For as long as we have had some kind of mental health system, women who “behave incorrectly” have been ordered to undergo its treatments. At one time or another, feminists, suffragists, menopausal women, and women who question authority in any way have been sent to institutions so that they could recieve “help.” The latest woman to get such help is Carol Fisher of Cleveland. Fisher is on the staff of Revolution Books, and on January 28, while she was putting Bush Step Down posters on telephone polls in Cleveland Heights, she was ordered by a police officer to take them down or face a fine. When she complied, she was asked for her ID, which she did not have on her. He then grabbed her by the arm, pushed her against a store window, and knocked her face down onto the sidewalk. He was joined by another officer, and they both pressed their feet against her back until she could not breathe. Her chin was pressed down into the concrete; Fisher has osteoradionecrosis in her jaw from radiation treatments for cancer.
Fisher was handcuffed and shackled. During this time, Fisher yelled out to everyone who passed what the posters were about. One of the police officers then told her, Fisher says, to “Shut up or I will kill you! I am sick of this anti-Bush shit! You are definitely going to the psyche ward.
… As part of the pre-sentencing procedure, the judge, Timothy McGinty, had Fisher undergo a state psychological exam. He had already surmised publicly that Fisher must be mentally unstable to resist arrest. McGinty then declared her “delusional,” and on May 9, ordered her to be incarcerated in a psychiatric unit of the Cuyahoga County Jail in downtown Cleveland, where she now sits and waits; she could face a three-year prison sentence. According to Mark Crispin Miller, who has spoken with Fisher by telephone, Fisher has also been placed on suicide watch, has had her eyeglasses taken from her, and–if she refuses to take the psych exam–she will be sent to North Coast Mental Institute for a 20-day evaluation.
Sound far fetched? Let’s review.
There’s the student who was questioned by secret service because of her anti-bush poster.
There’s the guy whose anti-war remarks at the gym earned him a similar Q&A session.
There’s the guy who got questioned about his reading material after a fellow customer in a coffee shop reported him to authorities for having a “left wing editorial” tucked under his arm.
There’s the parents who got a visit from the police for “teaching Anti-American values” to their child.
There’s the teacher who was ordered never to mention the word “peace” in the classroom again, and was later fired for it.
There’s the VA nurse who was fired for sedition after criticizing Bush in a letter to the editor.
To all of the above, gleeful wingnuts have been heard to say that as long as they’re not locking anybody up there’s nothing to worry about, and people are being alarmist over a few innocent questions.
Now it looks like maybe the are locking people up. And maybe that knock at the door will mean they’re coming to take you away.