Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mayview Closes, Insane Sent to the Ghetto


The Commonwealth announced today that Mayview State Hospital is closing, following a court-ordered directive to treat patients in a 'community setting.' The court argues that the patients have inalienable 'individual rights' that are violated by imprisonment in Mayview. A little clarification: 'Individuals with rights' means people incapable of wiping their own ass without eating the toilet paper. 'Community setting,' means the ghetto.

The theory is everyone has rights, and state mental institutions went out of fashion after 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.' But the practice of 'individual rights' in the cuckoo's nest hatches one big cluster-f**k. The 200+ patients left at Mayview aren't on their way to Pleasant Hills to live next door to the Cleavers. They're being packed off to public housing projects, or are being entrusted, Section 8 Voucher in hand, to the capable care of your friendly neighborhood slumlord.

In the ghetto, good people nimbly navigate the minefield of threats and dangers inherent in the Law of the Street. They survive based on their caginess, their faith & their family... and they don't always survive. History shows that those not up to the Ghetto challenge are low hanging fruit. When Mayview disgorged 2,000 some residents to the freedom of the ghetto in the 1980's, rape and murder savaged the former patients. Some were found freezing in the winter. Some living in piles of their own shit.

But where 'individual rights' has a perverse reality, so does the jingo 'Freedom isn't Free.'

3 comments:

The Great Hive said...

Typically, those guys you se sitting on Craig St. and Liberty Ave. downtown are the nutcases they release from hospitals.

It's a very sad story - the government can't seem to treat people humanely, inside or outside the hospitals. More of an argument for less government action, and more government-backed incentives for people to take care of their sick and aging and crazy family members. We need to look after our own, and have the government play more of an educatinal and supporting role.

How about vouchers and welfare incentives for people to take care of their relatives, and more research into mental illness?

Highland Ave. said...

The truth is that some people are abandoned by their relatives. If we admit that someone has to take care of these people, and we reach situations where no relative is available to care for them, then the state must step in. If the state needs to step in, then institutions such as Mayview provide an economical and efficient means for caring for the insane. Think its cruel? Consider how many families place their family into the care of private homes for the elderly, sick, or otherwise. Its logical, compassionate, and cost-effective. For the courts to order otherwise in the name of individual liberty focuses more on the liberty and less on the individual.

The Great Hive said...

Calling these hospitals humane is far from the truth, and saying these crazy farms are good enough is a good way to stymie progress.

It's probably not best to eject the residents, but we should be seeking better solutions, even if it costs us a few more bucks. The fact that "cost-effective" entered this conversation so quickly is indicative of how much we all really care about our fellow citizens.