Steve's Blog of the Bizarre

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Worrying trend - UK to lock up people deemed potential threat

In response, it appears, to the shooting dead by the police of a man brandishing a sword on the A63 near Hull and the conviction and indefinite detention under the Mental Health Act of a schizophrenic who helped beat a man to death, there has been a call to reform mental health plan. The proposed reforms in the draft Mental Health Bill would effectively allow the detention of mental health patients, specifically those with untreatable multiple personality disorders, before they commit any crimes, with compulsory treatment.

As my understanding of the British justice system was 'innocent until proven guilty' to the satisfaction of a jury in a fair trial, this is a worrying development, especially as it follows on from the controversy over arrests without trial of terrorism suspects. Both the anti-terrorism and mental health bills have been strongly opposed on this basis, but where civil liberties should be curbed is an important question. Clearly there must be a line where the rights of the individual give way to the rights of society as a whole, but this would hardly be the first time that a vulnerable minority has been locked up due to the fears of the powerful majority - in the past week we have also heard plans from the Conservatives saying that if they get into power in the forthcoming election they would crack down on travellers (see also "Blurred history of gypsy terms") staying on illegal sites - this being the party that withdrew the law obliging local councils to provide suitable legal sites for them when they last were in power - and are claiming that this policy is not racist. So that just leaves the jews, the elderly, homosexuals, those who don't have blonde hair - concentration camps have already been mentioned in relation to these sorts of stories.

Perhaps we should look at another dangerous group to target: again we can see in the USA what a terrible potential threat school children are with another school shooting: "Teenage gunman kills nine in US". Children are clearly a potential threat and as such I suggest new legislation to ensure that these dangerous threats to society are contained - lock up all children between the age of 4 and 18 (why stop there - those in their late teens and early twenties could also be dangerous - incidentally this would remove the problem of children having half the amount spent on their food as on prisoners'). Or perhaps guns should just be outlawed. Nah. Too obvious.


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