in most states. Not when there are unions which have to be sated. And not when 20 year-olds who would rather have a Wave Runner than a healthcare policy must have it foisted on them by the gubmint. But we have taken several steps backward in the care of the mentally ill over the last few decades.
The 1971 Wyatt lawsuit in Alabama, for instance, sought to stop truly brutal treatment of the mentally ill and misuse of the system as a whole. Ricky Wyatt was a 15 y/o who had been sent to Bryce (the state's mental hospital) for misbehaving at a children's group home. Since he was not mentally ill, this was obviously a horrible violation of the spirit of such institutions, if not of the law at that time. And there were many other abuses. But the answer was not to virtually close the hospitals down and send the patients to non-existent "community group homes," for which there never has been sufficient funding.
Even today, forty years after Judge Johnson's ruling, many mentally ill in Alabama (and elsewhere) continue to live on the streets, under bridges and in boxes by choice. Indeed, due to lawsuits backed by the ACLU and other leftie outfits, most states have had to close some and turn the remaining hospitals into temporary hotels for the mentally ill, keeping them for observation a few days, then turning them loose. Less known or understood is the fact that many states were more than happy to oblige, since such facilities are a huge drain on the state's budget. So, now, the mentally ill have become living footballs for the state and the various localities to kick back and forth in the name of "budgetary priorities."
"These people have rights" one hears the advocates of such policies say. Well, of course they do. But with rights come responsibilities and given the nature of their mental incapacities, many are unable to rationally make important decisions about their lives. They simply cannot function in society and truly should be cared for in a humane, supervised environment. All the left has done is throw these very vulnerable babies out with the otherwise stinking bathwater. So, the reality of unrestricted "rights" for the mentally ill, as mentioned earlier, is the right to live on the street where they are prey to every thug and criminal; the right to be stabbed to death for the coat on their backs; the right to starve in hobo jungles or freeze to death in a cardboard box.
And they are free to give in to the awful mental demons that beseech them to hurt and kill themselves, or others, or both. If you've ever seen "The Soloist" with Jamie Foxx or "A Beautiful Mind" with Russell Crowe, you have some slight idea what these guys are going through. Is it really more humane and compassionate to sentence them to a life on the street than to a warm, safe hospital or other group facility?
Now, of course, I don't know this character, Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged Arizona shooting suspect. What I do know is that unwilling thought insertion by nebulous gubmint entities is almost a textbook description of the fixed delusional sytsems at play in many persons with psychotic disorders. And such has been the case long before the advent of the Tea Party or the indroduction of Sarah Palin onto the national scene. I also know that the onset of many severe mental illnesses is in early adulthood. Mr. Loughner is 22 I believe. So, chances are good that the man was trying to relieve some psychic pain which could, to his mind, not be otherwise ameliorated.
Yet, here we are again. One injustice, i.e. Ricky Wyatt, or even a series of them, and we over-react and make the problem worse. We simply cannot write blanket laws to cover every possible situation. At some point, someone's judgement has to be used and not second-guessed. Someone, somewhere has to appeal to common sense and not fear being sued or put in jail for it later.
I truly believe the excesses of plaintiffs' attorneys and other lawsuit happy frauds like John Edwards have gone a long way towards undermining even an approximation of justice in this country. And here we see again, in painful and stark relief, the results of such a misguided system. The perfect has now, at long last, become the enemy of the good and we as a society will continue to pay the price. For as long as Democrats and libs believe man and gubmint can be perfected, we will continue to witness gruelling and graphic examples of why that will never be true.