Adult Son of US Senator Kills Sheriff Deputy in Midst of Mental Health Crisis

Apparently the Senator’s wife took the guy to the emergency room for mental health treatment since he was having hallucinations. The guy then burst out of the ER, stole a car and led police on a 70 mile chase where the Sheriff’s Deputy was killed.

If the offspring of a sitting US Senator can’t get adequate mental health care, what hope do the rest of us have? “American exceptionalism” in action.

intercst

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A long time ago, I think in the late 60s, maybe early 70s, many “do gooders” in our nation decided that keeping the mentally ill restrained when necessary was akin to incarceration without adequate adjudication. And therefore their conclusion was that all people, even the mentally ill, have the right to remove themselves from care, and cannot be forcibly “incarcerated” in an institution that cares for people with mental illnesses. Within a few decades, almost all the mentally ill ended up on the streets. And, governments, at all levels, got used to funding issues related to the mentally ill at “street level” rather than at “institutional level” (with lower levels of quality of life for all, both the mentally ill and the non mentally ill that has to deal with them on the streets). That isn’t directly relevant to this case, but the attitudes that allowed this case to happen were formed by decades of the above policy. Maybe if he was so mentally ill, he should have been restrained to an institution long before this event. But in the USA, you generally can’t “force” someone to seek the mental health (or any health) care they require.

It’s also a deep into adulthood man we are discussing here, not a child. So who his father is isn’t particularly relevant. As far as medical coverage, the law allows a person up to age 26 to remain on their parent’s medical plan, but a man of 42 is on their own medical plan.

Furthermore, it seems like he stole his mom’s car and drove away before he even began any level of medical care for this particular mental event.

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But in quite a few cases, you can. In the medical field, this is called IVC “clients” (there is a lot of reluctance to call people patients anymore): Involuntary Committal. This is in contrast to those who recognize their psychological issues and present themselves to hospitals and therapists (VCs or Voluntary Committals). Of course you need a professional assessment, usually at a hospital or other medical facility, to get an IVC, but they do happen quite frequently.

Pete

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Nope. They happen about 100 or 1000 times less frequently than in the 1940s/50s. The mental institutions have emptied out, and most don’t even exist anymore.

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“Nope”, IVCs do occur quite frequently.

Pete

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https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/asylums/special/excerpt.html

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Are we really sure that it was the “touchy-feely” brigade promoting that narrative, or those seeking a tax cut, and proposing defunding mental health to pay for it?

Steve

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Two major developments contributed. They found drugs to treat skizophrenia and more treatments followed. That reduced the need for hospitals where they spent their time screaming – with no effective treatments.

And the movie “One Flew Over the Coocoos Nest” popularized the notion many patients could do ok on their own.

I think all agree they went too far. Promised out patient services never got provided.

It can be two things. There definitely was a push from liberals to reform involuntary mental commitment and a shift in how that was viewed, emphasizing that such commitments deprived patients of their freedoms and seriously limiting the duration and circumstances under which they could happen.

Yes, it could be two things. Two factions working in the same direction; the touchy-feely brigade wanting to put people in a more humane environment, and (L&Ses) looking for a way to pay for another tax cut for the “JCs”.

The Gov in Michigan who gutted the state mental hospital system was a Shiny supply sider, looking for ways to cut spending. iirc, his sales pitch was to take mental health out of the hands of “big gummit” and turn it over to local organizations. Of course, the local organizations were never funded. So, the default mental health wards are now the County Jails, which takes the cost out of the state’s budget, and lays it on the counties instead.

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If the touchy-feely brigade was just wanting to put people in a more humane environment, that would be a different matter. But it went farther than that. Rather than just better conditions, liberals argued that people with even severe mental health issues should be given the agency to refuse treatment.

There’s certainly arguments to be made in favor of that. But as we have learned, it’s not always compassionate to give severely impaired people the ability to choose a life of homelessness, drug dependency, victimization by crime, and (ultimately) a very early death - especially when their capacity to make good choices is diminished by their mental health issues. It’s a tough call.

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A view that extreme, one that violates other people’s right to not be hip deep in violently disturbed people, has the smell of a Trojan Horse, or, in today’s vernacular “Astroturf”: “these people have have the right to be entirely left to their own devices…so we can use the money to cover the cost of another tax cut”.

Steve

That’s because you’re looking through a frame of today’s political divisions, rather than the ones that were in place in the 1960’s and into the early 1970’s - when deinstitutionalization as a liberal movement started to grow, but well before the Reagan Revolution when today’s economic conservatism really started to shape taxation and spending policy. We’re not talking about violently disturbed people - those who are a genuine threat to themselves or others can be involuntarily committed. Rather, we’re talking about people who don’t meet that threshold - people who are perhaps unable to function independently (including unable to successfully choose to access public resources when they are available), but who are not an actual threat.

The idea was that those folks shouldn’t be deprived of the same freedoms that everyone else has - freedom from confinement, freedom to forego medical care, freedom of movement. Being free to make their own choices. But the flip side to having the freedom to make your own choices is the freedom to make self-destructive choices, or choices that impose serious externalities (short of violence) on other people. Especially in an environment where there aren’t as many public resources as the touchy-feely folks envisioned would be available, back in the 1960’s.

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You may have a good point there. One of the articles I linked talked about Federal legislation enacted in 63 that incentivized de-institutionalizing people. It was acted on in Michigan in the 90s, when the program was defunding things done “for the public good”, so the money could be handed to the “JCs”.

When were the touchy-feeling policies enacted in other states? In the 60s-70s, or later, when the proposals could be embraced as an excuse to cut spending, to enable tax cuts?

Steve

One of the comments by the US Senator, the father, was extremely offensive. He meant to console the officer’s family. I can not repeat it here.

Paraphrasing the idiot, in times of tragedy he shows up. I will leave you to figure out who he is.

Per the wiki article (and take with a grain of salt), massive strides in de-institutionalization occurred during the 1960’s. Real efforts to reduce institutionalized populations got started in the mid-1950’s, and picked up steam in the 1960’s (JFK was a big proponent of this, given the horrors visited on his sister Rosemary). Per a Kaiser report on it, from 1955 to the end of the 1970’s, the institutionalized population was reduced by two-thirds - falling from 559K to 154K.

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During the last Governor’s race in Oregon, the candidates pretty much agreed that the state needed more hospital beds for the violently mentally ill. The number required was somewhere around 4,000. (Untreated mental illness is rampant among the homeless population, as well as the jail and prison population.)

The State had about 400 psychiatric beds, and for-profit hospitals were closing them as quickly as they could get permission to since the mentally ill don’t fit the kind of customer profile the hospitals are looking for. They want to concentrate on the medical needs of the wealthy and well-insured.

intercst

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MarkR:

A long time ago, I think in the late 60s, maybe early 70s, many “do gooders” in our nation decided that keeping the mentally ill restrained when necessary was akin to incarceration without adequate adjudication.

steve203:

Are we really sure that it was the “touchy-feely” brigade promoting that narrative, or those seeking a tax cut, and proposing defunding mental health to pay for it?

There may have been some “Cuckoo’s Nest” dynamic at work from 1975 that gave some insight to the masses into conditions in mental hospitals that further encouraged de-institutionalization for some conditions. However, a major piece of legislation was enacted in October 1980 to materially increase federal support for improved mental health programs across the country at the community level. That legislation recognized the value of newer outpatient programs while also recognizing the vast need to support additional patients and guard their safety whether in-patient or outpatient.

The Mental Health Services Act of October 1980 reflected nearly four years of work to re-think the delivery of mental healthcare across the country. It was completely gutted when its funding was virtually eliminated as part of the August 1981 omnibus budget bill pushed by the new President. Perhaps the unique political innovation arising from that era was the partially successful attempt to portray those removed from institutiions with no viable out-patient programs and living on the streets as having the freedom to choose for themselves.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that the stereotype of the homeless vet became normal in America. The same mindset that normalized treating veterans who served their country as disposable, throwaway people cuz they chose to be on the street now pervades the entire healthcare system.

WTH

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It’s odd though. The chart for state spending by MI doesn’t appear to go down very often. Especially during the decades we are discussing. Seems to almost inexorably go up with very very few exceptions. Where do you see any appreciable cuts in spending???

usgs_line.php-2

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