Moldilocks and Muh Mental Health

A homeless Goldilocks in Portland is serially breaking into homes to sack out and stuff.

“She started by going up to my neighbor two doors down and urinating on their porch, and then she came directly over to my house, came in, crawled up into the bed and that whole thing happened,” said Smith. “They actually found her five minutes later around the corner trying to break into somebody else’s house. So, what happens the next time that she breaks into somebody’s house, and they have a gun?”

Zinser was taken into custody for first-degree burglary and harassment charges, however, she was released from jail the next day on “no complaint.”

Despite having no criminal convictions, Zinser has been arrested multiple times in the past for criminal trespassing, harassment, and theft. Court documents reveal she has failed to appear in court 11 times before.

Well what do they expect?  The city doesn’t want to let her crash at their place either.  The excellent question about what happens when she alarms the wrong person at the wrong time begs another: how many of our homeless fatalities might be attributed to lax law enforcement?

“Mental health” as a political issue has long been one vector of attack for police abolitionists in Portland looking to dismantle traditional law enforcement.  Their slogan “Mental Health is Not a Crime” politicizes mental illness by charging society with criminalizing it (and commits a crime against syntax in the process).  Like everything else the progressive left takes up it cannot be allowed to remain a mere public health issue; it must be a question of “justice” and it must condemn American society in toto.  Fit into the progressive template mental illness becomes another oppressed identity group in need of advocacy.  First order of business is normalization: the saying isn’t “Mental Illness is Not a Crime”.  That the radicals have more than their share of the mentally unstable and seem to know, even fetishize it, explains a lot.  For the definitely rational and powerful people ultimately driving this growing front in the war on the West those suffering from “mental health” represent something like a growth industry.

The same people driving your children insane stand ready to collect them at the other end, where they will hold their troubled heads to their breasts and stroke their purple hair, promising to make it all better.

In 2014 Oregon politicians asked Eric Holder’s Justice Department to initiate a pattern-and-practice investigation with the purpose of saddling the Portland Police Bureau with a consent decree regulating police encounters with the mentally ill.  Activists had rallied after an unstable man was shot and killed by police; our Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Congressman Earl Blumenhaur, even the Police Bureau’s chief all wrote the DOJ requesting the investigation.

I genuinely believe the activist-political complex and its ally the Obama Administration would have preferred to base the sham on the PPB’s treatment of Black! and brown suspects–but we have a lot more crazies than Blacks! and in 2014 Blacks! were not as sacralized as now (indeed, back then I was still writing “black” instead of the properly reverential and celebratory Black!; I apologize).

This kabuki of lefties lobbying Eric and Barry’s radical and racial DOJ to bring the hammer down on such as local police played out in other progressive cities and returned with Biden in 2020.  Of course any Department of Justice investigation now ensures an institution will soon labor under a costly “equity” heavy consent decree: here’s Holder’s shakedown of a Portland Hospital.

In 2014 the Police Bureau was implementing the consent decree’s changes before the document was signed.  The new practices could be seen in police encounters with mentally unstable people on the street, with police taking noticeably more care and time to talk people down.  But all that was swept away with 2020’s campaign of BLM rioting and subsequent reduction in police services; the mentally ill, like criminal suspects, are engaged far less often by police now.

This must suit the abolitionists fine; the last thing they want is for police to accommodate their demands.  It’s the worst that can happen, as is anything improving the image of police in the public eye.  Bad police are good politics for the anarchist left.

(The other night I saw police drive past a man sitting in the middle of the street, the driving officer smiling and shaking his head, leaving his removal first to a woman who tried shouting him away–she succeeded briefly, but the man returned soon to sitting Indian-style in the middle of 3rd Avenue–then to the city’s unarmed polo-wearing security guards of the Community Safety Team; three of them were standing passively receiving the man’s shouted abuse–but from the sidewalk–as I left.)

The Police Bureau was set to exit 2014’s consent decree in–wouldn’t you know it–2020, when the same trio of Wyden, Merkley and Blumenhaur wrote asking the incoming Biden Administration to consider keeping it in place, because of the PPB’s treatment of BLM rioters.  What the PPB’s riot control measures had to do with mental illness is obvious, but not at all what they meant: BLM rioters are violently mentally ill.  But the determination of these responsible authorities was: the cops are going crazy! The decree remained in place.

Meanwhile normal people here (we do have some left; who else is going to keep the lights on?) are still normal enough to begin recoiling at our “new normal”.  The story of the serial sleeper drew enough attention to force woke DA Mike Schmidt to comment.  He threw mental health court presiding judge Nan Waller off the troika, mentioning her by name, before sullenly declaring he would comment no further.

After initially declining to comment, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office now tells KOIN 6 that Zinser’s “lack of participation in treatment” warrants her case to be reviewed by their Strategic Prosecution Unit.

The DA’s Office’s full statement can be read below:

Based on recent federal court rulings and recent history with this defendant having similar cases dismissed due to a lack of participation in treatment and the court’s inability to compel the defendant to participate in treatment, we had initial concerns about whether we could proceed with this case at this time. The lack of mental health resources in our community is unacceptable when coupled with the inability to compel unadjudicated defendants to engage in available treatment options. The current crisis of capacity at the Oregon State Hospital puts the safety of our community, and the most vulnerable persons in our community, at risk. In this particular case, the accused had recently spent months at the Oregon State Hospital during which time the staff there was unable to restore her ability to aid and assist her court appointed lawyer. She was then ordered to engage in treatment in the community, but she did not appear for her evaluation and she left the treatment facility. Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Nan Waller dismissed the previous charges pending against her in early August. Our Strategic Prosecution Unit is reviewing this case and the previously dismissed cases to determine whether we are able to proceed with prosecution. Due to the ongoing process, MCDA will not be making further comments on this issue.”

28-year veteran Nan Waller has in fact done a lot to keep the mentally ill on the streets.  She was the subject of a puff piece in Forbes earlier this year:

After 28 years of service, Judge Nan Waller became the presiding judge over the mental health court as well as managing the competency to stand trial docket in Multnomah County, Oregon. She is also co-chair of the Oregon Chief Justice’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council and is a member of the National Judicial Task Force, which examines the State court’s response to mental illness.

She wants to change the way things are done in the legal system…

“What seems like a good idea on paper can be a disaster in practice,” said Judge Waller.

“In the early 20th century, we sent anyone with mental illness to an institution, out of sight, out of mind. That created a national stigma and mental illness.

Then new policies were issued in the 1980s and then we closed the large institutions, which was well-meaning and good-intentioned, but no one considered the big picture. There was nowhere for these individuals to go. If we closed the institutions, we needed to have community-based services for persons with mental illness, in order to be successful and live their best life possible, but the community services were not available. What then happened, was a shift of persons with mental illness to our jails, to the streets, living under bridges and along highways – hiding in plain sight. People didn’t want to see mental illness. This, coupled with the re-routing of individuals into the justice system, has further increased the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness.

While letting them wander free among us has totally de-stigmatized the mentally ill.

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