Circular Logic

Circular Logic
To the Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, September 1996


I’ve just tried to have a friend who suffers from severe bi-polar illness admitted to a hospital for treatment.

He is confused and has visual and auditory hallucinations.

He  is unable to effectively make out traffic patterns, and was assaulted last night for inappropriate behavior.

This assault resulted in twelve stitches.

Needless to say this person is unable to judge his condition, which is the nature of severe mental illness.

You can imagine my surprise when I called the crises clinic and was told, after being extensively questioned about his insurance status, that nothing could be done if my friend was unwilling to go to a hospital.

It was mind-boggling.

If he had been in a diabetic coma on his living room floor an ambulance would have been dispatched.

A severe manic episode is not very different as a symptom than a diabetic coma.

But under the guise of protecting this man’s civil rights, he cannot receive treatment unless he is aware of needing it, at which point, he would not need it.

I called the mayor’s office and spoke to a huffy woman named Erica, who confirmed, before hanging up on me, that indeed, this was true and that the Mayor can not intervene.

I must convince this delusional, hallucinating, explosive man that he needs treatment; if I do, a hospital will treat him, provided his insurance is intact.

Huffiness was the tenor of the day.

From the huffy nurse at the crisis clinic to the huffy Erica at the Mayor’s office, I got huffy stupidity with huge dollops of dereliction of duty and arrogance.

What kind of society have we created when this callous disregard for civil liberty hides behind the language of civil liberty?

Am I the only person to see the relationship between the suffering on our streets and the willful arrogance of zany legislators who make it impossible for the gravely disabled to receive proper treatment?

I have a friend who has a manageable illness if he receives treatment in a timely fashion.

Without it he may wind up in your paper as a suicide or homicide victim.

But that’s the intention of this “civil rights’ ruse, isn’t it?


Rob Goldstein


8 thoughts on “Circular Logic

  1. It seems to me that the civil rights ruse is a convenient way to wash their hands of a difficult problem. A diabetic coma would be easier to manage than someone having a severe psychotic episode. I hope your friend is going to be okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading the post and leaving a comment. I agree with you.

      It was obvious when Reagan was blathering about Civil Liberties while decimating the programs designed to facilitate those liberties.

      I don’t know where my friend is today. But I do know that he went from being in the banking profession to homelessness.

      And that was over a decade ago.

      The willingness of the leadership of this nation to destroy the lives of citizens who want to be and can be productive is a travesty and a human rights violation.

      This slow motion eugenicide of the mentally ill has been going on for 40 years.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a sad testament to the systems put in place to help those in need…illness is illness and it’s unfortunate that mental illness is treated differently in many facets of life. We are fortunate in Canada to have easier access to medicare, still, it doesn’t prevent some in society to scoff at mental illness issues.

    Thanks for sharing this…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This was almost 20 years ago.

      For over 20 years we in the U.S. have heard report after report about the absurdity of the Lanterman-Petris Short Act in California and the suffering that it causes.

      Here we are entering 2016 and still living under the lie that we don’t know what we need to do to rectify this crime.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. (sigh) I have discovered, through the years, that governmental machines move very slowly, despite the number of reports and protests pushing to have change.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Yowza. You nailed it with
    “But under the guise of protecting this man’s civil rights, he cannot receive treatment unless he is aware of needing it, at which point, he would not need it.”
    Oustanding post. I’ve been close to that place, it’s not good. I am proud of you working so hard for a friend. It really shows your heart. Thank you for posting this and giving us another glimpse of who you are.
    ps – the artwork is awesome

    Liked by 1 person

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