Psychiatric industry cannot cure its patients
I read the Aug. 8 Record Searchlight article about Gary Lee Sargent shooting guns in his trailer home. I feel that Assistant District Attorney Dan Flynn's representation of Gary as yet another dangerous mental patient with a long history in the alleged mental health system who was released prematurely by some kindhearted but misguided doctor is disingenuous.
Gary is a substance abuser, and it was this that created his becoming a victim of the mental health system. He is a psychiatric survivor whom the system has failed. In order to explain this failure and Gary's issue, one need learn a few obscure facts about the "big money" industries of psychiatry and psychology.
Flynn reportedly stated that doctors have the final say in deeming a person safe to be released back into society, and too often their mental illnesses resurface. This is not exactly true. Though doctors have input, it is the final responsibility of the courts to make such decisions. They chose to release Gary.
It appears that Flynn has decided that Gary had been improperly released, and the psychs are to blame. That last is so, but not necessarily from a legal standpoint.
The article mentions a 1999 incident during which Gary was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a mental institution for stabbing his son and attacking a sheriff's deputy. Gary actually argued that his son's stabbing was an accident. He was not convicted of a crime.
Gary pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity having been led to believe that he would be sent to a mental "hospital" and obtain help for his substance abuse problem. The only "help" Gary ended up getting were the disastrous side effects - like tardive dyskinesia, a severely troubling and often permanent movement disorder - of anti-psychotic drugs.
Neither was Gary advised by the judge, D.A. or his attorney before pleading that in 1994, Norman Sartorius (president of the World Psychiatric Association from 1996-1999,) declared at a meeting of the Association of European Psychiatrists: "The time when psychiatrists considered that they could cure the mentally ill is gone. In the future the mentally ill have to learn to live with their illness."
One can see the difficulty presented in obtaining release considering the court must find that the person's "sanity has been restored" before he or she is released. (Penal Code section, 1026(b).)
Nor was he told that such institutions in California receive around $150,000 per year per person confined. This provides major incentive for warehousing such people. Penal Code section 1025.5 allows psychs to perpetually confine individuals on their subjective "opinions" alone. This adds to the obstacles faced by anyone entering an insanity plea in obtaining release. As a result, hundreds of such individuals have been confined at Napa State Hospital for decades.
Dr. Thomas Szasz, professor of psychiatry emeritus and co-founder of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, observes, "There is no blood or other biological test to ascertain the presence or absence of a mental illness, as there is for most bodily diseases. If such a test were developed ... would cease to be a mental illness and would be classified, instead, as a symptom of a bodily disease."
Bruce Levine, Ph.D. psychologist and author of "Commonsense Rebellion Common: Debunking Psychiatry, Confronting Society," concurs: "Remember that no biochemical, neurological, or genetic markers have been found for attention deficit disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, depression, schizophrenia, ... or any other so-called mental illness, disease, or disorder."
Gary's case is only the tip of the iceberg. People experience problems and upsets in life that may result in mental troubles, often serious. Representing these troubles as caused by incurable "brain diseases" only manageable through chemicals, often with even more dangerous side effects including suicide and violence, is dishonest, harmful and often deadly. These drugs are pharmaceutically cosmetic rather than curative, hiding the problem and thus preventing recovery of the patient or hope for the future.
William Sargent lives in Millville.