Please Defend the Right to Bear Arms

Deron Drumm
77
47

I remember the first time I read the Bill of Rights.  I was a child suffering with extreme states and didn’t have any idea what I was experiencing.  I believed and I was told that I was different.  At the same time, I watched my mother get fired from a job she worked so hard for and went to school for, because of a diagnosis.  I then watched all her rights stripped away in psychiatric hospitals.  Through it all I felt hope because of those rights contained in the Constitution.

I eventually went to law school so I could fight for the rights that were not being honored for people like my mother (by this time my mother did not need my standing up for her – she was and is still the best advocate I have ever known).  Unfortunately, the world was a dark place for me and I found my refuge in the darkest of places.  Law school was a long nightmare.  I was rarely involved physically or mentally.

Strangely, in my fifth year into a three year degree program I found the same shining light I found as a child – the Bill of Rights.  I signed up for a class on individual rights.  I went to the first class and the professor talked passionately about our rights as US citizens.  There was a fellow student who spoke articulately and powerfully about said rights.  I found myself going to every class.  I went early and I went prepared.  I looked forward to hearing what my classmate would say every week.

I was not in a good place and was paralyzed with fear of everything, so I never talked in class – even though I worked hard and wanted to engage my fellow classmate and the professor – I simply could not find my voice.  I could not even muster the courage to talk to him after class.  All told, I spent 22 years in school (credit for 19) and I do not think I ever participated voluntarily.  My only real regret about not speaking up during all those years in school is that I did not speak up in that individual rights class.

I somehow managed to finish school and become an attorney.  I did have moments of pride and feelings that I was good at my job.  Unfortunately, my personal demons did not rest for long. I could not handle my human experience and my ways of seeking refuge caused enormous destruction.  My awful actions landed me in court.  At the time, I was broken and beaten and assumed I would be dead soon, in prison or in a psychiatric hospital.

The powers that be asked me what my position was going to be regarding my law license.  I could not believe the question.  I had embarrassed, what to me is, the most important profession for rights protection.  I had caused such destruction.  Why in the world would they ask about whether I was going to fight for my license?

Well, it turns out I had Due Process rights concerning my law license.  There was not an attorney in the world that could have salvaged my license to practice law – but my rights were still honored.  I said I would l resign and still I needed to go in front of a judge and formally state that I was voluntarily resigning from the bar association.

Through miracles in the form of compassionate fellow humans, nutritional changes, taking personal responsibility, yoga and meditation – I am well today.  I take everything very seriously by living everyday deliberately – meaning with great structure.  Probably the greatest thing about my new life is that I have found my voice.  I am not paralyzed by fear anymore.  I may not be eloquent but I get my words heard.

And my message – my voice – revolves around those rights I have always been inspired by – the ones contained in our Constitution.  I remember watching a tape of a civil rights leader being interviewed and he was asked what he wanted.  He said he only wanted the US to honor the words of the Constitution – to do what they said they would do.

I say we need to be asking the same thing now.  We want the rights we are promised  – no more and no less.  The State of Connecticut honored my due process rights for a law license that they had every reason to take from me.  The same state passed a law on Thursday that suspends constitutional rights for people that VOLUNTARILY seek help for a troubling human emotional experience that results in a night spent in a hospital.

This new law requires the names of individuals who voluntarily check themselves into a psychiatric hospital be compiled into a Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services database so that Second Amendment rights can be suspended.  No Due Process – just egregious discrimination.  Unless proper Due Process procedure says otherwise, we all have a constitutional right to bear arms – whether we want guns or not is irrelevant.  I personally have no interest in guns but I have a lot of interest in equal rights.

I hope that we all will stand up and fight this unconstitutional provision.  I hope we will demand all of our constitutional rights.  I know I will be standing up.  I hope my former law school classmate, who inspired me with his conviction for individual rights, will stand up.  I feel I can make a little bit of a difference in my role at Advocacy Unlimited but I know for sure that said classmate in his current role as a United States Senator can make a difference.  I hope Chris Murphy still has that fire for justice inside of him and that passion that brought me out of a dark place just so I could hear him.  If he does then he will join us in fighting this injustice that came insultingly under the guise of “gun violence prevention” and “children safety.”

77 COMMENTS

  1. If you want to honour the constitution why not bring it up to date? To be honest that’s what the people who wrote it would want you to do.

    At best the people who wrote the bill of rights expected you to have the right to a flint lock musket. Time moves on the government has tanks and drones now so the idea of defending yourself against a government “gone bad” in the woods with guns of any sort is absurd.

    The key is in the word amendment in 2nd amendment. Time moves on. If equality is really the issue then an equal position would be for no one to have a gun.

    The original Constitution sanctioned the keeping of slaves and that has changed. Why not this? If the law never changed we would all still be using Magna Carta as originally written or even the Hammurabi Code.

    • As an American, I see the second amendment a right as fundamental as the first amendment. It’s no accident that is the second in the bill of rights. In fact polls consistently show that ~ 70% of Americans (of all political persuasions) support the second amendment. It’s they only safeguard against tyranny that remains if everything else fails. The history, European history in particular, is full of examples of democracies succumbing to totalitarian regimes.

  2. You are 100% right. The biggest irony is that it’s conservatives who have been pushing for the idea of taking the guns out of “crazy people” without realizing that with psychiatry’s corruption almost anybody can be labelled “crazy” for any reason.

    Way to go conservatives, the powers that be will be using psychiatry as a proxy to take away your guns. By the time you notice, it will be too late.

  3. @cannotsay In all seriousness…how are you going to defend yourself with any gun, theoretically, against a government that has tanks, drones, satellites and tanks?

    The people who wrote the bill or rights didn’t foresee the modern world.

    The US government and both main parties have totally sold out to corporate interests anyway. That’s the real world. Not some fantasy about the future. You having guns or not isn’t going to change that. The NRA is beholden to the corporate interests of gun maker not gun owners. You already live in a totalitarian state where a small corporate vested interest group rules over the majority.

    • I don’t know why the opponents of the second amendment (which again, it’s a small minority of the American population) keep coming with canards like this that have been debunked several times over.

      The US government might have all the weapons you list but how did that work in Iraq and Afghanistan? What about Vietnam? A hypothetical tyrannical government would have a very hard time subduing a society where there is almost one gun per person. Even the fact that the US government has nuclear weapons is irrelevant. If the government became tyrannical, they would need a place for them and their families to live, so it is unlikely that said government would nuke the whole territory of the United States.

      On the other hand, the tyrannical governments of the now defunct Czechoslovakia and China had a very easy time subduing the 1968 and 1989 pro democracy outbursts.

      Taking the guns from the people is one of the very first measures tyrannical governments impose after gaining power. And they do that for a reason.

      • A recent study of violent and non-violent revolutions showed that non-violent ones, such as the recent Arab Springs, or the deposing of Milosovich in Serbia are more likley to be succesful than violent ones.

        It maybe that what overturns despotic regiemes is political orgnaisation and a grand strategy rather than guns.

        Here is an article on that research: http://www.wamc.org/post/dr-erica-chenoweth-university-denver-success-non-violent-revolution

        • Except that ours, the American Revolution, was a violent one and there is no way it would have succeed without a call to arms. I think you are comparing apples to oranges.

          Regarding the Arab Springs… I don’t think that replacing Mubarak with Mursi made any difference for Egyptians. Not to mention the revolution instigated by Ayatollah Khomeini.

          I think that those who are against the second amendment and all that it represents, which is a weapon of LAST RESORT – emphasis on LAST RESORT- against tyranny still believe that real life is like Walt Disney movies.

          What I believe is a mainstream belief in America, shared by both Republican and Democratic voters. Since the second amendment is not going anywhere anytime soon, this idea that those labelled by the psychiatric system should be deprived of it without due process is preposterous.

          • I agree it is prepposterous, and discriminatory and potentially dangerous to people labelled as mentally ill as it is likely to stoke up mistrust of those labelled as mentally ill.

            I think the article was from serious academic researchers. I’d have to read it to say whether it was of a good standard or compaarable to a made for TV Disney movie. It gets quoted a lot at the moment though. Deposing Milosovic in Serbia by Otpor is the case I’m most familiar with. Violent revolutions can also result in bad regiems being replaced by not very good ones too.

            Mainly I think the 2nd ammendment argument is a side issue. Demonising people who have mental health diagnosis doesn’t addresses the causes of gun violence, isn’t likley to reduce it and is likely to increase discriimination against people with mental health diagnosis.

    • From another comment “where I am in the UK”. That explains it all. Europeans -with the exception of the Swiss- have been brainwashed early in their lives with the canard that governments are the only legitimate owners of guns. It’s no accident that Europe has known mostly authoritarian regimes until very recently.

      • Hand guns are illegal in the UK following a school shooting. The police don’t routinely have guns either. Hence we don’t suffer mass shootings and everyone feels safe.

        In the United Kingdom, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is 2010: 0.25 (not even into whole numbers)

        In the U.S. In the United States, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

        2011: 32,1635
        2010: 31,6726

        Seriously who is brainwashed now??

        • Dear Inarticulate;

          “In the U.S. In the United States, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

          2011: 32,1635
          2010: 31,6726”

          As opposed to:

          http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2004/mar2004_awsi_death_01.htm

          “This fully referenced report shows the number of people having in-hospital, adverse reactions to prescribed drugs to be 2.2 million per year. The number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections is 20 million per year. The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million per year. The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million per year.

          The most stunning statistic, however, is that the total number of deaths caused by conventional medicine is an astounding 783,936 per year. It is now evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the US. ”

          Since, you are not an American Citizen, why are you so adamant about repealing America’s Bill of Rights?

          You again:

          “The overwhelming majority of Americans support greater gun regulation”

          Over 80 Million Americans own guns. If access to a gun caused gun violence, the sheer paucity of your gun death numbers would conclusively refute your position.

          In America, there are currently more guns than there are people. Approximately 320 Million guns for 300 Million people. Even If Congress decided to make them all illegal tomorrow, do you have any idea what a task it would be to go collect and destroy them all?

          Please answer the following questions;

          With over 22,000 gun laws on the books in America already, how would 1 more or 22,000 more prevent gun violence?

          You again;

          “The everyday reality is that people are shooting each other with a stunning regularity and that is what people should be thinking about.”

          The overwhelming majority of those people shooting other people are engaged in pre-existing criminal enterprises such as street gangs having it out in a turf war over street drug profits, which further diminishes the impact of your numbers and argument.

          “You want a gun for a battle that is already over and you have lost.”

          “At best the people who wrote the bill of rights expected you to have the right to a flint lock musket. Time moves on the government has tanks and drones now so the idea of defending yourself against a government “gone bad” in the woods with guns of any sort is absurd.”

          I suggest you have that particular discussion with the people of the Warsaw Ghetto.

          “If you want to honour the constitution why not bring it up to date? To be honest that’s what the people who wrote it would want you to do.”

          I have less than NO interest in “honoring’ MY Constitution, not your’s, by ‘bringing it up to date’ to make You happy.

          I want it instituted and upheld, as the people who Wrote it and understood it far better than you wanted it instituted and upheld.

          If My country wants to ‘update’ it, there is Within it a Lawful mechanism for modifying and updating it, thanks to the people who wrote it.

          Please refer yourself to Article V:

          http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A5.html

          “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect thefirst and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”

          I assure you, Inarticulate, that if Your majority of America’s 80 Million gun owners want their 2nd Amendment Rights repealed, they’ll let their Government know about it, NRA or not.

          As it is, they Are letting their Government know about it in no uncertain terms, and their Vote is No.

          Please feel to contact me any time you need further clarity on MY Constitution, from wherever you are, Outside of MY America.

          • Enter the “stigma” part of psychiatric labeling. I have an activist bench, as it should be obvious by now. I have been involved in all sorts of campaigns, even political campaigns, but because of the stigma, all I have been able to do when it comes to psychiatric abuses is anonymous posting/emailing. Honestly, I am not willing at this point of my life to go further because I have a lot to lose if my ordeal became public.

            So what I have always said is that if I ever make it really big -like hundreds of millions of dollars-, I will create a CCHR style, but without any connection to any religious or political organization, NGO to fight psychiatry and psychiatrists on a large scale, including carefully chosen lawsuits against individual practitioners of psychiatry.

      • It has already been established that you only know how to use logical fallacies. Again, what is the relationship between the argument about second amendment/tyranny and school shootings? Or even violent deaths?

        But now that you mention mass shootings, as far as I can tell, the bloodiest of all mass shootings in the last 10 years happened in Norway, a country with even stricter gun laws than the UK. Your logic that abolishing the second amendment would made such tragedies impossible, in addition of being totally unrelated to the reason the second amendment exists, does not follow (the fallacy in this case is called “non sequitur”).

        As far as I know, nobody in the US has been educated to believe that mass shootings are OK. However, all European citizens have been educated to believe that the government should have the monopoly of force and that average citizens have no business protecting themselves from tyrannical governments. I don’t understand why it is so hard for you to appreciate this.

        • Mass shootings are reletively rare, though there is an argument that they have increased since mass drugging with anti-depressents became common.

          What is more common is domestic shootings, both violent attacks and suicidal incidents.

          The comparisons between gun use in these situations in countries with lax and strict gun control aslo seem relevent here.

          • As I said, bringing mass shootings in a discussion about depriving of a constitutional right to Americans labelled by “the system” is pretty much irrelevant.

            But, if you care about mass shootings, I can point you to several of them in Europe during the last 10 years in Norway -this one on a scale that has not happened in the US for a long time-, Finland and Germany. The increase in the number of mass shootings during the last 10 years in Europe would seem to indicate that the guns laws have very little to do with them.

          • John,

            The US is neither the UK nor Australia. Our SCOTUS has declared the right to bear arms an individual right on the same footing as the freedom of speech (SCOTUS cases Heller (2008) and Chicago (2010)). You’ll have to learn with that. The defeat of very mild gun control measures last week (thanks to several Democratic US Senators) should remind everybody that in the US, gun control activism is a loser. As I said, it would be a mistake for MIA to become a proxy for gun control. In addition, giving up on the NRA as a potential ally is not a very smart decision.

  4. Who said anything about nuclear weapons?? Are you suggesting you want your own personal nuke?

    Anyway…Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq have never been democratic so that’s a strange point.

    I do think the fact that the pro gun lobby engages with a debate with itself about the chance of the government nuking it goes to show how detached from every day reality they are.

    The everyday reality is that people are shooting each other with a stunning regularity and that is what people should be thinking about. What is actually happening, not fantasy scenarios that involve the government using nukes against the general public. imo so unlikely as to be not worth talking about.

    The fact that the US is a corporate totalitarian state seems lost on the pro gun lobby. The overwhelming majority of Americans support greater gun regulation but they wont get it because politicians are beholden to the people who give them money to get elected. Corporations. The candidate with the most cash always wins. US politicians represent corporate interests not people these days.

    You want a gun for a battle that is already over and you have lost.

    • You are European, so it’s unlikely you’ll ever understand the concept of individual freedom that is so ingrained in the American people. Most Europeans have also trouble with the first amendment http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snyder_v._Phelps .

      Talking to you about the need to have a “last resort” protection against tyranny it’s like talking to a victim of domestic abuse with Stockholm syndrome that he/she is being abused.

      Europe is hardly a paradise of anything. As I have explained several times, the reason my life was destroyed by psychiatry is because of the standard “need for treatment” that has been affirmed by the European Court of Human Rights as legal for committing people against their will. My fellow Americans do not appreciate that the standard of “dangerousness” affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States makes our situation in America heaven compared with the type of abuse that passes as “normal” in most European countries. So you are free to disagree with our freedoms, but please, leave the US alone. We have more than 200 years of uninterrupted democratic regime, while during the same time your continent gave us Communism and Nazism.

      • OK. US law is based on UK law… all US law is derivative of Magna Carta and UK law. The UK is a country not a continent by the way.

        Your system of government is based on British parliamentary democracy so spare me the lecture.

        I asked you a civil question that’s all.

        You are quite free to shoot yourselves to bits and lock up a greater and greater percentage of your population than any other country and so on and so on and become more and more violent and dangerous as a society in the process…rights I see you are taking full advantage of…

        The idea that the people of Europe don’t live in free countries and don’t understand freedom is utterly laughable…

        Toddle pip….

        • Actually you are quite incorrect about that. While it is true that the US is a common law country because of its past as a British colony, the system put in place by the US constitution is quite unlike the current British system.

          Unlike most European systems, and that would include the British system, the US system was the first to proclaim that rights are not derived from government (be that government a King, a democratically elected state or whatever) but that those rights are inherent to people that predate government. Those ideas predated the US government (can be traced back to British and French enlightenment) but they were codified in the US first.

          The US is for the most part a system of “negative liberties” while Europe, including the UK, is a continent with states that promote positive liberties. You can educate yourself here http://www.libertarianism.org/blog/what-are-negative-positive-liberty-why-does-it-matter .

          As to the lack of freedom in the European Union, I know quite a bit since I suffered it in my own skin (I was born there and lived in a few European countries before settling in the US for good). The legal standard used to commit me in that European country that shall remain nameless, which exists in all countries of the European Union, would not have been good to have me committed in the US.

          My life was destroyed by European psychiatrists, not by their American counterparts because here they are under check.

        • Example of legislation that is unconstitutional in the United States,

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_Health_Act_1983#Holding_powers

          In the US, to be held in a psychiatric hospital against your will, you need to be shown a danger to yourself (suicidal risk) or others.

          Without getting into a discussion about how dishonest psychiatrists lie or otherwise abuse the system to bypass that, the fact remains that the US Supreme Court has upheld that people with so called “mental illness” cannot be held against their will unless they are dangerous. “Need for treatment” by itself in the US is unconstitutional.

          • In my state it takes only two people to go down to the sheriff’s office and swear out a petition that someone is a danger to herself and or others. It doesn’t matter that they may be telling tales about the person they want brought in and given “treatment.” The person then has to appear in court and almost always ends up in the state hospital or in the psychiatric unit of another hospital for a seven day eval. Once you get in it’s very difficult to get loose from the quacks and their wonderful “treatment.”

            I think it’s a lot easier to get “treated” here than you may realize. Once you get in a unit the general attitude of the staff and the quack psychiatrists is that you’re not telling the truth and you’re delusional and there you go……your claim that you’re sane and shouldn’t be there is only taken as proof that you really do need all of the “help” and “treatment” that they can lavish on you. You are proving right before their very eyes that you have no “insight into your illness.”

            I agree with Poet that we’re living in more of a corporate totalitarian state than most of us want to realize. The government is not the friend of the citizens of this country. Politicians do the bidding these days of the corporations that pay them the most for their vote. Look at what the wonderful Koch brothers have accomplished in the last two years in their takeover of state legislatures and in their attempts to run the federal government.

    • “Anyway…Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq have never been democratic so that’s a strange point.”

      No strange point. These countries’ populations were not as armed as the US is and gave the most powerful army in the planet, the US army, a run for its money. So if these people gave such a hard time to the US army, imagine what 270 million guns would do against the same army.

      • Ok. So now you are suggesting Afghanistan as a model for a system of government…that’s fine but it is strange.

        True, I am positing that this sort of breakdown in civil society in the US is so unlikely that it should be discounted. I understand you think it’s realistic situation that you should plan for. My point is that is absurd.

        The title of this post is “Please Defend the Right to Bear Arms”. Its a pro gun rant masquerading as being about equality and mental health.

        Thanks for demonstrating that so convincingly.

        • You anti guns rights types are all the same, twisting arguments and throwing fallacious arguments.

          I think that you went all to the same “logical fallacy” school where you were all taught to use strawmen and similar arguing artifacts.

          My point is not that “Afghanistan as a model for a system of government”, that is your strawman.

          My point is that the US army despite all its power was unable to subdue “Afghanistan” using conventional weapons in a meaningful way despite the fact that the people of Afghanistan are not nearly as armed as the American population is. That’s all. So the argument that the American people would be unable to counter a tyrannical American government is false both in theory and practice.

          Then you say

          “this sort of breakdown in civil society in the US is so unlikely that it should be discounted”

          It is unlikely BECAUSE OF the second amendment, not despite of it. The second amendment’s only purpose is deterrence against tyranny, not to provide immunity against murder. A point that is not even subtle, but that for some reason anti gun advocates like you seem unable to understand.

          It’s the same reason the US and other countries have nuclear weapons: deterrence.

          Now, if you want examples of democracies that have become tyrannical there are many, the majority of them in Europe BTW, but probably the best known is the Weimar Republic. Luckily, the UK was spared from being conquered by its American friends.

          As a European, you are unable to understand the second amendment, and that’s OK. All European states already treat their citizens are “second class” people who cannot be trusted with guns, why would you be bothered that in the US we don’t want one of your constitutional rights to be taken away because of “mental health” reasons? You don’t have that fundamental right in your own country to begin with because your government “knows best”.

          In a way, this conversation is like talking to a Chinese who is comfortable with government censorship. Said Chinese citizen would bring up anecdotal, and empirical, evidence about how government censorship results in “common good” and similar nonsense. You’d need to live in America for a long time to understand what I, and the majority of my fellow Americans, feel about the second amendment.

  5. Hey Deron, Good to see you here. 😉 I have mixed feelings about guns and the 2nd amendment and agree with one of the above posters that the constitutional law approach (never changing from the original, as if its writers were omniscient fortune tellers) is foolish. However, I think that’s all relatively irrelevant (or at least a completely different conversation) to the main points being made here… which is really about the horrors of making registries of people and treating people as criminals and less-thans because they’ve been branded by a broken system.

    • What differentiates the American system from the European systems is that ours is a “rule of law” system while theirs still have a love affair with authoritarianism (ie, the idea that a single person/center has absolute power to change things). In the UK, it used to be the King/Queen, now it’s the Prime Minister and its parliamentary majority. Europeans’ love affair with authoritarian forms of government is nothing new. Many in Europe define European democracies as dictatorships whose head can be replaced every time there are national elections. While this is an oversimplification, it is true that the day to day operation of your average European democracy reassembles the authoritarian regimes that preceded them: the person at the top decides, those below follow. In most occasions even members of parliament do not have freedom to vote on conscience, they have to vote as indicated from the top or risk being replaced, which makes the very existence of many members of parliament redundant. In the US, the powers of the president are limited (so are those of Congress and SCOTUS). Voters have many opportunities to counter perceived abuses of power.

      Our fundamental law cannot be altered for transient reasons -save what some ideologically motivated SCOTUS justices decide- as the European laws regularly are. Although that makes our system sometimes look more inefficient, it is better in the long term for those who care about individual freedom. We do know that presidents cannot alter our fundamental rights alone. It’s perfectly OK to be for the abolition of the second amendment. However, there is a reason why that needs to be done through the constitutional amendment process.

      Having been the victim of one of these “European” abuses, my own civil commitment that would have not happened in America precisely because of the same reason it is not easy to abolish the second amendment, I think that we should resist the temptation of pushing for a system in which a single person or center accumulates too much undue power even if sometimes the results are situations we disagree with.

      • Can you explain to a simple Englishman how the powers of the President fit into this argument?

        I maight be wrong but I think the UK prime minister has rather less power than the US president.

        As far as I know the laws are quite similar in the UK as the US as far as commitment is concerned, you are assessed as being a danger to yourself or other due to mental illness. Now I think this law is just plain wrong, but I’d need more detail than you are offering to be convinced the laws are essentially different between the two countries.

        Also, I’d need to know the different rates of involuntary commitment to really assess the impacts of these unjust laws in the two countries.

        But most of all I agree with Sera, talking about mental health and gun violence is a distraction. It does not address the main causes of gun violence (and we may disagree on what the causes are) and is unecersarry discrimination against those labelled at mentally ill and is likley to increase discrimination against those who have used services.

        • OK, here it comes. The main reason the US President is less powerful than the UK Prime Minister is that they while the US President and the US Congress are elected through different elections, and for different terms, the Prime Minister is elected by the Parliament for a similar term. So in effect, in the British system the Prime Minister and the House of Commons are basically two legs of the same center of power. Add to that that British PMs in general don’t have the freedom to vote their on their own -exceptions are made from time to time such as in the case of gay marriage. In the US, first of all the two chamber of congress have the power to veto each other. The House of Representatives is fully elected every 2 years while in the US senate, 1/3 of it is renewed every 2 years with US senators having 6 year terms. In addition both congressmen/women and US senators can vote however they want. That is not to say that they don’t vote in ways dictated by their respective political leadership, but ultimately each of them votes on their own. This is relevant to the debate about gun control because the main obstacle right now for Obama implementing any gun control legislation are 6 US Democratic senators that are up for reelection in 2014 that come from gun friendly states. So!

          In the US, a situation like that we have now, in which one or two of the chambers of the US congress are dominated by one party while the president is from another party has been historically speaking quite common. On the contrary, the situation in which a political party has a supermajority that allows it to pass any law it wants without checks happens very rarely. The two most recent occasions were 1979 and a brief period in 2009/2010. In the UK this situation of supermajority by a single political party is the norm, not the exception.

          Regarding civil commitment, I can find the numbers if you want, but legally speaking, all European countries signatories of the European Convention on Human Rights, which are those in the European Union and then some, have the right to involuntarily commit people under the “need for treatment” standard alone, regardless of whether these people are a danger to anybody (including themselves).

          That is true in the United Kingdom as it is true in all the other countries signatories of the convention. In the US, that standard is unconstitutional http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O%27Connor_v._Donaldson . That combined with a more powerful judicial system that allows patients to sue doctors for malpractice are strong enough safeguards that make the type of abuse that I endured in Europe impossible here (that is not to say that in the US there is no psychiatric abuse) but in Europe psychiatric abuse takes place at a much larger scale.

          • The numbers are hard to find, but here they come. For the European Union,

            http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/184/2/163/T1.expansion.html

            For the US, I haven’t found a similar metric, but I found another one that is an “upper bound”, ie, the number of civilly committed must be, overtime, below that one. Most importantly, it shows the evolution of the rate of hospitalization,

            http://www.volokh.com/files/bernardharcourt-volokh_graph.1.JPG

            The UK is at commitment levels that were similar to the rate of people in mental hospitals that existed in the US during the late 1970s.

            While the authors of the above graph want to make the preposterous case that the people who are not committed now but that were committed back in the seventies are now in jail, the fact remains that in the US there are higher safeguards against psychiatric abuse than in your average European country and that we can trace those safeguards to the SCOTUS decisions of the 1970s.

          • Needless to say, the numbers provided for the European Union are incomplete since the European Union has now 27 countries, and the study is from 2004 but it provides a good reference for discussion. The rate of involuntary commitment in the European Union is like ~ 7-10 times higher than current mental hospitalization rates in the US.

          • The idea that parliamentarians can’t vote as they see fit is absurd.

            In the US congressmen and senators are equally tied though but just not to a party. They are beholden to corporate interests which they never rebel against rather than party interests.

            Money has totally corrupted the US political system.

            Your point about the rates of commitment is interesting but you are leaving out that in the US a huge number of people are just in prison instead. The other thing you have left out are the conditions that people are held in. In the UK seclusion and restrain are much less common than in the US where that problem is much much worse (generally).

            The other thing you leave out are lengths of admission which is critical. The judicial oversight in the US leads to much longer detentions because psychiatrists are often unable to discharge people without the say so of a judge.

            Six of one half a dozen of the other here.

            A more balanced presentation required here.

          • Poet,

            In the UK, as it is the case in all of the European Union, the MP are puppets of their respective puppet masters (prime ministers, presidents or chancellors). That’s a fact. There is something called “party discipline” that simply does not exist in the US. And the reason such “party discipline” does not exist can be traced to the late XIX-th century with the introduction of the primary system that let the decision of candidate nomination in the hands of the people. A Republican/Democrat that consistently votes against the interests of his/her constituency to please the leadership of his/her party will have to face a primary challenge (inside the party) or a tough election every 2 years (case of House members). That onto itself is a deterrent.

            With respect to the numbers provided, I said that they were not exactly the same. However, they can be used as a starting point.

            Nonetheless, it is a no-brainer that if in Europe the legal grounds for civil commitment are more expansive as those in the US, the end result has to be worse for the European Union. Then you go on to make a set of unsubstantiated statements such as that the increase of criminality is due to the decrease of commitment or that point about the length of commitments.

            Put it in another way, the European Union operates under the civil commitment regime that was common place in the US up until the late 70s so it is not really surprising that its current rates are like those that existed in the US back in the day.

            So sure, keep your pathetic European regime. I prefer that of the US. Even though I dream with the day in which there will be no commitment laws whatsoever, the fact that I cannot be committed in the US using the pretext that sent me to a mental hospital back in Europe is what allows me to have a worry-less life here while in Europe I would be scared that some psychiatrist could send me back to the ward for not taking any medications whatsoever as it has been the case for many years now (and counting).

  6. “The rate of involuntary commitment in the European Union is like ~ 7-10 times higher than current mental hospitalization rates in the US.”

    Not comparing like with like here. In the US voluntary admissions may be more common but they are involuntary in all but name. In the UK the pernicious nature of this has been recognized and its a much less common practice. In the UK if you are in hospital you are more likely to be legally detained, which is as it should be.

    • Again, I already provided the numbers. You make unsubstantiated claims like,

      “in the US voluntary admissions may be more common but they are involuntary in all but name. In the UK the pernicious nature of this has been recognized and its a much less common practice. In the UK if you are in hospital you are more likely to be legally detained, which is as it should be”

      I’ll expect some evidence. In addition to the numbers, I have provided the actual reason: SCOTUS case law that dates back to the 1970s. And I can give you my own case as anecdotal evidence. I spent several months civilly committed back in Europe for living pretty much the same life that I live now in the US. When I told my American psychiatrist: no more meds, no more CBT. All he could say was “have a nice life”. In the European country where I was committed, I had many fellow “inmates” who were there for exactly the same reason: refusing to take meds.

    • This idea that when it comes to involuntary commitment the US and Europe are the same and that the differences are in “name only” not only is preposterous on its face (since the numbers, the mental health laws and the ECHR/SCOTUS case law tell a very different story) but as I said it’s personal for me: it’s the difference between living a comfortable life without being worried that I could be committed, and living a life in hell, fearing that I could be committed.

      From your numerous statements here, it is obvious that you profess some kind of anti Americanism. While you are free to free that way and to express it, you are not free to distort the different legal realities of the UK and the US when it comes to the protections that we enjoy here against arbitrary psychiatric abuse that are simply non existent in the UK. You’ll have to find a different way to bash the US. The nature of civil commitment laws when compared to the European ones, while still unfair because any involuntary commitment is unfair, will not cut it.

  7. Iraq and Afghanistan are irrelevant. Iraq had neighbors and jihadists who supplied weapons and fighters to throw into the mix. Unless we think Canada and Mexico would do the same here, those factors are not present in the US. Afghanistan’s forbidding, mountainous terrain have made it unconquerable for centuries – again, not like the U.S. But really, we are already living under tyranny, but it isn’t imposed by the U.S. Government; it is imposed by large corporations who set the terms of our everyday life, and who pull the strings on the federal government. One example – this web site fights against the fraud and imposition on human liberty brought about by the mental health system – that is dominated by PhARMA and the mental health industry, which renders the federal government impotent to oppose it.

    And the most powerful weapon used by PhARMA and psychiatry to control the public is PhARMA’s $60 billion/year promotional budget that frames the terms of debate in a way that makes it next to impossible for a significant slice of the public to think outside PhARMA’s box. Guns aren’t necessary to their domination – their promotion persuades us to do it to ourselves, without even realizing it. The same thing is happening through the promotional budgets of other corporately controlled industries – energy, food, etc. – so that we take no meaningful action on climate change, etc. Guns won’t help us out of this – clear thought and communication and intelligent voting will. Those who shape our thoughts are perfectly happy for us to scrap with each other about guns – that’s a diversion that allows them to do what they want.

    Anyway, all this is tangential to the real point here, which is that OF COURSE “mental patients” should not be singled out as scapegoats without procedural rights regarding their ability to own guns. This is part of the systematic mistreatment of “mental patients,” and should be resisted whether we agree on overall gun policy or not.

    • “Anyway, all this is tangential to the real point here, which is that OF COURSE “mental patients” should not be singled out as scapegoats without procedural rights regarding their ability to own guns. This is part of the systematic mistreatment of “mental patients,” and should be resisted whether we agree on overall gun policy or not. ”

      I agree, and that should be the whole argument. So called “mental patients” should not have their second amendment rights taken away without due process regardless of where one stands on the second amendment itself.

  8. The universal background check these legislators are calling for is a CRIMINAL background check. The legislation they are working on enacting would make people who go from detention into the state hospital ineligible to own firearms on account of their CRIMINALITY. People caught up in the mental health system are, by and large, INNOCENT of any crime. PREJUDICE is what we are dealing with here, prejudgment, and as it is PREJUDICE, it is also UNJUST and, therefore, another example of INJUSTICE regarding people who have received psychiatric treatment. We’ve got a long fight ahead of ourselves, those of us who have known forced mental health treatment, for the RESTORATION of our CIVIL RIGHTS as AMERICAN CITIZENS. Thank you, Deron Drumm, for helping to get the facts out to the people who need them.

  9. I probably won’t win many friends for saying this but a sober conversation is required about guns and extreme states of mind or madness or however you want to characterize it, just not mixing. It’s no good ignoring it and pretending that not true.

    Sticking one head in the sand about this plain fact and shouting about equality to the exclusion isn’t going to win the cause social justice for “mad people” any new friends.

    They are just going to write you off as irresponsible….and for my money going by some what has been written here they would be right.

    The conversation needs to be much more grown up. Madness and flying jumbo jets don’t mix. Epilepsy and driving don’t mix.

    If we want society to take the cause of mad people seriously we have to stop conducting the conversation like spoilt brats with no regard for anyone but ourselves…

    • To “Theinarticulatepoet”.

      Congratulations on leaving comments so offensive as to bring me out of retirement.

      While you may have been conditioned to accept discrimination on the basis of an ascribed group identity / membership rather than on the basis of your proven actions as an individual, you can expect resistance to such injustice from people who actually care about liberty.

      “The conversation needs to be much more grown up. Madness and flying jumbo jets don’t mix. Epilepsy and driving don’t mix.”

      First, marshaling epilepsy as an analogy for ‘mental illness’ and as a rationale for the removal of our rights is bunk. Epilepsy causes lapses of consciousness. The laws in place worldwide to take the right to drive vehicles from people who have suffered seizures often include ‘seizure free periods’, after which, the individual’s right to use a car are restored. Furthermore, epilepsy is a bona fide medical condition, and it is therefore appropriate that these laws involve recourse to physicians certifying that people are OK to drive.

      Medical control over who is worthy of the right to a career in aviation, or the right to defend oneself with a firearm, in terms of the subject matter of the article is a completely different kettle of fish to epilepsy, given the alleged ‘medical conditions’ psychiatrists label and drug are not even established bona fide brain diseases, and don’t involve drivers having seizures.

      I have never misused the tools called “cars”, “firearms”, “knives” or “aircraft”. If you believe in stripping rights from people not on the basis of them having committed crimes/misuses involving such tools in the past, but rather on the basis of a psychiatric label being applied to somebody, their ascribed membership in the minority group you like to call “mad people”, then I’m afraid you, as you readily admit, “probably won’t win many friends for saying this”.

      The laws that take away 2nd amendment rights on the basis of psychiatric profiling often do so indefinitely and with no regard for demonstrating the individual has misused the tool in question in the past. Further, they often are used to take away, for life, the 2nd amendment rights of veterans who have taken up arms in defense of the United States and her allies. Laws based on psychiatric profiling rather than individual criminal actions are completely contrary to the spirit of everything liberty stands for.

      The laws based on psychiatric profiling banning people with psychiatric labels from various careers, pilot, high level diplomat, politician, etc. are absolutely indefensible and discriminatory. Every comment you’ve left indicates a collectivist mindset, rather than a respect for INDIVIDUAL rights. Individuals who have never demonstrated through their actions as individuals, that they are dangerous people, should never be caught in some dragnet of discrimination. That is what this article was about, that is what respect for individual liberty is about.

      “If we want society to take the cause of mad people seriously we have to stop conducting the conversation like spoilt brats with no regard for anyone but ourselves… ”

      The “spoilt brats” and “mad people” you think should be just fine with being discriminated against by society when they have committed no crime against said society, may have a problem with your choice of epithets. You’ve shown how you would like to “conduct the conversation”.

      “In the UK if you are in hospital you are more likely to be legally detained, which is as it should be.”

      Detention under the UK’s involuntary psychiatry laws is carried out without judicial oversight. Tens of thousands of UK citizens are detained and forcibly drugged each year solely on the basis of a psychiatrist signing papers. And here you are criticizing a country, America, which still has vestiges of due process and judicial oversight. Glass house / stones. A discriminatory non-judicial “review board” stacked with shrinks is not judicial oversight.

      ” In the UK seclusion and restrain[sic] are much less common than in the US where that problem is much much worse (generally).”

      In the UK and throughout the Commonwealth countries forced drugging is carried out without court order, at a vastly higher per capita rate than in the United States, I’d advise everyone against this false consciousness that says if your brain is being forcibly drugged by the government but you’re not in shackles or locked in a small room, that your government is somehow treating you better. Just because the UK has managed to make biological restraint and biological seclusion “seem” more humane, doesn’t make it more humane. There are many survivors who would love the government have the decency to only touch the OUTSIDE of their bodies.

      The list of people who know what they are talking about, who say their lives would never have been destroyed had they been born in the United States where psychiatry is harder to force on people, is a very long list, make absolutely no mistake about that.

      I have never committed a violent crime, never shown anyone in society that I have misused firearms, and if I want to fulfill the dream of holding any career, any career at all, from flying a plane, to be being trusted with children, to jumping out of a plane, to defending myself at home, or my community as a police officer, my country in the military, my country with diplomatic secrets, to working in building demolition, to any “risky” thing in society, you have ZERO right to discriminate against me on the basis of a psychiatric label. Zero.

      This is what collectivist thinking does. If you want to be judged by the content of your psychiatric file, and not the content of your character and your demonstrated actions in this life, go right ahead. I won’t be standing for it, and I know plenty of the readers here won’t stand for psychiatric profiling either.

      CannotSay2013 is not a eugenicist, you should apologize to him, of other minority groups and CannotSay2013, you said of him “Essentially you have just written them off as inferior as well.” He did no such thing.

      I dare say I note the tone of virulent antiamericanism in your tone as well. While you may think it is on topic to this article to be telling Americans “their government is bought and paid for”, “their democracy is dead”, America’s poor are “non unionized Wal Mart wage slaves”, calling the gun rights groups “detached from reality” (nice choice of undermining phrase), you are seriously offending a lot of people, including me. The fact that several times in the comment thread you call for the conversation to be elevated or conducted in a mature way, after what you’ve had to offer, is simply laughable.

      Again, congratulations on leaving the most offensive set of comments I’ve seen on this site in months. In the face of such low blows, I cannot remain silent.

      I will now return to retirement. This will be my only comment.

      Citizens don’t forfeit individual rights by anything other than their actions. Ascribed membership to a group identity alone, an accusation of brain disease, a nationality, a race, whatever, should never be enough for them to be put in internment camps, detained in “hospitals”, or lose the right to own their bodies. This notion that we ought to accept being treated like children or second class citizens, that cops should beat down our doors and our property should be confiscated from us, our rights taken away, certain careers denied to us, on the basis of psychiatry’s claims, rather than our actions as individuals, is something that needs to be countered wherever it rears its ugly head. This article did that and I thought it was a good article. Congratulations on the author completing law school. I’d have said the same if he’d just completed pilot training.

      • Anonymous (out of retirement)

        “America, which still has vestiges of due process and judicial oversight. ”

        Thank you for the cogency of your observation that what we have left of due process and judicial oversight is vestigial.

        I dislike seeming pedantic on this issue but can’t expect everyone here to read every comment on every post here. So I repeat:

        Due Process, both substantive and procedural are in complete abeyance when equal protection is voided by State mandated Diversion Programs for certain Classes of people due to their purchasing of a State certified work license, in this case, a work license in almost any field related to medicine.

        This is the Diversion Program for Physicians in California

        http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=bpc&group=02001-03000&file=2220-2319

        And here are 7 more:

        http://psychroaches.blogspot.com/search/label/California%20Diversion%20Programs

        Some of them actually use the term ‘Mental Illness’, rather than merely list Psychiatrically condemnable behaviors such as alcohol and drug use, and being verbally and physically abusive to others.

        Since, if we want anything to change we need a Legal Peg to hang it on, I suggest that people who’ve been adversely affected or had family members adversely affected by the mental health system, if they Don’t already have a web page of their own should get one, and start complaining about an issue which has substantial Legal teeth.

        For there can be no due process which substantively and procedurally violates equal protection.

        And the lack of which throws open the door to wholesale violation of existing Federal Civil Rights Statutes.

        http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/18C13.txt

        see Sec 241 & 242

        Every State has them (California complained that it would be the Only State without a Diversion Program for Physicians when its own called it quits in 2008, after failing 5 consecutive audits, and having 1 out of 3 of its attending to save their License Physicians being Repeat attendees)

        I suggest people consult their own State Laws and find these Diversion Programs in their State, and post them online explaining Why they are illegal under Sec 1 of the 14th Amendment.

        In California they are part of the State’s Business and Professions Code, and will probably be found under similar headings in other States.

  10. Get real guys. People who have a psychiatric diagnose most likely get a prescription for one or multiple psychotropic drugs. You really want allow people that are under the influence of mind altering drugs (that may even cause suicidal or homicidal thoughts and actions) to bear arms?

  11. “I find you totally disingenuous and unconvincing, characterizing blacks and Hispanics as allegorically inferior does nothing to disguise that you really do think they are inferior, along with anyone who else happens to have a belief system different to your own. I’d need a lot of convincing that this isn’t exactly what you really think when you write as you have.”

    You must have a problem with the English language (still waiting you answer to the question of whether you are Scottish). I did not for a second concede that I was referring to Hispanics and blacks with my DNA comment. I was referring to the cultural DNA that is shared by Americans of all ethnicities, and that would include Hispanics and blacks of course, vs the cultural DNA in Europe, shared among other people by those Swedish citizens that worship the welfare state. Anonymous understood very well what I was saying (so much so that he was forced out of retirement by your continuous offensive comments). In fact, any reasonable person understood it. It’s your obsession with projecting your ideology that sees racism everywhere even when there is none.

    Then your following comment is really offensive, you might even push anonymous out of retirement again,

    “Taliban like insistence on living by a code written in a different era isn’t going to advance the cause of people”

    You bash our constitution calling its defense a “Taliban like insistence” and you expect to be respected? Now this is truly offensive. Millions of people have died to defend it. Furthermore, it’s the civilization created by the US constitution that prevented your UK from being conquered by Nazis. I wonder if Stephen still thinks that you don’t harbor hatred towards America.

    Then the final insult

    “If you look at the wider survivor movement, globally, I think that you will find collectivist ideas and principles form the majority view if not complete consensus. Good luck fighting your corner though. ”

    But as it usually happens, it’s the American survivor movement that has been the most effective advancing our cause. So much so that, as I said, our most important battles have been already won in an American context while the European context is pathetic (as proved by the numbers). I still dream utopically with the day when psychiatry, and its coercive methods, will be banned for good. But until that happens, I very much appreciate the US legal framework where. since the mid 1970s, it is very hard for the state to commit and drug people against their will. Not impossible, but difficult. While in the US we live under a “separate but equal” regime, which is still unfair, you in Europe live under plain old slavery.

    And that is no accident. Those like you who embrace the supremacy of the state over individual freedom have it very hard to oppose the state when it does things to its citizens for “their own good”. You basically have a cognitive dissonance: one one hand you believe that the government always knows best, but then want to make an exception to that belief when it comes to the “government taking care of your mental health”. That’s utterly contradictory.

    It’s those like me who see government fundamentally as a necessary evil, but “evil” nonetheless, that have the stronger moral argument.

  12. @cannotsay
    If only any of that was true. American (APA) conceptualizations of mental distress have been spread around the world and that has done a huge amount of damage. Thats the big picture. The American survivor movement has sadly achieved very little other than provide solace to each other, that no bad thing but it’s not an achievement in terms of changing anything.

    The survivor movement is a small fraction of the much bigger consumer movement and they simply support the establishment.

    It’s not hard to see why so little gets achieved. Punks, hippies, anarchists, liberals, libertarians, social democrats, socialists, every stripe of right and left across the political spectrum rejecting each others politics from the starting line. This thread amply demonstrates that. Getting all that diversity to unite in a common cause? It’s not happening is it….

    As the above blog entry and comments about guns demonstrates it’s the politics that people care about far more than the impinging issues of mental health.

    When you call state employees, policemen, firemen and health care workers a necessary evil it really just demonstrates how far apart we are before we get onto talking about mental health issues. In the UK over 1 million people work for the national health service. Refer to those people as evil and the general public is just going to roll its collective eye balls at you…

    Like it or not that is a socialist institution that has a totemic status even with what passes for the soft right. Their is a national consensus that that socialist institution is a good thing.

    Psychiatry has always had an internal debate with it self. But the survivor movement isn’t a part of that. They consider you and me both an irrelevance. An interesting spectacle. Even the ones who post here for the most part just post and go once they have passed on their golden nuggets of wisdom. Even this very site is only hosting us like symbiotic parasites. It owes its existence to a journalist, not a survivor.

    The UK based critical psychiatry movement has advanced the cause of survivors more than survivors have because they get listened to and taken seriously. Survivors don’t get listened to.

    Most of the journal articles, many on this site, that question the dominant paradigm appear in journals published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. You can’t get more British than that.

    I wish you were right and the survivor movement did have more influence but it doesn’t and while we reject each others political view points I fear it won’t. We just ride the wind of progressive change….well I do…you have your faith in an ideology that as I see it is increasingly on the wane and being marginalized from a global perspective…but there you go…

    http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/

    Forget about pretending to hold the existential moral high ground. No such place exists.

      • @cannotsay

        Life expectancy from CIA fact book.
        United States
        78.49
        2012 est.

        United Kingdom
        80.17
        2012 est.

        Your point about cancer survival is true. How ever it comes at a price. In the US because doctors are more prone to practice defensively they do more investigations. More investigations mean that cancer gets found earlier. Earlier detection leads to survival. The price paid is all the false positives. This means that many people undergo painful and expensive treatment that they never needed. This is not insignificant. Think women who have mastectomies they never really needed.

        All I am saying is you can make a case for any system one likes but their is no one right answer.

        You might not like the idea of a socialist NHS but you do talk about freedom and liberty a lot. I look at it this way…the NHS provides universal cradle to grave freedom from fear. Fear of being ill and not being able to afford treatment. Freedom from the fear that my employer might exert because my health care plan and my families plan, the health of my children is tied to my employment status rather than status as a citizen. Freedom from the fear that the economy might nose dive and through no fault of my own I can’t afford treatment for my family when I lose my job or my employer decides they don’t like me.

        That’s real freedom imo.

        It’s called a society where we look after each other. Where we don’t feel that if we don’t take out of the pot as much as we put in that somehow we have lost. Rather that we have just been lucky and not got ill and if we pay for someone else who was not so lucky we don’t mind because we are all in the same boat.

        The NHS doesn’t shackle us, quite the reverse is true. The NHS set’s us free to change jobs, start businesses, take employment breaks to look after a sick relative because we know that our health care is taken care of. All these are individual freedoms we enjoy because a collective ideal.

        Just my opinion.

  13. There is a lot of interesting conversation going on in this thread by two of our readers who unfortunately are posting personal insults and bold misrepresentations of each others statements along with their own interesting arguments. This is a note that at Mad In America it is our policy to value civility first.
  14. Hey Deron,

    Thanks so much for offering your thoughts around this difficult subject which as you so aptly frame as rights for “all” not “some.” I would love to sit over a coffee/tea and learn more of your experience.

    As someone who also struggles to find and offer her voice, I can not begin to express how much I appreciate you offering yours!

    Looking forward to more! ~Lisa

  15. I felt the same inspiration when I began studying law. For the first time since my commitment over twenty years ago, I felt safe because I thought the law offered a way to protect myself. Several years later I discovered the truth… It doesn’t. The Bill of Rights, in my opinion, was a last ditch effort to preserve an ideal. The truth is, nothing so complex as rights ever had any hope of being secured by something so simplistic as a contract, and the concept of rights long ago was ill suited to define something as complex as human rights. Instead, I have to ask a simple and pointed question, why does your Constitutional Rights depend on the sacrifice of mine? Why is the general public so sure that I can’t have rights without denying you the same? I don’t want to sacrifice the 2nd Amendment, but you have to understand, you have legal remedies and protections in the case that you are denied your rights. I don’t. There was a time when I was a person. I had possibility. Now, I’m a diagnosis and a series of skewed statistics. Everyone keeps talking about violence even in the lights of biased or obscured research, but Violence denotes power and force. In stark contrast, I’ve been filling a prescription (and paying for it) even though I stopped taking it two years ago. I am too afraid of being hospitalized. After getting lost while out of town, I stopped to ask an officer for directions. His reaction to my obvious anxiety was so threatening that I no longer drive further than the ten minute drive to the store. My life is governed by fear established under the guise of medicine, and the reality is that the law doesn’t want to protect me. It simply doesn’t see me.