Category Archives: mass killings

The NYT got it wrong in ‘When the Mentally Ill Own Guns’


Ok. Look, it’s December 29. I’m not in the mood for fancy arse commentaries here today. After all, year-in-year out only a handful of internet pedestrians walk by this site, so I can expect less visitors at this time, the end of the year.

So, the only comment I have about that NYT’s editorial, to which readers are not allowed to comment, is the following:

If this is true…

Most mentally ill persons are not violent, though The Times’s analysis of 180 confiscation cases in Connecticut (dealing with people posing an imminent risk of injury to themselves or others) found that close to 40 percent of those cases involved people with serious mental illness.

then logic dictates that it is the other 60%, the ‘sane’ ones, whom you need to deal with. Those are the ones on whom you need to focus to confiscate their guns if any guns are going to be taken away. Why focus on the minority? The 60% sane ones are a “threat to themselves or others”, that’s more than the 40% who are non-violent mentally ill.

There, I said it.

Happy New Years to all the crazies. Let’s make it our new year resolution to  scare the hell out of the politicians this new year.

 

Psychiatry is dead. Long live psychiatry. Part 1 of 3 (revised)


Note: Links left out in the first version are provided now, and the date of Mr. Insel’s letter to which the post refers  was corrected.

The DSM-5 can be considered the watershed of psychiatry. The old psychiatry’s shelf-life has expired. The new psychiatry was born on April 29, 2013.

For many years, since the 1960s, people who hadsmve been the recipients of psychiatric ‘treatment’ (voluntarily or against their consent) have said that there is no mental illness, at least as defined by the APA, that psychiatric diagnosis are not based on real science, and that the DSM is bunch of labels with no lab tests to back them up. Do you agree with those claims?

Most in the American public sees these people as anti-psychiatry fanatics who attack the profession because they don’t want to take their meds. Do you agree with those claims?

If you disagreed with the claims in the first paragraph and agreed with the second, I have a doozy coming up for you. Because, out of a sudden, on April 29, 2013, two weeks before the roll out of the APA’s new DSM-5, out of the NIMH cavern came this elephant noisily stepping all over the old psychiatry. The elephant’s name is Thomas Insel, Director of the NIMH who on that day made the following statement:

insel

“While DSM has been described as a “Bible” for the field, it is, at best, a dictionary, creating a set of labels and defining each. The weakness [of the manual] is its lack of validity…the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure… That is why NIMH will be re-orienting its research away from DSM categories.” Transforming Diagnosis

Wow! Is this guy an anti-psychiatry fanatic who doesn’t want to take his meds? For how long have we been saying this??

All these years we have been walking around stigmatized with INVALID, UNSCIENTIFIC diagnosis but no one believed us. Can we NOW finally say it safely: the psychiatric system is a SCAM? Can you all finally see that your emperor has no clothes?

A more important question would be Why is this man saying this? Insel has been in the board of the APA’s DSM committee and has approved previous versions, but he never before made statements like those. He actually has protected the APA and stand for all those crazy diagnosis contained in the DSM. He has contributed to our stigmatization and poisoning with psychiatric drugs.

So, before you go on cheering for him for his seemingly anti-DSM position, take a pause. The waters of the psychiatric profession are too muddled now to see what’s really going on at the bottom. With some life experience, common sense and political acumen, you can discern the feeding frenzy going on below the waters.

Insel must have known that his statement was going to be, as it was, like a tsunami in the psychiatric and mental health communities. To move away from the DSM, as he said, is like proposing the CHINESE CULTURAL REVOLUTION in the USA.

cult rev

For the last 60 years, at least, EVERYTHING from the psychiatric labels, to the laws that limit the civil rights of people with mental “illness”, to which drugs/narcotics the government will subsidize, to states and national mental health policies, to where research money goes, to how our culture perceives and understand mental illness and the people afflicted with it, all this have been deeply influenced and defined by the APA+ DSM. That’s why they call their book a bible: is the voice of our psychiatry god, it DEFINES NORMALCY for us, and consequently, many of our moral values.

If you ditch this book to promote the new classification system for psychiatric ‘illnesses’ (in his blog Insel stated that “we are creating a new nosology”), our society has to be re-trained to think of mental illness in a different way, don’t you agree? You better agree, because this is what he said:

“A rethink is needed in terms of how we view mental illness.” Mental Disorders as Brain Disorders-Thomas Insel at TEDxCalTech 

And what is that “rethinking”? That

“…mental disorders are brain circuit problems”

“…mental illness is referred to either as a mental or behavioral disorder. We need to think of these as brain disorders.” [same link]

Basically the new thinking is that there is no mental illness.

WHAT?! Mental illness doesn’t exist!!??  Where is this radical concept coming from? Funny ‘cause many in the anti-psychiatric movement have been saying that too for many years. What is he going to put in the place of the DSM? Part of the answers are in that May 16 statement.

As he said, the DSM is not valid because it is NOT based on science; there are no “objective lab measures” to back it up. Something that is not based on science can be done by just about ANYONE.

That’s the first and most important draw back of the DSM these days, that treating mental illness can be done by just about anyone. This guy, Bruce Cuthbert, Ph. D., the director of the Division of Adult Translational Research at the National Institute of Mental Health, state it pretty clear:

“…there is a rich research foundation showing that non-medication treatmentssuch as psychotherapywork equally well (if not better) for the treatment of many mental disorders. If these were pure medical diseases with clear and readily defined biomarkers, that shouldn’t be the case. After all, positive thinking can’t cure cancer.” http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/05/07/did-the-nimh-withdraw-support-for-the-dsm-5-no/

LUCY

It has got to hurt,  be embarrassing to both the APA and the pharma that EVEN psychotherapists, social workers, santería, Garry Null and all those bums on a T shirt without an Md degree can do the job BETTER.

BRUJO

It is PRECISESLY that fact which makes it difficult to justify spending millions of tax payer’s $$ in researching drug efficacy when just talking does the job. Another embarrassment is this statement by our friend Bruce:

“Pharmaceutical companies say that, on average, a marketed psychiatric drug is efficacious in approximately half of the patients who take it.” [same link]

ZOLOF

Guess which happy bubble is buying the placebo effect?

Of course,  in their TV ads, Zoloft and other brands  don’t include in the 1/2 minute list of things that can go wrong if you take their drugs the fact that chances are the drug will not have the effect advertised, but you could get a heart attack or go off on a killing rampage from it .

The public is on to the scam and are questioning the pharma based on all those mass murders by individuals on psychiatric drugs; drugs which have the potential to cause increase in violent and suicide behaviors but the pahrma has been hiding those facts from the public for years.

All this leads to the logical conclusion: the biochemical-imbalance model of mental illness, the marriage between pharma and the APA, is

OUTDATED, it leaves the ‘profession’ looking ancient, without pedigree, corrupt and without authority to dictate our social and personal mental and behavioral values. In the words of that NIMH’s elephant, that model is

“an impediment to progress”. [same link]

Of course, the progress he refers to here is more like the progress to rule our minds. The problem with his statement is that nothing will change for the public for the better with his new psychiatry, with his new “medical experimentation”. More on this tomorrow.

The old psychiatry has to go, it has to be sacrificed to the god of  science,

Old psychiatry and DSM, the sacrificial lamb.

neuroscience, if the pharma and ‘scientists’ want to continue to be perceived as the ONLY authority to dictate our mental health policies. At stake are: the billions of dollars we pay for research, political power, prestige, control over social perceptions about psychiatric science and the pharma, etc. etc. etc.

The new science, the new psychiatric god: neuropsychiatry.

That has been the ‘modern’ psychiatry professionals struggle since the 1800s, to be accepted as a branch of medicine and science. The medical profession has perennially looked at psychiatrist with scorn, as not been any different than the priests and exorcists of the past.

The APA was given a new lease on life. It either joins ‘the modern times’ or succumb to the weight of its own lies.

Either way we will continue to swallow the placebo.

Tomorrow in part 2: neuroscience, the new lobotomies, experimentation on humans.

Generation Rx documentary: psychiatry and pharma as drug pimps for our children, seriously.


Generation Rx, a 2008 documentary about the marketing of psychiatric (narcotic) drug “medication” for children, falsified ‘scientific’ research, etc. A most see. Won two Academy Awards. Director: Kevin P. Miller, producer is Charles L. Gilchrist. Can buy it at Amazon.com.

Man sets himself on fire on the Mall


Man is critically injured after setting himself on fire on the Mall

WARNING! Image that may be considered disturbing by some people is included in this post.

In the USA, contrary to Europe and the Middle East, the  visible evidence of the consequences of the war on the working class unleashed by their elected law-breakers…um…I meant to say law-maker’s policies, is not the working class seen in the streets fighting their corrupted elected politicians and their police-state. No. In the USA, the visible evidence of that class war is the disintegration of the public mental health in the form of self-immolation, increase in suicide rates, increase in ‘mass shootings’. It’s not ‘chemical imbalance’, it’s mental illness due to political imbalance. Mental illness  in healthy societies is very low and not a problem to that society.

This  evidence of the  increased mental deterioration of our people is what our president callously referred to as that pesky

ritual that we go through every three or four months

I know you don’t like to hear this but, our president’s and law-breakers (in both houses of Congress and both parties) laws redistribute our wealth up to the billionaire elite of Wall Street, to the war-mongering arms dealers and builders, the health insurance industry’s CEOs, the pharma and to the surveillance industry’s CEOs (among other privileged elitists) through trillions of dollars spent in contracts. This leaves the public safety-net destroyed when we need it the most.

The ignored-by-the-media epidemic increase in homelessness, usurious loan interest rates that guarantee the debt will be unpaid by an unemployed working class, the trillions in student loan debt that guarantee the students will not have a living-salary because the interest is prohibitive, veterans returning home without health and mental health services, all of this and more can have ONE guaranteed result: trauma to the mental health, individually and collectively.

But there are TWO public expressions of this problem: class struggle in the streets, as in Europe and the Middle East, or collective and individual depression expressed in self-directed violence and/or spontaneous, unplanned violence against the society. This last one is the one the law-breakers fear because they know it can turn into class struggle in the streets with THEM as the target.

Soo, before that happens, they and their media have DISCONNECTED from the public view the chain that ties  the INCREASE in ‘mental health issues’ to the economic and political war on the working class, and put the blame on mental illness as a threat to society, with the mentally ill turned in the public eye into a ‘terrorist’.

http://thoughtcatalog.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/pavss.jpeg?w=584

Famous photo of Vietnam era Tibetan monk protesting the war.

Self-immolation has got to be the most extreme form of political statement. The Tibetan monks used it to protest the Vietnam war and even today. We have yet to see why that man in the mall here in the US set himself on fire but, whatever the reason, it’s a bad omen of the extreme effect this ‘economical crisis’ is having on our people.

These laws taking away the civil rights of people with ‘mental illness’ are NOT created for your protection. They have been created for the protection of the elected officials and the banking and financial elite AFRAID of what may happen to them when we finally wake up.

People, the medicine we need is ‘the people united’ putting the fear in the elite’s heart.

On criminals, terrorists, and mad men.


Before 9/11, a person who went out on a ‘killing rampage’ was viewed by the public as one who “went postal’, a ‘bomber without a cause’ or a ‘serial killer’. In other words, it was considered the act of a ‘common criminal’, not a political or act of war.  After 9/11, that same person committing the same act is considered ‘a war terrorist’ and ‘a crazy person’, to boot.

When and how did we decide to re-classify our definition of ‘common crime’ as ‘an act of war and terrorism’, and to link it to mental illness? Who helped shape our collective ‘perception’ of ‘imminent’ danger?

I will share my views about how mental illness has been scapegoat, after 9/11, as terrorism in a veiled effort to control political and social dissent in our nation, which our current president has declared to be in “a permanent state of war”.

Parts of this post will go under the headings:

The politics of crime: crime in the US before 9/11

Our a-political perception of crime

Mental illness to the rescue

THE POLITICS OF CRIME: Crime in the US before 9/11

Before 9/11, mental illness was seldom considered the sole culprit of acts of violence in our society. Acts of violence by ‘civilians’ (killing co-workers or loved ones) was seen by the public mostly as something done by someone who ‘lost it’ or who ‘went postal’. Implied in these descriptions is some sort of collective understanding that the person committing the crime was under the pressures of work, finance, love betrayal, or other social problems; the public was able to point to a ‘social context’ behind the act of violence. Because of this awareness of a social context behind crimes, the citizens of a town, city or state could look for a social solution to the problem of violence, not for a ‘war’ policy or armaments solution.

Also, pre-9/11 there was an unspoken social ‘agreement’ on the distinction between a ‘common criminal’ and a ‘terrorist’. A terrorist was a foreigner ‘at war’ against us but not here in the USA, and home-grown violence (by civilians) was just ‘regular crimes’. Thus, terrorism = act of war.

In other words, before 9/11 there seemed to be no ‘political’ crimes in the USA, acts of violence to advance political beliefs.  Seldom did the media or law enforcement agencies (at least publicly) tagged as ‘terrorism’ crimes that were clearly political in nature. Not even Timothy McVeigh, member of a separatist militia movement, was tagged as a terrorist, not until way after 9/11. The killing of a US President was NOT considered a political or even as terrorist act either. It was tagged as the act of a fanatical ‘lone-wolf’, who probably had been manipulated by the commies, a fact which would have made the crime a political one and a conspiracy. (But we never really went there, did we?) The ‘unabomber’ was a ‘rebel without a cause’, even a ‘mad genius’ but not a terrorist, certainly not a ‘political crusader’ for the animal rights movement, a fact many people don’t know about. And, finally, incarcerated political dissidents before 9/11, like imprisoned Puerto Rican liberation movement members, considered themselves ‘political prisoners’ (not terrorists) but the federal government had perennially refused to accept them as such, tagging them instead as ‘criminals’, until recently.

All of these examples of reluctance by the government to use the ‘t’ word, ‘terrorism’, fly despite the fact that it (FBI) had, before 9/11,  a clear definition of terrorism:

“the unlawful use of force or violence, committed by a group(s) of two or more individuals,against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”

That is a political definition of terrorism, based on power struggle between the government and other groups of people to “furtherance of political or social objectives”. It required a “group” (“two or more”), and purposeful coordination of acts was implied. But we hardly knew about this definition, didn’t we? Why? This is in part because of the “two or more” requirement, given that our criminals were almost always portrayed as ‘lone-wolves’.

OUR POLITICAL PERCEPTIONS OF CRIME

The one thing the government (federal and state) must protect above anything else is…no, it’s not ‘the nation’.  It is the public trust in the government’s institutions. No trust in government = dissent, polarization, and power struggles for change in the way the government leaders run the nation, be it through peaceful civil disobedience or violence.

The public’s perception of ‘crime’ is shaped by the government’s criminal and justice systems policies and politics, among others. (It’s interesting to me that the first American group to be labeled as  ‘terrorist’ was the animals rights movement in The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act of 2006, something unrelated to war or Al Qaeda.)

So, it is conceivable that, to protect the public’s perception that the majority of the people are satisfied with the government’s policies, that there is no significant dissent within the society, the actions of dissenting groups are described as ‘regular crime’ and ‘crazy’ to devoid them of its political statement against the government policies. It reeks to Nazism, doesn’t it?

So, in a nation engaged in a ‘permanent war against terrorism’ and in enacting political, economic and repressive policies (police and surveillance state), which attack the middle class (leaving de-facto only two classes, the elite and the poor), how is the government going to label the natural political acts of dissent and resistance of those affected by its unfair policies and the impact it has on the social fabric?

Tomorrow: the pre and post 9/11 perception on crime, and mental illness to the rescue.

Americans Fault Mental Health System Most for Gun Violence


Interesting Gallup poll.

One thing: according to the poll, Americans have NOT change at all, since 2011, in their believe that the “failure of the mental health system to identify individuals who are a danger  to others” is the MAIN cause of mass shootings (48%). But, there was a REDUCTION of 6% since 2011 to 2013 in the amount of people who believe that guns are the culprit. The question is Where did those 6% put the blame now? Evidently their change in perception is NOT reflected as an increase in the category of people who believe that the mental health system is to be blamed.

Surprisingly enough, Democrats are MORE likely to believe that guns are NOT the main culprit (51%), which brings the question: Why is the Dem Party so intent in ramming down our throats gun control laws as a panacea to this problem? As I showed in my previous post, Obama stated that the MAIN reason we have ‘ritualistic mass shootings’  is because “we” (the public) refuse to adopt “firm background checks”, a sad and absurd statement from the president of “hope and change”.

“Independents” are MORE inclined to blame guns than republicans themselves (44 vs 49% respectively).

This all leads me to believe that the Democratic Party PREFERS to blame guns so it doesn’t have to explain Why are they cutting funds for mental health services while the American people understands that bad quality of mental health services is the main cause of mass shootings.

If we were to accept that Gallop poll as valid, then these would be some points for the mental health advocacy community to consider:

1. Is the NRA succeeding in its message that guns are not to be blamed for mass shootings?

2. Is blaming the ‘mental health system’ equivalent to blaming the mentally ill individuals? That would be disastrous for us.

3. How can the mental health advocacy community take ‘advantage’ of the believe that the mental health system is the main cause of mass shootings? This point ought to be ‘exploited’: demand REAL reform in the mental health system NOW. While mental illness is NOT the ONLY reason for mass shootings (wars, national economy, environment of police-state, home foreclosures by Wall Street, joblessness, homelessness and many other social issues are part of the problem of mass shootings),  we could focus on QUALITY of services as much as on QUANTITY as a response to mass shootings.

We must battle against ALL background checks that stigmatize the mentally ill. Background checks are NOT the answer, not even enough to accept them TEMPORARILY because, once the legal damage is done, we can’t fight it for the next 50 years.

I’m a skeptic when it comes to polls, but, given that Americans tend to ‘buy’ them,  it would make sense to take advantage of this one.

 

Obama predicts shooting in 3 months


Obama made some remarks yesterday (Sept 17) in the Spanish tv station Univision which I consider APPALLING. I bring them for your consideration here because, hopefully, I misunderstood said remarks, and you can clarify them to me. Feel free to post your comment.

This is my transcript, you can hear him directly  in the video below. Highlights are by me and my comments follow below the vid.

“The fact that we don’t have a firm enough background check system is something that makes us more vulnerable to this kind of mass shooting…uhm…I do get concerned that this becomes a ritual that we go through every three or four months where we have these horrific mass shootings and yet we are not willing to take some basic actions we know can make a differenceUltimately, this is something Congress is gonna have to act on. I have now, in the wake of Newtown, initiated a whole range of executive actions, we put in place every executive action that I proposed right after Newtown happened. So I’ve taken steps that are within my control. The next phase is for Congress to go ahead and move.”

Now, my reactions to each of his ‘compassionate’ statements.

1. Obama says that the reason we go through this “mass killing every three or four months” is because background check system is not “firm enough”. That’s it. That’s all that needs to be fixed, our background check system. Even George W. Bush was more useful to the mentally ill people than this president we have now. After all, it was W who gave us the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health and the super important ADA Amendment Act of 2008.

I challenge ANYONE to tell me how has Obama gone above and beyond what W did for the mentally ill people. FYI, I’m not a republican (rather die)  nor do I support nor sympathize with W. But, to Caesar what belongs to Caesar

2. Also, Obama says that we are more “vulnerable to this kind of shooting” because of lax background checks. The implications: mentally ill people make this nation “more vulnerable”, and mentally ill people MUST be ‘firmly’ checked.

Given the path our government has taken, since Obama came to power, towards a surveillance state branding every citizen or group that it considers ‘subversive or dissenting’, these ‘background checks’ are bound to apply soon to any mentally ill person, whether or not applying for guns. NYS Office of Mental Health has started the trend already. See my post ‘NY Safe Act:…

3. The “ritual”. Now THAT was interesting. Was that scripted? Or was it ad lib’ed? Wow. Is he talking about mentally ill people having a ‘compulsion’ towards mass killing? Is he EXPECTING a mass shooting by,er, December or January 2014?

Funny thing is that, IF that’s what he meant, that mentally ill people have a RECURRENT death wish, why can’t he prevent the shootings? Evidently he expects them to happen consistently every three or four months. Does he expect that this compulsion and RITUALISTIC behavior can be stopped with “firm background checks”? HELLO. IS ANYBODY AT HOME!?

4. Who is “we” in that “and yet we are not willing to take some basic actions we know can make a difference.”? Is he blaming the public because they don’t want laws that are clearly oppressive and fascist? Or is he blaming the NRA supporters? It could help if he were more CLEAR. I think he is blaming BOTH. The “basic actions” entails depriving people who visit a psychiatrist of their civil rights, just to protect “we”.

5. And then there was the throwing of the towel. He is basically saying that he ‘tried’ to do something but, because “we are not willing to take some basic actions” he can do no more. It’s “up to Congress to move”.

That is THROWING THE TOWEL. He’s doing it because you voted against his gun law this year. He doesn’t care anymore, is what he’s saying. ‘Deal with it’ is what he’s saying.

Well, I’m going now to prepare my post for December’s mass shooting.

See you later.

The D.C. shooter and the other victims: the mentally ill people


OK. Keep moving; there’s nothing else to see here: it’s only dead people killed by an irrational mentally ill person.

I withheld my tongue when this incident was reported, waiting to see how long it would take the ‘officials’ to determine that it was just another case of an armed lunatic roaming free among us.

Until today, they were at a loss, running around like headless chicken trying to figure this incident out. Was it a terrorist plot? Was there more than one lone shooter? RUN! STOP THE PLANES FROM FLYING OVER D.C.!!

This is what happens when you don’t have ‘accurate’ gun listing profiles, I mean, reports; you can’t control the loonies. That’s the focus now, again.

Two things stand out (in my view) about this case: 1) the use of mental illness as an argument to justify policies in favor of arming/dis-arming citizens and 2) the stigmatizing of mental illness as a simple explanation to a problem that clearly has to do with the failure of the nation to provide QUALITY mental health  services, especially to veterans. I will discuss these now.

1) The use of mental illness as an argument to justify against or pro-gun rights policies.

The knee jerk reactions are the usual: we need guns because there are too many armed crazy people out there (NRA and Republican Party preferred argument), or we need to ban guns for the same reason (Democratic Party preferred argument). Either way you cut it, the mentally ill is the culprit.

In other words, the mentally ill is a political token to be used to settle a political issue: Constitutional gun rights. Our society can’t possibly engage in this issue using ANY other type of arguments. Not moral arguments, or about compassion, or about the economy, or about the crimes of the arms dealer and builders industry…no. It has to be settled by trampling on the rights of ALL the mentally ill persons in this nation, by vilifying a whole class of people who suffer neglect and powerlessness just because they are mentally ill.

This man, who committed this crime, seems to had been a walking ticking bomb for many years; that’s the impression that NOW the media and the police want you to stick in your mind. Based on the info that we are now receiving, he may had been ill, but NO ONE ever did anything to HELP him, not to punish or ostracize him, but to help him get services. That’s the payment we give to our soldiers when they come home. We let them boil in their PTSD and wait for them to do what EVERYBODY knows is going to happen. We do it because the national debt forces us to pay to Wall Street and cut mental health services. But no one talks about that NOW. NOoo. It’s the loonies that need to be thrown in a modern psych hospital (our prison system) and be forgotten there.

2) How easy is to explain this mass murder once you stick the label of ‘mental patient’ to the incident. NOW they understand.

You see, the Washington Post did its usual manipulation of info to help you arrive easily to the necessary conclusion. First, it described Alexis having a clearly paranoid episode, which happened long time ago, and then followed it immediately with this quote, which was made before we knew about Alexis’ mental illness:

“What caused this individual to kill so many innocent men and women?” Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, asked at an afternoon news conference outside the local FBI field office.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to answer that question using the previous paragraph describing the paranoid episode. And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how the mainstream media practices the art of opinion shaping through EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION.

But that’s not all. The mainstream media is in a ‘damage infusion’ mode, forcing us to conclude that Alexis was a lunatic DESPITE him having also had a history of good deeds. It’s the process of enforcing the stigma rule.  For example:

a) his military achievements and recognitions are devalued in order to keep him stigmatized as a mentally ill person, unworthy of any recognitions:

“He received the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal, awards of minor distinction”

“the Navy mistakenly said he had received a general discharge, a less-desirable category that would have indicated to future employers that there was something amiss with his performance.”

 Notice in the second quote how a dishonorable discharge is surreptitiously  equated with mental illness, and in the process implies that mentally ill people should NOT be hired.

b) other people’s good opinion about him become less important, and bad opinions AFTER THE FACTS become more prophetic:

“Those who knew Alexis in recent years describe him as a “sweet and intelligent guy” (a regular customer at the Thai restaurant where he had been a waiter) and “a good boy” (his landlord), but also as “very aggressive,” someone who seemed as though he might one day kill himself (a lay worker at the Buddhist temple where Alexis worshiped).”

c) and other people’s abuses pass as ‘insignificant’ and not contributing to Alexis’ losing it:

“The woman told police that Alexis had complained several times that she was too loud. She said he had confronted her a few days earlier in the complex’s parking lot “about making too much noise,” according to a police report.”

I’m sure that if you live in NYC, you know how ‘maddening’ a loud tenant above you can be. But we don’t question how disruptive that woman was, how did she contribute to him ‘losing it’.

d) and finally, how the system ignores the people’s need for mental health service to later blame mental illness itself as the problem. Mental illness is NO problem to society when we stop pretending that we are servicing people and actually put the money where the politicians mouths are.If we treat the people when they need it, we don’t have mass killings. And if we keep people employed we don’t have mass killing either. Neither if we stop spending money in “stupid wars” for the benefit of arms mongers, oil barons and Wall Street banksters.

We know that our politicians reward our veterans with homelessness and lack of medical and psychiatric services. Alex was a veteran. The signs where there but, as usual, no one did anything about it:

 “and it was unclear whether the Navy had sufficient cause to push forward. So when Alexis applied on his own to leave the Navy in early 2011 with an honorable discharge, the service granted his request, the official said.”

They had the opportunity to deal with him BEFORE he lost it. But they didn’t.

“Alexis also had an angry streak that flared often enough to create an arrest record in three states.”

Idem.

“Alexis’s father told detectives then that his son “had experienced anger management problems that the family believed was associated with PTSD,”

“He did not like to be close with anybody, like a soldier who has been at war.”

And the verdict:

 “Nobody could have done anything to prevent this except Aaron Alexis,” he said. “Maybe he snapped. I don’t know.”

This will not stop. Our society has failed to face the reality that mental illness is the product, not only of any physical disturbance, but of how our society is ordered, how we prioritize the use of our public wealth and resources.

Given that we prefer to pay big banksters for usurious loans instead of putting the money where it belongs (in the public service) we will have to continue blaming mental illness as the number one mass killer in the USA.

Prevention is incompatible with paying the debt. You gotta make your priorities.

See you in the next episode.

My sympathies for the relatives of the victims, as always.

I blame our government for this new social pain.

Charlie Chaplin : his message to humanity.


From The Great Dictator.

F.B.I. Said to Conclude It Could Not Have Averted Boston Attack


That’s in the NY Times. This is here, at the Citywide:

1. They admit they can’t avert REAL attacks; but they can ‘avert’ FAKE attacks made by ENTRAPMENT to mentally ill people and then send them for life to be tortured in our prisons.

2. They keep the tyrannical laws to spy and harass the regular citizen even though they can’t “avert” attacks. That’s the working definition of tyranny.

3. Even though they had follow those guys in Boston for MONTHS and “could not avert” the attacks, they continue to spy on your AMAZON online shopping for pressure cookers, and send the FBI and SWAT team to terrorize you with questions about why are you buying a pressure cooker and “what the hell is quinoa”. You gotta read the article  about the pressure-cooker-New York ‘terrorist’. It’s truly MINDLESS. The FBI didn’t know what quinoa is and why that woman needed a pressure cooker for that. They thought quinoa is  some kind of explosive!!

A "terrorist's recipe, with 'explosive' kidney beans and quinoa. DON'T EAT IT. RUN!

A “terrorist’s recipe, cooked on pressure cooker with ‘explosive’ kidney beans and quinoa. DON’T EAT IT. RUN!

Today, our only heroes are Snowden and Bradley Manning. They have given their freedom and lives for US.

What are we going  do now with that gift?

 

 

 

Why we should stand against the SAFE ACT.


Why we stand against the SAFE ACT

We want our state and our nation to address the causes of the current nation-wide wave of violence effectively and with fair policies.

But, it is unfair to point at people with mental disabilities as the cause of all that violence and as a threat to ‘national security’. We are none of those. The statistics show that we are more likely to suffer the violence inherent in the prejudice against people with all types of disabilities, than to dish it out.

The SAFE Act was passed in 20 minutes late at night and right after the horrific Boston shooting last year. Clearly, it was intended as a quick placebo for a terrified society demanding action from politicians to control what it incorrectly perceives as the source of the wave of violence: guns and mental illness.

So, we must repudiate any policy that scapegoats us in the interest of political gains for our current elected officials of both parties at both the state and national levels.

The SAFE Act is not a law; it is a witch-hunt and ‘saves’ no one.

The SAFE Act is being used to limit the civil rights of, not only the ‘persistent and chronically mentally ill’, but of anyone who may seek mental health services for the first time. (See Side by side: SAFE Act and OMH.) The names reported per the SAFE Act mandate goes to the FBI, and from there they quietly seep up to Department of Homeland Security list of ‘possible terrorists’. In the ‘land of the free’, being in that list is terrifying in itself.

The causes of violence in a society are deep and complicated. But this much we can say: the government and its bureaucratic agencies inflict violence on the population in a form that passes as ‘lawful’ and ‘for your own good’, in the form of POLITICAL violence. Daily police brutality, violation to personal integrity by police searching your body  to protect you from the ‘terrorists’, 911 calls for the police to pick up an EDP (’emotionally disturbed person’) usually ends with the EDP being killed by the police…this is a system out of control.

See next how OMH is violating the SAFE ACT to grab power to limit our civil rights.


On the Boston-Bomber madness.


It feels safe to post a comment now.

Until that young man was captured, it seemed as if the USA and the people of Boston in particular were in a COLLECTIVE state of terror over capturing ONE supposedly armed adolescent man. It seemed as if all sense of proportion was thrown out the window in the name of ‘safety”.

It is not safe to express differing opinions when people are in panic. Hopefully I can express them now. These are my personal opinions.

When the state puts it citizens in a collective mental state of fear, all REASONABLE alternatives are thrown out of the window and brute show of force is justified as the only alternative to dangerous situations. Example:

1. There was NO NEED to declare a NO-FLY ZONE over Boston. All it achieved was creating an unnecessary collective state of FEAR. No-fly zones are for nations at war, it shouldn’t be used for locking up civilians in their states. No one declared a war here. There were no planes used as bomb,  only a pressure cooker was used to cause harm. We need to get a grip next time or soon we will escalate our ‘protection’ measures to using  DRONES to drop bombs to capture some war terrorist. We’ll consent and get used to that too.

When ‘hoodlooms’ go on a shooting spree, the state does not declare a no-fly zone. Why here?

2. There was no need to declare a ‘state of siege’, better know as a ‘lock up’. Personally, I felt more horrified of seeing the police state, a ‘martial law’ in all its regalia, than afraid of the fugitive.

Boston looked more like our image of Cuba, or even as Iraq with the military going door by door yelling at people to stay inside. What would the military have done to a civilian who refused to get inside? After all, martial law was not declared. Think about it.

THE DEFLATING ENDING

At the end, as to show to you that all that SHOW OF POWER was unnecessary, the fugitive was eye-balled by a citizen released  from house arrest…er…from the lock up. Had he not been at home hiding from the adolescent, he would have probably ID the fugitive earlier and prevent all the WASTE OF MONEY the state and the FEDS engaged in to show to you that the military and police state are needed to save you from rudimentary bombs.

And even AFTER the citizen was SOOO CLOSE to the fugitive, saw that the kid was bleeding and EVIDENTLY couldn’t move  (for otherwise the kid would have FLED), and that he was not attacked or blown away by a bomb, the police state couldn’t control itself to capture the kid without a show of OVER POWERING force.

The big armed military didn’t DARE to get as close as that CITIZEN did to the adolescent. The fugitive didn’t ATTACK the citizen, why all that show of force? I doubt they will be able to extract any information from the ‘bomber’ in the condition in which they left him after shooting him at the boat.

Yesterday we saw Boston falling into a totalitarian state with the consent of a collectively terrorized citizenry, all over ONE young man. And the people didn’t see it. They were too busy being afraid. No time to question all that information we were given about who these guys were or why the need to militarize our nation to get them.

The Russians had announced, supposedly, to the FBI that these young men were ‘dangerous’. In the USA we prefer to not heed these warnings, we prefer the drama of chasing them after the damage has been done. Hey, there are MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of dollars to be made by subjecting you to a collective state of fear.

Whoever set that bomb in Boston needs to be brought to justice. And the chase to capture the fugitives was necessary to prevent them from blowing up other targets.

Blowing up the Constitution and militarizing Boston to capture these guys, that was NOT necessary.

The Citywide Mental Health Project’s presentation at the NY City Council hearings on budget cuts to Mental Health services.


Below is the statement I read at the NY City Council. I would say    that the audience had a good response to this, most of them. There were some ‘uuuh’ at the part about the ASPCA, and a lot of laughter (intended) when I mentioned Dr. Evil  at the end.  The purpose of   this presentation was actually to have the providers and their          representatives there  hear us and our message. I think they did.

 Testimony presented by Lourdes Cintron for the Citywide Mental Health Project

At a Public Hearing on Thursday, March 21, 2013

14th Floor Committee Room

Presented to: New York City Council Mental Health Committee

Good afternoon. My name is Lourdes Cintron, the founder of The Citywide Mental Health Project, still a grassroots group of consumers of mental health services and their friends and relatives opening to public discussions the roots of our lack of voice in our mental health system and ideas on how to regain our voices in that system.

We, consumers, are grateful to you for trying to prevent more cuts in funding for programs, and to the highly professional service providers represented by these people here today for their efforts to keep these programs open.

But, after the money is allocated and everybody disperses to focus on the next threat to programs in the agenda, who keeps an eye on how are these funds been used in the programs?

Let’s be realistic: There is no meaningful follow up on accountability and what quality of services that money is buying. The CABs, [Consumer Advisory Board] the tool in place for us to partner with providers at the point of service to design policies that will deliver services effectively and without causing harm to us, are virtually nonexistent.

Unwittingly you continue to fund some providers who shouldn’t be in the business of social work, and your funds pay the salaries of some unprofessional directors and supervisors whom the ASPCA wouldn’t hire to service their dogs.

  • At a time when the mentally ill is been blamed and penalized for the violence and degradation of the social network  that comes with budget cuts
  • when privatization and decentralization of the functions of our government is almost complete (see the governor’ SAGE report),
  • when soon the quality and goals of our mental health services will be directly determined by how much profit they generate to Goldman Sachs and Wall Street in their new investment scheme called ‘pay for success’, in these times our role shouldn’t be limited to be consumers.

 

According to the SAGE report, the State spends 16 BILLIONS in contracts with NFP [not-for-profit] but there are few, and meaningless at that, CABs in those programs and no meaningful grievance procedures.

Instead we are given councils and advisory boards created by OMH and the DOHMH where we are forbidden to talk about the ‘A’ word: abuses.

They decide the agendas and do all the work; we just have to show up. So what happens when they decide to take the resources and change the structures of these boards?

The best illustration of the institutionalized mentality of disrespect and disempowerment of consumers is the so-called NYC “Federation” of Mental Health Consumer Advisory Board. I know because I was there and had to leave immediately to protect what is left of my sanity.

As you all know, the commissioner, without notifying or consulting the consumers who are there to ‘advice’ him, expelled the providers out from the old federation, kept the consumers because – well, you just can’t have a federally mandated consumer board without consumers – removed the resources from the MHC [Mental Health Committee] in the 5 boros [boroughs] and left the consumers with a shell of a ‘council’. He simply left us without a voice in the system.

That’s how OMH and the city have trained consumers to be helpless and disempowered.

In view of all these problems and realities, we are asking you to, as Dr. Evil said in Austin Powers, “throw me a freaking bone here”

We need MEANINGFUL CABs at the point of service, organized by consumers themselves to collect and bring to you our feedback about how the services you are paying for are been delivered.

That’s what the Citywide Mental Health Project is trying to do.

The least you can do for us is to help us organize a Town Hall meeting to listen to what the consumers at the point of service have to say about how they are receiving the services.

Maybe from there we can come up with more creative ideas to protect us other than building a whole bureaucratic structure around one phone call to report abuses.

NY Times article: Focus on Mental Health Laws to Curb Violence Is Unfair, Some Say


 

For those of you who read my comment at the NY Times, find here  the report I mentioned in the comment, then click on ‘Office of Mental Health’.

This is the comment itself:

In a 2012 NYS report about a survey on compliance with state’s licensing rules, OMH said “more than half of the agencies responded they employed titles that can be “licensed or certified” however were reportedly filled with unlicensed staff”, including psychologists and social workers. Also, that “a total of 414 nonlicensed staff were also reported as providing psychotherapy”. Then it said “OMH does not find a material difference in the quality of services provided in programs which also employ unlicensed staff”. Of 6759 OMH programs, 4646 are unlicensed and 2113 are “licensed” (whatever that means in OMH’s parlance). OMH concludes that more unlicensed programs and unlicensed staff performing as licensed are better because they save money and, well, who needs a psychiatrist or social worker when a case manager can do ‘the same work’ for less? The point: it’s not the mentally ill, it’s the system. Any increase in funding will go to over-priced non-for-profit CEOs salaries, we will use prisons as hospitals, and will pass laws to deprive people of their civil rights all in the name of ‘safety’ for the victims of the NRA’s propaganda: you and me. Quality of services have been reduced, punishment increased. Mental health industry is an industry like any other, filled with waste of tax payer money. The next time you read about a ‘crazy’ killing people, think ‘who was the case manager-acting-as-psychiatrist dealing with him?’ END.

I would like to add that the focus  at this point in the discussion generated by the NRA and those unfortunate killings must move away from the emotional plane to a rational one. We could move away from ‘somebody, stop these lunatics’ to ‘why is the system ‘fragmented’ and what it has to do with these killings?’

What do we achieve by arguing whether the killers in those massacres are mentally ill or not? What is the next step if the answer is ‘yes’? If the answer is ‘no’? Can the answer be a rotund ‘yes’ or ‘no’? Is the issue that simplistic and clear, no gray areas?

We are in a society saturated with violence, from the top down: the violence inflicted to the populace by corrupt politicians and lawmakers, by agencies administrators, by some judges; by the violence of a corporate world that has lost a sense of proportion, who sees no difference between profits and financial crimes as a source of profits. Violence from the ‘entertainment’ industry that demands the right to create ‘games’ that give you the close-to-reality feeling that you are killing or raping…

As a society, we come with awesome ideas to fix problems; the problem is at the implementation level. For example, it was not easy but ‘we’ came with the idea of housing for the homeless mentally ill with services and connections to the community. But then, the State said ‘good idea, let’s empty the psych hospitals and we save money’, and sent the patients to the streets without putting the money for services in the community. A mess developed, we blamed the homeless mentally ill for crimes and went after the ‘squeegee’ criminals, those cleaning car windows for a quarter at street corners.

Look, the money is going for what a friend calls “the poverty pimps”. There’s your mentally ill in action.

Follow the money, not the mentally ill. You’ll find the problem and the solution that way. If you accept as dandy OMH’s statement that, for money-saving purpose, there is no difference between the  service delivered by a psychiatrist or social worker and a case manager, don’t come crying to me later if someone slaps you in the face because his ‘psychiatrist’ didn’t do his/her ‘job’.

You are being conned, as in con-game, confident game, etc.

I will soon be posting a through comment about OMH’s licensing practices. Please, keep in touch.

NY new Gun law: the good, the bad and the ugly.


This new gun control law stamps an indelible stigma on ALL people who have a diagnose of mental illness and on the developmentally disabled by the mere fact of opening the Act as a policy directed at reducing a right exclusively on those people.

Missing from the Act is the usual ’findings’ or ‘purpose’ that introduces the reasoning behind a government bill. That would have been the place to explain that this bill would not tolerate prejudice against mentally ill  people as a means to calm a fearful population. It seems to me that our legislators and governor were in a rush to pass something, anything related to the Sandy Hook massacre outrage, I guess, to gain political points at our expense.

This bill creates an automatic association between the mentally ill (who has committed no crimes) and criminals and the criminal justice system. It sanctions the stereotypical believe in our communities that ONLY mental illness and the mentally ill causes mass killings.

It also surreptitiously takes care of mentally ill people who the mental health professionals may ‘guess’ can kill without guns. The insistence on amendments to the AOT law points to that possibility, considering that it only deals with the when and how to get a person into the program.

We ought to know by now that involuntary commitment leaves its victim with a permanent stigma.  ‘You are in the AOT program? They carted you away against your will? Wow, you must really be crazy.’ Circumstances don’t matter to the public, whether it happened one time, as a result of a mistake or prank by a disgruntled relative, whether you are fine now, whether you were right in refusing medication (wait until you get there, pal)…

But let’s not be so negative, let’s find the good in the bill. The good is that SOME weapons were ‘controlled’. Also, that it addressed the issue of violence against spouses and partners. I know nothing about guns, thus I assume that this bill puts a little scratch on the NRA’ self-esteem. But that’s about the entire positive I can find here.

One of the ‘bad’ in the bill is that it was written behind closed doors. It probably has to do with the NRA’s representatives working with our ‘leaders’ in casting all the attention on the mentally ill: guns don’t kill, only the mentally ill kills, according to them.

Of course, that we live in a society were gun violence is our favorite entertainment (video games and in the movies – the bigger the gun A’nold carries in the movies, the more ‘manlie’ he is) does not matter to anyone as a link to gun violence in our streets.

Nor that our current wave of violence may be related to the nation’s economic woes, as is usual in times like these. It may have something to do with how our citizens are responding with violence and depression (suicide) to the pressures of losing their jobs and their housing to foreclosure. And there’s no mention either to fixing the broken mental health system.

Those are huge issues, difficult to handle; the class of ‘mentally ill people’ is easier to manage, although controlling them will not fix the problem.

Another bad is that the law is  to control not only SOME guns, but also the lives and the civil liberties of the people less likely to kill with guns: the developmentally disabled, and those who seek but fail to get mental health treatment. In many cases, the result of neglect or reduced services is deterioration, which leads to forced treatment and commitment later. It is so much easier and inexpensive to let you break down and then pick up your pieces, not.

The bill also controls ALL prisoners before they are released. The Act mandates that they be ‘assessed’ to see if these soon-to-be ex-cons need the services of an AOT program.

Why would our legislators make that requirement? Why ‘examine’ those who were imprisoned for un-armed crimes like theft or lying to get more food stamps? Simple answer: it’s an acknowledgment that our prisons are the psychiatric hospitals of the new millennium.

The purpose of that provision is not to ‘catch’ the criminals who may pose a threat to you out there, but to hold the mentally ill who is there because our budget cuts have closed psychiatric hospitals and there is not enough resources in the community to comply with federal mandates about placing them in the ‘least restrictive setting’.

This secondary gain of this bill can’t be officially mentioned; it would be to confess how broken our mental system is. It’s not me saying that it’s broken; it was the NY Medicaid Redirect Team who said that the system is ‘fragmented’, meaning ‘broken’. The chances of you passing a test to assess that you need  an AOT  program are high considering that you are coming out from prison, where violence is the rule.

With the amendment to the AOT law, the state will keep you longer under its control. The amendment extends  from six months to one year now the period of  ‘observation’ on restricted civil liberty.  A better name for this  bill would be ‘an Act to control the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled’.

And then there’s the ‘ugly’: The FBI list of the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled.

First, notice that there is not a list in our nation of people who committed crimes with guns. There’s the list of sex offenders, with its ugly consequences of including innocent people and those whose crime was to go to a porn parlor for adults, and the spending money tracking them once in the community. And then, there’s the Department of Homeland Security’s list of “terrorists”.

We should have learned by now the dangers of any “list” made to brand people as this or that. Initially, the “terrorist” list was meant for a few ‘suspects’, now it includes hundreds of thousands of people and groups whose ‘crime’ is their dissent of some government actions. And once in the list, you cannot expunge your name from it even if you are there by mistake.

But this new FBI list is only for the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled. Even one involuntary commitment is enough to put you in  that list. The potential of the list being used later for something else, or ‘hacked’ and used by insurance companies to deny you services and coverage is high. Never heard of incidents like that happening anywhere in the USA?

I find it difficult to believe that anyone would want their kids or parents in a FBI list for ANY reason, let alone as members of a class deemed a threat to “the safety” of the community because of their illness. Will we soon be labeled a “threat” to national security too? History tells me that when the government brands you as a threat, you start to lose your civil rights. Remember the Japanese camps during the Second World War?

So, being ill is now a reason to diminish your status as a citizen.

The implications of this Act are too subtle to be noticed by our regular citizen who has no experience with the mental health system. This bill is a knee jerk reaction to a complex situation, the mental health system in our state and our nation.

People continue to refer to us, the mentally disabled,  in the third person, we still don’t have a voice to tell the story of our experience in the mental health system. We can talk about how it feels to be depressed but not about the abuse  and neglect received from those hired to help us. This bill makes things more difficult for us with its stigmatizing rules.

Because it stigmatize people with mental disabilities and people with developmental disabilities, we should all be ashamed of this bill.

NYS Gun law: stigma and the danger of feeling jumpy.


Some reactions I have to this whole gun-control law:

1. Done “behind close doors”.

Apart from the evident issue of ‘transparency’, one problem with this is that many times courts use the history of a bill or law to help the judge understand it and arrive to a more ‘fair’ judgement. It seems to me that this is not possible when the history of the bill  is shrouded in secrecy. Maybe the judge can still peek behind the curtain, but I doubt a defense lawyer can do it.

2. Stigma against the mentally ill sanctioned by law.

People who suffer from mental illness in all of its forms, mild or severe, have been officially associated with criminals and criminality. The stigma sticks now by the force of law and public condemnation. It’s a psychological process, subtle but effective, of linking things that are not by nature linkable. In the gun battle between the NRA and our political leaders, the casualties were logic and tolerance.

All of the so-called measures related to mental ‘health’ in this gun law associate any ‘findings’ of mental illness and of history of involuntary commitment,  even “civilly confined in a secure treatment facility” to the euphemistic “contrary to public safety”. The mentally ill have been declared PERMANENTLY “contrary to public safety”.

Any measure of ‘assessment’ of disability is done to calm the public’s irrational fears of the mentally ill. It’s not to find the sick and help them, no. It’s to punish the sick and deprive them of their liberties  in order to “protect” a prejudiced populace. The measures relating to AOT are there to find out whether  UNARMED prisoners in prison are mentally ill, in which case they will be tagged permanently and, if released, spied upon according to the ‘surveillance’ measures in the law. They don’t call them surveillance, of course; they call it “reporting”.

Our prisons are the new psych hospitals. Many people are aware of this. And if you were not mentally ill when you got in, you sure will become one once inside. But the point is that the double whammy of being an ex-con by nature of having been imprisoned due to your mental illness and now been tagged as even more dangerous to society because you are ill and could go on mass killing, is unfair, stigmatizing and solves nothing.  Let alone the fact that no measures to help the mentally ill in prison is mentioned in this law.

So, even if you haven’t been to prison, if your ‘friends’ find out you have  a ‘diagnosis’, that will be enough to scare the bejesuse out of them. Wow. You must be an ex con too. Mass murderer….

Kidding aside, that’s how stereotypes work.

3. Privacy lost.

I wonder what other rights, in addition to privacy, will the mentally ill lose next. Mind you, we lose these rights by virtue of being ill. Committed ‘for your own good’ against your will? Check your privacy at the door; it’s for your own good too. Well, not yours but for the “public safety”. And don’t expect to get it back any time soon. Had “insight” and talked about your “violent” thoughts with your therapists, even though you have never been violent and know you wouldn’t harm any one? Privacy lost. You probably be in the hospital by now.

You have to learn a new language to communicate with your therapists now in these days of ‘the mentally ill are mass killers’. Eliminate “violent ideas” or “I feel jumpy”. It may put you in the AOT program in the blink of an eye.

It doesn’t matter why you were hospitalized, for how long, how frequently…one history, one ‘episode’ is enough to cast you out of society.

I hope you find comfort in this bill.

God knows I don’t. Anything done at the expense of the mentally ill is bound to oppress me. We saved nothing with this bill, we fixed nothing with it, there were no provisions to help the mentally ill. Only punishment.

Pray that you or any one in your family ever have ‘an episode’.

 

PS. Sorry for the frequent passive voice. I’m working on it.

 

NYS gun law. sect 404 stigma gives a sense of safety.


 26    S  3.  Section  404  of  the correction law is amended by adding a new  subdivision 3 to read as follows:

28    3. WITHIN A REASONABLE PERIOD PRIOR TO DISCHARGE OF AN INMATE  COMMIT-TED FROM A STATE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY FROM A HOSPITAL IN THE DEPARTMENT OF  MENTAL  HYGIENE  TO  THE COMMUNITY, THE DIRECTOR SHALL ENSURE THAT A CLINICAL ASSESSMENT HAS BEEN COMPLETED TO DETERMINE WHETHER  THE  INMATE MEETS  THE CRITERIA FOR ASSISTED OUTPATIENT TREATMENT PURSUANT TO SUBDI-VISION (C) OF SECTION 9.60 OF THE MENTAL HYGIENE LAW. 

Comment: A person already in prison/psych hospital does not have a gun at hand. The law here doesn’t specify what that clinical assessment BEFORE release is looking for related to gun controls. Why is this provision of “assessment” of mental health  here under a gun control law and not as part of systematic mental health policy is beyond me. All it achieves, in my view, is officially stigmatizing  people with mental illness by associating them with  criminals and mass murderers.

Mental health advocates have been talking for years about how our state’s mental health policy has turned  prisons into the facto psych hospitals with no treatment there either. Now the punitive for-profit correctional system we have in this state will have more opportunities to keep the mentally ill inside and the state will ‘save’ some money to boot because, of course they will be found to be come mentally ill. Those who are mentally ill and were incarcerated for that will be related to this gun control law and declared a threat under this law.

And since now we have legally concluded that crimes committed with guns are crimes of the mentally ill, those who are NOT mentally ill but committed crimes with guns will find themselves on our side.

More comments to come later.

NY gun control law. Reading the law.


I will have my comment about the new law posted after 6pm, for anyone interested. I know, you will not be holding your breath for it.

Anyway, I can see so far that, as I said I expected in my previous post,  the stigma of mental illness has been codified into law here.

Talk to you later.

 

NYS’ new gun (and mental illness) control law.


Our state (NY) has just passed some new law on the issue of gun control, and mental illness to boot. Of course, the discussion about the law was kept “behind closed-door”, in the closet, so to speak.  How charming.

Why would they want to do such a thing, I ask myself. But then again, who am I to ask anything about them ‘law makers’?

I don’t want to burst your bubble of joy here but, I think I must. Just kidding.

When our legislators, at both state and federal level, sit behind closed doors, the law that comes out of there is filled with loopholes big enough to pass an elephant sitting on a tank through it.

So, save yourself a major disappointment IF you actually read the new law when it gets  published. If you don’t read the new law you will go away happy and content thinking that here something was done relating to gun control. If you read the law later, your bubble is bound to burst. Choose: to read or not to read.

The other thing is the now fait accomplished of wielding together mentally ill people with mass killer. That’s what the legislation has done, based on what the news tell us. Maybe we ought to call this law ‘the stigma of mental illness Act’.

And to not waste the opportunity, they also wielded together Kendra’s Law to the mentally ill and gun owners. Involuntary commitment usually goes hand in hand with stigma and stereotypes. Have you already forgotten Willowbrook and the recent articles about mistreatment of the disabled  and mentally ill? The cases of police called to help with some distressed person only to have the cops taser and kill that person? Now, you can include old fashion straight jackets to the mix of tools to deal with gun owners. See my post on fashion for the mentally ill here.

This new law makes ‘official’ the boggy man’s theory of the relation between gun ownership and mental illness. I’m waiting for our ‘leaders’ to pass a law that makes it official that foreclosure and poverty causes mental illness; that there is correlation between  the political and economical disorder  of a society and increase in violence and mental disorders there.

Our fashionable  “fiscal cliff” is a term that ought to point to you to that relation I just mentioned.

The "fiscal cliff" as a cause for mental instability. There ought to be a law against 'fiscal cliffs'.

The “fiscal cliff” as a cause of mental instability. There ought to be a law against ‘fiscal cliffs’.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/15/nyregion/new-york-legislators-hope-for-speedy-vote-on-gun-laws.html#commentsContainer

Predicting violence is a work in progress OR reporting without bias against the mentally ill is a work in progress


More food for though in our newspapers about mental illness and violence, this time in the Washington Post: Predicting violence is a work in progress . I would call that article ‘reporting without bias against the mentally ill is a work in progress’.

These are my highlights from the article:

..to try to figure out whether there’s a link between mental illness and violence…Using an ever-changing tool kit of theories and questionnaires, they’ve [psychologists and psychiatrists]  made some progress.

You know that your mental health is in good hands when “they” base their assessments, not on science, but on “an ever-changing tool kit of theories and questionnaires”.

An aside: it is well-known by those who work or have worked in the mental health  field (like me) that there has been animosity between ‘regular’ medicine doctors and psychiatrists since the birth of the psychiatric profession many many eons ago. [It feels as if it was yesterday that psychiatry was born. It was actually in the 1800s.] Medicine doctors don’t consider psychiatry as medicine nor psychiatrists as doctors, in part  because of these ‘tool kits’ used by the psychiatrists. I’m not inventing this.

If I were a psychiatrist or psychologist, I would be offended and shamed by that quote up there.

But, it does matter who wrote the article. The Wapo tells us it was

“David Brown, a journalist and physician, has been a staff writer for The Washington Post since 1991…He worked as a reporter at The Greenwood (Miss.) Commonwealth…  before entering the Medical College of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1987. He works four days a week at the Post and two-thirds of a day at a general internal medicine clinic in Baltimore supervising third-year medical students.”

It’s like a double-whammy of expertise. It’s enough expertise so that you can  sit comfortably in your arm-chair or wherever with your cup of coffee and leisurely read the article and don’t bother to question the ‘information’ you are reading. I mean, really, there’s no need for you to question the following paragraph with important insight into the mysterious profession of guessing-who-will-be-your-next-mass-killer [highlights by me]:

It’s now fairly clear, for example, that people with severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and some personality disorders, are more likely to commit violent acts than others.But the risk is small. [!!???] The vast majority of mentally ill people won’t commit assault, rape, arson or homicide, although the risk rises sharply among those who abuse drugs and alcohol.

I don’t doubt that you find bothersome my sarcastic attitude here but, how can I not be sarcastic after reading that!? That was written by a physician. It’s presented to you as ‘authoritative’! Did you catch the contradictions in there?:

  1. “It is now fairly clear”. Is it? Is it taken as a ‘fact’? What in social science (crime) or psychiatry, the least ‘exact’   branches of ‘science’, is taken as immutable?
  2. “are more likely to commit violent crimes than others. But the risk is small” ?? You see, that’s the danger of mixing ‘journalism’ with ‘medicine’, you don’t know which one is talking. Is the statement that “the mentally ill are more likely to commit violent crimes” a ‘report’  or a medical analysis by the author? Which one takes credit for the contradicting statement that, despite the scary ‘fact’ that the mentally ill are more violent than any other, “the risk is small”?
  3.  then, after scaring you with the boogeyman, he tries to calm you down with the report or diagnosis that “the vast majority of mentally ill people won’t commit assault,”
  4. then he switches to the drug addict as the boogeyman, it was not the schizophrenic, it was the one-arm drug dealer/abuser. But we have already internalized in our  uncritical reading that it is the mentally ill who are the danger to society even though “the vast majority of them” will not commit a crime.

All of the above is not the scary part of the article. This is:

These insights [the ones I just mentioned above] are proving useful to psychiatrists, psychologists, judges, school administrators and others who must decide whether someone seems too dangerous to be left alone.

If you are a blonde and read that judges are going to incarcerate any blonde who come in front of them because they read some study in Psychology Today that says that blondes are more prone to violence, wouldn’t you be scared? I bet you’ll dye your hair black.

Another pearl:

Even when someone has a history of threatening behavior, the killing of innocent people can’t necessarily be prevented.

The sentence starts with “even”. You, or at least I did, would expect that the second part of the sentence would deny the first: ‘even’ though some people has a history of threatening behavior…they are not threatening, or something like that. But nooooo.

THE ANATOMY OF STEREOTYPES AND STIGMA

His conclusion is that a history of threatening behavior will lead to killing of innocent people because (changing the order of the sentence) killing innocent people can’t be prevented by a HISTORY of threatening behavior. It’s an illogical sentence. It’s a good thing that I’m not into conspiracy theories ’cause otherwise I would think that this is a black psy op piece of journalism. Either that or that guy is not a good writer. He should stick to medicine. No, forget that.

Look, it simply plants in your mind, in an awkward sentence, that a history of threatening behavior leads to mass killing. Then your brain works the association and you find yourself demanding the involuntary commitment of people with such ‘history’. That’s the anatomy of stereotypes and stigma: speculation as ‘science’ and  ‘authoritative’.

BANKS AND “AGGRAVATING FACTORS”

Of course, there’s no mention to life in our highly violent and corrupt society. Mental illness and violence are discussed in the article and in general  totally outside of the society in which it exist, as if our complex social and political lives have nothing to do with either of them.

The author talks about drug addicts and violence as something naturally related to each other. No mention to how an aggravating factor is the fact that our big banks, especially the HSBC, are laundering money for the illegal drug cartels that inundate our communities with drugs. Two weeks ago Reuters reported that the HSBC paid over one billion dollars to avoid prosecution for the laundering of money “which excluded $670 billion in transactions from the monitoring systems” for the Mexican and Colombian drug cartels.

If drug addiction is a cause of the killing of innocent people and the big banks help to bring the drugs that keep you enslaved, why isn’t the connection between the big banks and ‘aggravating factor’ in the killing of innocent people made in the article?

“RISK FACTORS”

This category is totally based on questionnaires, and the definition of ‘violence’ or ‘violent’ is not given in the article.

Look, this article  is a crude job, in my eyes, at stigmatizing the mentally ill. One of the problems for the society at large about stigmatizing is that it puts the focus on the wrong place. For the recipient of that stigma, precious life and freedom is at stake. For society at large, progress and solutions get lost in the fog of war against the  sick ‘individual’.

We have rampant corruption in our higher political and bureaucratic institutions and in our corporate world. We live in a world where entertainment is violent. In the USA you can hardly make money with a movie that does not include violence and car chases. Movies like the French ‘Three Colors’ is considered boring here by the masses  because it has no car chases nor violence or ‘free’ nudity.

That this is a crude attempt to stigmatize the mentally ill is seen in the pictures it printed of the recent mass killers with their frozen mad stares snared at the moment of blinking or some other physical reaction to the surroundings;  and in the illogical and contradictory sentence constructions of the article  to force an association that, under serious scrutiny, does not exists.