Saturday, March 10, 2007

America Eats Itself - Part 265,742

Freedom. What does it mean, exactly? Where does one person's right to pursue "happiness" end and another person's rights to simply exist begin? One could easily make the case that it is more important to protect an innocent person's life than to allow a dangerous person to live life the way they want to, even though they are a proven danger to themselves and others.

You would, of course, be wrong. It is, apparently, far more important in this country to make sure that the rights of the criminally insane are never impinged by the "tyranny of the humble majority," those of us citizens who simply lack the guts to give in to our most base desires and twisted fantasies.

Case in point...

An ex-con and former mental patient who won a landmark state Supreme Court decision in 2004 that allowed hundreds of mental patients to stop taking forced medication appeared in an Alameda courtroom Friday on charges that he killed his roommate in September.

Kanuri Qawi, 46, was charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of his roommate, John Laird Milton Sr., 59, whose body was found Sept. 13 in their home on Moonlight Terrace at Dignity Commons, a housing facility for veterans at Alameda Point, the site of the former Alameda Naval Air Station.

If you wonder why there are so many batshit loonball nutcases roaming the streets of this city, remember that there are many folks who really, honestly believe that society has no right to force people to take medications that can help them be... well, maybe not 'upstanding members of society... but at least keep them from stabbing their roommates to death. No sir... that would be denying their freedom! And the lives of few innocent people are a small price to pay to make sure some monster isn't allowed to remain crazy.

Thank you, California Supreme Court, for making sure that our completely insane neighbors will never have to worry about us taking away their God given rights to terrorize us.

Read the whole sick story here - SFGate


Casey said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog (is that the appropriate way to acknowledge a neighborly page link?) I identify with the sort of semi-rant like America Eats Itself—a great franchise of a topic— but have moved the idea of that type of writing to Word Vent,, so I can keep the purpose of CCP more pure to its intent. No sooner done than I seem to have misplaced the ire that bubbles up and motivates me to write rants of my own when I feel people, society, our culture and our government—especially our government—miss step. I haven't yet read the article but it seems unlikely that one who is truly crazy is apt to be able to go to court for the right to not take their medicine. There's a juggernaut of people who are not diagnosed (not yet, anyway) as crazy who facilitate this kind of advocacy and usually for an agenda that has nothing to do with the needs or rights of the individual supposedly in pursuit of justice.

Another thing that is notable is that in addition to this guy being an ex con and a mental patient, both were living in Veteran's housing which leads me to believe that the genesis of the guy's problems was a military conflict. This kind of social/mental impairment is something we are going to begin to see a great deal more of as a result of our government's heinous participation in a war we have no just cause to be fighting. This all to say that the problem is much larger than a one man finagling a court decision based on civil liberties only to have the outcome better enable him to commit murder.

Sadly, like most angry citizens these days, I am at a loss as to where to even begin to address the problem.

Despite my feeling that I have accomplished a great deal in my recovery, I am very much in the early stages of what appears to be a huge awakening. Part of that is the realization that injustice and the accompanying despair proliferates en mass while the reversal of such things occur one at a time. It's quite daunting but not hopeless.

This is another comment gone haywire and has becoming a diatribe, but it's a neighborly one so I hope you'll not take offense. It's less of a disagreement and more of an expansion on your point as I understand it. Of course I'll be polite and come back and apologize for all the wrong assumptions i have made after I actually read the article. It would be un-American of me to have an informed opinion, would it not? LOL

Thanks again for the insight.


The Realist said...

Thanks for the nice comment!

I can certainly respect the need to keep CCP on topic. And, may I say, you do a really good job of it. San Fransanity, for me, serves the purpose of wordvent in your case... a place for me to vent about the things about this place that bother me so much. I do have a "happy place" - my travel website - which I'll be happy to forward to you if you want.

Spot on comment as well about the Veteran's housing angle... one thing that sticks about the homeless population is that so many of the single male homeless are Vets. This is the most shameful thing about the problem, and I've always wondered why the V.A. hasn't been given a bigger role in dealing with the homeless issue.

I am certainly not perfect when it comes to recovery. At first, I was struck by the irony that - counter to the recovery philosophy - I have become somewhat LESS compassionate in my viewpoints than during my using days. Further analysis, however, reveals that my "compassion" in the past was more "cowardice" than anything else... apologizing to people who probably should have been slapped... and it is somewhat of a 2-edged sword... I certainly didn't do this (recovery I mean) on my own and without the help of many good people both inside and outside of the rooms, but ultimately it was my choice... I had to make the decision that it was more important to live a real life than a drug-amplified lie. And thus I have less compassion for those who refuse to give up the drug life and make excuses to stay screwed up. I had to give up a lot to get sober... my old friends, my old hangouts, and the incredibly inflated attitude I had of myself... but I now have my health, a good job, and the foundations of a truly meaningful life, or, at least, the sacks of concrete.

Learning to stand up for myself and what I thought of as right is a tough thing for me to do... being raised as a "referee" as I was... and someone who held the belief that maintaining harmony at all costs was the most important thing.

The only advice I can give (not that you asked) is that the first 90 days are the hardest, and to beware of milestones - they can be real tough a few days afterwards.

Wayward Son said...

Where to begin?

At first glance we might appear to be on opposite sides of the fence politically. Then again, given the choices we may not be. Though Shakespeare's line from The Tempest, “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.” is the genesis of "Politics makes strange bedfellows," this must be another example of how that came to be known. People who seem to have diametrically opposed points of view often come to the same conclusion because the choices are limited, at best. Of course understanding that is amusing but it does not solve anything.

I would question your belief that you are less compassionate in your recovery. The fact that you are moved to state your views in a passionate way is not a good argument for that. As addicts we both should know the difference between enabling and compassion. It is like when people give their friends drugs it is not an act of friendship, though the times that I had that experience, I was happy to pretend it was. Even then I understood that a true friend would not do such a thing. Like you I have had to give up my "friends" but, in my case, it is questionable that many where ever my friends to begin with. Likewise, my ability to be a friend was greatly marginalized by my using.

Though it was my decision to quit it was a decision that came to me and not me to it. If I were to go on, I had to stop, at least for the time being. Once I did it stop, it became clear to me it was better to quit all together. I would only benefit from all that I had to give up. It was the "slap" that was necessary for me to make that choice. In that way, the "slap" was much more of an act of compassion then any act of patient understanding that really is just pity and of no use to anyone.

You are also right about the double edge sword. However, you are in a better position than most to be critical of some situations. The truth of it is that when people use the help they receive to lift themselves up, there is plenty more of it to be had. When we don't lift ourselves up, it stops and we can languish there for a short , short while before the free fall begins and it's back to the gutter we just crawled out of. That's a frustrating drain on the resources of others who have problems of their own. People do need to be slapped into reality and it is not necessarily an uncompassionate thing to do. We must, however, focus on the solution or the people who need to be slapped will not be slapped and people who do not need to be slapped will be.

There you have it. Now I am completely slap happy. I am sure you see my point for much of it is the same as yours.

I do understand your warning about being wary of milestones. For me, I have to also be wary of my confidence so I do not tread into dangerous circumstances feeling I am bullet proof. I am not. I also have to strike a balance between avoiding failure and planning for it. I will not know if I have done so until I encounter that situation and, either rise to the occasion, or not. Conversations like these are a great way to stay the course while looking straight ahead with feet firmly on the ground.