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Tuesday, November 5. 2019
Asylums for the "moral treatment" of the mentally ill emerged in the early 1800s. I put moral treatment in quotes not to disparage their efforts but because Moral Treatment was a new medical movement at the time to treat the mentally ill compassionately, protectively, and respectfully. That movement continues today.
The giant old state mental hospitals are mostly abandoned now.
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I think it was a mistake to incarcerate/commit the mentally ill to these institutions. I also think it was a mistake to completely abandon the idea of some kind of long term or permanent secure housing for the seriously mental ill patients. It is clear to any thinking person that there are some people who are mentally ill and need to be housed and monitored. They are a threat to themselves and to others. The problem is multi-faceted: How to do it legally. How to do it safely and humanely. Who decides which people get committed? How do you prevent mistreatment by low level staff and even the higher level professionals? I don't know the answers. But I do know that what we are doing today is a failed methodology.
It is often said that most mentally ill people are not a threat to others and I imagine that is statistically true. But I believe that the converse is true too; that most people who are a threat to others are mentally ill. Today we essentially have no system of identifying those who are a threat or to deal with them if we identify them. The only system we have is after they knife someone or murder them (or multiple victims) we arrest them, charge them and "maybe" incarcerate them. We don't even accurately determine when we release them if they are still a threat.
It is interesting that I can call the police today and tell them my neighbor or my ex should not have guns because they are potentially violent and the police can without due process take those guns and perhaps even do more to that person. But there is no commensurate procedure to identify "crazy" people who may be violent EVEN if we were to allow due process. This is a mistake and everyday there are headlines that prove it is a mistake.
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It is often said that most mentally ill people are not a danger to themselves or others. I believe this is statistically true. However I also believe that it is true that most senseless violent crimes are committed by mentally ill people and there should be some way of identifying people like this and removing them from the streets.
Short answer about locking people up. Whatever method you use that "protects" more of the mentally ill than now will lock up lots of other people who don't require it.
False positives would break the system. You would need ten times the facilities you have now. Even slight changes in criteria, such as changing interpretations of existing statutes, can unleash a flood.
BTW, I started working at one of those who hospitals in 1978, when there were still tunnels, unattractive and poorly-maintained buildings, legends of horrible events and long-time staff who had been there during the high-population days.
It's fun to think scarey thoughts and imagine that you understand things by spending a night in an ab abandoned building. There was good and bad about those places, and the author isn't painting an accurate picture. They were poorly funded and some staff was abusive. However, there were also loving staff, there was useful work, and genuine friendships. They were spooky to outsiders, but how to others.
The age of incarceration is over. There are two things that you can do with a crazy person: Try some medicine, and if that doesn't work, euthanize him.
The same thing goes for jails and prisons. Try reform school, if that doesn't work, euthanize him.
No criminals or crazy people are to be allowed on the street.
In Japan, it's so safe that little children can go to school alone.
It should be like that everywhere.
I think you are unlikely to find a significant percentage of Americans to agree with even watered-down versions of your idea. We have this persistent idea that the convenience of the group does not overrule the rights of the individual. It's an idea we picked up from a group called Western Civilisation. You can still find some books about them at library remaindered sales and used bookstores.
You make a good point. But I contend that taxes are immoral. Taking money away from people to pay for the insane, and for the care of criminals, is unjust. Nobody has the right to take money away from my family, and give it to another family.
You referred to the rights of the individual. The most basic right, is the right to keep the fruits of one's labor. For that reason, there shouldn't be any payroll taxes. It's robbery in broad daylight.
Being supported by taxpayers is not a right. I have no claim upon your paycheck. And further, supporting the insane, and criminals is a waste of money anyway. Let me ask you a question: Would you volunteer to change diapers at the Insane Asylum? No. And neither would anybody else. Would you buy books for the prison with your own money? You could do that tommorow if you wanted. Nobody is stopping you.
I agree. The point is that the government is failing at this and they are the only group empowered to do anything about it. Because they are failing the problem is escalating and will probably at some point require extra-judicial action to correct it. There isn't a limitless pile of money to throw at this and we are turning major cities into third world hell holes by ignoring the problem.
Should we kill them all? No! Should we continue to let them kill and injure us? No! Sooner or later the least common denominator solution will be applied because the government continues to fiddle...
In ancient times and even medieval , it was impossible for a group to survive if it spent resources on anything other that exiling or executing people who cost the group resources for any reason. Then societies moved to cutting off a hand or branding, which allowed them to remain in the group and survive, though at high cost.
Only as we have been able to afford it have we moved to even considering the feelings and rights of those whose behaviors cost us something. Yet once we were able to afford it and decided to take those items into consideration, the cultures which gave rise to America seem to have universally elected to make provision that even difficult people should live, except in the greatest extremity.
It is not only Christian cultures that have done this, but those have been clear leaders.
But did the cultures thrive because of this or in spite of this? My question is how many murders, old world disease outbreaks, rapes, assaults, and robberies is acceptable before something is done to counteract these misfits? If the city of Seattle knowingly and intentionally allows/encourages the homeless thus abetting their crimes shouldn't the city of Seattle pay reparations to those injured by that decision? Here is the problem we are dancing around, sooner or later the people will rebel and take matters into their own hands. Personally, I would prefer that they kill the politicians rather than the homeless but the politicians probably live in gated communities. But when that righteous anger happens THAT will be further proof that the government has failed in their primary duties and was or should be rightfully removed with prejudice.
"Some American Pioneers in Social Welfare - Select Documents With Editorial Notes" (1937) by Edith Abbott
I read part of this book in 2010, according to my library borrowing history. It went into detail about pre-revolution Philadelphia. Benjamin Franklin was involved in the establishment of a city-funded, i.e. taxpayer-funded, asylum for the "homeless". It was built because the "homeless" had become such a nuisance - filthy, stealing, harassing people, noisy, etc. Recommended. I should take my own advice and borrow it again to read all of it.