As We Scapegoat Schizophrenics Today, I Am Reminded of Nazi Germany

Ted Chabasinski, JD
26
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I was barely eight years old, an inmate of Rockland State Hospital, and the war in Europe was over. On the front page of every newspaper were the photographs taken by the soldiers who had just liberated the Nazi concentration camps.

There were stacks of emaciated bodies, almost unrecognizable as human beings, except at the end of every log was a twisted, tortured human face.  I looked at these pictures over and over and tried to understand how anyone could treat human beings in this way.  I wondered if this was going to be my fate when I died in Rockland.

The Nazi death camps did not come into being suddenly.  Although the Nazis did not invent German anti-semitism, they skillfully took advantage of it.  Even before Hitler took power in 1933, German Jews were the target of constant vilification and dehumanization by the Nazis.  Every social problem in Germany was blamed on the Jews. The German public was being conditioned for what was going to happen later.

Before, or more accurately, at the beginning of the Holocaust, the first group to be systematically murdered were the German psychiatric inmates, with the enthusiastic cooperation of the German psychiatric profession, whose moral compass was little different from the American profession today.  The techniques of mass killing were first developed on the psychiatric inmates, and the first official to be put in charge of later mass killings was a psychiatrist.

Outside of Germany, many national governments had created databases that included all known Jews.  In the Netherlands, for example, such a database enabled the Nazis to find and round up all the Dutch Jews almost as soon as they had invaded the country.

My friend Dunya Breur was a leader of the Dutch psychiatric survivor movement.  Her father was  tortured to death by the Nazis for leading a strike of the Amsterdam dockworkers to protest the deportation of the Jews.  Her mother barely survived the war in a concentration camp, and she herself, as a toddler, had to be  hidden in the Dutch countryside one step ahead of the Nazis.

Dunya frequently talked with me about her experiences as an inmate of a Dutch psychiatric institution.  While it sounded to me exactly like the ones we have in America, she always referred to it as “my concentration camp.”  She said this publicly and often, and no one accused her of being “extreme” or “exaggerating.”  That is because the Dutch people, and many others in Europe, had experienced Naziism firsthand, and they knew it when they saw it.

I make this point because what I am about to write publicly here, as I have written privately to some people in our movement, has been called too strong, not credible, by people I respect and who should know better.  We here in the United States have been spared for the most part the horrors that people in the rest of the world have had to endure.  So we often refuse to look at the reality of our situation.

And at this time, the situation of people in America with psychiatric labels is almost exactly like that of the German Jews in the early 1930’s.

For the last few decades, there have been more and more episodes of mass shootings of innocent people, perpetrated by people who have been labeled as “mentally ill” even when they had no psychiatric histories.  The frequency of these killings has been almost perfectly correlated with the increase of psychiatric drugging beginning in the late 1980’s, especially among children.  Even the Food and Drug Administration, which is mostly controlled by the drug industry it is supposed to regulate, has mandated “black box” labels for most of the drugs taken by the school shooters, that warn against homicidal impulses caused by the drugs.  Just about every school shooter was on one or more of these drugs. But as we in the movement know, these facts are suppressed.

Meanwhile, the latest, most horrible shooting incident, in Connecticut, has finally alerted the public that something must be done about guns and gun violence in this country.  But there is little political will to do something about the real problem.  As with most social problems, if there is no solution, there must be a scapegoat.  And our people are that scapegoat.

I live in Northern California, one of the most “progressive” areas of the country.  I am frightened by the open bigotry against us that I see now.  I have never seen anything like this in my entire life.  The mental illness system, and the drug companies that control it, have discovered that blaming us for the killings that are actually caused by their drugs is a very effective way to extend their power.  Already in New York State, laws have been rushed through that greatly extend outpatient commitment, where people are essentially rounded up and forced to take psychiatric drugs in the community.  Such laws stripping us of even more of our legal rights have been introduced in a number of states.

As long as we continue to be seen as subhuman killers, we can expect to lose more and more of our constitutional rights.  And just as in Nazi Germany, where everything that was done to the victims of Naziism was done in strict accordance with German law, if we don’t do something more than we are doing now, we will have the same fate, with no protection of the courts.  Everyone said it could never happen, but it did.

What can we do? Right now, we have become non-persons in the media, where the “mental illness question” is discussed as if we are completely invisible, except as objects of “treatment.”  How did this come about?  As I have written earlier on Mad In America (madinamerica.com/2012/08/the-history-and-future-of-our-psychiatric-survivor-movement/ ), before most of our human rights movement was taken over and incorporated into the federal mental illness system, we had frequent access to the mass media.  I myself appeared many times on national television.  When we organized the Berkeley ballot measure to ban shock treatment there, we received huge amounts of media coverage, where our criticisms of psychiatry were thoroughly expressed.  Now we are the “recovery movement,” the “peer movement,” little wrinkles within the psychiatric system.  Of course the media pays no attention to this, as it is just a version of the same old “more money for mental health” nonsense.  So we find ourselves in a position, where our very lives may be in danger, that we have no way of addressing the general public.

How can we change this?  We have to look at how this happened and who is responsible for it.  And these are the people who have taken the payoffs from the system, the thirty pieces of silver in exchange for betraying their brothers and sisters.

Once again, when I speak of this, i get a reaction something like,”Oh, you’re too extreme.  So and so is such a nice fellow.”  Well, these people have gotten us into this situation, and if they are not confronted and we let them present themselves as our “leaders,” we can’t defend ourselves.  These people recently issued a statement that basically endorsed President Obama’s call for more people to be drugged, with the bulk of the statement calling for more funding for themselves.  My movement comrade Tina Minkowitz has published a valuable critique of this. (https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/01/ncmhr-does-not-speak-for-me/)

These despicable opportunists claim to speak for us, but in fact they are simply a branch of the federal mental illness system.  We can’t afford any longer to tolerate them.  If they were confronted vigorously and frequently, the chances are high that their employer, SAMHSA, would realize they are no longer useful.

Refusing to be realistic about these people is almost literally like committing suicide. We can’t tolerate this any longer.  They represent nothing but the people who give them their money.  We have to develop more of our own leaders, real leaders with principles who will work for our freedom, not their own personal advantage.

Half a century ago, the civil rights movement captured the conscience of the country, and of millions of young people, including me, by their brave confrontation with the people and laws that abused them.  Civil disobedience is a tactic that has worked for many movements, and is just and right, and will be paid attention to by people of good will.  Martin Luther King did not talk about a “recovery movement,”  He talked about justice and freedom and what is morally right.  We have to do this too.

There are many other things we might do, like making alliances with progressive churches and other movements.  I have always found that black people, having experienced so much oppression of their own, understand and sympathize with our issues.  The gay movement, whose militance has earned it great advances, should be emulated in many ways.  Like us, everyone despised them. Now, in the same speech in which President Obama called for more money for mental health and more drugging of children, he singled them out as a part of America whose rights should be respected.  They didn’t talk about being a “recovery movement,” they didn’t have ”leaders” who were funded by their oppressors.  They demanded their rights and respect, and now they are getting them.  And these tactics have worked for all other movements for liberation in the last half century.  Why have we tolerated “leaders” who work against our true interests?

As our country  experiences more and more social problems that our dysfunctional government is unwilling or unable to solve, there will be more and more need for scapegoats.  At the very least, the huge increase in drugging that is being put into place now will obviously lead to more incidents of shootings of innocent people.  And what then?  It will be blamed on us.  And there will be calls for even more drastic actions against us.

There will probably not be the kind of camps where people will be literally killed, if for no other reason that dead people cannot be profit centers for the drug companies.  But the likelihood of a revival of the death camps of the spirit, like the state hospitals of the 1940’s where I grew up, is very high.

Because of what the psychiatrists did to me as a child, I will be on that database of crazed killers.  I may be among those who will be rounded up and locked up because of our psychiatric labels.

But I refuse to let myself be betrayed or controlled by the sellouts who claim to be our leaders.  If I am going to be locked up, let it be for peacefully blocking the entrance to a psychiatric convention, or for refusing to leave the office of some vicious politician who gains power by calling for locking up the crazies.

I am not going to passively wait to be locked up and drugged.  I’m going to fight back.

And I hope all of you reading this will join me.

“Those who can protest an injustice but do not are accomplices to the act.” (from the Talmud)

26 COMMENTS

  1. I like your point about the gay movement and not tolerating NCMHR. The gays didn’t get to where they are by passively disagreeing or trying to argue with their opposition. If a group that claimed to speak for gays ever publicly said or supported something that they didn’t approve of then they would burn them to the ground. In a few years they’d be nothing but a forgotten memory.

    Yet, the only thing I’ve heard we should do about nmchr is to try to get a message to the media that we disagree with them… as if that would do any good.

    The people who run nmchr should be confronted, and is some manner or another, removed from their positions. After all, they publicly state that they are the voice of mentally ill people but then go on to endorse things that those people are enraged about. Like you said, it cant be tolerated.

    • A number of us have been trying to expose NCMHR from the inside and eventually had to leave because of the lies, manipulation and abuse leveled at us. And it’s still going on as they fight back against Tina Minkowitz’s exposé. Telling the truth is a revolutionary act. Just because they fight back is no reason to stop telling the truth.

  2. Thank you Ted for the courage to speak up for the truth. We all need to speak out strongly against involuntary commitment.

    The lies that are spread about this practice are totally infuriating. Families are literally brainwashed into committing loved ones. When I spoke to some doctors about suing psychiatrists who had lied to us I was told that that is not possible because doctors have no duty of care towards patients families and that the medical profession has no requirement to tell the truth. That seems outrageous to me.

  3. Excessive anger will likely get a person into the hands of psychiatrist “care” or in jail.

    The doctors will not admit that long term use of psychiatric “medication”/drugs damage their “patients” brains. These unelected doctors are in power.
    When those in authority get swamped in increasing numbers of “mentally ill” and disabled they might admit their error. ( 1 in 17 considered seriously mentally ill)
    http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/1ANYDIS_ADULT.shtml

    Before science no doctor believed in tiny germs killing their patient, now with SCIENCE all doctors believe in tiny magical molecules that can only do good to the patient.
    The patient is having problems? Increase the amount of magical psychiatric chemicals.
    More junk for the Junkie, orders the Pusher.

    • Ted Chabasinski “I am not going to passively wait to be locked up and drugged. I’m going to fight back.”

      Someone in prison cost $60 000.00 a year, in hospital $30 000 a month. They do not want to spend this money needlessly.

      You may be paradoxically creating the problem (reason for drugs or jail) by fighting the system.
      “Together we stand, divided we fall…” but in reality we are all just individuals. Doctors are an organized group supported by society.
      It is the consumer civilization in action. If you are not happy working and consuming, you have depression and need medication for your illness. If you are angry and can’t be understood you are psychotic/schizophrenic and need medication for your illness. Money runs the civilization. That’s just the facts.

  4. There are so many problems with the Mental Health Care System… and Drug Companies/psychiatrists are at the heart of it all. I keep reading these wonderful statements about changing the system, and I wonder… what is the plan? I know there are movements… causes, initiatives and ideas… but I truly believe that to change the “system,” there needs to be a unified plan. There are many websites now that call for change, ask for contributions and tell the stories of injustice… but if there is to be a revolution, forces need to come together. Much like in Braveheart… when William Wallace asks the would be king to “unite the clans.” We need to get organized and bring all the great minds of the world (wide web) together… and get organized.

    We have to look at history to understand how to bring about change. Ghandi did it one way, early Americans another… AIDS was not cured, but it was controlled with education. There are many successful models out there… we need to find the most efficient/non-affective-disorder way to achieve a change. I vote for education…

    • I thought AIDS was still an issue but it just wasn’t talked so much about now, also they have more drugs to stop it developing. But I may be wrong about this.

      And, being Scottish and living in Scotland, I have to say that the clans have probably never really been united and still aren’t. They will form alliances for battle then reform when necessary. And even when appearing united there is likely to be scheming and plotting going it. That’s life.

      I don’t agree that we need a united force to change the system and think that the tipping point could come around by a combination of circumstances. They psychiatric system is about force and control but our resistance is more about strategy, method and persistence. Or that’s how I like to think of it. Keeping up the pressure until it tips.

      Remember the story of the emperor’s new clothes and how it took just one small boy to speak out about it, to shift the perspective and reveal the truth.

    • “Braveheart”

      Well, there’s another event. I think it was last night or the night before that I had “Braveheart” flashed in my mind (not my own thought). I didn’t know (and still don’t) how or why it appeared to me in my mind. It HAS to be coming from the collective mind. This sort of thing happens almost daily (where I perceive / receive something internally and then see references to it, externally). It makes me wonder WHO the source mind really is.

      Braveheart. Out of absolutely nowhere. Not my own thought. I see the reference to it and it is NOT a “coincidence”.

      I would LOVE to engage this and do the mental work to solve it. It is NOT a mental disease or mental disorder. It is a finely tuned, mental transmission and mental reception phenomenon. I happen to be VERY aware and I notice EVERY instance of it. Mental inter-connectivity.

  5. I’m not sure how you go about creating alliances outside the movement. In just about every social group, there’s someone who feels they have a biological brain disorder and needs their psychiatric medication. They may know about the horrors of the system but cannot be budged on what they believe to be true about themselves and their diagnosis. It creeps me out too much to have much to do with it, and I know most normies in social groups outside the movement would be more likely to support the diagnosis self identified person than they would be willing to understand what I believe. Been there, done that.
    dragonfly, remember superman comic books (sorry couldn’t resist that)
    Ted, I’ll probably end up on the same database as you for reporting domestic abuse and having physical disability issues which I still have not been able to address.

      • dragonfly, If you google on “Superman, Jewish assimilation,” you’ll come up with some interesting either speculations or information about the creators of the original Superman comics. Just wanted to put a little happier twist on your comment about assimilation. (dragonfly: If you are a “Good Jew”, if you don’t look too Jewish or talk too Jewish, they might give you a job as a capo at the camp!). I know where you are coming from. Was not an attempt to invalidate.

        If you have to deal a lot with things,which don’t make sense and are also horrible, you should take a burnout prevention break from time to time and enjoy the fanciful, happier myths of our time.

  6. Ted,

    Thanks for saying what needs to be said. We seem to be a movement without any kind of plan and so remain silenced in the media. Far too many people outside of the system believe the smoke and mirrors charade put on by the drug companies and psychiatry. I lost a friend of 35 years because she continued to tell me that I had a broken brain and needed to take the “medicines” so I wouldn’t go “crazy” again. This woman was the head of a department in a state university medical center and she would pound the arm of her chair and maintain that she could take scans of my brain and prove to me that it was differnet from “healthy” brains. If I couldn’t move her out of her misinformation, a well-educated woman in the field of medicine, what can I do with the average person on the street? It’s frustrating.

    I am a peer worker but do not affiliate myself with any of the organizations that are cooptated(sp.) by the system. I keep trying to change things from the inside, but one person in a state hospital doesn’t carry much clout, especially against the psychiatrists who are all united behind the wonderful “treatment” of the toxic drugs. Far too many of our “patients” are already caught up in the legal system too so I dread to see what’s going to happen as a result of these knee jerk reactions on the part of state legislatures and the federal government. There is no movement against the system in the state where I live and work.

  7. Ted, my friend and comrade, this made me realize something with a clarity that I don’t think I had before and that is that if the “mental health system” did not exist at all there would be no struggle in the way that there is now for some people. They would not be in distress at all. That’s not true, there would be worry, there would be grief, there would be anger and confusion – because these things are part of life IF YOU LIVE IN A TOXIC POLICE STATE OF MASS ATROCITIES. They would not be deluded, however, in the way that they are today…by the belief that their sadness, their fear, their utter dismay was just a problem with them…their brains or some such shit as that…and they’d know that something was very very wrong in the world, because they’d no longer be able to blame themselves as they have since been taught to do. They would have to see that something (so many things!) vital was missing from their lives or that they’d been hurt in ways no person should ever be hurt by another human being. EVER.

    (I’m sorry, Ted. Your writing always makes me feel a little too much…it’s true. Sometimes the feeling is just too big.)

    Regaining composure, as I sit calmly and quietly on the porch, it makes sense to me. If the “mental health” system did not exist at all…

    People would know what was hurting them* and they would see that it was…the military industrial corporatocratic prison complex and the tyranny of fundamentalism’s existence?
    (That’s not as complicated and absurd as it sounds. It’s pretty simple, actually.)
    (Oh, it’s just too big.)

    *adjunct forces of human oppression and delusion: media, snacks, booze, sex, pain, sports, clothing and hobbies of self-loathing and criticism

    So, “the mental health system” is really not the only thing that oppresses, as people who care about the world. We are oppressed in our capacity to even know the truth and crippled in our ability what any truly sane human being would do which is to…grieve…and rise up.

    (“Schizophrenia” and anti-authoritarianism.)

    (“Schizophrenia” and consciousness.)

    (“Schizophrenia” and revolution.)

    (“Schizophrenia” and god.)

    (Fuck their history.)

    You can call that a poem.

    Thank you, Ted, for helping me to really feel the truth of the matter.

    So, what should we do?

  8. …And I’m sorry if I was presumptuous in calling you my friend and comrade. In many ways it is true though and that is not sucking up, that is remembering two survivors on a bus together and knowing with no uncertainty that you understood certain truths about my life that really only a kid who has been sent away and locked up, and held down can know.

    I’m angry. The world is upsetting. It’s a beautiful day.

    You know that I work as a wrinkle in the system (love that phrase) but that is just a part of how I am trying to learn how to do my bigger work…which is liberation of the heart…when my own heart is not even liberated..because most days lately I can barely stand to think about where we are in history and how little people seem to care. It just shuts me down ’cause the feeling is just so big. Like watching a trainwreck and the train is carrying everything you ever loved or hoped for in the world.

    Man, this essay really broke my heart, Ted.

    Thanks, I guess…

    • Faith, you ARE my friend and comrade. That isn’t “presumptuous” at all. And I remember well that bus ride where we talked about our childhoods and I felt a great bond with you. I think our movement should nurture bonds like that. What we have to do is hard, and we need to support one another.

  9. It strikes me that there is no word for fear, hatred, and systemic abuse of the “mentally ill.” I googled it and actually came across a forum where several people posted that this fear and revulsion was “normal.” (There is psychophobia, but that would seem to be purely an academic term that the mainstream would be likely to find ridiculous.) Racism, antisemitism and homophobia are all terms the general public understands and understands as terrible wrongs, but there simply is no term for what is being described here. Most people aren’t even familiar with ageism or ableism. Do you think coming up with a succinct and understandable term (a better one than psychophobia?) would be helpful for this movement?

  10. Ted,

    In this piece you wrote:

    “Before, or more accurately, at the beginning of the Holocaust, the first group to be systematically murdered were the German psychiatric inmates, with the enthusiastic cooperation of the German psychiatric profession, whose moral compass was little different from the American profession today. The techniques of mass killing were first developed on the psychiatric inmates, and the first official to be put in charge of later mass killings was a psychiatrist.”

    I must correct this misinformation regarding the ‘first victims” of psychiatrists in pre-Holocaust Germany. Here is a passage from “Psychiatrists- the Men Behind Hitler” , Dr. Thomas Roder Volker Kubillus & Anthony Burwell (1995):

    ” The first documented euthanasia killing occurred in 1939… In that first case, Dr. Karl Brandt, Hitler’s personal physician, was given the responsibility of dealing with the petition of a father to euthanize his own child who was born handicapped. In no uncertain terms, Hitler commanded his Justice Department to look the other way, since laws against killing were still on the books. Dr. Brandt then carried out the vile process in the incident that is now known as the “Child Knauer case…

    “Hitler then ordered Dr Brandt and Philipp Bouhler, the head of the Chancellery of the Fuhrer “to deal with cases of a similar nature analogous to the case of the Child Knauer.” Thus was hatched a diabolical plot against the weakest and most vulnerable of all children. Child euthanasia was conceived and plotted in the inner circles of the Chancellery of the Fuhrer. On August 18, 1939, a confidential decree was issued which required notification to the government of the birth of any deformed or handicapped child. That was bad enough, but the decree also commanded the registration of all deformed and handicapped children up to the age of 3. Eventually , the Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Children laid the foundation for a large scale witch hunt, culminating in the euthanasia program… The first “test gassing” with carbon monoxide took place in Brandenburg in January 1940.”

    The first victims were little kids, not psychiatric inmates. What if the killing of the most innocent and vulnerable citizens in pre Holocaust Germany had galvanized ‘the people’ around one, unified purpose– forcing a public acknowledgement of the lack of morals and conscience in Hitler’s camp? Why is the truth of the gradual acceptance of exterminating lives ‘ not worth living’ ,which was hideously termed, ‘mercy killing’ not discussed? Or rather, what came first and why seems to have been completely forgotten — here, again, and this time, the sharing of how psychiatrists were the evil behind the dehumanizing of “psychiatric inmates” ensues within weeks of the most heinous massacre of innocent little kids in our nation’s history. Why? Because members of the psychiatric survivors community feel they are doomed to new realms of persecution. Rest assured, none of you in this group will meet the fate of the children slain in Newtown Ct., but rather, you share in the fate of many who are joining the ranks of special interest groups lobbying for protection of their human rights– guaranteed by the U.S. constitution. It is the NRA who is most invested in highlighting the need for mental health screening and treatment. Self preservation looks “crazy” at a time like this.

    Six weeks ago 20 beautiful children were brutally murdered as were 6 heroic women who did their best to protect these innocent lives. Hundreds of survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre are kids under the age of 10. Parents and siblings, friends and loved ones of the victims have barely recovered from the shock. What would it look like to mourn this loss as a nation– to grieve as fellow citizens, parents, teachers? What is a reasonable period of mourning– or the time spent honoring the victims and thoughtfully considering the needs and concerns of those left to get on with the business of living in Newtown CT ? How long does it take to identify and respond to the most urgent needs of this terror stricken community? Are these suffering people not prime targets for psychiatry’s harm and abuse? What would a truly humanistic response from the psychiatric survivors community even look like?

    Rather than demanding your human rights and forcing your human rights agenda. why not demonstrate your humanism? What better way to expose the foolishness of psychiatric profiling than by displaying exemplary human compassion, intelligence and fortitude at this time of crisis in our country?

    There are many lessons to be gleaned from the civil rights and gay rights movements, but one of the most compelling is the courageous actions of heroes, like Harvey Milk, who simply became visible in his community– showed himself to be an exemplary citizen, neighbor, human being.

    Tipping points aside, becoming galvanized around every endeavor that supports and nurtures and protects our kids just might provide opportunities for gaining deep respect and admiration as evolved human beings whose lived experience has resulted in the very human capacity for caring about something bigger than themselves. Respect is earned, never granted or legislated into existence!

  11. I deeply value your viewpoint, and I hope you can appreciate mine.

    I am the parent of a child with a Serious Emotional Disorder known as Reactive Attachment Disorder (Inhibited.) Her problem stems from severe abuse and neglect as an infant. When we adopted her 16 years ago, much less was known about this disorder.

    My daughter has frightening behaviors, despite years of therapy. She has put every member of our family in harm’s way at one time or another. She has made false allegations against me, her father, sister, and friends of our family – allegations that could ruin a person’s life. She has given her sister’s identity to pedophiles on the internet. She has used the internet to seek ways to harm me or have others harm me. (One may ask, why not keep her away from the internet? That is virtually impossible if a child attends school.) There have been many times when I have feared for my life and the lives of my other children. For years, I waited for the phone call that told me she had harmed another family’s child.

    When I relocated, it was extremely difficult to find services for her. I was warned by the department of health and social services to be wary of local therapists who did not understand her disorder, and would likely blame the mother. After several years of pleading with school and mental health services, my daughter showed her true colors in front of people she previously fooled. (RAD kids are extremely charming.)

    Finally, school officials paid attention. The local mental health facility tried to help me find appropriate services for her. Those services were in excess of $7,000 per month. Twice as much as I bring home to support my family as a single mother. I was told that the only way for her to receive the services she needed was to get her involved in the juvenile justice system. My daughter would have to be labeled a criminal in order to get help.

    My daughter is NOT a criminal, and I refuse to make her one. On the other hand, she has a huge potential to harm other people, and getting appropriate access to services for her has been nearly impossible.

    She now lives at a private boarding school that provides intense therapy. I was extremely fortunate to find a sponsor for her to attend this school, otherwise, I would be bankrupt by now (and perhaps even dead.)

    There are a growing number of parents like me. People whose intentions were to make the world a better place for one child (or sometimes several children.) Our children come to us damaged by the actions of another parent, and yes, many are prone to violence. Parents like me are frequently physically attacked by their children, blamed by social services and naive therapists, and left with virtually no resources.

    I find myself praying to God that my daughter will not harm anyone. It’s about the only thing I can do.

    I welcome to the debate that more mental health services are needed. I do not favor making mental health a scapegoat for gun violence. I do not think that everyone with a mental health disorder is a threat to society, but many people who do pose a threat to society have mental health disorders.

    I personally oppose the privatized prison system we now think need to feed. It’s part of the reason I was told to get my daughter “involved in the juvenile justice system.” We need proactive, preventative measures, not punitive ones. How do we achieve a healthier balance for the members of our society who need treatment and understanding without stigmatizing them as gun-toting maniacs?

    • I certainly sympathize with what you are saying. But the two things you talk about in your last sentence don’t have to be connected. Blaming people with psychiatric histories for violence and getting more services for people aren’t really connected.

      And although I know there are some places (and I hope your daughter is in one of them)and some mental health professionals who are helpful, on the whole what is offered is drugs, drugs, and more drugs. And when some of those people who call themselves “advocates for the mentally ill” push for more mental health services, that is what they have in mind.

      And with more drugs, there will undoubtedly be more mass killings.

      Again, I am in sympathy with what you write. I don’t know what more to say.

  12. What I find most disturbing about all this is the cynical opportunism of psychiatric propagandists and demagogues, playing on the spectre of the dangerous mental patient, capitalizing on the chaotic ferment of fears, anxieties, frustrations and other primitive emotions stirred up by the recent shooting, painstakingly setting the scene for the white knights of psychiatry to gallop into the chaos to deliver the patient and society from the evil of “mental illness”, all in pursuit of a reduction of individual freedom and the corresponding expansion of the scope of their power and control.

    Yet this cynicism, luckily for them, is adequately matched in its proportion by the facility with which these mental health maniacs deceive themselves of the nature of the emotional, psychological and instinctual currents that carry them in their thinking, attitudes and behaviour. The wish to abuse the scapegoat, to have someone on whom we can concentrate our anger and lust for revenge, is rationalised as the need and inescapable obligation to “treat” the “mental illness” of the patient, a “treatment” where, supposedly (and conveniently), the patient and society are both beneficiaries (a rationalization, of the “everyone’s a winner” variety, that serves to disencumber the administrators of this putative treatment of the burden of conscience).

    By mobilising fear of dangerous, untreated mental patients, institutional psychiatry benefits in much the same way that the inquisition benefited from the ubiquitous fear of the agents of the devil, and in much the same way as the Nazis benefited from the ubiquitous fear of the plague-carrying, transcendently evil Jew (all of the foregoing are, of course, little more than the chimeras generated in the popular imagination through the propaganda and demagogy of authority in conjunction with an en masse abdication of the faculties of independent thought and reason of the populace, attended upon by a limitless credulity in relation to authoritative opinion characteristic of chaotic times).

    All this fear-mongering by the aforementioned serves/served to create a cultural, mass-psychological and social climate conducive to the erosion of liberties, to the enactment of discriminatory laws and enforcement of barbaric policies which in other less turbulent times, not as distinguished by mass fear and lunacy, would be recognised for what they are.

    Not so in our societies (I live in Wales) which, like all collectives, remains pertinaciously opposed to an honest reckoning with its own history and own institutions, instead preferring the time-honored method of scapegoating which of course doesn’t imply the dreaded introspection demanded with the former, whereas the latter will bring the desired purge of the fears and anxieties occasioned by the perceived threat. Yet you can’t solve a problem without confronting the problem and confronting it honestly.

    I think scapegoating is sadly a corollary of group formation, because groups, like individuals, loathe to attend to their own control and to look inwards, preferring to control others and look outwards instead. The world is full of willing judges but no-one chooses to be judged.

    Just like with Laura and Kendra, the mental health movement has commandeered the recent tragedy in promotion of its beliefs and interests, making the victims into martyrs of their movement, silencing dissent and rendering their unjustifiable prescriptions justifiable through appeal to these tragedies.

    As for the accusations that comparison between the two situations is not credible, just because there are differences, doesn’t mean we should ignore the linking mechanisms between two institutions, epochs or situations. Thomas Szasz was accused of this when he compared institutional psychiatry to the Inquisition, or when he compared psychiatric slavery to chattel slavery. The fact that he enumerated and elucidated the similarities over hundreds and hundreds of pages in many publications, whereas his critics could only muster a couple of lines in defense of their poorly defended position, humbled them not.

  13. Hi Ted,
    thanks for your fine contribution. And it is fine to see my friend Dunya mentioned.
    You might be interested in more German historic facts which preceded the Holocaust, then see my paper “‘Progressive’ psychiatry: Publisher J. F. Lehmann as promoter of social psychiatry under fascism”, translated by Peter Stastny and published in Changes – An International Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy (U.K.), Vol. 12 (1994), No. 1, pp. 37-49, http://www.peter-lehmann-publishing.com/articles/lehmann/j-f-lehmann.htm
    I did not make many friends in people who currently work in German psychiatric institutions with this paper, as they like to mix the term “social” within “social psychiatry” with something progressive like socialism. The life-expectancy of psychiatric patients which is reduced by — on average — two to three decades and strongly connected with psychiatric drugs administered in- and outside of madhouses does not mainly commemorate something social, rather simply death-making.
    Best wishes, Peter