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Heartbreaking, preventable things that piss me off

In no particular order today, these are things that make me want to choke someone because there’s no good reason for them:

1.) Check out today’s Doonesbury:

Yes, this is really happening.  How do I know?

2.) There was a message on my phone at work when I came back from lunch.  It was from a youngish woman with a softly accented voice.  The call was for my predecessor who left 4 months ago.  The voice sounded a little desperate.  She wanted to know how to apply for the jobs the department has posted on the website.  I could have just ignored the call.  It wasn’t for me.  But something made me call her back.

It turns out that she’s a scientist from another department.  She got laid off because her grant was not renewed due to the sequester.  She told me she was very good in the lab and listed a number of things she could do.  I didn’t doubt her.  I told her I wasn’t the best person to ask for assistance for a variety of reasons and pointed her to a website she could check out for current positions and the temp agency that hires too.  But the more I heard, the sadder I got.  She’s a loooong way from home.  The job she had was the only one she’d ever known.  It occurred to me that her visa status might not allow for her to apply for just any job or unemployment or even to stay in the country.  I just hope she has money to get home.  I felt so bad about it that I kept her number.

3.) 24 year old Gus Deeds shot himself to death and seriously injured his father Creigh Deeds in Virginia today.  Sounds like a typical murder-suicide attempt, right?  Not at all.  Here’s what really happened:

The day before he stabbed his father at the family’s home, the son of Virginia state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D) underwent a psychiatric evaluation but was not admitted to a hospital because no bed was available.

We’re not talking about no beds available at the hospital where he had his evaluation.  We’re talking about no beds available in that part of the state at ANY hospital.

People, that is a sad, tragic, preventable story.  The father will recover and I hope that he and incoming governor Terry McAuliffe use their political skills to advocate for greater resources for the mentally ill.  They need access to safe places and medical care.

Behavioral health care isn’t even covered by many insurance plans and is almost totally absent from plans on the individual market. That will change next year.  But even with that change, beds in safe facilities are hard to come by even on a good day and treatment is much shorter than it should be.  What a waste because with good treatment and medication, the mentally ill can lead normal, productive, creative lives.

In this day and age and in this country, there is absolutely no excuse for letting a tragedy like this occur except that we simply do not care enough to give the sick the treatment they deserve because we fail to see mental illness as the manifestation of a physical problem, just like every other illness we treat.

My thoughts are with the Deeds’ family tonight.


19 Responses

  1. Mine too, Riverdaughter. With the Deeds family and your new acquaintance. This modern world is needlessly cruel. Especially considering that I really believe that most people aren’t cruel at all. I wish I knew how we could change the rules to reflect our hearts.

    • “…most people aren’t cruel at all.”

      I don’t share Katie’s faith in our species, but if she’s correct, then this would illustrate Hanlon’s Razor once again: Never assume malice where stupidity will explain the situation adequately.

      Except that’s not quite right, either.

      The problem is not stupidity, which is the inability to learn.

      Nor is it ignorance, which is the mere absence of truth.

      The problem is ignorance’s malignant evil twin, myth–not the absence of truth but the presence of lies.

      In this specific case, the lie that the poor are poor because they are vicious, and its complementary lie that the rich are rich because they are virtuous.

      Our society groans under the gigantic rotting corpse of John Calvin, perhaps the most cruel sociopath ever to masquerade as a Christian.


      • Could it be that many, many people are so engrossed with their lives and the stress involved that they really have no idea what is going on. That it’s totally outside of their experience?

        • katie, I think a lot of us know what’s going on but we’re paralyzed by fear.
          That’s the point of Shock Doctrine, isn’t it?

      • I still like the saying “stupidity is the best cover malice ever had”.

  2. More than productive. At least as is commonly meant. Temple Grandin said on a TED program that mankind still would not be back in the Stone Age if it was not for autistics. She is right.

  3. Is the fact that our culture is so inhospitable, so cruel, so insensitive to masses of its citizens that being mentally ill is the only way of surviving and coping? If that is true then behavioral bandaids and meds will continue the coping and no fixes, or better yet complete restructuring, will have to be made. I refer all of you on this thread to Szasz and his The Myth of Mental Illness. These “crimes” are done by desperate people whose backs are to the wall, and we should regard them as a symptom of our disintegrating culture.

    • Speaking of basically good people who labor under the mental burden of vicious myths, the Freshwater Crustacean Pit teems with such folks.

      • I reckon most of the scribes and Pharisees were not cruel from love of cruelty, either. Rather, their minds were chained by myths which told them that cruelty was necessary to maintain the purity of the social order.

      • Another vicious myth popular over there is “The Work Ethic Can Always Save You”. One wonders if they still believe in Santa Claus as well. 🙄

        • The old joke was that the work ethic was the work ethnic. It turns out to be accurate rather than a joke.

  4. From Alternet: How the GOP is literally killing its voters. 😮


    • The problem is that the Democratic Party is also working to kill its voters as well. The Catfood Democrats are actively conspiring with the Republicans to give Obama his great victory against Social Security ahd Medicare. How many Dem voters will Obamacare literally kill over the next 5 years?

      About Joe Bageant’s observation that the non-rich non-gentry whites are voting against their own economic interests . . . Thomas Frank in his book What’s The Matter With Kansas (of which I have only read reviews) notes that that process moved even faster and harder once the Democratic Party decided to serve the same social class interests as the Republican Party. When the Dem Party supported Free Trade (NAFTA/WTO/MFN for China, etc) the Dem Party thereby chose to attack the social class survival interests of working class whites, to destroy millions of their jobs, to destroy millions of their lives. So they had no supporters of their interests to vote for in any case. Certainly not the WTO China-NAFTAcrats. The
      Rep Party at least honored these voters’ cultural beliefs and standpoints. So when choosing between 2 parties which equally opposed their social class survival interests, they chose the party which at least did not mock their culture values.

      • True.

        I suspect that the more farsighted of the Malefactors Of Great Wealth remembered, and still remember, that their counterparts in the Germany of the early 1930s thought they could control Hitler, but he slipped their leash.

        So, they decided to buy the Democratic Party in order that they could switch to it as their primary vehicle if the GOP showed signs of slipping its leash.

        The Malefactors who still favor the GOP are the ones who think they can brazen it out forever, whereas the Malefactors who switched to the Dems are the ones who fear some variant of the rise of Nazism. I say “variant” because as someone (Mark Twain?) said: “While history does not exactly repeat itself, it does tend to rhyme.” (Or words to that effect.)

  5. Off topic but the failures of Obama remind me of an old song, maybe a folk song

    Old Jeff Davis tore down the government …
    Many long years ago

    Old Abe Lincoln built up a better one
    Built up a better one
    Built up a better one
    Old Abe Lincoln built up a better one
    Many long years ago

    Despite the Obot comparisons to Lincoln and FDR, that didn’t happen. W (and this is stretching it) may have torn down the government. More likely, Reagan tore down the government and W just finished dismantling the wreck.

    Obama certainly did not build up a better one. In fact, he built up a worse one. He’s no Lincoln or FDR. He not even LBJ or JFK or Bill Clinton or Thomas Jefferson or James Knox Polk. He’s the wreck himself.

    I don’t think this country has ever had two Presidents as bad back-to-back as George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Many of those running seem eager to give us a third in the same ilk.

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