UPDATE via Breitbart:
In February 2012, Connecticut Senate Bill 452 (SB452) was put forward to remedy the fact that Connecticut was one of less than ten states in the U.S. to lack an “assisted outpatient treatment” (AOT) law.
But the bill was passed to Connecticut’s Joint Committee on Judiciary in March, where it quietly faded away because of opposition by those who viewed it as “egregious” and “outrageously discriminatory.”
Why didn’t the legislation pass? Because the ACLU and other “civil liberties” groups and individuals cried foul. The ACLU in particular said 452 would “infringe on patients’ privacy rights by expanding [the circle of] who can medicate individuals without their consent.” They also said it infringed on patient rights by reducing the number of doctors’ opinions necessary to commit someone to institutionalization.
To be clear, no one can know that the passage of SB452 would have stopped Lanza for sure, as there’s no guarantee a doctor or mental specialist would have seen the warning signs in time to institutionalize him for treatment.
However, it is worth noting that proponents of SB452 had the prevention of situations like Friday’s shooting in mind when they tried to provide Connecticut residents with another layer of protection from the mentally ill (and criminal).
Gateway Pundit brings up a couple of stories that really find their genesis in leftist groups decades ago. Similar to my conversation with the Michael Berryman (actor), we see the hands of far left groups making impossible health related options for these sick individuals… even helping cause deaths in the wake of the many homeless (mentally ill) people on the streets:
Months before the Newtown massacre far left groups defeated a Connecticut mental health protections law.
Counter Contempt reported:
Here’s a fact you might not know – Connecticut is one of only SIX states in the U.S. that doesn’t have a type of “assisted outpatient treatment” (AOT) law (sometimes referred to as “involuntary outpatient treatment”). There’s no one standard for these types of laws, but (roughly speaking) these are laws that allow for people with mental illness to be forcibly treated BEFORE they commit a serious crime. Whereas previous legal standards held that the mentally ill cannot be institutionalized or medicated until they harm someone or themselves, or until they express an immediate intent to do so, AOT laws (again, roughly speaking) allow for preventative institutionalization or forced medication (I highly recommend reading the data cited in the link I provided in this paragraph, especially regarding what is known as “first episode psychosis”).
AOT laws vary state-by-state, and often bear the name of a person murdered by an untreated mentally ill person (“Kendra’s Law” in New York, “Laura’s Law” in California, etc.).
Earlier this year, Connecticut considered passing an AOT law (and a weak one, at that), and it failed, due to protests from “civil liberties” groups.
In my conversation with Berryman, I pointed out that the blame often associated with Reagan for this is in fact deserves to be laid at the feet of the ACLU and the liberal/progressive Democrats of that day and now:
The people who ‘liberated’ the inmates tended to be on the opposite end of the political spectrum. In fact, it was the ACLU who provided legal representation to force the VA to release these patients.
The ACLU was the main catalyst behind fighting for the rights of these people to be free, even the freedom to live in alleyways and eat from trash cans. Anything but a conservative or Republican institution, they were one of the main thrusts behind both California and later a nationwide release of patients. They [the ACLU], have long held that involuntary institutionalization of an unwilling person, even if mentally or physically incapable, is the worst of two evils.
Gateway Pundit continues:
It actually very hard to force people with severe mental diseases to be treated because of a range of reforms pushed by progressives starting in the 60′s:
1) Ronald David Laing, a Scottish Psychiatrist, In the 60′s put forth the foundation of the Anti-Psychiatry movement. He maintained that schizophrenia was “a theory not a fact”. The popularity of Laing’s theories is blamed for decline in students entering the psychology profession.
2) President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 Community Mental Health Centers Act accelerated the trend toward deinstitutionalizationwith the establishment of a network of community mental health centers and changes in laws regarding commitment.
3) Kenneth Kesey, wrote “One Flew over the Cukoo’s Nest”based in part on Laing’s thinking (and his own intensive use of drugs). “Kesey did not believe that these patients were insane, rather that society had pushed them out because they did not fit the conventional ideas of how people were supposed to act and behave.” The Book,play, and later the movie, portrayed a anti-psychiatry philosophy leading to a public displeasure with residential mental facilities resulting in further deinstitutionalization policies.
4) Deinstitutioanlization led to many legal and structural changes. American public mental hospital patients declined from more than 550,000 in 1955 to fewer than 40,000 at present. The displaced patients now represent 30-50% of the homeless populations.
As a result of Laing, Kennedy, Kesey and public efforts to transform the mental health care system to be more humane, to characterize mentally ill people as “Just thinking differently”, and characterizing mental health care as some form of evil, we now have a system that makes it virtually impossible to get folks like Loughner the care they need.
Deinstitutionalization policies driven by “do good” liberals and the federal government put focus on limited bad acts. Kesey wrote a story based on his LSD induced observations in one VA mental hospital. Once his story was put into film, his small example falsely characterized the bulk of mental health care as dehumanizing and made it impossible to force the Laughners of the world to get treatment.
Critics will focus on gun control after today’s school massacre. The focus should be on failed liberal policies that excuse rather than assist extremely dysfunctional individuals.
So again, the people who say they are for the “little-man” are in fact hurting everyone, even our kids.