mental illness and violence

Can we stop pronouncing Loughner mentally ill on scant evidence? It does a disservice to all mentally ill people. The facts are these: Most murders are committed by people who are NOT mentally ill, and most mentally ill people pose no danger to anyone around them. Full stop. Sure, the man’s rants on YouTube seem bizarre, but they’re no more bizarre than half the rants at Tea Party rallies across the country in the last two years. He’s clearly barely literate and inarticulate, but that’s the most we can really say about him without a comprehensive mental health evaluation.

And yet every person in the media, right and left, seems to be throwing mental health words around like they’re sure of what they’re saying. There is indeed a conversation that needs to be held about mental health in the United States, but it’s not about “not letting people slip through the cracks” — it’s about the general public understanding what mental illness really is and getting over it’s fear and bigotry about it.

I’m not saying he should be let off the hook – far from it. If you read me at all, you know I support the death penalty, and he needs to face it, frankly. He needs to pay for what he did. But before people hang his motive on mental illness, we need to know that he his in fact mentally ill, and I don’t think the “evidence” of three YouTube videos cuts it.

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Barney Frank puts ridiculous questioner in her place at town hall

At a Barney Frank town hall meeting in Dartmouth, MA, a constituent asks, “Why are you supporting this Nazi policy?”

Frank responds: “On what planet do you spend most of your time?” He then calls her approach “vile, contemptible nonsense.” He closes by saying: “Trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table.”

Thank Maude people are FINALLY calling this nutty kookery for what it is.

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Revolt (or something) at the Statehouse

If you know anything about local Indiana politics, you’ll understand why this video is really damned funny.

UPDATE: As I was watching this, I was struck at how prescient local artist and commentator StAllio! was when he wrote about the event planning for this shindig a month ago:

if you even know what all that means, you’re probably one of the event’s organizers. i don’t see this protest attracting a lot of protesters nor much media attention. the whole thing is too vague and ephemeral for tv reporters, who won’t have a clue how to cover the thing. and in today’s economy, i don’t see the typical taxpayer getting too riled up about “the executive and legislative revolving door”–these days, people are more worried about just finding jobs and making ends meet. if this were a focused protest centered around, say, the mess at the CIB, i could see it being a moderate success. but a kitchen-sink protest of complaining about “corporate welfare” is doomed to failure.

I should have quoted him when I wrote this this morning, but I hadn’t had any coffee yet.

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