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Mental Health issues still with us

It is always interesting to watch how cops respond to the murders of one of their own – as opposed to cops who murder unarmed citizens. The them against us world view of the cops was again exposed after the cold blooded murder of cops by someone who should have been in a mental hospital. Why aren’t the violently mentally ill getting treatment? How did he get a gun?

The political police unions are using the deaths of two human being who happened to be cops to further their authoritarian rule of NYC. The police union is in control in NYC – and that should concern everyone who still believes in democratically elected Mayors and representatives of the people of NYC. The peaceful protesters are being blamed by the out of control police union for the tragic deaths of two cops by the mentally ill man.

The problem is that the cops who murder unarmed men and women are getting away with their crimes. Are the cops intimidating grand juries? Who knows? Something is out of whack in America when the police unions are far more powerful than elected Mayors. Unions are supposed to be there for the workers – but in many places police unions are not set up that way.

As we watch the political in fighting and out right racist remarks and behavior of police who have their own little kingdoms we are seeing massive dysfunction in our whole political system.

Back to mental illness and cops. The “treatment” for mental illness in the 21st century is jail with little or no treatment. Often the first response by cops to mentally ill patients during a psychotic episode is a bullet in the head. Or beating the mentally ill person to death. If the mentally ill person survives the first encounter and ends up in jail – the lack of professional treatment in jail and the hostility of guards – often ends in death or a living hell for the mentally ill.

Why aren’t the cops showing concern and compassion for the first victim of the mentally ill man who shot the cops? Victim number one is the girlfriend of the man who shot the cops. She was shot first by her mentally ill boyfriend and survived. She is just as much a victim of the lack of mental health care and education in this country.

In the 19th century the mentally ill were locked away in attics or tortured in lunatic asylums. Back then there was very little understanding of mental illness and treatment consisted of various forms of torture. Not that much has changed, even though we understand some of the genetic causes of mental illnesses, like schizophrenia and bipolar or manic depression. Few people know how to spot symptoms of mental illness so that professional can be consulted about mentally ill family members. Most often the warning signs are obvious long before real tragedy strikes. The young man who kill so many children and teachers in Sandy Hook, is a lesson in missing the warning signs. Also this mentally ill person should never had access to guns. Just as the cop killer in NYC should never had access to a gun.

The police union leadership seems to have an agenda and they are sadly using the bodies of two dead cops to further their goals. Punishing legitimate protests against actual police violence and racist police is not the path of a free democratic Nation. The authors of the constitution knew what happens when soldiers are sent to smash protests against unjust laws and abuse by those in power. Many of the authors of our Constitution suffered at the hands of the British soldiers. Today the militarized police force are acting like occupiers of a foreign invader. The police unions are acting like tin pot dictators. We are living in dangerous times.

In the new year I am hoping that this country will recognize that untreated mental illness is a National crisis. At the same time, we need to balance awareness of mental illness, and learn that governments must not be allowed, to claim anyone who disagrees with the elected leaders, should be locked up in a mental hospital. Which is what Russia was famous for – dissenters were treated as mentally ill and the harshest torture/treatments were used.

Tea Party members are terrified that if the mentally ill are barred from owning guns then the Tea Party/Fox news viewers will be barred from owning guns. I find this a strange reaction from extreme conservatives – let the mentally ill buy guns and ammo to protect the rights of all gun owners? Yet I have gone round and round on this issue with Tea Party members. Perhaps this is the illogic underpinning of the police unions, that and the racism of so many cops. Not all cops – we need to be aware of the reports that black NYC cops are concerned for their own safety when not on duty by their white racist flow cops. That story, right there tells us that we need to concentrate on democracy here in America before we try to force democracy on the world.


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