By ART CHANCE
Into the 1960s and ‘70s if a couple of your neighbors or relatives didn’t like you or wanted something you had, they could have the county sheriff haul you before the county judge to determine whether or not you were fit to participate in human society any longer. If your “friends and relatives” convinced the judge, you could be judicially committed to the state mental “asylum.”
That’s a more delicate way of saying you could be sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole and you had no right of habeas corpus. They could also subject you to any sort of medication or therapy that they chose whether or not you consented. Therapy like snake pits and ice baths had about ended by the mid-20th Century, and surgical lobotomy had all but ceased. But electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) or “shock treatment” was still a fashionable tool. In essence ECT was just a non-surgical form of lobotomy because after a few treatments you’d have an IQ in the mid- to low- double digits and would no long pose a problem for anyone.
There had been a movement in the Country to do something about the medieval conditions in mental institutions and probably the greatest impetus to dramatically reforming the involuntary commitment process was the 1975 movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” which dramatically demonstrated the barbaric conditions and abuse in mental institutions.
The Democrats like to politicize the issue by claiming that their bete noir President Ronald Reagan cut all the funding for mental health, but actually there was little federal funding for mental health; it was a state and local issue and the citizenry had rejected the current system and would no longer support it. Unfortunately, we threw the baby out with the bathwater and today’s homeless camps are the legacy.
Now we are poised to bring the barbaric system back in the guise of “Red Flag” laws. Red Flag laws work about the same way as domestic violence laws; the naked assertion of someone you are associated with is enough to deprive you of your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Just as is the case with domestic violence laws, your ex-wife to be or the teenaged kid you wouldn’t let take the car keys at midnight on Saturday night calls the cops and says you made them afraid and you have guns. If it is a domestic violence, they lead you out of your house in cuffs without even your toothbrush.
It won’t take them long to go that far with Red Flag, but for now, armed officers just come to your house and confiscate all of your firearms, no process, no hearing; they just take them. You can get a hearing to try to get them back.
Here is where we return to the medieval history of behavior not approved of by society. If you’re dumb enough you show up pro se to try to get your firearms back, but having an attorney that anybody but the wealthiest and best connected can afford isn’t much better than pro se.
You show up to tell the judge that you go to work every day, support your family, have no criminal records, and thus have a right to have your firearms back. The Soros-funded district attorney steps in and asserts that you made people frightened and not only should not have your guns back but pose a threat to yourself and others. The judge isn’t going to assume the role of psychiatrist, so s/he decides to refer you to the government’s mental health establishment to evaluate you and make a determination if you are psychologically fit to possess weapons or even move freely in society.
Now, there may be some government psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and the like who aren’t left-wing loons, but I haven’t run into one in a long, long time. As a general matter if you go straight from college to government, you spend the rest of your life as a left-wing loon. A working class (and I don’t just mean blue collar, but any hourly wage employee not a member of the degreed elite) who might be registered as a Republican or who shows some indicia of voting that way, and who owns guns is by-definition insane to these people. You are a threat to yourself and others, so welcome to your new address at the looney bin.
You get out when and if your betters decide you should get out.
Art Chance is a retired Director of Labor Relations for the State of Alaska, formerly of Juneau and now living in Anchorage. He is the author of the book, “Red on Blue, Establishing a Republican Governance,” available at Amazon.