After reading this post, I can’t help but rant about a related topic.
Isn’t it odd that we are opposed to suicide, and that suicidal talk or actions will get you committed (for a short time), yet, people in the US have been ruled to have a constitutional right to be insane? If you don’t want to take your medication you can stop it. Even if this means you will alienate yourself from those who love you, end up friendless on the street, and live in extremely poor health, being taken advantage of by others who steal from you, and continually disturbing those around you.
As a police officer, I am probably more jaded than most, but I continually deal with people in situations like I described above.
There was the woman whose trailer we went to on a mental-health petition pick-up who had to wade through trash a foot high in her trailer to answer the door. She had lice or fleas. The staff at the County Psych unit said the last time she was in she had been sleeping in bushes and had a lizard living in her hair.
There was the man who the transient kids were scared of and who wandered around town wearing a jacket and wool cap all year (it’s regularly 105 in the summer here) and muttering threats at people. I had found his camp and saw old prescription bottles but, when I was called to arrest him for trespass he denied having any mental condition.
There’s the guy I had to arrest on a public urination warrant (twice now) who had feces-covered toilet paper all down the inside of his pants. I don’t think he’ll live a year but he denies he needs help (and yells at me for bothering him).
There are the people we get called about who are yelling at passing cars. Or threatening the convenience store clerk who won’t sell them beer.
I could go on and on.
It’s sad. And it makes me think that their lives are miserable and pathetic because of activists and judges who trumpet individual “rights” at the expense of human lives.
I served on a United Way committee for several years which evaluated programs for the homeless and made funding recommendations. On a site visit at the largest shelter in downtown Phoenix, someone asked the staff why there were so many shopping cart people in the area. The reply was that most of the shopping cart people were schizophrenic and would not leave their carts in order to come in to stay at the shelter.
Granted, Arizona does not have anything like an adequate mental health care system.
So, go ahead and flame me, but we need a system where people take their medications – regardless of whether they “choose” to or not. Where do the conditions these people face fall under Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness?