The drawback to an Underground Railroad is lack of public sympathy or conscience where forced treatment and so-called mental illness are concerned.
Slavery was abhorrent to much of the public, particularly Quakers and Methodists. Mental health treatment is not abhorrent to a broad segment of the "normal" population. It is perceived as a means of controlling violence and removing potentially threatening elements from mainstream society, whether that is factual or not. In actual practice, most mental health treatment serves to build bureaucracy, create jobs for mental health professionals and their staff, provide a pool of vulnerable research subjects and give pseudoauthorities opportunities to exert undue social control.
An Underground Railroad is a fine idea. It is desperately needed. As Peter Kramer, author of "Listening to Prozac" says, "Safety first. Then insight." Safety and support are not available because mental patients are widely perceived to be dangerous, violent, disruptive and generally unwholesome.
To start an Underground Railroad would mean beating the streets to solicit support from mainstream organizations and groups with the resources to set up an underground. It would also mean appealing to people willing to indulge in civil disobedience. In a toxic society of xenophobes and conformists, this is easily said and hard to do. Government has become much more intrusive and pervasive since the mid-18th century, and most citizens are not alarmed by the slow but sure creep toward a police state.
I'm glad to see people on this list have been talking about an "Underground Railroad" for our people.
I have been made aware of information about a very loose-net service offered by a very few people who already have an "Underground Railroad" of sorts for some psychiatric survivors in the USA: specifically, for certain non-violent people currently under coercion or court order to take their psychiatric drugs on an OUTPATIENT BASIS.
For certain of these individuals (check with reliable legal sources) it is now LEGAL for them to simply "hop on the bus Gus" and get to a new jurisdiction, where that court order does not apply. This would not apply to someone in the criminal system, under probation, etc.
There is *no* extradiction back to their original locality, for *certain* individuals in this circumstance!!!!
As a survivor of forced psychiatric drugs myself back in the 1970's, believe me -- if I were on a court-ordered outpatient Haldol injection I would "hop on the bus" so fast that even with my "neuroleptic shuffle" you'd all be going, "hey where's Dave?" I'd probably be pulling up in front of one of your houses going, "help!"
Unfortunately, fanatic authoritarian fascists such as E. Fuller Torrey are well aware of the fact that WALLS do not confine people under outpatient commitment. In his most recent book, he calls for passing national laws requiring such extradition. But at this time, certain individuals are FREE to LEAVE their area (again, check this out with trusted legal folks first).
I have actual knowledge of at least three people utilizing such an underground railroad. One of them left just hours before the police *kicked* down his door (his roommate reported later) ready to psychiatrize him... they were verily disappointed. He was hanging out in a beautiful farm more than a thousand miles away.
THERE ARE SEVERAL CHALLENGING THINGS ABOUT AN UNDERGROUND RAILROAD SUCH AS THIS.
One of them is that to be responsible, an individual who is under intense distress and oppression, needs to have a bunch of support on the other end: to get their benefits, for food, shelter, security, emotional support, legal assistance, etc.
For instance, if they have an addiction to recreational drugs, and simply move, I've seen such an individual basically "turn themselves in" eventually to the system. This person "red flagged" themselves out of desperation (leaping from a tree and surprising a pedestrian... not really great underground railroad activity, but I think some of you might recognize this kind of behavior!).
To sum up, like any worthy project, it often takes commitment of heart, mind, hand, blood, sweat, tears and a strong community of people. IT CAN BE DONE.
I am aware of a national media reporter who has done work on our movement, and who is interested in following such a person's escape. I think for the willing activist, this may be one of the values of an "underground railroad": it couldn't help everyone, but it could dramatically "break the silence" with the public about the fascist murderous brain-damaging addictive forced poisionings which are increasing in the psychiatric system.
In Nazi Germany, it's said that occasionally there would be Germans -- no one could predict who -- who for some reason came forward and HELPED OUT those trying to escape concentration camps. Somehow, humanity has folks who help out....
Note that in Europe there are several "Run-Away" houses. These are set up for people trying to get OUT of the battery and oppression and degradation and dehumanization in the current bizarre corporate "mental health" system. It is modeled on similar houses for women trying to get away from domestic abuse. I heard of such houses in Germany and other countries, and I believe there's a book about them, but I have not heard more.
Sincerely in support,
David Oaks, co-coordinator
Support Coalition International
454 Willamette, Suite 216
PO Box 11284
Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA
ph: (541) 345-9106 fax: (541) 345-3737
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