The Not-So-Thin Line

There’s a big difference between sanity and insanity.
Megan Gallagher-actress

There is a raging debate going on about the mass killing in Arizona. It can be found in the papers and the blogs. The debate revolves around how much the conservative rhetoric, leading up to and since the November elections, influenced Jared Loughner in his savage act. Many are trying to define the issue at to whether Jared is a bona fide right-wing nut, or if he is just a right-leaning dupe who fell for that rhetoric. Many are wrong.

First, Jared posted on his Facebook page that his favorite books were Mien Kamph and the Communist Manifesto; hardly sources sought out by right-wing scholars. Second, Jared’s irrational outbursts were getting him kicked out of class years ago.

Finally, as a cop, I met many psychotics on disturbance calls. While some of them kept a TV or radio playing in the background, to drown out the voices in their heads, the electronic messages meant nothing to them. They lived in the bubble world of their own minds. The voices they heard, telling them to harm someone else, could not be controlled by a TV or radio volume knob. Perhaps they could be controlled by medication, but universally, at least on the cases I handled, they did not like the way the medicines made them feel, so they quit taking them.

Insanity is insanity. By definition, it does not conform to the rules of society. To try to blame, or excuse, the actions of Jared Loughner, on what anyone else said, would at the very least be a lesser form of insanity.

The United States, and perhaps the world, does not know what to do with the insane. No one wants to face the problem. Keeping them locked away in mental institutions is too expensive, medications also are too expensive, and do not work unless there is a way to insure they are taken. Their existence varied from the shameful family secret, kept locked in the attic, to the homeless, panhandling on the corner. Over the centuries, they have been cast out, imprisoned, and killed. Mostly, they are just harmless shadowy figures, lurking in the background . . . until a Jared Loughner comes along. Then, for as long as the press cycle lasts, they are monsters to be feared and used for political gain.

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Published in: on January 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

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