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Compassion vs Safety: Facing Violent Mental Illness in a Neighbor

By       Message Kari Ann Owen     Permalink
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The following letter was written by a disabled senior to the foremost forensic psychiatrist in the United States. It is hoped that the safety of the families and neighbors of the violent mentally ill in our cities will speak to the article's concerns, almost fifty years after de-institutionalization.

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February 20, 2016

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Dear Dr. D":

At the present time, I am preparing to move in order to leave a situation made unsafe by a female neighbor who came within a hair's breath of a stalking violation against me. Am trying to be brave and strong and a competent adult, but I love where I live and the grief and disappointment are agonizing.

At this time I am very bitter, and not proud of it, at the laws which protect the criminal mentally ill, like my neighbor. You know more about this than me, but to see the police legally prevented from taking her to a hospital for observation is ghastly, and a stark betrayal of my right to a safe environment -- one all people should have. She has a paranoid thought disorder with obsessive elements, and has no interest in the effects of her behavior. She thinks I am evil incarnate.

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Many years ago, I developed an extensive book proposal on the subject of sex addiction and recovery, and allied subjects like the immensely difficult one of sexual ethics in our incredibly unstable society. Through your work and much new research on the brain and early abuse, I now understand that it is quite unusual for a highly damaged person to relinquish their defenses enough to seek and accept therapeutic help". if they are lucky enough to afford it.

I had to dedicate my life to healing above all because of terrible damage from multiple perpetrators in childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. The results have been a beautiful marriage, my Ph.D., a writing career and a second career as a therapeutic horse back riding instructor. I am also forty years clean and sober.

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I am a produced playwright,published essayist and doctoral level scholar in religion and literature, living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am also the widow of Silas S. Warner, creator of the original "Castle Wolfenstein".

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Compassion vs Safety: Facing Violent Mental Illness in a Neighbor