Mental illness and socialism

To the editor:

I read Mr. Branch’s letter with great interest, and I would like to respond.

I am a person with a mental illness. I am also highly educated. I have been “dealing” with this illness for almost five decades. Over the course of this period, I have dealt with many people who are ignorant, bigoted and closed-minded about mental illness. For a long time, my interactions with these individuals taught me to be extremely private and protective. This is the effect of hate on recipients. I no longer fear people like you and your brand of local terrorism.

As I mentioned, I am a person with mental illness. Over the course of my treatment, I have spent a great deal of time with friends who are suffering beyond your imagination. These friends had abandoned hope. However, you know what? As bad as they felt, they could always reach out to others to offer support. They were socialists.

Recently, an individual (who was Black) reached out to the police because his brother was in the midst of a psychotic episode. To make a long story short, the individual in the midst of a mental health crisis eventually died. I believe very strongly that this man would still be alive if a mental health professional been present.

The police model used by some departments is badly outdated. This is not a criticism of police; it is an example that police practices need to reflect current reality. In a very real way, it is not most officers’ fault. Their training is outdated. Changes in police practice need to include the addition of professionals trained to deal with non-lethal situations. If you think that I am just another bleeding-heart liberal, my father was a state trooper who served with distinction, and my son is a police officer.

A word of caution: It seems likely that you watch Fox News. I am very familiar with this news source. It is refreshing to watch a group of privileged white men spread misinformation and prey on people’s fears. What I found interesting is the complete lack of facts. Your views reminded me of what a friend once told me. People who watch Fox News know less about the news than people who do not watch the news at all.

You will probably say that I am just another socialist. Thank you! I am proud to be a human being who cares and respects all. Also, if you are a “church-going man,” STOP. Your letter obviously suggests that you are missing the message. Jesus was the original socialist.

In conclusion, we are in the midst of the greatest crisis in a generation. Sadly, politicians, whose only concern is reelection, are governing us. As a result, people are dying. Be careful what you champion. You may not care about others, but you may be adversely affecting other vulnerable minds.

Jeff Plumley

Human (socialist)

Saranac Lake


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