December 15, 2012

"Curiously, during the period before deinstitutionalization, the mentally ill seem to have been less likely to be arrested for serious crimes than the general population."

"Studies in New York and Connecticut from the 1920s through the 1940s showed a much lower arrest rate for the mentally ill. In an era when involuntary commitment was relatively easy, those who were considered a danger to themselves or others would be hospitalized at the first signs of serious mental illness. The connection between insanity and crime was apparent, and the society took a precautionary approach. Mentally ill persons who were not hospitalized were those not considered a danger to others. This changed as deinstitutionalization took effect."

From "Madness, Deinstitutionalization & Murder," by Clayton Cramer.

117 comments:

edutcher said...

M L'Inspecteur Renault, please pick up the white courtesy telephone.

And everybody knew this kid was really bent.

Moose said...

Cramer has a very interesting history regarding mental health issues - he was compelled to write about them after his experiences with his brother. Very thoughtful guy.

Russ said...

Yes, I suppose if we throw everybody who acts funny into involuntary incarceration, less of those people will end up in prisons.

Granted, it does involve less people getting hurt, but I'm not sure that's worth the cost of curtailing so many people's freedoms without due process.

FleetUSA said...

Deinstitutionalization certainly created a lot of problems for society -- homelessness and increased drug use are just part of the problem.

But in the 60's/70's "freedom" was the byword.

John Burgess said...

Well, if we decriminalize drugs, there's going to be a lot of spare prison capacity. Maybe there's a new industry in retrofitting prisons into hospitals.

The bars can be removed and sold as garden accessories.

There will be a new demand for mental health practitioners and auxiliaries, of course. Maybe a retread program for all the law schools grads could now find work.

And because this is now a health issue, falling under Obamacare, it will be free!

Lem said...

We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

We'll be talking about Adam for years.

Ann Althouse said...

I was also reading that deinstitutionalization had a lot to do with moving the costs from the state to the federal govt, with states closing hospitals and feds paying SSI. Also, the new institutions for the mentally ill would simply be the prisons, after the crimes are committed and the mentally ill convicted despite their illness and treated with far less compassion.

Obviously, there's a huge issue in determining who the seriously mentally are and whether they are truly dangerous, but why is there no interest in trying?

It makes more sense to me than guy control!

MadisonMan said...

'Guy control' is a great typo!

Ann Althouse said...

Oops.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I seem to recall that the total institutionalized fraction of the population -- that is, the sum of the imprisoned and the involuntarily committed -- has actually remained pretty constant over the previous century; basically we let a whole lot of people out of mental institutions and proceeded to lock them up again as criminals.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Are you saying that incarcerating the mentally ill is a more convenient way to go about suppressing their otherwise absolute 2nd amendment rights?

m stone said...

Someone keep an eye on Ritmo.

ambienisevil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Godfather said...

We could try to prevent future mass murders by:

(a) severely restricting the possession of firearms; or

(b) widespread institutionalization of the mentally ill; or

(c) preventing the news media from reporting at length and in depth about mass murders.

Or all of the above.

Each of us tends to oppose the approaches that offend our favored values, and to support those that are consistent with our favored values. We claim that we do so on pragmatic grounds, but that's bullshit, because we don't have the slightest empirical evidence of how effective any of these approaches would be.

Personally, I oppose them all. Of course that's because I am sure that none of them would work.

That is also bullshit.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

What's that supposed to mean, m stone? Are mass murders a funny thing to you?

m stone said...

Sorry Ritmo. I misread your post. I thought it was dark humor.

Lem said...

'Guy control' is a great typo!

rh would not say that.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Apology accepted.

I'm used to understanding the need of a wide leeway for humor on a variety of topics, but I guess you'll have to forgive me if I find it hard to find anything funny about episodes like these.

Mogget said...

The big problem is when we lock up someone who is quite sane but is simply having a really bad day, perhaps coupled with intemperate language. Right now, the stigma associated with mental illness is such that a life otherwise filled with goodness is thereby ruined.

Michael K said...

Clayton Cramer is the author of the book, "My Brother Ron," and has done a huge amount of research on the legal issues.

"She was perfectly fine as long as she had a place and didn't have to support herself. She was still terrified to go outside."

This is typical of schizophrenics. They are terrified of the outside world and sometimes acting out is just a way to tell everybody that they are sick. In the days of the mental hospital, many schizophrenics saw it as a refuge, not a prison.

The guy I worked for ran a ward in the VA psych hospital in LA. He had many patients in half way houses around the city. If they started to feel anxiety, they could just act out a bit and be returned to the hospital. A few times they would test the system just to make sure they were safe. Once they knew the hospital was available, they would calm down. Now they have nothing.

grackle said...

Yes, I suppose if we throw everybody who acts funny into involuntary incarceration, less of those people will end up in prisons. Granted, it does involve less people getting hurt, but I'm not sure that's worth the cost of curtailing so many people's freedoms without due process.

The commentor doesn't have to worry. The culture of deinstitutionalization is firmly in place. Crazy folks will continue to be allowed to roam the streets at will and every once in awhile one of them will slaughter a few people.

Obviously, there's a huge issue in determining who the seriously mentally are and whether they are truly dangerous, but why is there no interest in trying?

Well, don't look to the MSM, or others on the left, who gleefully await any such attempt with their usual trump cards. There's the race card, the gun control card, the civil rights card and the plight of the homeless card, to mention a few.

This issue was settled by the opinion manipulators during the Carter era. It's dead and buried.

Alex said...

Amazing how much better a comment thread flows when you skip Shitmo.

hombre said...

Godfather wrote: "Each of us tends to oppose the approaches that offend our favored values, and to support those that are consistent with our favored values."

Of course the opposition might also have something to do with the fact that your approaches a and c are pretty much illegal.

rehajm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie Martin said...

Oddly, as more criminals were being sent to prison, crime rates declined.

rehajm said...

Fairfield Hills Hospital once housed 4,000 psychiatric patients at it's peak in the 1960s.

It was located in Newtown, CT.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

You mad, Alex?

Here's one way to make a topic like this "flow" better. Acknowledge that gun murders in our schools achieve 2 libertarian aims: They comprise an assault on public/federal education and they make 2nd amendment fetishists feel freer.

Everyone has a right to defend themselves from unjust physical affronts. But you should know that the NRA opposes 2 common-sense reforms that 75% of their own members support: Criminal background checks and restrictions on purchases to those listed on the terrorist watch list.

That should tell you something about the NRA, apart from how politically powerful they are.

Talk of the mental health system sounds like a distraction. Communities with better gun regulations are safer, and that's the only correlation that can be drawn. Perhaps there's a correlation between better mental health care and better regulation, but the correlation that's been shown is to better regulation.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Oddly, as more criminals were being sent to prison, crime rates declined.

Including non-violent offenders?

Richard said...

Deinstitutionalization was the right thing to do. People got trapped in "the system" who shouldn't have been there. And there was physical abuse and over-use of drugs we wouldn't even give to a horse now. It was a horror story. I can't believe anyone would want to go back to those dark ages.

R. Chatt said...

The institutionalization question is valid but the cases we've been witnessing of mass shootings/murders have been committed by people who were relatively well off, not the homeless. IOW, it's not about re-institutionalizing everybody who displays mental illness. It's more about recognizing mental illness as an illness which needs treatment, not stigmatization. The way mentally ill people are treated reminds me of how AIDS patients were treated -- gays who deserved to die. Pitiful.

Ironic that liberals who are calling for more gun laws are not more pro-mental health. Liberals are supposedly more compassionate, accepting, and peace loving. Maybe they're blinded by their hatred for people who traditionally own guns. (I saw a question on an online dating site which asked, "Would you date someone who owned a gun?")

All I can say about the CN school shooting is that I wish the Principal and Guidance Counselor had run out into the hall way with more than good intentions.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Ironic that liberals who are calling for more gun laws are not more pro-mental health.

Sure, right. Whatever. All those mental health care coverage bills that they opposed immediately spring to mind. Or something.

Coketown said...

This is an interesting TED talk on mental illness. I don't know how pertinent it is. But it's interesting and is about mental illness.

Captain Curt said...

Five years ago at the Volokh Conspiracy blog, Stuart Benjamin presented some truly scary data about the relationship between deinstitutionalization, imprisonment, and homicide rates.

A couple of the posts can be found here:

http://www.volokh.com/archives/archive_2007_04_29-2007_05_05.shtml#1177939981

http://www.volokh.com/2007/05/01/mental-hospital-prison-and-homicide-rates-some-more-analyses/

While I don't (and he didn't) consider this data conclusive as to cause and effect, it is highly suggestive that the emptying of the mental hospitals contributed mightily to the crime rate, including homicide, until we eventually imprisoned many of these people (after, not before, they had committed crimes).

David said...

All six of the adults who died at the school were women.

Biff Styles said...

My observation, from the experience of having been married to a woman who turned out to be schizophrenic, is that in seeing her treated in an acute psychiatric episode, I realize that it could take the FTE of several professionals working for months, if not years, to deal with these folks. We are about to discover a significant shortage of primary care physicians under ObamaCare, if we were to address the mentally ill in a serious way, instead of just medicating and keeping out fingers crossed, it would be an incredibly expensive venture.

ironrailsironweights said...

All six of the adults who died at the school were women.

Well, yeah, it was an elementary school, that's pretty much expected.

Peter

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Studies in New York and Connecticut from the 1920s through the 1940s showed a much lower arrest rate for the mentally ill. I think it's hard to compare time periods. For instance bipolar disorder is probably much more commonly diagnosed now. In the 1930s if you killed a cop, you might have been seen as just bad or an angry person, now you might be called bipolar.

Also, the data presented so far suggest that the grounds for commitment of Adam would not have been dangerousness, which is quite evident in retrospect, but rather an inability to care for his basic needs because of mental illness. That required really the family to bring him to attention; as long as he was cared for by them it wan't socially evident.





edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

I was also reading that deinstitutionalization had a lot to do with moving the costs from the state to the federal govt, with states closing hospitals and feds paying SSI.

Excellent point. There were n ever any Federal mental hospitals, except possibly in the VA. Otherwise, the feds might have gone the KGB route years ago.

Also, the new institutions for the mentally ill would simply be the prisons, after the crimes are committed and the mentally ill convicted despite their illness and treated with far less compassion.

If you ever saw the inside of a state mental hospital, you'd know the definition of the word, "compassion", can be incredibly elastic.

Obviously, there's a huge issue in determining who the seriously mentally are and whether they are truly dangerous, but why is there no interest in trying?

It makes more sense to me than guy control!


Dr Freud, your slip is showing.

Ann Althouse said...

"Are you saying that incarcerating the mentally ill is a more convenient way to go about suppressing their otherwise absolute 2nd amendment rights?"

What if Adam Lanza had been recognized as seriously mentally ill, institutionalized, and those teachers and children were still alive? Clearly, that would be worth doing.

The problem is how do you avoid institutionalizing too many individuals? How do you have proper safeguards?

Why are you afraid even to look at that option?

And no one is arguing that 2d Amendment rights are "absolute." Not the NRA, not Justice Scalia. This is just sophistry.

The mentally ill are now largely "incarcerated" in prison, after they commit their crimes, and they are treated in a way that is not what we want for the ill. We lose our compassion for them when they've, say, murdered children.

Or maybe they commit suicide or live on the street.

This is a lot of suffering.

But somehow "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is your reality.

And you love to think of yourself as empathetic.

And you insult me. Have you ever contemplated the possibility that you're not as good of a person as you like to preen about being?

Lem said...

Guy control..

On second thought.

Most, if not all, of these shooting rampages have been perpetrated by males.

Maybe Althouse is onto something there.

Palladian said...

It was a horror story. I can't believe anyone would want to go back to those dark ages

You can't? I certainly have no trouble believing that after reading comment after comment from so-called "conservatives" who, like their soul-mates the gun-grabbing "liberals", shriek that we must DO SOMETHING! in the wake of this crime. And what better solution for freedom-loving conservatives than to re-establish state-funded dungeons where we can throw anyone who acts odd or who inconveniences us, or who some junior-college psychology major determines is "mentally ill". Then, like the good ol' days, we can fry their brains and shoot them full of Thorazine to keep them quiet. Then nothing bad will happen to Christmas ever again!

Palladian said...

And since it's notorious gay-hater Clayton Cramer writing, it reminds me of an added benefit to God-bothering social conservatives of the revival of State-run mental institutions: they used to be a favored destination to send homosexuals to have the queerness ECTed or lobotomized out of their brains.

Oh, that will never happen again? That's right! Trust in the State! It always does what's right!

Rusty said...

O Ritmo Segundo said...
Are you saying that incarcerating the mentally ill is a more convenient way to go about suppressing their otherwise absolute 2nd amendment rights


No.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

it's not about re-institutionalizing everybody who displays mental illness. It's more about recognizing mental illness as an illness which needs treatment, not stigmatization.

There is a certain level of mental illness or insanity that would require,if not actual institutional incarceration for a while, would require intensive and consistent therapy.

Unfortunately, those who are closest to the mentally ill person and who have some power to get treatment or incarceration[the mother, father, siblings, spouse] are often part of if not the cause of the problem. They either are culpable, perhaps mentally ill themselves or just don't want to acknowledge that there is a problem. Head in the sand syndrome.

BUT> because of the societal refusal to deal with the issue. The families who DO try to get help or have their ill relative incarcerated face a terrific uphill struggle. They may plead for help, but it is withheld in the name of political correctness and protection of the insane person's rights. Nevermind the rights of others who are harmed because of the refusal to treat the problem.

hombre said...

"And what better solution for freedom-loving conservatives than to re-establish state-funded dungeons where we can throw anyone who acts odd or who inconveniences us, or who some junior-college psychology major determines is "mentally ill"."

There are safeguards that can be imposed to minimize abuses of the involuntary commitment process and the institutionalized mentally ill.

What safeguards are there when some dangerously ill person decides to celebrate Christmas by murdering a couple of dozen people.

Lem said...

Palladian... all we are saying is that to keep us from going "off the cliff"... everything is on the table.

Wait... I'm getting my crisis mixed up here.

But, yea... we need meaningful legislation... regardless of the politics... to quote the president.

Lem said...

You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.

Rahm Emanuel

Palladian said...

There are safeguards that can be imposed to minimize abuses of the involuntary commitment process and the institutionalized mentally ill.

Oh, well then, I'm sure it'll be ok!

What safeguards are there when some dangerously ill person decides to celebrate Christmas by murdering a couple of dozen people.

We must SAVE CHRISTMAS!

Lem said...

Just in case anybody fails to mention... something we should have in the back of our minds... as we try to make the world safer for democracy.

Some of these cases are beyond the preventive powers of the best prevention seeking schemes devisable.

The nurse serial killer for example.

The safest bunker is rendered useless when people who have no business there are buzzed in... to give another example.

Lem said...

Oh, well then, I'm sure it'll be ok!

"I'm not completely convinced that your intentions are honorable."

HT said...

Guns are the common denominator. Good luck trying to prove that everyone who shoots up people in a place are is "mentally ill."

You use that phrase much too liberally.

hombre said...

"We must SAVE CHRISTMAS!"

OK, Palladian, how about: What safeguards are there when some dangerously mentally ill person decides to celebrate Monday (or any day of your choice) by murdering a couple of dozen people?

Better?

HT said...

"What if Adam Lanza had been recognized as seriously mentally ill, institutionalized, and those teachers and children were still alive? Clearly, that would be worth doing."

So I guess the jury has ruled on this person's mental health. Ok, fine.

But before institutionalization, do you not want to touch the issue of his mother having guns in the house of a supposed mentally ill person? No? Just jump right over guns to institutionalization?

Michael K said...

"you should know that the NRA opposes 2 common-sense reforms that 75% of their own members support: Criminal background checks and restrictions on purchases to those listed on the terrorist watch list. "

That's a lie but one common on the left. Instant background checks have been supported by the NRA for years. The "terrorism watch list" is a joke.

Palladian has certainly gone off the deep end on this subject. I wonder why ?

Seventh Day Adventists and Scientologists don't believe in psychiatry. Does one apply to you ?

I will grant that psychiatry has been its own worst enemy since the 1920s but we now are in an era where real progress is being made. Neurobiology is showing where the pathology may be and it is a much better field for research than it was when I considered it in 1962.

Why such an emotional response ? Clayton Cramer is a very knowledgeable guy. His book is excellent and begins with very hard won knowledge. What's your experience with psychosis ?

HT said...

I don't think psychiatry and neurology are the same. One can prove something exists, the other cannot, but "treats" it anyway.

Does the NRA support instant background checks?

It's hard to say.

From their "ILA" web site-

"Worse yet, a requirement for background checks for all firearm transfers would result in a system of gun registration as the federal government would have access to information on all firearm sales."

Woulda coulda shoulda

The Godfather said...

Way up above, Hombre said of the 3 approaches I suggested to stopping mass murders:

"Of course the opposition might also have something to do with the fact that your approaches a [strict gun control] and c [banning media reports on mass murder] are pretty much illegal."

But my approach c, wide spread institutionalization of the mentally ill -- against their will -- would likely also be "pretty much illegal". The idea is to lock up people who haven't committed a crime because we think they MIGHT do so some day. In theory we would lock them up until we cured them, but we can't cure them, unless we can force them to take their meds, which we can't if their out in the world, so we have to lock them up indefinitely. Actually there are very few middle-aged mass murderers, so maybe we could lock them up at 18 and let them loose at 40. I sure hope that's as illegal as the other two approaches.

Palladian said...

Why such an emotional response ? Clayton Cramer is a very knowledgeable guy.

He's also a fag-hater of the highest order.

His book is excellent and begins with very hard won knowledge. What's your experience with psychosis ?

My aunt was mentally ill and committed suicide after being "treated" by numerous psychiatrists. My father is a schizophrenic who spent years looking for listening devices in the walls of my grandparent's house; now he's a medicated zombie who sits in a wheelchair drooling on himself. I won't discuss my own experiences with the mental health profession, but it should suffice to say that I speak not only from familial but personal experience.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Dr Freud, your slip is showing. 5:53 PM

I don't see reasoned disputation supporting that remark in the comment. What I see is a bullying ad hominem attack saying 'You're queer, and I'm not.' It reduces the quality of the blog.

DADvocate said...

Does the NRA support instant background checks?

Background checks are required for all sales by a licensed firearms dealer before possession of the firearm is transferred. A private individual (unlicensed person) may sell a gun "to an unlicensed resident of his or her State, if the buyer is not prohibited by law from receiving or possessing a firearm, or to a licensee in any State."

Whether of not the NRA supports these laws is moot. It is the law already. Lanza couldn't legally buy a pistol anywhere because of his age (under 21). Fact is, he didn't buy any firearms anywhere.

Sounds like you're pushing lies and half-truths.

Paul said...

Bet they were given more care than now days. For these days they are just thrown on the streets to survive any way they can.

Indigo Red said...

The Community Mental Health Act of 1963, also called the Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act, Mental Retardation Facilities and Construction Act, Public Law 88-164, or the Mental Retardation and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act of 1963 was intended to provide federal funding for community mental health centers in the United States and was part of John F. Kennedy's New Frontier. Under the new law, deinstitutionalization was the cause of CA Gov. Reagan's release of mental patients and the increase of homelessness.

Another Liberal warm-fuzzy do-gooder program gone awry.

leslyn said...

Curiously, is this book available through Amazon? Because if it is, I want to display it as one of the most curiously obvious things ever written.

Michael K said...

"My aunt was mentally ill and committed suicide after being "treated" by numerous psychiatrists. My father is a schizophrenic who spent years looking for listening devices in the walls of my grandparent's house; now he's a medicated zombie who sits in a wheelchair drooling on himself. I won't discuss my own experiences with the mental health profession, but it should suffice to say that I speak not only from familial but personal experience. "

Well, that explains your hostility. Every doctor's concern; the disgruntled patient. The fact remains that your experience consists of an anecdote. There is much more information but it requires an open mind.

Michael K said...

"Background checks are required for all sales by a licensed firearms dealer before possession of the firearm is transferred."

The NRA has supported instant checks as opposed to waiting periods that only disarm the innocent, like the Korean shop owners during the Rodney King riots in LA.

Unknown said...

----All those mental health care coverage bills that they opposed immediately spring to mind. Or something. ---

There was a cogent argument in there. Or something.

glenn said...

They may be crazy but they aren't stupid. You can't reason with them but you can threaten the nutcases into being law abiding if the threats are credible. Hint: Threats from boomers aren't credible.

Sarah said...

We could consider reducing the enormous costs and stigma associated with getting mental health treatment as a kind of, I don't know, middle ground between "waiting for someone to kill a bunch of people before bothering to think about how we might have helped him and others like him" and "locking up gazillions of people involuntarily."

I've read of two people this week (as in, the incidents happened this week,) who were at substantial risk of self-injury/suicide, who didn't want to get treatment because it'd get them "flagged in the system," and their lives would be ruined. And their friends didn't want to call a crisis intervention team or the police because they - the normal, sane, stable friends - were pretty sure that these people were right. I'm actually pretty sure they were right, too. Never mind schizophrenia - what happens to you when you're known to be schizophrenic is a complete disaster.

In any case, the mentally ill are far more likely to be the victims of violence and crime than the perpetrators. Perhaps we should lock up all the sane people and let the mentally ill enjoy the world in peace?

Also, re: controlled/monitored/forced treatment outside of the inpatient setting - look up "assertive community treatment" and "assisted outpatient treatment."

Unknown said...

----Guns are the common denominator. Good luck trying to prove that everyone who shoots up people in a place are is "mentally ill."

This is what makes the internet fun, correcting liberals who know a lot but everything they know is wrong....

Bath School disaster. School board member Andrew Kehoe set up a series of explosions in the Bath elementary school. That morning he killed his wife and detonated a bomb inside the school. As people amassed outside, Kehoe detonated his shrapnel-filled vehicle outside the school, in which he took his own life. The bombings constituted the deadliest act of mass murder in any type of school setting in U.S. history

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster

Unknown said...

Your quote......"Worse yet, a requirement for background checks for all firearm transfers would result in a system of gun registration as the federal government would have access to information on all firearm sales."

Does not appear on the current NRA ILA issues page.

http://www.nraila.org/news-issues/fact-sheets/2012/nra-ila-firearms-fact-card-2012.aspx?s=&st=&ps=

The language of the quote you include suggests that the discussion was regarding private sales.

So much of what you know is wrong.

Milwaukee said...

"Talk of the mental health system sounds like a distraction. Communities with better gun regulations are safer, and that's the only correlation that can be drawn. Perhaps there's a correlation between better mental health care and better regulation, but the correlation that's been shown is to better regulation. "

Chicago, and Illinois, have very strict restrictions on handgun ownership and carrying privileges. I don't recall Chicago being on a "safe" city list.

Unknown said...

======Communities with better gun regulations are safer, and that's the only correlation that can be drawn. =====

How about injecting some facts here???

More guns = safer citizens


The Christian Science Monitor reports that ..... Even as gun ownership has surged in the US in the past year, violent crime, including murder and robbery, has dropped steeply." FBI statistics for the past several years had shown crime rates holding steady but for 2009, violent crimes dropped "dramatically." Contrast these figures with the fact that gun sales are up 12 percent since the election of Barack Obama.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/item/5899-gun-ownership-up-crime-down

Kirk Parker said...

"Curiously, is this book available through Amazon? "

Hey, anybody here know how to explain to leslyn how to search for titles on Amazon???

Laura said...

Great, more executive power to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, not to mention the unelected fifteen-member firing squad. Carry on.

Laura said...

Great, more executive power to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, not to mention the unelected fifteen-member firing squad. Carry on.

Billy Oblivion said...

Palladian, do you know you're lying, or do you really believe what you say?

The NRA ILA did not *oppose* the background check, it *supported* it on two conditions, the first being that the federal government NOT turn it into a defacto registration scheme by permanently archiving the requests. The second being that the background check be implemented such that it did not hinder the purchase of firearms any more than technology required--meaning that until the NICS was up and functional, there could be a short/reasonable wait for the background check to go through.

Of course the FBI reneged on this and was keeping records around for months to years until Ashcroft ordered those records destroyed (in accordance with the law). A move he was widely criticised for by the left (because they don't expect that the government enforce laws they don't like) and I remember he was sued over it--but that could be conflating some other stuff.


As to the "Terrorist Watch List"--do you mean the No-Fly-List, the one that for a while contained Teddy Kennedy and Nelson Mandela?[1], or the actual terrorist screening database? Or did you know the difference?

Either way no one with an ounce of sense wants those used for anything other than maybe enhanced screening. Those lists primarily contain *names*. Names are not unique. Names are easily changeable (unless you're doing it for illegal purposes, which no terrorist would EVER do).

But the main reason that the NRA, and every liberty minded individual opposes using either of the two "terrorist watch lists" is that there is no *due process* involved, getting your name off the list is well nigh impossible unless you're a senator or a famous left wing government leader, there is no way to figure out how your name got on the list, and even if you DO get it off the list there is no way to prevent it getting put back on. Especially if you have a common name which very well MIGHT coincide with the name of a terrorist.

Palladian said...

Well, that explains your hostility. Every doctor's concern; the disgruntled patient. The fact remains that your experience consists of an anecdote. There is much more information but it requires an open mind.

And you being a doctor explains why you provide cover for the terrible misdeeds of your fellow "doctors".

In fact, I have met and been treated by wonderful doctors, but for every one of those men of science and compassion I have met many more charlatans, bored nihilists and utter incompetents who have alternatively and over time told me I was autistic, a borderline personality, a nascent psychotic, a future schizophrenic. Because I was smarter and stronger than most of those lowlifes, I survived and learned to trust no man, except for myself, and God, to tell me who and what I was and where my heart and future was.

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

Palladian, do you know you're lying, or do you really believe what you say?

Darling Mr Oblivion, you might, in your fact-checking mission, first try to get the names of your opponents correct. I haven't made any statements about the NRA or terrorists in this thread. In fact I don't think I've ever written a comment about the NRA one way or the other.

Sharpen up.

Palladian said...

I will go on record as an absolutist supporter of the Bill Of Rights, Amendment 2 and all.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

And you love to think of yourself as empathetic.

...Have you ever contemplated the possibility that you're not as good of a person as you like to preen about being?


I'm not familiar with the idea of pretending to a better person than one really is. How does that work? And just how "bad" am I supposed to assume or make myself out to be, in order to make others feel better?

If you feel empathy, then you are empathetic. Trust me, it's not something one does for affect, unless one is pretty sick. Or a better actor than me.

In any event, sorry for the late response, but I was out. As for the rest of it, my posts show that I clearly have no problem with (and fully support) better, more widely available mental health care. If that includes the possibility of commitment to facilities that obstruct anti-social/violative behavior, that's great. We agree.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

I will go on record as an absolutist supporter of the Bill Of Rights, Amendment 2 and all.

As Althouse points out, not even Scalia goes that far. She includes the NRA as well. I don't know about the latter, but the latest pertinent ruling of the former allows for restrictions on concealed permits, felons, the mentally ill or in sensitive places.

Feel free to explicate your reasons for disagreeing with any of the above.

Palladian said...

Feel free to explicate your reasons for disagreeing with any of the above.

I'm one of those scary, terrifying liberals you may have heard about...

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Never heard of any of them.

As far as your fear of involuntary commitment/treatment, you should be aware that a defense of patients' rights, even to refuse treatment (especially if it is erroneous or inappropriate) is more likely to originate from liberal circles. I don't see why you think they are less likely to defend autonomy than some other viable political faction, if that's what you're getting at. They are more likely to do so.

louskannen said...

Could this be a common denominator?

http://ssristories.com/index.php

O Ritmo Segundo said...

...for every one of those men of science and compassion I have met many more charlatans, bored nihilists and utter incompetents who have alternatively and over time told me I was autistic, a borderline personality, a nascent psychotic, a future schizophrenic.

Nah - you're clearly just an eccentric, which is no sin in my book, nor should it be in anyone's. ;-)

And yes, you're stronger and smarter than most.

Palladian said...

And yes, you're stronger and smarter than most.

Thanks, I really appreciate that. And yes, of course I understand the history of deinstitutionalization and that liberals were a big part of it. I am not interested in political affiliation, I am interested in ideas.

linda sherman said...

can't we have a serious scientific dialogue about what constitutes 'mental illness' and whether it is a predictor of violent behavior -- not reactive violent behavior, as in the moment, but premeditated and planned acts of extreme violence.
Otherwise, detection and 'protective' incarceration are meaningless.
ps - deinstitutionalization was a left wing movement covering for budget cuts, as is often the case. Who will pay for all that care now?

lightcat said...

Palladian- I see you're coming from personal pain and experience. But so am I. And my experience is of "D," a young schizophrenic man from a good, caring, concerned family. And 10 years ago almost to the day, he killed his sister in law "L." D nearly beheaded her, partly because he thought L was a literal witch, but mostly because nobody could force him to take the medicine that made him sane. Even though D's family was frightened of him, even though his family had resources, there was no forcing him to take his meds, and so L died, D went to prison, and two families were destroyed.

I worked as a criminal defense attorney for a few years- with adults and also with children. From personal experience I can tell you we are locking up mentally ill kids in detention facilities because there are no services available to keep them safe from themselves. And then they hit adulthood and we send them to prison. We didn't deinstitutionalize the mentally ill- we just switched institutions.

I'm a firm believer that everything the govt does it does badly. But there are still some things the govt must do- the trick is figuring out what those things are, and how to make sure the govt does those things as well as possible. Our nation has a problem- to be at all involved with the mentally ill is to know we have a problem. I don't know what the solution is. But I do know L would be alive if there had been a way to force D to take his meds. And I know a bunch of young adults who may have had a chance at a normal life if they'd had access to mental health services.

Charlie Martin said...

Including non-violent offenders?

Didn't take the logic class, eh?

Charlie Martin said...

And you insult me. Have you ever contemplated the possibility that you're not as good of a person as you like to preen about being?


Seven to two the answer is "no".

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Charlie - if I had a dog with a face like yours, I'd shave its ass and walk it backwards.

In any event, the next logic course you take should teach you about amphiboly. Using a circuitous definition for words like "criminal" is a way to avoid defining what you mean by crime. If you defined all jaywalkers as criminals, and locked them all up, then you could also say that crime declined. And petty tyrants the world over would applaud you for it. However, as clever as you'd think you were for doing so, everyone else would just rightly call you a self-serving prick.

I'll let your inability to have figured that out speak for what I think of your cheerleading on matters of who's better than whom.

Not that I ever claimed to be. "Better" is for fascists like yourself. But as it's your crude mind's closest approximation to "smarter", I guess I'll have to let you go with it.

Jeremy said...

It's easy to say someone is crazy in hindsight, but how do you really know someone needs to be locked up or not?

There are horror stories about what crazy people do, but at the same time, horror stories about what happened to people while institutionalized.

And no, I don't think we should just blindly trust doctors to make such a decision, worse yet, the government (which can easily abuse the power).

Look at the Colorado movie theater shooter. He was literally in the field of dealing with the brain. How is it that people missed the fact that he was murderous psychopath? And if those people missed it, how can you trust anyone? Psychiatry and such is something of a voodoo science

hwgood said...

Regarding the above typo, "Guy Control" would be an excellent way to go. If you use the original use for the word. It's use as a noun for a person came as a reference to Guy Fawkes.
So yes, let's control that type of "Guy".

HT said...

Your quote......"Worse yet, a requirement for background checks for all firearm transfers would result in a system of gun registration as the federal government would have access to information on all firearm sales."

Does not appear on the current NRA ILA issues page.



Bullshit. Why don't you look before flinging?

http://www.nraila.org/news-issues/articles/2012/senator-schumer-holds-hearing-on-registration-and-rights-denial-bill.aspx

AllenS said...

Even if Adam Lanza had been recognized as seriously mentally ill, the problem with his committing mass murder was the simple fact that his mother, who should have known better, had multiple guns in the house. That doesn't mean that if she didn't have those guns she'd still be alive, but those teachers and children would most certainly be alive.

I had a second cousin who adopted a child when he was an infant, by the time he was 5 years old, everyone noticed that something wasn't right with him. When he turned 16, for whatever reason, he stabbed her to death. Thank God, she didn't have any guns in the house, I guess.

You can't stop evil. We try, but we can't predict the future of troubled people.

A man who served with the same Arny unit that I did, but in a different time frame, got into an argument this fall involving road rage, and shot a man to death. He was diagnosed with PTSD and awarded 100% disability payments, along with his 100% Social Security disability payments. He was driving a Hummer, was found passed out in his vehicle earlier wearin a bullet proof vest. He owned multiple weapons, and once diagnosed with PTSD, should have been barred from owning them. He has a wife and three kids. The unit is trying to raise money for his defense, and I'll give nothing.

The Home Inspector Lawyer said...

Fox Butterfield call your office.

SwampWoman said...

What lightcat said above about the mentally ill children is absolutely correct. I work with violent mentally ill children in the public school system.

They (mentally ill kids) will be quietly working along and following the lesson and a split second later will be trying to choke a classmate to death because they didn't like how his pencil was making sounds. Or they will knock a classmate (or teacher, if they can!) to the ground with a chair, and then beat him or her when they're down. None of us can wear a lanyard with our ID around our neck due to the danger of being strangled.

The parents or guardians of these kids are desperate for help. Some of them are elderly relatives who the child was left with when the parent went to prison or just disappeared into the drug scene.

They cry and beg us to find someplace to put the child because they are not capable of caring for him or her, or the child is abusing them, but the waiting list for a group home for such children is 3+ years long.

Many families are expelled repeatedly from housing because of the violent child. There is no day care center to care for the violently insane child, so the parent or guardian cannot work. Families break up over it with one parent that has had all they can take leaving. And when the child reaches puberty and gets much larger and stronger, their lives and the lives of other family members are in danger.

You may think I'm overstating the danger, but one of our less violent mentally ill kids, a very sweet child, got mad at his mother one night and built a fire outside her room door. She died in the fire. This was when he was in elementary school.

SJ said...

Anne,

you may want to link to My Brother Ron by the same author. Or instruct people to click the "Shop Amazon" link on your page, and type the words "My Brother Ron" into the search window.

My takeaway from that book was this: it was deemed important to give the mentally-unstable better options in life. Federal and State governments began efforts at a fix. However, both sides stopped partway.

The solutions that were attempted seemed to suffer from confusion about these three categories of patients, and how they needed to be handled:

1. People of normal mental function with low IQ.
2. People with mostly-normal mental function who suffered from psychiatric problems which could be treated through counseling.
3. People with abnormal mental function whose problems could not be treated by counseling.

Worse, the implementors seemed unable to comprehend that people in category 3 cannot always be trusted to take their medication. Nor can they always be trusted to show up for treatment at Community Health Centers on a regular basis.

Also, there was a patchwork of State level laws that dealt with the mentally ill. The attempts during the 1960s and 1970s to provide a better set of laws were laudable.

However, they seemed long on claims of the need to protect civil rights, and short on examples of people whose civil rights had been obviously violated.

ken in sc said...

I worked in a state hospital in the late 60s. One of the most interesting, intelligent, and well read patients on my ward was thought to have raped and murdered eight women in Birmingham, Alabama. He used a knife.

Unknown said...

======Your quote......"Worse yet, ....information on all firearm sales."

Does not appear on the current NRA ILA issues page.

Bullshit. Why don't you look before flinging?

http://www.nraila.org/news-issues/articles/2012/senator-schumer-holds-hearing-on-registration-and-rights-denial-bill.aspx =====


Your original post and this response are simply dishonest as are most gun-control efforts.

It is exactly as I said. Opposition to "Background checks" does not appear on the NRA ILA issues page because this is an accepted part of current law. As anyone who has purchased from a dealer knows a firearm knows, there is a background check.

What Senator Schumer and the proto-tolitarians are proposing is an EXPANSION of these checks to PRIVATE sales (as I also said).

So its not 'hard to say whether NRA opposes background checks', unless you approach it with overweening dishonesty.

If you want to indulge your will control your fellow citizens, why not focus on those who are showing signs of mental illness that may lead to tragic events?

hga said...

AllenS:

"[...] the problem with his committing mass murder was the simple fact that his mother, who should have known better, had multiple guns in the house. That doesn't mean that if she didn't have those guns she'd still be alive, but those teachers and children would most certainly be alive."

It would be more accurate to say she apparently didn't secure them well enough, although even the best of safes doesn't preclude snatching a handgun that's being carried (Connecticut is a de facto shall issue concealed carry state).

But even then I can't see how you can make such a statement when as far as we know, Adam was not disbarred from buying long guns, as it is reported he started to do once (and punted because of the state waiting period, and not wanting to submit to the instant background check; presumably he decided taking his mom's guns was easier). That would require him to have been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor or a felony, or "[have] been adjudicated as a mental defective or [have] been committed to any mental institution".

Now, an adjudication of the former sounds theoretically possible, but in the current environment it's not going to happen.

"and once diagnosed with PTSD, should have been barred from owning them"

That's a proposition that's more than a little debatable. Your example certainly doesn't provide any evidence that this is automatically necessary, and the VA's abuses starting with the Clinton Administration of a PTSD diagnoses have caused a host of problems, like very strongly discouraging anyone from admitting to any of the symptoms or seeking help. Quite a bit more due process is needed before that should result in disbarment of an enumerated Constitutional right.

Andiron said...

What needs to be done is to bring back limited involuntary incarceration, combined with making anyone providing financial support to a mentally ill Person who commits a murder liable as an accessory to the crime, because right now there is motive to hide the perps mental illness.
Loughner, the batman shooter, Lanza, and so on all had family members covering for them, or who knew right away after hearing the news that it was their child/brother and so on who had gone on a rampage. For that matter the columbine idiot parents who "didn't want to violate their child's privacy by noticing the nutty lethal contents of their child's rooms" ( yeah right) should have been liable for their minor child's actions. Liability of the maniac support group would stop a lot of this.
Every one "knew" right away it was Lanza. We humans can recognize a maniac when we see one, we have just been PCed out of doing anything about it. Read The Gift of Fear.

HT said...

Ken, get real. Don't argue in bad faith. On the exact same day as the Ct killings, some horror of a human stabbed 22 children in China. As far as I know, none have died. The next day, some horrible man shot three people in the hospital where i was born, my mother worked, and my dad sees the doctor.

Guns are the weapons of choice for Americans bent on killing. Can we please stay on topic?

Don't argue in bad faith.

Unknown said...

"Can we please stay on topic"

That's laughable. The topic is deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill. But like a good little socialist you are bending it to eliminating the Constitutional freedom of your law abiding fellow citizens.

Unknown said...

As a psychiatrist who works with the homeless and the seriously mentally ill, I can tell you what it is like first hand.
1. Mentally ill people who are off their meds, and on street drugs are unequivocally more dangerous than those in group homes and on meds. Why? Because their perception of reality is grossly distorted by their illness, then further twisted by the drugs, which also tend to make them more active, restless, sleepless, and frightened.
2. By far, most of the crimes committed by the mentally ill are crimes associated with homelessness. Things like urinating in public, shoplifting, trespassing, stealing things to eat.
3. The vast majority of severely mentally ill who are off meds are so disorganized that they couldn't make toast, let alone plan and carry off a mass shooting. (The only recent exception being Jared Loughner; but he was 1 in a million.)
4. The people who do mass shootings are much more likely to be ill in a different way than the chronically mentally ill are. The severely mentally ill have various forms of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder. In most states (all states?) there are residential programs that they could go to, but they refuse because the cost of admission is "take your meds."
5. The chronically mentally ill are the people we used to "institutionalize," and hence were affected by "de-institutionalization."
6. People who do mass school shootings are usually severely personality disordered people (narcissistic and antisocial). Think of the Columbine guys, or the Virginia Tech guy, or this most recent guy. There is no way they ever were going to be candidates for long-term institutionalization. They never had the symptoms that would have made such a treatment likely.

You can blame a lot of human suffering on de-institutionalization, but mass school shootings are not one of them.

hga said...

Guns are the weapons of choice for Americans bent on killing.

Perhaps, but not for maximum body count mass murder: the tool of choice for that is fire; by someone else's count, 19 of the top 20 events.

As mentioned elsewhere in this discussion, this isn't even close to being the worst US school mass murder, the tool for that was explosives. Almost twice as many children were killed (38).

hga said...

Unknown psychiatrist: I don't remember the details about the VT shooter, but his problems were severe enough for a judge to order treatment. Unfortunately the state neither followed up and made sure he got it or reported him to the NICS, which would have prevented his gun store purchases.

And while I know you're never supposed to make an indirect diagnosis, I've gathered from others that the Aurora shooter was somewhat "severely mentally ill" in perhaps a schizophrenic direction (the timing in his life is suggestive), although obviously high functioning. Clayton Cramer has collected a lot of data on this and my impression is that Jared Loughner's type is more common that you think.

Tom Perkins said...

@ Russ

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2012/12/curiously-during-period-before.html?showComment=1355606642475#c2804753387936465443
Who says it should happen without due process? Due process, however, should be that if a jury says your nuts, you become an inmate of an asylum until a doctor(s) can convince a parole board you are OKAY--and then you should get back all civil rights, including firearms ownership, or you should remain a ward of the state to some degree.

jz said...

@unknown psychiatrist @ 11;48,
missing from your analysis is *the reason* schizophrenics can't stand to take those meds. The patient weighs the pros and cons of taking them. Please show some insight.

HT said...

Such a drama queen, Unknown. Me, bending "it" to "eliminating" the constitutional freedom of my fellow citizens.

C'est a rire, or something.

Clayton said...

For those who want to see the book length treatment: http://www.amazon.com/My-Brother-Ron-Deinstitutionalization-ebook/dp/B008E0LRQE/ref=as_li_wdgt_ex?&linkCode=wsw&tag=claytocramersweb

For those who call me a "gay-hater": I number several gay people among my friends. One gay man I know drove three hours to hear me speak in northern New Jersey. A gay man in San Francisco was one of the researchers who assisted on my previous book, Armed America. When he was reduced to living in government housing in San Francisco because AIDS has disabled him, who did he call when the public housing authority prohibited gun ownership? He contacted me. I then directed the legal cavalry in to fight back on his behalf.

I do not approve of homosexuality, and I do not approve of the increasing use of governmental coercion by some gay activists. But that does not make me a "gay-hater."

hga said...

Hot link: My Brother Ron: A Personal and Social History of the Deinstitutionalization of the Mentally Ill

I will note that everything Clayton says above matches my following of him, most especially his blog, which he's run for a decade. If he's a "gay hater", surely evidence can be found in it and/or his many publications.

Unknown said...

----Me, bending "it" to "eliminating" the constitutional freedom of my fellow citizens.

We know that all you good little socialists have your job to do. You persist in changing the focus of this thread away from how our society handles the 'mentally ill'. This is especially contemptible since it was your socialists of the 1960's that eliminated rather than reformed the mental treatment systems extant then.

No, in your eyes it is much better to attack the rights of hundreds of millions of law-abiding citizens.

vous ĂȘtes la blague; or something.



Clayton said...

Unknown psychiatrist: I would agree that some of the mass murderers gave no clear indication of severe mental illness, or at least not severe enough to warrant hospitalization, such as the Columbine killers. But the Virginia Tech killer, had he been involuntarily committed, would have been ineligible to buy a firearm because of it. Instead, he was allowed to voluntarily commit himself -- and left the next morning. Most of the mass murderers, however, were clearly severely mentally ill. Patrick Purdy received SSDI checks because of his schizophrenia (which he used to buy guns and ammo). The guy who shot up the U.S. Capitol, and the others that my article lists would have been hospitalized, long-term, in 1960.

DK said...

"...Yes, I suppose if we throw everybody who acts funny into involuntary incarceration, less of those people will end up in prisons..."

Or Congress!

Ann Althouse said...

Hi, Clayton. Thanks for commenting.

barribarri said...

Permanently imprison ALL mentally ill people.

And not just the violent schizophrenic either. Everyone with AUTISM, anxiety, depression, OCD, ADD, Tourette’s, Drug and alcohol addiction, Anorexia/Bulemia, Any serious Phobia, and anyone who has panic attacks.

And, after that, we’ll get started on the retards.

Then, the physically deformed.

Then, the gypsies.

Then, … oh, you get the idea.