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October 2022

Community Safety and Mental Health

Community Safety and Mental Health

                                    Robert A. Levine, M.D.

The primary responsibility of any government is to provide safety for its citizens from external and internal threats. This obligation came to mind recently with an article in the New York Times Metropolitan Section. A forty year old white woman was walking her dog in Prospect Park in Brooklyn around six in the morning when she was attacked by a Black man with dreadlocks who had been searching through some garbage nearby. She had seen him before muttering to himself or cursing and tried to keep away from him. This time on August 3, he began screaming about immigrants taking over the park and tossed some urine in a container at her and her dog. She tried to run away but her eighty pound golden retriever mixture pulled towards the man in an attempt to protect her.

The man carried a heavy stave and he swung this at the woman but did not significantly injure her. However, he continued to swing the stave and beat the dog severely enough that he perforated his intestine, developed sepsis and subsequently died. The police did not appear to make a vigorous effort to locate the perpetrator and there was an argument on social media over whether they should. Some people said the man was obviously emotionally disturbed, which seems to be true, and should not be incarcerated but should be given psychiatric help instead. It became a racial issue with a number white people asking for him to be apprehended and put in jail or a psychiatric institution, and Blacks and progressives wanting him to remain free and treated as an outpatient. Another white woman recounted that she and her dog had been attacked in a similar fashion likely by the same man three years earlier. A number of people said that they did not want the police involved in this situation, going after a presumably homeless man who was mentally ill. They seemed more concerned with the attacker than with the safety of the community. A vigilante group was almost formed to provide safety in the park but never got off the ground. After two months, the police have still not caught the man who could be labeled as a violent sociopath who attacks women and dogs.

Whether one is white or Black, progressive or moderate, there should be agreement that a violent man who has attacked at least two women and dogs should not be allowed to roam the streets or a city park. This man should be apprehended by the police and locked up either in a psychiatric hospital or in jail, but he should not remain free to engage in violent behavior again. As mentioned previously, government’s primary responsibility is its citizens’ safety, notwithstanding any impingement on individual rights. Whether a person is violent because he or she is mentally ill or from an underprivileged background and lacked proper parental guidance does not matter. We can feel empathy and compassion for a violent sociopath, but he or she must be kept incarcerated as long as necessary to provide maximum safety for the public. This is merely common sense in order for society to function.

www.robertlevinebooks .com

Buy The Uninformed Voter on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


Community Safety and Mental Health

Community Safety and Mental Health

                                    Robert A. Levine, M.D.

The primary responsibility of any government is to provide safety for its citizens from external and internal threats. This obligation came to mind recently with an article in the New York Times Metropolitan Section. A forty year old white woman was walking her dog in Prospect Park in Brooklyn around six in the morning when she was attacked by a Black man with dreadlocks who had been searching through some garbage nearby. She had seen him before muttering to himself or cursing and tried to keep away from him. This time on August 3, he began screaming about immigrants taking over the park and tossed some urine in a container at her and her dog. She tried to run away but her eighty pound golden retriever mixture pulled towards the man in an attempt to protect her.

The man carried a heavy stave and he swung this at the woman but did not significantly injure her. However, he continued to swing the stave and beat the dog severely enough that he perforated his intestine, developed sepsis and subsequently died. The police did not appear to make a vigorous effort to locate the perpetrator and there was an argument on social media over whether they should. Some people said the man was obviously emotionally disturbed, which seems to be true, and should not be incarcerated but should be given psychiatric help instead. It became a racial issue with a number white people asking for him to be apprehended and put in jail or a psychiatric institution, and Blacks and progressives wanting him to remain free and treated as an outpatient. Another white woman recounted that she and her dog had been attacked in a similar fashion likely by the same man three years earlier. A number of people said that they did not want the police involved in this situation, going after a presumably homeless man who was mentally ill. They seemed more concerned with the attacker than with the safety of the community. A vigilante group was almost formed to provide safety in the park but never got off the ground. After two months, the police have still not caught the man who could be labeled as a violent sociopath who attacks women and dogs.

Whether one is white or Black, progressive or moderate, there should be agreement that a violent man who has attacked at least two women and dogs should not be allowed to roam the streets or a city park. This man should be apprehended by the police and locked up either in a psychiatric hospital or in jail, but he should not remain free to engage in violent behavior again. As mentioned previously, government’s primary responsibility is its citizens’ safety, notwithstanding any impingement on individual rights. Whether a person is violent because he or she is mentally ill or from an underprivileged background and lacked proper parental guidance does not matter. We can feel empathy and compassion for a violent sociopath, but he or she must be kept incarcerated as long as necessary to provide maximum safety for the public. This is merely common sense in order for society to function.

www.robertlevinebooks .com

Buy The Uninformed Voter on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


Community Safety and Mental Health

Community Safety and Mental Health    10-25-22

                                    Robert A. Levine, M.D.

The primary responsibility of any government is to provide safety for its citizens from external and internal threats. This obligation came to mind recently with an article in the New York Times Metropolitan Section. A forty year old white woman was walking her dog in Prospect Park in Brooklyn around six in the morning when she was attacked by a Black man with dreadlocks who had been searching through some garbage nearby. She had seen him before muttering to himself or cursing and tried to keep away from him. This time on August 3, he began screaming about immigrants taking over the park and tossed some urine in a container at her and her dog. She tried to run away but her eighty pound golden retriever mixture pulled towards the man in an attempt to protect her.

The man carried a heavy stave and he swung this at the woman but did not significantly injure her. However, he continued to swing the stave and beat the dog severely enough that he perforated his intestine, developed sepsis and subsequently died. The police did not appear to make a vigorous effort to locate the perpetrator and there was an argument on social media over whether they should. Some people said the man was obviously emotionally disturbed, which seems to be true, and should not be incarcerated but should be given psychiatric help instead. It became a racial issue with a number white people asking for him to be apprehended and put in jail or a psychiatric institution, and Blacks and progressives wanting him to remain free and treated as an outpatient. Another white woman recounted that she and her dog had been attacked in a similar fashion likely by the same man three years earlier. A number of people said that they did not want the police involved in this situation, going after a presumably homeless man who was mentally ill. They seemed more concerned with the attacker than with the safety of the community. A vigilante group was almost formed to provide safety in the park but never got off the ground. After two months, the police have still not caught the man who could be labeled as a violent sociopath who attacks women and dogs.

Whether one is white or Black, progressive or moderate, there should be agreement that a violent man who has attacked at least two women and dogs should not be allowed to roam the streets or a city park. This man should be apprehended by the police and locked up either in a psychiatric hospital or in jail, but he should not remain free to engage in violent behavior again. As mentioned previously, government’s primary responsibility is its citizens’ safety, notwithstanding any impingement on individual rights. Whether a person is violent because he or she is mentally ill or from an underprivileged background and lacked proper parental guidance does not matter. We can feel empathy and compassion for a violent sociopath, but he or she must be kept incarcerated as long as necessary to provide maximum safety for the public. This is merely common sense in order for society to function.

www.robertlevinebooks .com

Buy The Uninformed Voter on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


Why America's Life Expectancy Is Shrinking- Not Just Covid

Why Is America’s Life Expectancy Shrinking?  Not Just Covid

                                    Robert A. Levine, M.D.  10-18-22

Life expectancy of Americans has lagged that of other industrialized nation for decades, the differences ranging from one to seven years. In addition, Americans life expectancy dropped steeply in 2020 and 2021, the greatest two year drop in the last century. As of 2022, average life expectancy in Japan was 84.82 years, 87.8 for women and 81.7 for men. For the U.S. it was 78.2 years, 81.0 for women and 75.4 for men. U.S. life expectancy was below that of virtually every nation in Europe, and many in Asia including China. While some of this decline was due to deaths from Covid 19, the shrinkage in life expectancy was even greater than might have been anticipated.

The effect of Covid itself on America’s population was worse than every industrialized nation in the world, because of poor government planning and unwillingness of large segments of the population to take the disease seriously. The use of preventative measures such as masks, social distancing, vaccination and booster rates lagged those of other advanced countries. Verified deaths from Covid 19 in the U.S. have been reported at over one million, though the actual number was undoubtedly higher. Many deaths occurring at home or without testing were not ascribed to Covid though it was the likely cause. According to the World Health Organization in May, the U.S, had the highest number of reported Covid deaths in the world.

In addition to Covid deaths, America led the world in so called “deaths of despair;” those caused by drug overdoses and suicides. These deaths occurred mainly in people (particularly men) whose lives were of poor quality, in dead end jobs, with little education or hope for the future. As of 2020, the U.S. had the highest suicide rate of any advanced nation at 14 deaths per 100,000 people. This was twice the rate of the United Kingdom. Nearly 46,000 Americans died by suicide in 2020 with similar numbers in 2021 according to the CDC.

The CDC also reported there were over 104,000 deaths due to drug overdoses in the U.S. in the 12 month period ending in April 2021. These were mainly from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl or psychostimulants such as methamphetamine. Drug overdose was the leading cause of death in the U.S. for people under age fifty. Drug overdose deaths were far higher in the U.S. than in any other developed nation, almost 28 per 100,000 population. Though deaths from alcoholism is a worldwide problem, the CDC announced in April 2022 that alcohol consumption was responsible for 140,000 deaths in the U.S. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted that there were nearly 43,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2021 because of motor vehicle accidents. While the rates of accidents and deaths are higher in less industrialized nations, America again has the highest rate of motor vehicle accidents in the developed world by far, more than three to four times the rates in European nations.

Also in 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported there were close to 49,000 Americans killed by guns. These included all types of guns and in all kinds of situations. Again, there was no high income country that even approached that number of gun deaths. The rate of homicides caused by firearms in the U.S. is 23 times the rate in Australia, a nation thought to be similar to the U.S. in values.

In addition to the above statistics which show the United States as an outlier in the rates of death from Covid 19, suicides, drug overdoses, motor vehicle accidents and gun violence, there is also infant mortality and maternal mortality included in computing life expectancies. In America, infant mortality is 5.44 per 1000 live births, 50th of 195 countries. This death rate is considerably higher than virtually all nations with advanced economies. Some of the variation in infant mortality may be because of how it is defined by different nations. However, it is also true that prenatal care for low income women is worse in the United States compared to other developed nations. In fact, in comparison to ten other developed countries, the U.S. was found to have the highest maternal mortality rate, 17.2 deaths per 100,000 live births. In some advanced nations, the rate was only 3 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

Both in terms of infant and maternal mortality, the statistics in the United States reflect the poor quality of health care offered to many pregnant women, particularly those of low income. That the U.S. health care system is deficient in providing adequate health care in general is shown by excessive Covid deaths, maternal and perinatal deaths.

The drop in life expectancy in the United States may have economic repercussions in the future, with quality of life being impacted besides years of life. Politicians and CEOs in the United States should take notice.


The Line Between Nationalism and Facsism

The Line Between Nationalism and Fascism

                                                Robert A. Levine  10-5-22

Right-wing nationalism and tribalism is a growing threat to democracies globally, with the boundary between nationalism and fascism often unclear. A number of supposed democracies are nationalist states verging on fascism. In many of these nations, nationalists were elected by popular vote and the nationalist leaders subsequently transformed the governments into fascistic polities under the control of a supreme leader. Included among these nations are Turkey led by Recep Erdogan, Hungary controlled by Victor Orban and India dominated by Narendra Modi. In addition, however, newly elected right-wing nationalist parties and leaders place Italy and Sweden at risk. Iran may perhaps also be considered a religious fascistic state.

Nationalist rule gives members of a particular ethnic, tribal, racial or religious group a preferred status in a state, conferring a lesser status among other individuals. Blood and soil are the defining characteristics of nationalistic groups. In other words, they are people who share the same blood as other members of the clan and perhaps have shed their blood in defense of the nation. They and their ancestors tilled the same soil and lived in the same land through the ages. However, this is often a myth as there is often mixing of the genes of different groups and ethnic communities are generally not pure blooded.

As nationalistic precepts gain in strength, a nation tends to become more fascistic and authoritarian, usually directed by a single man and the political party he controls. People who do not belong to the select ethnic group may not have the same privileges or prerogatives as those who are considered to have the same national origin and usually belief in the same religion. Fascists relegate outsiders to second class citizenship. In some fascist states, members of different ethnic groups were expelled or killed by the ruling ethnic group as was seen in Nazi Germany.

Immigrants are looked down upon by members of the ruling party and the nationalistic or fascistic state. In fact, many of these nations try or actually exclude immigrants or asylum seekers, especially if they are of a different race or religion. They do not wish to dilute the purity of their ethnic group or their nation. Nationalists and fascists often act in ways that are against their economic interests by not permitting immigrants into their countries when unemployment is low and many industries need more workers.

In the United States, right-wing political groups and Christian nationalists are against immigration even though workers are badly needed. Virtually all advanced nations have low birth rates and are not replacing their populations, making immigrants vital to care for and support the aged and take jobs that are now going begging. Population declines are present not only in the U.S. and Europe but also in Japan, Korea and China.

The line drawn between nationalism and fascism is not clear cut. Submission to an authoritarian leader who determines those who are acceptable members of a nationalistic society and places all other people beneath them is one way of defining fascism. Fascists tend to distort history to serve their own version of events. Fascism also places nation and race above the individual and subsumes individual rights in favor of the nation and the authoritarian leader. One can see that nationalism and fascism are very close in ideology and actions, and in fact labeling may just be a matter of degree.

www.robertlevinebooks.com

Buy The Uninformed Voter on Amazon or Barnes and Noble