From the Washington Post
At stake in this case is that the state (D.C.) wants to take the money (SSD checks) of this person and the only way to do it is by stripping her of her civil rights. The excuse for this atrocity is that she calls 911 “too frequently”.
The ´disability´in mental disability is in how society perceives the illness and the person bearing it, it is not the actual symptoms or manifestations of the illness that matters. You are not accepted as a functioning member of society if you are perceived as ´disabled´. The disabilities movement have tried to show that if you put ramps, for example, they are not a ´burden’ to society and can function and work like any other person. Clearly, the refusal to put a ramp was what caused these people to be ‘disabled’.
The same with mental illness, well, they don’t need a ramp. What I mean is that, portraying the mentally ill as a ‘burden’ is stigmatizing and it is what causes them to be ‘disabled’. We have to thank our States’ mental health system for their good work at impressing that stigma in the public.
In this post I try to show, with this article, how the process of stigmatizing is achieved by our government, nation-wide.
Anatomy of a stigma
The issues or problems stated by the D.C. officials in the article are:
1) Repeat callers to 911
2) …well, there’s no #2 nor 3 or 4 for that matter.
Unburdening society of the burden of people with mental disabilities: make them non citizens.
The only real issue that the officials can present in this case is the frequent 911 calls by one person. They have to deal with it as with any other situation.
The rest of their ‘reports’ constitute only unfounded accusations using mental illness as the basis to legally punish and extort money from Mrs. Rigsby by declaring her incompetent. Her crime: being mentally disabled.
This is also, and very important, a test case to be applied in the future, if they succeed, to other people with or without mental disabilities: using guardianship to punish people who use services “too frequently”. All they have to do, if you are not mentally ill, is tag a label of a a mental illness with the help of psychiatrists, who are always at hand for the job.
I can see nothing more stigmatizing than the officialdom and the psychiatric and mental health systems abusing their powers to conjure a lie using mental illness as the legal basis to deprive people of their civil rights. In order to do all that, they have to paint the mentally ill as a burden to society. That’s EXACTLY what these people are doing here. Just see how many times the word “burden” was used by them in the article.
The article states that there are “concerns from D.C. officials about the impact of one woman’s troubles on public-health and safety resources” and “repeat 911 callers have long been identified as burdens on the health system and a drain on public-safety resources.”
Shared delusions of Impending doom
As stated in the article, there have been NO research AT ALL about how ANY repeat callers, let alone this woman in particular, has an impact on the resources. That explains the fact that D.C. official speaks ONLY of a “concern”: “concern that if [a supposition, it hasn’t happen yet in all those years] if crews are tending to Rigsby, the next 911 caller with an emergency might [another supposition, hasn’t happen yet either]get a paramedic from a farther distance, said Miramontes, the medical director…“There will come a time [another supposition, that time has not come yet] when one of these [frequent 911 callers] will call and they will [nope, not yet] cost someone else their life,”
These are all words meant to portray the mentally disabled as a ‘burden’. There’s no concrete EVIDENCE they can show that would cause them to have the concern that, if they don’t take this woman’s civil rights away, the system is about to collapse…unless they share with Mrs. Rigsby the delusion of “impending doom”, as the psychiatrist thought she may have.
But, no, they are not delusional. They are simply conspiring to abuse the power given to them by the citizens and commit the crime of extortion under cover of law.
First lie: it’s all in her mind
They allege “that Rigsby, 58, has bipolar and borderline personality disorders and does not have the mental capacity to handle her medical affairs.”
The implication all along the article is that her illness is in her mind, except that “About 40 percent of the time, she dials 911 on her own. Other times, she’s out in the District when passersby see her fall and call for help, the testimony indicated.”
So, 60% of the times “passersby” make the call because they see her fall; clearly, it’s not in her mind for other people have witnessed her problem.
This case is a hands-on experience on How to Stigmatize People with Mental Disabilities.
Second lie: she uses the services EVERYTIME she calls 911.
In the article we find that “About 55 percent of the time, she refuses to be transported in an ambulance and signs a waiver allowing emergency responders to leave.” Clearly, less than half of the call-events end up in her being transported, this shows that the officials are exaggerating and lying about her.
Third lie: they are trying to save the city money (by spending millions)
That’s a good one. Hundreds of thousands of $$ will be spend on a court case, the city will be spending thousands on a neurologist for an expensive neurological test to prove she’s crazy, thousands on a psychiatrist and other “mental health experts” hired to lie in court on behalf of the city…she only ‘owes’ $61 grand after so MANY years, for crying out loud!
In addition, a guardian cost money to the city too because she doesn’t have enough $$ to pay for care at home. If they send her to a home…
Fourth lie: Mrs. Rigsby, not the system, is a burden to the city.
Well, if more than half the times she calls (55% of the times) she REFUSES to be carted away, that means that she is CONSCIOUSLY trying to NOT burden the system, but that’s not what you get from the article.
What they don’t elaborate in the article is that she REFUSES to be carried by the EMS, that’s the word they used, REFUSES. That means that they TRIED to take her just because they showed up, even though she is refusing. We don’t know whether she offered to go on her own, must likely, but it is clear she REFUSED to be taken by ambulance. Why are they making her look like an unreasonable person?
Well, without the unreasonableness, without the ‘crazy’ there’s no stigma and no stigma means no power over her because the truth that it’s all an abuse would be clear to all. Ergo, she must be made to look crazy, unreasonable and a burden.
When you read the comments posted for the article, EVERYBODY is taking as true that she is mentally ill and a burden to the system simply because the ‘officials’ say so. Her words don’t count.
It’s not about the money; it’s about the civil rights
“If the District’s petition is successful, the medical guardian could take responsibilities for such things as hiring a home health aide, filling prescriptions and proposing a different living environment. But it would still be possible for Rigsby to dial 911 because the guardian would not be a live-in caregiver.”
The issue of ‘repeat calls’ will not change. The problem is one of quality of services.
Cutting funds and leaving the communities dependent on punitive measures to squeeze money for services, or to cut expenses by criminalizing the poor and the mentally ill is the correct way to break our society apart.
We spend trillions on wars. That’s all I have to say.