POINT instead of using it AS A VIABLE OPTION TO PREVENT TRAGEDY INVOLVING THOSE (who are) TOO ILL TO HELP THEMSELVES“. “Separately, allegations of CORRUPTION and BRUTALITY have long plagued state-run hospitals. Tales of barbaric methods used to treat and sedate patients prompted a backlash by civil rights advocates. As a result, funding was slashed even more and stricter laws were put into place to prevent abuse”. “Some of those people SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN in the hospital to begin with. But as a result, we made it too hard to get into the hospitals and those people who were acutely ill or had a chronic illness couldn’t qualify to be committed”.
Finally, “In 2010, the Children’s Services Working Group said the state had a child mental health crisis. The report found that 200,000 children struggle with a diagnosable mental illness but only 25 percent of them had access to services they needed”. “Our state largely depends on a WAIT-TO-FAIL approach“. Again, this is A STINGING CRITICISM..
Again, mental health has been put under the spotlight/microscope and once again, we must reiterate that mental disorders are EXPLANATIONS NOT EXCUSES for violent behavior. Violent behavior is and will always be UNACCEPTABLE.