Monday, March 25, 2013

This. This Is What We Need To Work On.

Jacqueline from Texas sent in this story. This, in a nutshell, is exactly what the problem really is.

N. Texas father: It's 'a matter of time' before mentally ill son kills
FORT WORTH, Texas -- "I think we are all scared of him," Russell Staley said.

He fears his own son.

"He can go from charming to psychotic in a snap of a finger," Staley said.

There's a good body of evidence that this is a very troubled person who needs constant psychological care. Yet they were scheduled to dump him into a halfway house where he would have no supervision as to when he comes and goes - and it would be up to him to take his medication.This is, quite simply, madness. This is a recipe for a spree or serial killer here, a psychotic with charm, another Ted Bundy in the making.

His own family fears him and has been trying to keep him in a secure facility, yet the state seems hell-bent on releasing him. The article references this story, which has a comment that tells you all you need to know about just how serious the legal system really is about preventing mass murder:
Former District Judge John Creuzot took at look at the case. "Unfortunately, we are doing all the system allows us to do," he said. "The system just does not allow us to do enough, and you have a person like this that is unmanaged and uncompliant out on the streets... he can do anything, and we don't know until he does it."
This is a person who - by all accounts, whether it be mental health, law enforcement, or his own family - should be in a secure facility with around-the-clock medical and psychological care. Yet, for reasons that are unstated but can be assumed to be budgetary, the state seems intent on tossing him back out on the street, unmonitored, and leaving him there until he finally does manage to kill someone.

And you know if he manages to steal a gun and shoots someone, this will be used as a reason we need gun control.

 The system is waiting for him to kill someone before they take permanent measures. Whether it's a single victim, a long series of victims, or a mass murder, someone - or several someones - will have to die before he is finally treated appropriately. Even then, a halfway competent defender could make a convincing insanity defense - and then who knows how long he'd be treated before they deem him cured and let him go again?

We do not have a gun control problem in America. We have a criminal problem, a criminal justice problem, and a mental health problem. Our politicians have chosen to claim that we have a gun problem. They laughably claim that just one more law is going to stop the violence, end the bloodshed, and save countless lives - all the while countless mentally ill across the country are released to halfway houses or relatives or simply let out on the streets.

A more cynical person would wonder if they're trying to create the perfect storm for more gun control as more and more violent mentally ill people live out their deadly fantasies...

That is all.


Anonymous said...

I'd guess that budget has less of a role than do the ingrained ideas about not committing a person who does not need it, and thus requiring an incredibly (in the literal sense) high amount of evidence that this person really, truly, for sure, pinky swear is a menace to society. Not too long ago Charles Krauthammer was talking about what, when he was in practice, he could and could not do to keep someone like that off the streets. At that time it came down to a form of rolling commitment order that had to be renewed every 48 hours, if I recall correctly.


Borepatch said...

You can't find a better example of anarcho-tyranny that this.

Ed said...

When people in charge make bad decisions it is hard to determine whether ignorance, incompetence or just plain old fashioned malice is the primary factor.

Unfortunately, prisons are useful for detaining people for what they have done, but are inappropriate for what people might do. It is getting to the point where getting long term commitments to locked mental health facilities that will administer medication against a patients will are requiring people to have already done something that justifies the commitment, not the seriousness of what they might do.

Daniel in Brookline said...

Jay, I agree completely that our society needs a way to identify the "ticking time bombs" walking among us.

Having said that, I sure wouldn't want to be the person who comes up with the criteria. What would it take to get someone committed? Once a person is committed to a round-the-clock mental-health facility as "dangerous to himself and others", what would it take to get him released?

I think most of us could come up with circumstances where, because of the way the rules are drawn up, we ourselves would become the ones committed... and then have a devil of a time getting out again. For the more politically-minded among us, can you imagine rules of this sort that would NOT be abused, to get rid of someone who meddled a bit too much?

(As I type this, I hear in my head a line from the recent "Count of Monte Cristo" movie. "If you were truly guilty, there are a hundred prisons in France where they could lock you away... but Chateau d'If is where they put the ones they're ashamed of.")

I don't have a solution to this. I wish I did.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, the real issue here is the state's representative (judge or mental health representative) has a perverse lust for bloodshed and violence. This is a simple "janitor's diagnosis"* of insane.

Perhaps the state needs to tell us why a possible killer will be released. Is it because you believe he will be willing to continue his medicine. Believe that he will be productive in society. Believe that this person is a changed man because he attended your state provided counseling sessions, or he "found jesus?"

Do tell us why you cannot keep him locked-up.

Yes, the antis will use this to try again and again (still) for gun control and the state's behind that one-hundred percent.

I say use the judge's picture in a public shame and humiliation campaign. Same for the mental health person.

For the sane law abiding amongst us. We carry because of people in positions of "trust" make decisions like this everyday and all we want to do is protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm because you made the wrong decision again and again.

You would think there should be some form of moral decency with person's of trust.

Anonymous said...

* Janitor's Diagnosis - a medical term where a janitor (now called an environmental services tech) is cleaning a room with a x-ray viewfinder in it and sees an x-ray with a broken bone and says: "That's a broken bone." The patient still gets a radiologist's bill because the hospital needs to be sure.

Everything, I have read about this Daniel Wayne Staley is that he is without a doubt mentally ill. But, the state argues differently.