"The standard for committing people with mental illnesses into mental health jails in this State, and perhaps many others, is the confirming opinions of “two licensed professionals” that the person with a mental illness needs treatment. No trial or jury in most cases, just “experts” in deciding whether or not a person will be a danger to himself or others. Apparently in Tulsa County, the idea of a jury trial is kept from the prospective inmate, even by the Public Defender’s Office, just to avoid taking the time and trouble of a jury trial for this kind of person. After all, people with mental illnesses rarely have the energy or focus or resources to dispute the matter, and even vampires come off better in the movies.
Many people are perfectly happy with this arrangement, secure in the knowledge that they are not “that kind of person” and that this will never happen to them. They cannot imagine that they will ever have to face jail on the opinions of two licensed professionals. Or that applying this standard to an unpopular minority is any kind of slippery slope that will some day blow back on them.
But what about terrorism? Most people are more afraid of terrorists even than those with mental illnesses. What if everyone had to face the scrutiny of licensed experts to decide whether or not they could be terrorists, and, like the mentally ill, incarceration until they could prove to those same experts that they are not a danger to themselves (suicide bombers) or society. If you think that’s a good idea, as many in the Republican legislature might during the current silly season, you may not have thought it all the way through.
Oh, Grandma got strip searched at the airport.
She fit the profile to a tee.
She said something suspicious to the agent.
Jus be glad that it weren’t you or me.
Because that’s just what “mental health evaluations” are, profiling. If in the last 200 years, for example, we had weeded out every leader who had a history of major depression, we would have lost Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill. We might be doing Nazi salutes and still have slavery.
No one can predict just what someone will do in the future, if anything. Even the recent research into the relationship between mental illness and violent behavior can only produce relative certainties for the extreme violent and non-violent tails of the bell curve. Everything in between is a gray area, where no prediction has any statistical validity. You can only say that people with certain factors, like being abused as children or major depression, are more likely that those that don’t to be violent. But not that they are destined to that fate, and unable to escape or overcome it. As FBI Special Agent John Douglas said near the end of his book, Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, there is no psychological that can predict violence. Only past violence can predict future violence. See also http://www.physorg.com/news152819983.html
Locking people up for what an expert or bigot is afraid or says they might do in the future is not mental health or public safety. It looks, walks and quacks just like a jail for those who are deemed to be undesirable, but cannot be convicted of any crime in a regular court of law. And in the history of Psychiatry, this kind of profiling is less accurate than flipping a coin, condemning as many as two harmless and innocent people to incarceration out of every three who are profiled.
And if you think that this kind of profiling is such a good idea, tell me again why you don’t want to do it to Black Americans. What did you say? It’s immoral, bigoted and wrong? Oh. I’m so glad you cleared that up for me.
Oh, Grandma got strip searched at the airport … "