Afternoon, Spider Rock © Robert Sommers 2023

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Bonnet Bees

Two bees got under my bonnet this week, well maybe more than two but I want to share these particular ones with you. Pardon me, they may be politically incorrect.

Tanya Suarez - K.C. Alfred - Union Tribune
Did you read where the girl who gouged her own eyes out in jail wants to now sue the County of San Diego for not sending someone in to talk her out of it. Tanya, 23, is bummed. She misses driving and her independence.
She said she wishes someone at the jail would have talked her through her delusions and convinced her they weren’t real; instead they isolated her.
Talk about a failure to take personal responsibility. The story is certainly tragic and painful.
In an interview last December at her family’s home in National City, she emphasized that she wasn’t an addict. She had turned to meth to cope with depression, she said.In fall of 2018, Suarez dropped out of San Diego State University, where she was seven credits short of a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She has ADHD and was struggling with her studies. She felt overwhelmed, she said.But dropping out only hastened her downward spiral. She was hospitalized for attempting suicide.
Beauty of America, you can do something incredibly stupid and we will grant you the freedom to do so. Just don't ask us to pay for your horrible decision making. You decided to use meth and you decided to gouge your eyes out. You paid an awful price but you are 100% responsible for your own actions. No deal.

I am a fairly liberal guy but there are times common sense must prevail. It is a fact that some people do not feel comfortable in the biological gender that they were born. I feel for these people, it must be very painful indeed.

But it is completely unfair for those who have y chromosomes and male muscle mass, to transition and then compete in athletic events against biological born females. And some girls are filing suit against the practice. I don't blame them one bit. 

A fairly new paper shows that transwomen have a distinct physical advantage against their born female opponents due to a host of reasons including larger bone structure, lung volume, heart size and higher testosterone levels. What sex you identify with is meaningless, your born gender is dictating your performance and it is patently unfair to your competitors.

Chromosomes don't lie.


Anonymous said...

Yes 100 percent we have become a nation of if I feel like it it therefore is real. If I screw up it’s not my fault. What a soft fluffy shallow no character people many have become.

Anonymous said...

I agree, trans people should have their own category if they wish to compete fairly. ~ Diane O

Anonymous said...

Good read. I love the jail eye gouger. Her suit is called a nuisance suit. She will be thrown some cash to go away. The way of the world. Baaaa

Blue Heron said...

There are legitimate victims, she is not one of them. Self inflicted.

Jon Harwood said...

Ahem... I worked in the Orange County Jail Psychiatric Team for 12 years. The business with jail suicides is quite real. Most people don't understand the impact of jails on their occupants since they can't go there and if they could most would wet their pants when the first sally port slams closed behind them. Think about gouging your own eyes out. Would you do that for fun? There may be manipulative overtones to the behavior but to identify it as stupid makes it pretty easy to avoid wondering what sort of mental state a person is in to do such a thing. Actually, done properly "jailhouse style" suicide interventions are not so much fun for inmates. The "talking to" is an evaluation of risk and a decision about where to house the inmate. There is none of the nice supportive talking in an analysts couch that people unfamiliar with jails tend to imagine. A person winds up in some type of observation cell wearing a smock made out of sail cloth, snowed on meds, far away from the tools of self harm. Inmates do not ask go to mental health housing because the staff ACTUALLY REALIZES that there is rampant manipulative behavior in jail, so the mental health housing is set up to not offer privileges or pleasurable anything. It is a basic survival setting that is not fun for the occupant much like the rest of most correctional facilities. Outside of really brief crisis evaluation/intervention and med stabilization you almost never find "therapy". Additionally in-house mental staff stay the hell away from trying to influence court cases. If info. for court is wanted out side psychiatrists are used I mention this in reference to the VERY FEW security agencies that actually have real mental health staffs. Most do not and problems like this are periodic and routine. The only thing the mental health team I worked with was able to do was stabilize people long enough to get them out the door alive. No follow up care unless the inmate knew how to find it. Generally speaking most jailhouses are OK with the periodic suicides and medical problem deaths that occur. The only thing that leads to medical staff being in jails is really big lawsuits.

Blue Heron said...

I appreciate your unique perspective on this, Jon. At what point do you think, if at all, that we assume moral and financial responsibility for her ultimate condition?

Jon Harwood said...

Well the situation sucks. We aren't morally responsible for her decision to take meth. The deal seems to be that once the government takes control of a person by arresting them it is obliged to provide a similar standard of medical care to that available in the general community. This might or might not have happened in this case. Isolating her was appropriate and usually works. If there was observation it might have made it possible to ship her off to the hospital or put her into a Guantanamo style restraint chair prior to the gouging. Deciding to gouge ones eyes out with hands might not have been preventable or it might have been depending on circumstances (observation and other interventions that did or did not happen). The judge will make the final call on that one.
The thing that sucks more is that she will be eligible for a lifetime of blindness benefits so we all get to pay regardless.
One thing that amazed me was meeting a blind inmate who had no trouble getting all the dope he wanted. It seems disability is not such a barrier to being an addict. She might not be an addict but I would bet she is an accomplished dope user. There is every chance that she may use the ready access to meth to off herself accidentally or otherwise before too long. If she wins and gets a big judgement she may well put it up her arm pretty quickly if she doesn't get some treatment and actually take what she is doing to herself seriously.
So I don't have a ready formula. About all I know is it is good to prevent incidents like hers because it costs a fortune if it isn't prevented and of course her life is screwed up as well. She, though, has to take responsibility for what she did to herself.
We can guide her toward treatment but it is on her to make the treatment work--most of the time it does not. At the end of the day I am not far off from where you are. The county didn't make her depressed. The county didn't give her dope--she did.
It reminds me of working in the OC jail. We kept them alive so the county could avoid big legal judgements and hopefully because it was a legitimate humanitarian thing to do for incarcerated inmates, that is, providing the same bare bones mental health treatment that they might access in "the world". I have zero delusions about what we really accomplished beyond keeping inmates alive.
Saving dope fiends wasn't our purpose. We were their to identify crazies and help them avoid getting harmed or harming themselves, the dope fiends and petty criminals were swirled into the whole thing and we had to keep them from getting killed or harming themselves. It was a hell of a lot different from working in the community.

aferda said...

I think it is perilous to conflate our opinion about this lawsuit or the plaintiffs view of her addiction with the reality of the sad state of psychiatric care inside and outside of detention facilities.

I strongly believe that we have a massively flawed system of inpatient psychiatric care. Furthermore the legal framework for involuntary admission and long term treatment in inpatient facilities is also inadequate.

Jails and prisons should not be the largest (and sometimes only) inpatient mental healthcare providers in a county. You can't get well in a cell. The duration of inpatient psychiatric treatment should be driven by medical criteria, not by the severity of the crime you committed. Post-incarceration treatment must be available to break the cycle.

These facilities need to exist and community NIMBY sentiment as previously expressed here by my friend Blue Heron also contributes to the current situation. Concerns over proper policies and management in these facilities are legitimate. But what we need more urgently are constructive conversations intent on developing solutions.

Blue Heron said...

Wish I had your sense of altruism and moral compass Aferda. I would run for saint.

Jon Harwood said...

It is pretty absurd to have contemporary mental hospitals are the jails yet they house great numbers of mentally ill. I really hate that situation as it is so totally countertheraputic. Inpatient care is extremely difficult to access everywhere. Patients get medications a case manager with too many clients and a board and care home to sit in, smoke cigarettes and watch TV.
I did a small internet search and learned that the young lady who blinded herself is a Bipolar patient. Mixing Bipolar and Meth is an extremely dangerous combination. From the internet she looks like so many patients I worked with in the community. She has some significant achievements (nearly a BA) she has a major mental illness diagnosis and potentially acted impulsively-something common with Bipolar folks. Her claim to be depressed may well prove hard to dispute in court and she will make a very sympathetic litigant. While she may have some blemishes in her past, this sort of person, may well have a much better prognosis than the typical inmate of women's jails. Several things can make working in public sector mental health difficult. One is seeing the inadequacy of the services available another is the moral problem of being a part of a machine like that and another is working with people who may well be helped with readily available resources but are denied such help by a deeply damaged care system.

Blue Heron said...

One of my clients is a doctor who is the retired head of mental health for the San Diego County corrections system. He told me that what they did was just keep people as tranquilized as they could, it was like working with a bunch of zombies, but they were less inclined to hurt the staff.

The unanswered question in the bible is "Am I my brother's keeper?" What ultimate responsibility does society have to try to fix what ultimately may not be fixable? And when you are dealing with people who willingly and voluntarily took hard drugs and became incapacitated,and exacerbated their tenuous mental condition,how much of my property tax dollars do you think should be used to treat them?

Blue Heron said...

I think that what bothers me most is the sense of entitlement. You should have done this for me, rather than I did this to me.

Jon Harwood said...

The problem may be like a coin, with both sides locked together (mental illness/dope fiend entitlement). If a system is designed to help clients who are willing to help themselves you also automatically get manipulators and gamers. In the blinded lady case I don't know if the sense of entitlement comes from the client/patient or if it is a result of her lawyer phrasing things for the court system and newspapers.
I wish you could have a fly on the wall's view of jail mental health staff trying to resolve this impossible dilemma--It helps to explain why it is so hard to work there and why all of us were so angry all the time and often at each others throats.
Your friend the clinic director has it right. In the jails the meds flow very heavily. It makes the worker there wonder if she/he is a concentration camp matron or a clinician. I still am not sure about the answer. I am just grateful not to have to work there any longer.

Blue Heron said...

Well said, thank you Jon. I would not be emotionally equipped to handle working in that environment, I respect that you could.

Jerry Hall said...

My second job, at age 16, was as a dish washer at San Luis Rey Psychiatric hospital in Encintas. One evening the alarm sounded and the P A system announced there was code 3 (violent patient) in the male dorm. I was informed by the female chef, that all male staff, including myself, had to respond to assist with the patient. As I walked into the residential wing for men, two of the counselors were trying to restrain a well fit, 30 something guy who was 6'2" and 230 lbs. He wasn't having it and proceeded to hit one of the counselors in the head so hard that blood splattered on the wall. A couple more people arrived and we were able to strap him into chair, and a physician gave him a tranquilizer. I quit the next day. $7.36 an hour, even in 1976, wasn't enough to take those kind of head shots.