Saturday, March 10, 2012


We recently watched the Jimmy Stewart movie about the fellow who had a 6'-tall invisible rabbit for a pal.  Watching something like that makes you wonder about how society --then and now-- responded/responds to those who are mentally ill.  Did society used to have more tolerance of people who were odd or melancholy or hallucinating?

I have a theory.  Crimes used to be punished.  Violence was not allowed to get out of hand.  If someone was weird --but not a threat to others-- then that guy was allowed to be weird.  But if he was a danger to others (such as someone with lots of knives, who had made threats) then there was no dinking around with his rights.  If he was threatening other folks' rights, he was locked up.  Because we are accustomed to the breakdown of society and our unwillingness to call sin sin, does that make us unwilling to deal swiftly and firmly with the mentally ill when they are dangerous?  And does that make us uncomfortable being around anyone odd or quirky ... never knowing whether this is a safe person or not?

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