Rodney Yoder is a psychiatric patient who has being kept against his will for the past 10 years in the Chester Mental Health Center (CMHC), a forensic insane asylum in Illinois, USA. Yoder received a four year prison sentence in 1989 for aggravated battery after assaulting his wife. He pleaded "guilty but mentally ill," based on admitted alcoholism, resulting in a shorter stay at the Menard Correctional Center, and was transferred against his will to Chester Mental Health Center when his initial sentence had been served. That happened in 1991, beginning what Yoder calls his "extrajudicial, natural-life incarceration." Yoder is conducting an active campaign to win support for his argument that he is not dangerous enough to warrant continued incarceration. This is his...

Word from inside

By Rodney Yoder

Michael Abrams, 34, who attacked ex-Beatle George Harrison and his wife in their home on Henley-on-Thames, told a London court recently that he thought Harrison was a witch and that he was thus sanctioned by God to try to kill Harrison. Abrams, who has a history of receiving "treatment" for "schizophrenia", was found not guilty by reason of insanity. The Harrisons criticised the "ancient lunatic law" that allows acquittal on mental grounds.

Several hundred years ago, Mr. Abrams could have been sanctioned to kill a witch as everyone knew witches existed; this is what the formally religious did to those so designated; those afflicted were not in control of themselves; it was caused by the Devil; burning or drowning was the treatment for it; and those who disputed this were insane, fools, heretics or themselves in collusion with the Devil.

The church placed its imprimatur on a manual for the diagnosis and "treatment" of those alleged or suspected to be witches, the Malleus Maleficarum. Believing in witches was right thinking and a sign of piety. The socially sanctioned killing of persons designated as witches was regarded as an act of benevolence in order to save the souls of those so afflicted.

Today, psychiatrists are sanctioned to "treat" the "mentally ill" as everyone knows "mental illness" exists; this is what the formally therapeutic do to those so designated; those who have it are not responsible or accountable for their conduct; it is caused by bad brains or bad genes; introducing chemicals and electricity into their heads is a "treatment"; and those who dispute this are deemed ignorant, quacks, fools or themselves mentally ill.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has placed its imprimatur on a manual for the diagnosis of those alleged or suspected to be mentally ill, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Believing in mental illness is right thinking and a sign of orthodoxy. The socially sanctioned "treatment" of persons designated as mentally ill is regarded as an act of benevolence in order to save the minds of those so afflicted.

Everyone agrees that Mr. Abrams could not have really been doing the work of God by killing George Harrison due to a belief that he was a witch, as everyone knows that witches don't exist. His belief is thus obviously false and baseless. Abrams' belief in a person or being one cannot see or observe is also clearly false and baseless, but in the USA people are allowed to possess such "religious delusions". Mr. Abrams' alleged beliefs are asserted to be "symptoms" of "schizophrenia".

Most people also agree that psychiatrists are really doing the work of the State by exonerating Mr. Abrams of guilt and punishment due to a belief that he is mentally ill, as everyone knows that mental illness exists. Psychiatry's assertions are self-evident. Psychiatry's belief in elusive schizoviruses, neurochemical imbalances and other yet-to-be-discovered physiochemical causes of bad behaviour are clearly true and scientifically based. But in the USA people are allowed to read crackpot theories to the contrary in that nation's enlightened press. Psychiatry's claims are asserted to be "theories" of "the scientific method".

It is unfortunate that we all live in an age when superstition has been supplanted by science. George Harrison's displeasure with the "ancient lunatic law" is uncharacteristically unenlightened for this former Beatle.



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