Thursday, April 15, 2021

Being Sick is Not a Crime

I feel like I have touched on some aspects of legal issues and criminal defense on this blog at some point in the past, but I know it is not something that I preach on regularly. However I feel compelled to stand on my soapbox for a moment, so bear with me.

It is always possible to be falsely accused of a crime, and it is important to seek dependable legal counsel if that should happen. However, I am more focused on specific cases of baseless accusations. There are times when individuals make an illegitimate claim, and then there is the issue of a whole system being prejudice toward certain groups, painting them as criminals simply for existing.

One of the most prime examples of this is the mentally ill. Those with mental illnesses often end up in situations that are entirely preventable if they had access to the right care and understanding for their condition, which, make no mistake, is a real, physical illness that can almost always be seen on brain scans. Even when it may not be visible, it is always still valid.

Despite having real illness that deserve treatment and accommodations, they are usually left to fail by the system and sometimes by their own families due to lack of understanding. Being in that situation leads to other problems, like difficulty maintaining employment, which begets homelessness or possible risk of starvation, etc. This can necessitate 'crimes' such as theft or vagrancy.

Still the real crime is leaving these people without support and then acting like they are the ones who have failed society. Being sick is not a crime. No one attacks cancer patients, saying if they "just tried harder" they could overcome their medical condition. You'd never tell someone with paraplegia to "stop making excuses and just walk". Yet those with mental illness are always told to "just get over it" "try harder", etc. It's ableism.

I don't meant to rant or anything, but I have seen these things happen on a global scale and up close in personal experiences and it is never okay. There needs to be more ways to fight these kinds of things, and more people willing to admit that it is happening and that it is wrong.

I am always glad to see when others understand this issue. I noticed a tab while on the Mike G Law website that addresses mental health and substance abuse issues. Addiction is also a genuine form of illness, though too many people stigmatize it and deny that fact.

If you or a loved one is being charged with a crime over charges connected to mental health or addiction related matters, I urge you to seek out an attorney that will understand how that changes the situation and fight to defend you.

Don't forget to defend yourself and the people you love, too, though. When someone has mental health or addiction struggles, it can be very strenuous on your relationship with them, but remember that they are sick, and they can't just choose not to be sick. No one would chose to have such struggles and they are hurting to. Use compassion, always. BEING SICK IS NEVER A CRIME.

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