January 11, 2011 § 2 Comments
or no matter how young a prune may be he’s always born with wrinkles
there’s no law against being crazy, or acting crazy, though I can’t help but point out jared loughner wasn’t so crazed he couldn’t get a gun, or plan to use it, and successfully carry out his plan and he wasn’t even crazy enough afterward to give up his right not to self-incriminate, or his right to lawyer up
and even if you are crazy you have the right to your freedoms unless you are an imminent danger to yourself; or to others; or cannot provide food clothing and shelter for yourself as a result of a mental illness, and even if a person is suspected of being a danger to himself or others and the police are called, and they take the person to a hospital for evaluation the standard of imminent danger is not as clear as you might think–
we all have hunches but unless the person is actually stating he has intent to do harm we really have no data that supports the notion we can accurately predict danger in the future–
if imminent danger is not established the person must be let go unless he wants help, and even when the person is found to be a danger he still can not be–treated–medicated against his will as long as he is competent to refuse, which in most cases is as simple as saying I don’t like the side effects and as easy as not saying the man in the moon told me I shouldn’t take pills, in order to medicate someone against his will it requires a second judicial hearing to establish competency, or incompetency in this case to refuse medication, all of which takes in-hospital time and it is not a onetime deal, these steps must be gone through each and every time a person comes across the radar; ask any family who has a member stricken with mental illness how arduous this is, and how even when it seems clear the individual needs help there is nothing, for worse and for better, they can do–
people with mental illness have fought long and hard for their rights, and the protections against being locked up just because someone thinks they’re crazy and they have fought equally hard and successfully not to indiscriminately be drugged out of their minds–
let’s face it though, the only time these days we talk or care about people with mental illness and the shoddy state of available services and treatment is when there has been a violent episode, the fact of the matter is the decline of treatment for the mentally ill has been long and steady, and across the board funding that would provide necessary mental health services and adequate treatment is being cut, that’s one problem,
the corollary is people with mental illness have not been given a concomitant responsibility, which is to say if an individual has the right to refuse treatment, and medication, then that same individual should not be excused subsequent behavior because of a mental illness, the degree to which we excuse the mentally ill their violence is the degree to which it is to be expected–
that said it should be noted only a small number of mentally ill are actually more violent than the rest of us–
the second problem is we are a nation with an increasing tolerance for disrespect and violence in general
the third problem is pistols kill people and we think the right to bear arms, and to enjoy them is of greater value than human life
the fourth problem is each of these as a singularity is big and hard enough to sort through, it’s nearly impossible when they are entangled, and of no help when the discussion takes place with righteous indignation guns drawn no one listening each man for himself already thinking the other person is a besotted idiot
the long needed conversations to address each of these issues must be guided by people who know everything we know, about human behavior at large to include mental illness, and who understand the complexities of social and not so social actions for all the reasons we have, and must include soldiers and pastors and philosophers and poets and for godsakes historians and anthropologists and psychologists and educators and physicists and engineers musicians mathematicians and laborers elders and juniors with points of view rather than axes to grind and we must listen more
I am reminded just how far we have to go each time I come through sebastopol and see the support our troops enclave on one side of the street and the anti-war enclave on the other
January 9, 2011 § 2 Comments
lots of places to look in the wake of this latest, we expected this didn’t we killing spree, lots of places to lay blame, sarah palin and her don’t retreat reload rhetoric, the inflamed posture of political pundits the mentally ill, (oh don’t even get me started on mental illness as an excuse for violent behavior), easy targets you should pardon the expression, or not is the point, the accompanying banner ad for the article in the new york times addressing the senseless violence and its repercussions, for godsake (sic) was an add for firearms training blazoned with pistols and cross-hairs so, before we get all righteous or defensive and up in arms (sic) I would simply like to say it’s not just the next guy who’s at fault,
we are all smitten if you will, or hopefully won’t, by violent rhetoric and metaphor, in conversation, at coffee in traffic at church, at work, and play, on tv, from those who know better, should know better and haven’t yet been taught to know better
violence begets violence, it’s the oldest and best it might be argued story, but let’s get it straight, the consequences are intended
violence is violent, killing kills, hate is hateful
the extent to which in our own lives we give inexcusable behaviors an excuse, and give violence free reign, no matter the auspices, is to spawn the next latest to be expected killing spree
July 23, 2007 § 2 Comments
Calling the Kettle Black
Tank top and shorts it was hot as hell he had no hair by choice metal studs through his scant eyebrows eyes that didn’t dart but didn’t look either tattoos like brands on his arms good ink well done and on his calves under calf length white socks.
He twittered ducked rather than shrugged and looked to his boss who laughed more than giggled but just the same, when I asked “what do the tattoos on your legs say?” gave the side slide nod. “White pride,” he shrugged now. “I did it before. That’s why I cover them up…don’t want to go to jail,” he mumbled.
Young now. Young when he did it. Probably in jail. Done and undone, neither at his behest. Forgive him father for he knows not what he is doing.
We talked a lot after they left. Kept the doors open wide not only to dry the carpets they’d just cleaned. Paul adamant they couldn’t return. And my being a Yid notwithstanding needing some steps in between–to speak up; standing for notwithstanding–his pride our belief in difference, neither were self-evident.
July 14, 2006 § 1 Comment
he looks over the map of the middle east, his fingers itching, muttering, his mantoman sense of it’s past time for talking encroaching on his onceagood soldier always a good soldier’s hatred for war but what are you going to do he wants to know looking me deadon daring me deadon because I’m one of theothers whose job on the line it is to keep talking even when you shouldn’t have to ask or say like yesterday when the builders working on the house behind us with the mountain behind them that reflects even the barest sound which one time got me out of bed in the middle of the night to go find those SOB’s who were making the goddamned racket only to find that it was a couple sitting on their deck talking in the river’s mist of night and giggling everyonce in a while and the sound rolled down the mountain into our bedroom window anyway the builders working on the house behind us all of a sudden for the first time since they started building the house which bynow they’re nearly done with & allof a damnsudden today some idiot overthere is playing a damned bosch construction radio and it’s been going on all damned day and he was getting sick&tired of it and the sooner they got out of there the better and no he wasn’t going to say a goodgoddamned thing would I please come here and help him with this other thing that had gotten him outside where he could really hear the radio in the second place at which point &click I said no, just sec whereyou going he asked just sec I saidagain I’ll be right back because inspite of my better judgement and always intending not to be pointed &clicked by him he is my true love and there is division of labors and it is my job on the line to keep talking evenwhen you shouldn’t have to ask and whether or not it makes a shit of a difference I was brought up having to say, so&but with no huff in my walk with no backward or forward provocation intended no toldyaso’s or dareya’s intended I walked with nopurpose in mind over to the guys on the job and asked eye to eye if we could reach a compromise on the music oh is it too loud he asked yes I said starting to explain and no problem he said moving righton to sorry, and walking over to turn it down, thank you I said no problem he said again and as if it were a joint venture I waited while he turned the radio down and he went back to work like it was no problem, and like it hadbeen no problem homeagain homeagain his fat hen I went
and though it’s quiet now on our backside myman is still rubbing his itchy fingers and muttering over the map…