"Big White Brother
At the very bottom of this issue, we have ingrained bigotry against people with mental illnesses in society, in the legislatures and on the judicial bench. If a Court searches the Oklahoma Mental Health Code, Title 43A, it will find that one type of penalty does not exist. There are penalties for such things as stealing from petty cash, operating a mental facility without a license, malfeasance with narcotics, physically assaulting patients, failing to report elder abuse, falsely accusing someone of elder abuse, falsely accusing someone of having a mental illness, and misrepresenting to police that someone has a mental illness. There are even perjury penalties for swearing in court documents that someone has a mental illness.
But there is not one single penalty either for falsely accusing someone with a mental illness of being a threat, or for falsely depriving a person with mental illness of liberty and due process. It comes closest to the latter in 43A-5-103, making it a mere misdemeanor to unlawfully or maliciously confine a person in a mental or drug treatment facility. But the language in 43A-1-103 that defines a person with a mental illness to be in need of treatment if anyone alleges a “reasonable fear” of threat, and the language in 43A-5-204 that gives immunity from civil suits for medication (and treatment) prescribed in “good faith”, virtually nullify that provision. Nor does Title 43A demand that the methods and means of “treatment” and the results of that treatment be tabulated and recorded to assure that they are safe, fair and effective.
If the U.S. Supreme Court searches its own record, it will easily find implicit and explicit references to the “dangerous tendencies” (Addington v. Texas, 1979) of people with mental illness, used to justify society’s need to protect itself from them, and the state’s parens patriae right to protect people with mental illness from themselves. It puts people with mental illnesses in a special category that allows the states to preventively detain them on the mere suspicion of "dangerousness", and then deny to them the full protections of law given to those who have actually committed violent crimes. We don’t have to go far in our history to see a striking parallel. All we have to do is to substitute the terms “Black” for “mentally ill” and “nigger” for “disturbed” to see that every concept of inferiority and threat involving people with mental illnesses has already be applied to people of color. It was and is called Jim Crow.
Justia columnist and Cornell law professor Sherry Colb (2011) notes for the purpose of argument that while the ratio of people committing violence is reportedly 2 to 1 mentally ill to not, the ratio of people committing homicide is 8 Black to 1 White, and 10 male to 1 female. Demonstrating that some forms of bigotry are, in the terms of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, “more equal than others”. Parens partiae becomes Big White Brother only when the same principles are applied to people that Judges care about.
Colb, Sherry F., Aug 10, 2011, Armed and Crazy: Should Mentally Ill People Be Permitted to Own Firearms?, http://verdict.justia.com/2011/08/10/armed-and-crazy"