I'm Right Again Dot Com

A new commentary every Wednesday                December 17, 2014



    I am confident that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will never know that I exist, but my statement shot out into cyberspace last week that torture is immoral and counterproductive, was followed (incidentally) by a published opinion voiced by Scalia on a Swiss broadcast network in which he states that the U.S. Constitution doesn't prohibit torture.

     Although many retired Jurists have made supportive statement on various issues in their obligatory memoirs published after retiring, it's not often that we are favored by an opinion on a controversial subject by a Supreme Court Justice prior to its being tested in our legal system. It may have happened in the past, but I cannot remember it having occurred in my lifetime.

    It doesn't entirely shock me that my peroration of December 10 (See ARCHIVES, below), was followed a rash of rebuttals from readers who are not well acquainted with our Constitution. Other statements that disagreed with my precept were made by former officers of eminence, such as war hawk Dick Chaney, who supported the CIA black arts—but it does surprise me that a supreme court judge is not aware of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that, among other things, forbids "Cruel and Unusual Punishment." 

    The British under George III were particularly adept in torture. They initiated and practiced "Drawing and Quartering," the most barbaric and protracted torture, whereby an accused person could be slowly pulled into four parts, that were later displayed in some public venue. The many forms of torture employed by the British on Americans for attempting to gain independence caused our federal legislature to pass an eighth amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1791, as part of what is known "The Bill of Rights." A profuse number of cases in our courts that define what constitutes torture in the United States is worthy of study. 

    Of course, it could be argued it's permissible to torture foreigners, but one is risking trial before the International Court of Justice sitting in the Hague, located in the Netherlands. The United States supports its funding source and its rulings, which have been successful in bringing some of the world's most wicked torturers to trial, and serving justice. 

The Mental Health Dilemma II: Restating the Obvious, with feedback. 

    RECAPITULATION: There have now been 44 school shootings in the two years since December of 2012, at which time 20 children and 6 adults where shot at Sandy Hook school in Newton, Connecticut. If it seems that these insane copycat rampages are increasing, you are right.

    People with a severe mental health problem ought to be compelled to undergo involuntary psychiatric treatment, whereupon a team of mental health workers provide wrap-around care that includes full time monitoring of the patient's condition—as closely as that provided a patient with Ebola—and for as long as a judge deems it necessary. It is only reasonable to accept that there are times when we have to impinge upon a handfull of individuals' civil rights, when the whole population is at risk.


    In the last session of the Arizona Legislature, Arizona State Representative Victoria Steel introduced a measure, "Mental Health First Aid." It's purpose is to trains folks such as teachers, law enforcement officers and parents how to spot a person who may be potentially dangerous, due to a mental health problem. The law was passed and signed by the Arizona governor. Now, the job is implementing it.                --

-Donald Wallace, Tucson.

(...And funding it, Don)


    There has to be a middle ground between (contending with) a drooling vegetable or a mass murderer, but right now we are dealing with the right wing radical Tea Party and left wing screaming Liberals. Why don't the moderate Democrats get themselves out from under the Socialist Obama and the Republicans tell the Tea Party to shut up and pass some reasonable legislation. Wouldn't that be wonderful? 

-C.L. Kidwell, El Paso.



    I remember when there were "institutions" that housed our mentally ill. I grew-up with Patton State Hospital and everyone in California knew about it. Then someone, probably for financial reasons, decided to "mainstream" the mentally ill so that could exist on the mean  streets and possibly procure a gun. That sparking humanitarian organization, the National Rifle Association (NRA), wants us to all to carry a gun. They say that the country will be sooo much safer when nobody knows whom else is packing. Wayne La Pierre thinks this is the way to live. Besides, his clients in the gun an ammo business will prosper. Happiness is a warm gun.

-F.C. Tucker, Tucson


    This senseless, crazy copycat slaughter of innocents is definitely gaining momentum. It began with Columbine school in Colorado. For a while, it was one rampage a year, now it seems to have grown to one or two a month. In the latest episode in Oregon, the insane killer used a gun and a knife to kill four and wound 19 victims.

-Phil Richardson, Curmudgeon, Observer and Storyteller. 

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