by Charles A. Monagan
Jun 23, 2011
10:45 AM
On Connecticut

Man on the Loose


It wasn't so long ago that people like this were confined in large institutions in Connecticut, where they could get three meals a day, a safe place to sleep and at least a little help for their problems, such as they were. I grew up hearing the phrase, "We're going to send you to Middletown," whenever I got acting a little, you know, crazy.

More recently, the courts have ruled that an individual's rights trump a well-ordered society, so characters like Sarkisyan -  when they are off their meds - are free to run around, threatening, doing damage and acting crazy.

Is it wrong to wish for a society in which those institutions such as Middletown or Fairfield Hills still existed - more humane, more attuned to modern needs, thoroughly up to date in their medical and psychological treatments - where poor, tortured souls like Sarkisyan could live (with the possibility of release) in something approaching peace?

This would not only be cheaper than our current brutally costly and complicated "system," it would be kinder all around - to the person in question, his or her family and society as a whole. Sometimes, we have to admit that certain people just can't function in the world at large, whether for a short period of time or their entire lives. To deal with this fact, we should have improved the system we had instead of giving them all drugs, setting them free and turning our backs.

Man on the Loose

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