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Susan Estrich
11 Jul 2014
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Sick People

Comment

I got my first threat when I was a young law professor. The campus newspaper reported that in teaching criminal law to first-year students, I was not only including rape in the curriculum (unheard of at the time), but was actually telling students of my own experience in the criminal justice system as a rape victim and how it shaped my views on the law. I thought it was a nice piece. My mother thought I was out of my mind. Both appear to be true.

Someone called me at home, claiming to be a student of mine, and threatened to rape me again — because I probably enjoyed it — by semester's end. There were two weeks left in the semester.

The police put a tap on my phone and told me to make a special effort to call on students I thought might be crazy, or might hate me, to see if I could recognize a voice. They also reviewed my evaluations at semester's end for signs of personal animus. The dean of Harvard Law School at the time, the late Jim Vorenberg, graciously found excuses to come visit me and sit and see if the phone would ring as we waited for the semester to end.

One of my colleagues was one of the world's experts in psychiatry and the law, including issues relating to predicting dangerousness. I asked his advice. Should I be scared? Should I be terrified? Should I worry more about Boston drivers?

The answer, sadly, was that there is no answer. Most people who make threats don't follow through. The most dangerous people are often those who never make threats. But "most" and "often" aren't what you are looking for when you're dealing with a scary person. You want to "know." And there is no knowing.

It wasn't that no one realized that Jared Lee Loughner was mentally ill.

Of course they did. His teachers and classmates knew he was deeply disturbed. They were afraid of him. They notified the deans and the college counselors, who notified the parents. What more could they do? If he had presented with the equivalent physical symptoms, he'd be in Intensive Care.

A friend who is a psychiatrist cannot bear to watch the coverage because it is so painfully clear that this is a very, very sick young man who desperately needs treatment. That doesn't in any way make him innocent of the crimes charged. But it makes it far more difficult to ensure that such things never happen again. Indeed, given the way we treat mental illness, it is almost certain they will.

I recently tried to help a young man who desperately needs mental health assistance. He suffers from uncontrollable epilepsy, which is now complicated by episodes of what appears to be uncontrolled rage. He threatened his mother with a knife, and when police arrived, he literally could not remember making the threat. He says people are talking to him inside his head.

We sat for hours at the county clinic, but he doesn't have Medical or Social Security Disability. In an interview for which neither his sister nor I was present, he told someone that he owns one-fifth of a house in Central America (which he doesn't). That was enough to disqualify him. While I appeal that, the best we can do is a private doctor who has agreed to see him for reduced rates every other week.

There are more Jared Loughners out there. That we know. We don't know for sure who will pull the trigger, but we can recognize serious illness when we see it. If the nattering nabobs of narcissism could stop talking about themselves long enough to focus on what actually happened in Arizona, perhaps we could find some way to help those who are seriously ill before others pay the price.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS.COM



Comments

11 Comments | Post Comment
Political correctness contributed to "overlooking" Loughner's obvious derangement.
Comment: #1
Posted by: David Henricks
Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:16 PM
We didn't have many of these problems when I was growing up. What happened? Liberalism and the progressives happened!
Comment: #2
Posted by: Early
Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:24 AM
Suzie, your thinking has contributed to many of the nation's problems, particularly in this regard.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Paul
Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:04 AM
"If the nattering nabobs of narcissism could stop talking about themselves long enough to focus on what actually happened in Arizona, perhaps we could find some way to help those who are seriously ill before others pay the price."


Such people are you and your "Liberal" friends.


What drives people to murder are people such as elitists liberals with their never ending desire to rule others (because you believe you are smarter, and thus, your opinion is the one that matters). That is the problem, one group of people trying to rule another because they (being elitists) believe they have a duty to impose their wisdom on the idiots. Tyrants, such as liberal democrats, always believe they have good reasons for limiting the freedom of others.


Consider this, may people like Coke products and would never drink a Pepsi product. Similarly, many people like Pepsi products and would never drink a Coke product. Do you ever hear of Coke drinkers going out and murdering Pepsi drinkers (or vice versa)? No, because Coke drinkers are free to purchase and drink Coke and Pepsi drinkers are free to purchase and drink Pepsi.


Now assume an arrogant elitist Democrat comes along and contends that since he likes Coke, and since he is smarter than everyone else on the planet, Pepsi should be outlawed and Pepsi drinkers forced to drink Coke. Pepsi drinkers will be understandably and justifiably enraged but most will understand violence is not an appropriate response. However, if one of those Pepsi drinkers is a little on the edge of sanity, such a Pepsi might go gunning for this elitist Democrat or a local official that supports the Pepsi ban. Such does not excuse the crazy murder but at least we know where the bullets are really coming from.


People do not like being ruled, especially by arrogant elitists as are so many Democrats. Democrats wish to control every aspect of our lives because they believe they are smarter than everyone else. Their condescending arrogance is almost dripping from everything they say.


That said, the individual crazy guy is not the danger in we should be concerned with in America. The dangerous people are the tyrants (i.e. Liberal Elitists) who wish to rule us and every little thing we do.


There are several “Liberal Tyrants” that have ceased control of governments in our world history such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Hitler. Here is the result of their elitist arrogance: (1) Lenin: killed 2 to 3 million people in his attempt to rule other. (2) Stalin: "Stalin, Portrait of a Monster in Blood" is estimated to have been responsible for possibly 60 Million Deaths. (3) Mao Tse-tung: is widely believed to have caused the deaths of 40 to 70 million people. (openly admired by the Obama Administration's Anita Dunn). (4) Hitler: ordered the Holocaust which killed 11-14 million people, 6 million of them Jewish.


While America's liberal elite have not reached the depths of tyrants such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Hitler, they share a common vision and, as such, differ only in degree but not kind.


Restated, the lone “sick” crazy killer is not the problem but simply a symptom of a much more dangerous disease in our Country: “Liberal, would be, Tyrants.”


Comment: #4
Posted by: SusansMirror
Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:57 AM
Susan, I think we would all agree that ultimately there is nothing anybody (including the government) can do to stop a mentally disturbed person from going on a shooting rampage, or worse. Even if said person was getting the medical help deemed necessary to control them, there is still a possibility of them not taking their medications or maybe something else triggering them into a rage.

I would agree help should be available; I would even donate money to help fund medical services for these types of people if I weren't already over-taxed.

Despite all this, your liberal friends feel it necessary to push their anti-gun agenda. In fact, the best way for me to protect my family and myself is to be armed at all times so that when a nutcase starts shooting innocent people again (and it will happen again) and my family is threatened, I will have the ability to end the threat.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Edward Ortiz
Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:32 PM
Two comments.

!. Rape should have no statute of limitations and deserve a life in prison with no parole.

2. While in college a Professor in psychiatry stated there is only one difference between patients in mental hospitals ans 10% of the population walking down the streets in any city.
Comment: #6
Posted by: ronald kohk
Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:53 PM
Re: ronald kohk
Your professor forgot to tell you that the mental hospitals were dismantled years ago by the liberals like him and that's why 10% (questionable) of the people on the streets are in need of help.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Early
Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:16 AM
Some of you really make it virtually impossible to be civil! SusansMirror, you sound like a total ignoramus when you call people like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Hitler "liberals". Please! Talk about libel! And the rest of you let SM get away with this kind of junk! Meanwhile Early says "Your professor forgot to tell you that the mental hospitals were dismantled years ago by the liberals like him..." Really? While there was a school of thought that emphasized the importance of integrating MH patients into the community, deinstitutionalization was driven primarily by the need to cut budgets. Sound familiar? Look in your own mirror on this one, Early.
Comment: #8
Posted by: cadbury
Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:40 AM
Some of you really make it virtually impossible to be civil! SusansMirror, you sound like a total ignoramus when you call people like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Hitler "liberals". Please! Talk about libel! And the rest of you let SM get away with this kind of junk! Meanwhile Early says "Your professor forgot to tell you that the mental hospitals were dismantled years ago by the liberals like him..." Really? While there was a school of thought that emphasized the importance of integrating MH patients into the community, deinstitutionalization was driven primarily by the need to cut budgets. Sound familiar? Look in your own mirror on this one, Early.
Comment: #9
Posted by: cadbury
Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:40 AM
Re: cadbury


Note the quotes around “Liberal Tyrants”.


Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Hitler were tyrants just like America's “Liberals” want to be . . . i.e. they share a common vision. Liberals believe if people do not believe the way they do, such people need to be forced to comply.


Thus, I use the term Liberal tyrants. If America Liberal Democrats are ever able to take over our government, and fully implement their communist vision, the end result will eventually be the same as the result of the regimes as Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Hitler. Lots of death.


People do not like being ruled by arrogant a-holes.
Comment: #10
Posted by: SusansMirror
Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:40 PM
Nattering nabobs of narcisism? The King is dead. Long live the Queen!
Comment: #11
Posted by: AzSilverBadger
Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:11 PM
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