Saturday, May 26, 2012

Nothing like a little mainstream media...

I follow a lot of mental health cases in court, sometimes the media boggles my mind with their interviews. This New York Times article quotes a doctor (unrelated to the case, likely brought in as an expert in psychopharmacology) described olanzapine as "not a drug that is usually given to people who are normal". Really? They are "in the scheme of drugs, these are pretty heavy drugs". Shocking revelation there skippy. Speaking as someone who has been on olanzapine, who was warned by many many people that it is an awful drug, and who has experienced the weight gain and exhaustion, and the life disruption that comes with this drug (and many others). As a branch of medicine its super important to talk about a drug given to a bipolar and schizophrenic as "not a drug that is usually given to people who are normal". What drugs are given to people who are normal psychopharmacology expert?

I don't like to speculate on the outcomes of cases ahead of time, but I'm particularly saddened by this type of case. This CBS News article outlines some of the problems of this particular case. The guy who confessed to the 33 year old case would have been about 18, and presumably murdered the 6 year old boy for no reason and never committed another crime since. There will also be questions of the validity of his confession, not only because he's sick, but also because he has hallucinations. If the prosecution can't find proof or motive a conviction is not certain because the defense may argue that it never happened. If there haven't been other similar crimes he's committed who is to say the hallucinations haven't planted the idea in his head this was his doing, in spite of being innocent?

I hate it that these cases see so much media and other developments don't. I understand why it happens, and if he is guilty I'm glad he came forward. Mental illness does not excuse behavior like that and he should be tried by a jury. Jail is probably not the answer, but time in a locked psychiatric facility for his crime is more than justified. I feel like the public doesn't get a good view of the mentally ill population, and if there was more unbiased information there would be less stigma and fear. Instead we see the guy that claims bipolar disorder after attacking Milwaukee's mayor thinking he'll be forgiven. That's BS. Mental illness does not excuse that kind of behavior and should be punished accordingly.

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