All flew out of the Cuckoo's Nest - an Unforced Error?

Posted On: Saturday - May 6th 2023 4:54PM MST
In Topics: 
  General Stupidity  Movies  Liberty/Libertarianism  Healthcare Stupidity

NOTE: Ahaa, we've had a fairly similar post on this subject already, called Outsourcing of the Funny Farms - the first portion of it, anyway. I kinda hate when that happens (I remembered the old one from 4 years ago somehow about an hour after finishing this one), but they aren't complete dupes. You could read them in either order.

adjective SPORTS

(of an error) caused by a mistake a player has made rather than as the result of their
[sic] opponent's skillful play.
"Their", not "his? Seriously, Cambridge Dictionary?

There's yet another good Steve Sailor post up on VDare and The Unz Review titled Rounding Up the 500 Most Dangerous Psychos in NYC Could Make the Streets and Subways a Lot Less Chaotic. The point he makes is that the people that do various kinds of street crime in places like NY City include a large contingent of the mentally ill, those probably accounting more for the violent offenses, and that criminals in general don't do just one or a handful of these kinds of crimes. You read of these incidents when there finally is an arrest and maybe even some punishment, and their "judicial involvement", as a commenter put it, turns out to of have been long-lasting and intricate.

Mr. Sailer gives a few examples, and then, as this relates to the often danger-fraught activity of riding on the NYC subways, and just walking the streets, he writes:
My impression is that the number of egregious random attacks on pedestrians and transit passengers in Manhattan could be lowered significantly just by rounding up a few hundred of the most well-known psychos and putting them in a lunatic asylum.
That could go for the sane criminals too, in general, I'd say, for other street crime. By definition, though, the sane ones are not doing these repeated violent random attacks - hateful mobs of Black! "teens" and race-warriors excepted. What I'm trying to get at is that the crimes of the sane criminals are ones that can be foreseen and hopefully avoided more easily. The violent nuts on the train are constant stressors for the NYC population, even if they don't do a thing that day.

The comment thread has some good discussion of the change in American society due to the release of most of the mental "patients" from the 1970s on. The end of that move coincided - no surprise here - with the much larger number of homeless people encamped all over America's big cities.*

In this post, I won't get into the political details of the wide-spread program to simply kick people out of "State Hospitals", the simple, slightly euphemistic term that was used for the big State run mental hospitals.** I think, as usual, people put too much blame on President Reagan. OK, enough said, as lots of people who know more than I do on this.

Commenter Alden, very astute on certain history and on the criminal justice system, wrote this comment about this 40-50 y/o history. As usual, her personal experience is from the San Francisco Bay area in California - the original land of fruits and nuts. In it she mentions the Supreme Court and the ACLU, and the case O'Connor v Donaldson. The reliably more-astute commenter Almost Missouri corrected Alden a tad and added a bit on the political history here in this comment. A quick bit of it, with a defense of Reagan too:
De-institutionalizing the mentally ill was the pet project of Robert Kennedy (D-NY), Geraldo Rivera (D-TV), Mario Biaggi (D-NY), the ACLU, left-activist Supreme Court judges, and Supermobster-turned-federal-judge David Bazelon long before Reagan ever turned up in DC.
Back to the Supreme Court case that both mentioned. The quick gist of the principal argued, from Wiki:
O'Connor v. Donaldson, 422 U.S. 563 (1975), was a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court in mental health law ruling that a state cannot constitutionally confine a non-dangerous individual who is capable of surviving safely in freedom by themselves or with the help of willing and responsible family members or friends.
That was fine, as it went, but it didn't stop there. This ruling was about those who are involuntarily confined. Well, we Libertarians (as the left in those days was, or often pretended to be too) can see the point here. There is a history of Totalitarian governments (USSR, anyone? Cuba too. Cambodia, hell they just killed them all.) dubbing those who don't agree with the system "the mentally ill". Then, those mentally ill must be "put away". It's pretty hard to fight the system from the insane asylum while all drugged up. I can surely see this sort of thing happening in America, and there have been signs of it having started, with the "Red Flag" gun laws***.

I get this. Then too, I know some mentally ill people. If they are not out on the street, and their treatment - aka, medication is working, most do not want to spend any time confined in those places. How many people in State Hospitals over the many years have been kept drugged up to where they are in no state to even think of getting better, much less getting out?**** That's definitely easier for the staff.

That's pretty much the theme of the 1975 movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. This one starred Jack Nicholson, who has no problem playing a nut. (He actually was an agitator, not a nut, in this movie, having put himself inside to avoid prison time.) The story in this movie, though, is that, though they were weird in their various ways, none of the mental patients under the care of Nurse Rached*****, were randomly violent. Many mental patients are - that's specifically why they are IN THERE, for many. This movie didn't show any of that. The nuts, led by Jack Nicholson, got out and went on a field trip - a fishing trip even. It was a feel-good movie, up until the sad ending.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was not just a piece of entertainment but one with an agenda, one that was pretty timely. One might speculate (as one commenter in that thread did) that this one movie was a big part of the impetus to close down the State Hospitals. That may be a chicken & egg question. Note that I gave the timeline as 40-50 years ago above, as big changes like this take time. The mid-1970s to the mid-'80s is a good range, though. I was personally inside one of these in the mid-1980s... but not as a patient. (A patient sold me one of those Tandy leather-kit wallets for a buck. It wasn't a quality job, I gotta say...)

Here's my main point here though: Political issues of Liberty aside, many of these people had nowhere else to go. Not only did those who wanted out get out, but EVERYONE flew the cuckoo's nest! That included those who were, and maybe still are, violent nuts by nature and should have been in prison. It also included those who didn't want to leave. They had no family read to care for them, even being with their families would have worked as a lifestyle. What were they to do out in the world?

It was timely for me reading that comment thread, as it was within the last week that an 80 year old man at the coffee shop - no he didn't hit me on or about the head - this is a friend - told me of that time period in our State. The gentleman was a hospital Chaplain at the time, IN the State Hospital (or one associated with it). This was the early 80s. People were being told they had to leave very soon. My friend talked to a number of them who were scared of leaving. There was no life for them in the outside world. One killed himself soon after being sent away. Another threw a brick through the window of a business, I guess in order to get back into some confined safe(?) space.

It's been roughly 40 years since this experiment, as one might call it, has been ongoing. Those who cannot handle their own minds, hence can't handle themselves in the real world, are remaining in that world, on the streets of the cities. Some are violent. Finally back to Steve Sailer's blog post, there's been a lot of violent street crime due to this move 40-50 years ago. Some reforms were probably needed, but opening up the State Hospitals and letting them all fly out of the cuckoo's nest was an unforced error by governments.

PS: In the comments under his post Steve Sailer wondered whether the fact that State Hospitals were usually very old and architecturally-unfashionable (I'd say more like difficult to maintain) was part of the impetus for deinstitutionalization. (He used that word, one I should have used myself here.) From my example, I now also wonder whether the freeing up of all that inner city land to get divvied up might be a small part of this too. I mean, it is something like 50-100 acres. There had been one huge brick building but dozens of smaller ones on sprawling grounds.

* The pretty large decline in REAL economic activity, of course, has caused part of the increase, but if you interact with the homeless on the streets, you will find that most are flat-out crazymen... and women.

** Our State's facility was so well-known by location that the HS teachers would remark "keep doing that, and you'll end up on REDACTED Street."

*** Read more on that subject here.

**** Lobotomies were a whole 'nother story.

***** The actress, Louise Fletcher, died recently.

[UPDATED 05/07:]
Added link to and excerpt from commenter Almost Missouri on the political history Added a postscript with a point from Steve Sailer in the comments too.

Sunday - May 7th 2023 4:33PM MST
PS Well, there’s the biblical bit about the mills of the gods grinding slowly, but grinding exceedingly fine. So I wouldn’t count on reality biting Those Who Rule Us on the posterior in the near future. However, bitten they shall surely be. We might not win, but our enemies will surely lose.
The Alarmist
Sunday - May 7th 2023 12:51PM MST

Yeah, about the Ctrl-Left:,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/
Sunday - May 7th 2023 12:43PM MST
PS: Mr. Blanc, it's unfortunate that the unintended(?) consequences of the actions of the ctrl-left don't come around to bite them for a long time. By then, they have forgotten what they did wrong.

We need more of the Instant Karma, not that slow-acting Karma.
Sunday - May 7th 2023 10:14AM MST
PS Well, the psychotic are just another marginalized and oppressed group that those evil straight, white males keep marginalizing and oppressing. The Good Folx on the Left had to come to their rescue.
Sunday - May 7th 2023 12:17AM MST
PS: "There were several reasons for the Second Amendment." Agreed. It wasn't about duck huntng.

I notice the Lyin' Press doesn't seem to ever dwell on the nutcase, drugged-out aspect of most of the (at least the White) mass shooters.
The Alarmist
Saturday - May 6th 2023 8:17PM MST

The problem is that TPTB are unleashing garden variety criminals on the streets to keep the law-abiding citizenry cowing in fear and begging for more police support rather than letting them take up their own arms for self-defense, while at the same time loosing MK-Ultra’d nut jobs to commit mass shootings to create a pretext for taking away the arms already in private possession.

There were several reasons for the Second Amendment.
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