Re: CA Psychiatric Commitment Law Overhaul Studied FWD

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Wed, 17 Feb 1999 18:05:23 -0500


Sent to the editor of the LA Times this AM.
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Graeme F. Bacque
319 Dundas St. E. @408
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 2A2 CANADA
V: (416) 368-3366 F: (416) 368-5984
Internet: <gbacque@idirect.com>

To whom it may concern:

Once again the voices of psychiatrically labeled persons are being
ignored and stereotypes played to the max as yet another state seeks
legislation to seriously abrogate the rights of innocent persons whose
only 'crime' is to have caught the attention of mental health
'professionals' - whether voluntarily or through coercion.

No other body of persons in society is specifically subject to such
restrictive legislation, with so little real, concrete evidence
available for justification. Certain medical professionals such as E.
Fuller Torrey employ distortion of research, sensationalism and outright
falsehoods in order to accomplish such goals, and enjoy a high level of
media credibility.

On the other hand, as psychiatric survivors we find ourselves either
pathologized or accused of Scientology affiliations anytime we attempt
to challenge or protest such gross abrogations of basic civil liberties.

In decrying the (alleged) number of people who wind up in prisons for
want of 'treatment' Morain and his interviewees ignore the reality that
your average psychiatric facility is essentially a prison-like
environment where those incarcerated are _not_ free to come and go...
and in addition are there (usually) without the benefit of having been
actually charged with an offense, with the accompanying entitlment to
due process of law.

This form of preventative detention and the targeting of a specific body
of persons for restrictive legislation (based solely on observed
behavior, ways of perceiving the world, or lifestyle issues rather than
actual criminal acts) violates not only the Constitution of the United
States but is likely also in breach of international human rights
statutes. In the interest of balance I would seriously urge you to take
this into consideration, and to seek out and publish the voices of
psychiatric survivors, when considering any future articles regarding
mental health 'reform.'

Sincerely yours,
GRAEME BACQUE
Toronto, Ontario, Canada