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01:08:2003 Entry: "Stan : John Hinckley Jr. and President Reagan"
John Hinckley Jr. and President Reagan
I have been hesitating about writing about President Reagan and John Hinckley Jr., because I want to say something more meaningful then "isn't it ironic".
President Reagan ended an institutional paradigm of mental health in this nation, and the press reported stories on many mentally ill people who suddenly had no where else to sleep, but in the streets. Anyone remember the 80's? The talk at the time was whether it was more moral to keep so many mentally ill people in institutions where they lived lives of heavy chemical sedation, or more humane to turn these people out on the streets - because there was no meaner existence then being held in the "evil institutions".
The era of Reagan's presidency surely marks a turning point in how we treat the mentally is in this country, and what Reagan has done certainly marks a turning point in mental health care history.
If a mentally ill person is capable of doing anything independently; like walking the streets of Washington D.C. in search of donut shops or just for exercise, they shall be allowed - by law - to have that sort of freedom, as opposed to being locked up for "politically correct" reasons. President Reagan did, for better or worse, help make this kind of treatment for the mentally ill possible, and I'm glad we live in a nation that doesn't just "lock the door and throw away the key" anymore.
John Hinckley Jr. , where ever you are I give you my best and hope things are going to work out well for you.
This is a rare point of disagreement between us, Stan. At the risk of sounding lame, I do find it incredibly ironic that the president that freed massive amounts of mental patients now has this situation on his hands. Oh, if he was only aware of the irony. You do realize that I rank Reagan right up there with Dubya as one of the worst presidents of my lifetime. In fact, I dislike Reagan so much that he's my "deadpool" pick (that you either won or lost with your pick of Bob Hope). And I truly wish that the aim of Hinckley and Mark David Chapman had been reversed if it were possible. You can see I have no love of our 40th president.
That being said, I'm still not in favor of Hinckley's unsupervised visits. I know you feel that "why should the life of a president be worth more than the life of anyone else?" It shouldn't, but the fact is that it is, and there is nothing we can do about it. Reagan will get a huge sendoff when he finally succumbs...you won't. Unfair? Perhaps. But that's the way it is. It's based in the symbollic. And I feel that releasing an unsupervised Hinckley is, well, a symbolically bad thing to do.
Of course, if I were Reagan, I wouldn't have stopped the funding to mental institutions in the first place.
Posted by Ann @ 12:22:2003:07:22 PM CST
I agree with you on the point about not stopping the funding. These institutions should have been given a timeframe in which to change, or else the funding would be cut. As I understand the situation these institutions weren't given an opportunity to change before they were simply, cut off.
Posted by Stan @ 12:22:2003:07:29 PM CST