lbo-talk] Jared Lee Loughner, the conservative/liberal axis and the
mentally ill...
Mike Ballard swillsqueal at
Mon Jan 17 19:52:55 PST 2011

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Mark Bennet asked:

So what is your point exactly?


That more of the wealth which the workers create using natural
resources, should be directed toward care for people with mental
health problems. Granted, living in a class dominated society where
dominance and submission is considered

the norm and especially one where the credo, "Hooray for me, devil
take the hindmost" reigns, does drive a lot of people looney. Adding
commodified lethal weaponry to the mix, doesn't help matters one
little bit; although packing heat does make those with genuine fears
about living in such a dog eat dog culture feel less fearful.


In light of the Tucson tragedy, it would be nice to see the mental
health system, or what's left of it, come up for real discussion,
including serious consideration of vastly expanding mental health
services so that people like Loughner's parents or his philosophy
professor or his algebra teacher could have

actually gotten him the help he needed before he killed someone. (In
the past year, Arizona cut $36 million from its mental health
programs, nearly 40 percent

of its budget.) If nothing else, maybe it's time for some public
service announcements about the symptoms of schizophrenia—how to
distinguish them from ordinary teen angst or political passion, and
how to intervene. Lots of research now shows that the longer someone
with a brain disease remains untreated, the more severe their
dangerous delusions are likely to become. Yet most people go years
before such disases are properly diagnosed. Early intervention could
save a whole lot of lives.

Untreated serious mental illness is a huge risk factor for violent
crime, particularly among those released from mental hospitals. A 1992
study by Dr. Henry Steadman, now the chair of the national advisory
board of the Center for Mental Health Services & Criminal Justice
Research, found that 27 percent of released patients reported having
engaged in at least one violent act within four months of being
discharged. Those findings mirror older research suggesting that
discharged patients had arrest rates for violent crimes 10 times that
of the general population. Another study, published in the American
Journal of Public Health in 2002, found that about 14 percent of
adults with severe mental illness (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder)
had been violent within the previous year. Not surprisingly, then, 16
percent of jail inmates are estimated to be mentally ill, according to
the Justice Department—some 300,000 people, or four times the number
who are in mental hospitals today in the United States.


This is a political issue which the conservatives don't want you to
notice. They

are purposefully underfunding mental health at the public level so that they and

their rich pals can keep more money from the tax assessor. Saint Ronald was only

in it for the money and so his conservative pals backed him in cutting
funding for mental health, starting the ball rolling. And now we have
this situation in California and elsewhere:
****************************** Another thing that happened then was
Frank Lanterman, who drafted the law, was a

conservative legislator from Pasadena, and he had ties to John Birch
Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, very, very conservative
organisations. And

he said and those around him said that psychiatric hospitals were Marxist tools,

that basically that the people in hospitals were political prisoners
and so there was under a cry of libertarianism, and what I would call
political cover of libertarianism said, 'Let these poor people go.'
So. But really what the fiscal - the fiscal side was driving it as
well, that essentially that there is a lot of money to be saved by
closing the state hospitals. 1960 there's half a million people in
state hospitals in the United States, 1980 there's 100,000. So

basically this was under the cover of libertarianism, there was a
fiscal drive to actually empty out the state hospitals as well. So you
have really an arch-conservative/libertarian from Southern California.
His co-author, Nicholas Petris from Oakland, describing the literature
as 'ultra

liberal', and he was more of the school of thought that grew up under
The Myth of Mental Illness by Thomas Szasz, RD Laing The Divided Self,
that there is a whole groundswell on the left saying that mental
illness was a myth and that these are just kind of misunderstood,
eccentric, poor characters and we should just let them go. And so you
had far right, far left, and then Short was just sort of thrown in at
the end, I can't tell you much about him except his first name was
Alan. So Lanterman, Petris, Short, they had this sort of unholy,
political alliance, and so this law was crafted.


For the works! Mike B)

Equal political power between men and women. Abolition of wage-labour
and commodity production with distribution of goods and services based
on useful labour time. Grassroots democracy.

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