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Monday, January 28, 2013

The mental illness hurdle

I've written before about how the mentally ill have a hard time getting the help they need, because of either insurance companies or the laws surrounding involuntary commitment in most states. Read this from Ann Coulter.

In the late 1980s, New York City Mayor Ed Koch tried to institutionalize Joyce Brown, a mentally ill heroin addict living on the street who went by the name "Billie Boggs" (after local television host Bill Boggs). Brown was defecating on herself, removing all her clothes, burning money, running into traffic and shouting obscenities at passers-by. In other words, she was a prototype for Occupy Wall Street.

Brown's family desperately wanted to have Brown committed to Bellevue Hospital. A Columbia psychiatrist argued for her institutionalization. The neighbors supported her commitment.

But the New York Civil Liberties Union wanted Brown back on the street. Her NYCLU attorney, Robert Levy, boasted that "Billie Boggs" was as sane as "a member of the board of the Civil Liberties Union."

A New York judge, Robert Lippman, agreed –- but not the way I do. Instead of ordering the entire NYCLU board institutionalized, he ordered the release of this poor, mentally disturbed woman. She promptly spoke at Harvard. (Princeton already had Peter Singer.) Then she was back on the street, taking heroin and getting into fights with other homeless people.

Schizophrenics are generally incapable of knowing they need help. Without involuntary commitment, they are abandoned to the streets, getting beaten up, sexually abused, stolen from and set on fire. They also sometimes push people onto subway tracks, murder grandmothers, slaughter firemen and enter "gun-free zones" to commit mass murder.
At least someone is talking about this, even if the media and Democrats won't.

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