Friday, January 20, 2017

Lili's backpeddle of the day

So today it looks like I've judged the Victorian police too harshly over the Bourke Street rampage, as I read in today's paper that the murderer was out on bail at the time, and bail had been opposed by police. I hope the bail justice today feels the leaden weight of guilt for their central role in this tragedy and is now drafting a resignation letter. We all know that much too often the legal system undoes many hours of work done by police, leaving dangerous people at liberty to cause serious harm to more victims. Did the Lindt Café siege and the murder of Jill Meagher leave the legal profession with no lessons learned? To the Victorian Police Force - I apologise for suggesting your organisation did little to prevent the Bourke Street tragedy, but all the same, it would have been nice to see a cop or two at the scene before it was too late to prevent harm.

This isn't the only obvious and urgent question arising out of yesterday's horror. Why was an offender with a long history of offending and psychiatric disorder and drug use not incarcerated securely inside a psychiatric facility that was able to address both the mental disorder and the drug abuse problems? Australia is too poor a country to afford to create and use as needed such institutions? Bullshit! The trouble is that in the crusade to "take the stigma" out of "mental health" and popularise the idea of psychiatric labelling led by chattering attention-seekers such as McGorry and Hickie, the dangerously insane have been lumped together into the same category as harmless public servants who freeze with fear at the thought of public speaking and neglected children with joyless lives who correspondingly feel joyless. We all know there isn't room in any psychiatric ward for all of these people, so we are forced to accept life with the insane amongst us.

We should also ask, with countless mind-altering drugs available for prescription and psychiatry regarded as a science, with countless millions of dollars spent world-wide on research into the workings of the brain and the mind, why can't irrational murderous anger, from drug use or other causes, be diagnosed as a serious psychiatric disorder and treated effectively? As far as I know, only recently has a psychiatric disorder with unfounded anger been formally recognized as a mental disorder, even though it has been recognised as one of many possible symptoms of epilepsy probably as long as epileptics have been identified and shunned. Only days ago the science journal Nature featured a story titled "lasers activate killer instinct in mice". Predation behaviour in mice can reportedly be switched on and off with stimulation to the central amygdala in mice, and there's every reason to believe the same kind of activation of a specific part of the brain could activate aggressive behaviour in humans. So why can't psychiatry switch such behaviour off in humans? Ask your doctor, ask the directors of mental health services and brain research institutions, ask state and federal ministers for health, but don't expect any sensible or substantial answer.

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