“The only thing evil needs to triumph; is for good men and women to stand by and do nothing"
Decision: Protest the mental health system, or not?
I was actually unpleasantly surprised and dumbfounded that Mindfreedom had to ask this question of those supporting the cause against government superseding a person’s right to self determination, against basic human rights violations, and sanctioned medical torture.
A Psychiatric label should not and does not remove your Constitutional Rights; or does it? Why should you be concerned? Because Obviously in America today it does exactly that! If you want to believe these rough numbers given to us from the APA; 50% or more of the general population of the United States of America will suffer from a debilitating mental health condition during their life time.
That’s means this effects each of you out there on a very personal level. Your Constitutional Rights and Human Rights can and will be violated if you allow this corrupt and inhuman system of Mental Health to remain in place.
Why is nothing being done? I will tell you quite simply why nothing is being done. Psychiatry has propagated a huge power grab that has permeated our government and the courts with such overwhelming undue influence, the people (that’s you and I) no longer have fair or reasonable representation.
The so called advocates for the people in this power grab are in bed cozy and financially tied to those funding this subversion of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. NAMI and DBSA that are supposed to represent patients as advocates and as a resource assistance; are nothing but shells for Huge Pharmaceutical Corporations where they receive most of their funding.
Our government is not listening to the people or looking out for our best interest, our God given Rights, and our protected Liberties.
When this happens; what does our Constitution tell us as Good Citizens of this Democratic Nation to do? It Tells us to have another revolution! Those words were written there for this very purpose and intent. This is what our fore fathers lived and died for! This is why we fought wars, shed blood across countless fields of battle, and over oceans to defend this constitution and our personal freedom.
Yes, we have even fought ourselves in a civil war to defend our liberties; bringing to pass that great dream that all men in God’s and in America eyes our created equal.
A Call to Action: These are things we all can do! Make your voice heard, make your voice felt!
Go to the streets! March on the hospital where Ray is being tortured against his will.
March on the Capital building in Minnesota and demand that our human rights be protected!
Write and Call your Congressman and Senator in every state. Call and write the President of the United States!
To all God loving and fearing Evangelical Lutheran Church in America members: I ask you that refrain from any donations to the church and instead replace your donation with a letter demanding the Church stand against forced ETC and other treatments as a statement against basic human rights violations and as an act representing God’s will.
Boycott the State of Minnesota!
Don’t buy products produced there! Refuse to watch their sports teams on TV or attend any event associated with the State. Refuse to travel there for anything other than protest. Make your Dollar be felt by removing it from theirs.
Boycott psychiatrist and all psychotropic pharmaceutical products and services until we have the right of self determination and dignity restored. (Those already on these drugs and treatments, begin the taper off them and tell your medical provider why you are refusing to use their services).
Demand any DSM related diagnosis be removed from your medical history and records! Demand that your unjust label be removed. If you can’t be labeled, they can’t take your rights away.
Let the revolution begin from every street corner and gathering place. If you and I stand up and say enough is enough; it can change with our voices and nonviolent action! If we are not heard, God help them! I will end where I started with this simple quote
“The only thing evil needs to triumph; is for good men and women to stand by and do nothing"
I will now interject my honest comments within the text of Mindfreedom’s email
http://www.mindfreedom.org/ray - please forward
Another forced electroshock for Ray Sandford today.
Personal Comment: This should have been stopped months ago with strong protest and action by all mental health advocacy organization, yet not one has stepped to the plate in Minnesota to truly advocate or block this inhumanity!
Decision: Protest the mental health system, or not? Personal comment: Was there ever another choice?
by David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International
As I e-mail out this message, Ray Sandford is being escorted again this Wednesday morning, 14 January 2009, from his group home near Minneapolis, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital for another involuntary, maintenance, outpatient electroshock under court order. My comment: who from Mindfreedom or any advocacy group is standing outside this hospital protesting and civilly blocking this social atrocity?
There is a decision each and every one of us needs to make.
It is the same decision Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks
and thousands of others in the civil rights movement had to make.
To protest, or not? Personal comment: This is more than just a protest, this is an ardent ultimatum to Minnesota and our Government that we are sending a direct message of action and demand resolution.
One of my resolutions for 2009 is to nonviolently protest.
Personal comment: I can only say Mindfreedom and others in the advocacy business need to Organize! Organize! Organize! We need to have a unified front with numbers behind the message. A radio show that gives advice like eating a candy bar and holding the wrapper to avoid ECT is not sending the message that we have power and unity in numbers and conviction to wage the bigger battle for all those that are force treated against their will in our mental health system. You do not enter a war avoiding the enemy; you seek out the opposition and confront it with all weapons at your disposal.
Ray -- summoning that unstoppable human spirit that always impresses me in so many psychiatric survivors -- asks us to protest.
Personal comment: do we want discarded and broken survivors; or do we demand change, dignity, and victory over this oppression once and for all?
Survivors of electroshock human rights violations on the MindFreedom
"Zapback" e-mail list, where the Ray Campaign is being coordinated, also say it's time to protest the mental health system.
There are many ways, times, places and reasons to protest.
But it begins with a decision. Personal comment: don’t give Ray false hope if the intent was not to take action. I believe that is cruel and unusual punishment adding to an already horrific series of events.
Ray's forced electroshock today is not a fluke.
Ray's forced shock is not because the mental health system lacks money, though good programs need more resources. Ray's forced shock is not because of a few "bad apples" in the mental health system. Ray is surrounded by an array of taxpayer-funded agencies and professionals who are charged with protecting and helping Ray.
Ray has had court hearings represented by a court-appointed attorney. Personal comment: if the court appoints an attorney that refuses to represent their client with all resources at their disposal; that attorney should be disbarred and found in contempt of court.
He has a conservator, general guardian and a guardian ad litem.
Minnesota legal advocacy, ombudsman and mental health consumer groups are well aware of Ray's shock. Minnesota's Governor Pawlenty has received hundreds of complaints. MindFreedom filed a torture complaint with the United Nations. Personal comment: did it get results?
The headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA], whose six Synods in Minnesota own Ray's guardian agency LSSMN, say they have been inundated with hundreds of complaints. Their official response: They're not in charge of Ray's shock, though we never said they were. We asked ELCA to stand up publicly against forced electroshock, they refuse.
Personal comment: a church is made up of its members, if those members speak out the church will listen or risk losing their support!
Ray's forced shock is a sign and symptom of how extremely oppressive today's mental health system remains, and how so much of our society is complicit with this oppression.
Personal comment: the statement rings true; Ray is but one small but important step toward a greater cause and over all mission. We have a long laundry list that demands emediate action by the power that is in the hall of government and professional associations. 1. The abolishment of the DSM as a scientific diagnostic tool 2. Any forced psychiatric treatment whether medication or other form treatment such as ECT without informed consent and personal authorization 3. No civil incarceration and institutionalization without a crime being committed 4. End the taking away of basic civil liberties and human dignity for those with mental health conditions.
Ray's forced shock is an excruciatingly painful lesson and wake up call to us all about oppression so deep, it is seldom named: sanism.
Ray's courage has educated so many people. Because Ray called the MindFreedom office this Fall, many people now know forced electroshock exists, and that psychiatrists sometimes give ongoing "maintenance" electroshock. Many now know electroshock is often given on an outpatient basis.
Many people now know that even Americans living in their own homes, which are supposed to be our "castles," out in the community, without being convicted of any crime, can be court ordered to receive such an invasive, potentially-irreversible procedure.
Now we know.
Don't let this knowledge become normal. As MLK said, show your "creative maladjustment." When I was an activist in the peace movement, there was a saying. "To know, and not to act, is not yet truly to know."
Reading about this on the Internet is not enough.
Each of us needs to decide and prepare: Protest or not to protest? When it's time for a forced shock, Ray is told because preparation must begin. The day before, all food is removed from his fridge because to get ready for anesthesia he cannot eat for a number of hours.
Then early in the morning staff wakes him up and he is brought to the hospital. Ray is put under anesthesia, and electricity is run through his head inducing a convulsion. He wakes up with more memory and cognitive problems.
Ray has had more than three dozen and he says, "It is scary as hell every time I go."
Ray's forced shock is not because of a lack of public attention.
Hundreds have spoken out against this ongoing forced shock. Last month, Ray's plight was aired on National Public Radio. Ray's own elderly mother, a retired psychiatric nurse, has recently pleaded with Ray's psychiatrist to stop (since Ray is under guardianship, she has no official say).
Most recently, Ray was sent to a neurologist for a check-up, but that did not stop his shock.
The only change this past month is that instead of weekly electroshock, Ray is now on a complicated pattern of every other week, followed by every third week, back to every other week. Instead of receiving his maintenance electroshock last Wednesday as Ray at first expected, his shock is today.
Why are we surprised?
Based on the hard-won lessons of so many other groups that have organized for their basic human rights, how can we expect real change without protest?
In my 33 years in this field, I have seen many colleagues begin to work in organizations and agencies that are funded by the mental health system, and many of them are doing tremendously helpful and crucial work. This work must continue, it's a sign of hope.
Today it is common to hear mental health system leaders claim this system's values have changed to:
* Mental health consumer self-determination.
* Client empowerment.
* Advocacy and human rights.
* Consumer-driven trauma-informed peer-delivered services.
And again, there are signs of hope. But we ask: Why is Ray Sandford getting involuntary maintenance electroshock this morning?
Why is there a mental health "Abu Ghraib" operating before our very eyes?
Why does forced electroshock and forced psychiatric drugging continue in other states in the USA?
Why is forced electroshock growing internationally?
In my study of history, minor reform of psychiatry is not a solution, minor reform is one of the problems.
Minor reform fuels more of the same.
When you hear a simple call for "more money" for the mental health system -- without addressing the required fundamental change, watch out!
Truly, we need a nonviolent revolution in the mental health system. Historically, nonviolent revolution requires nonviolent protest.
So there is one question now:
Protest, or not? Personal comment: Not just action, but focused and organized action for dramatic change!
Protest begins with a decision. I hope you make that personal
If you agree it is time for protest, please forward this to a
colleague and add in your own words, "I agree, it's time."
- David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International
For links to latest news, Ray Campaign blog, and frequently asked
questions about the "No More Shock For Ray Campaign" go here:
454 Willamette, Suite 216 - POB 11284 Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA
web site: http://www.mindfreedom.org
MFI member services phone: (541) 345-9106
MFI member services toll free: 1-877-MAD-PRIDe or 1-877-623-7743
fax: (480) 287-8833
If the mental health advocates and the American Public can’t stop Ray Sandford from forced ECT against his will; then we have lost the war before the battle has even begun! But far worse than that, we have all lost our way and the precious gift of the American dream and promise.
I ask that everyone that reads this takes some form of direct action! Thank You