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Therefore the inebriate has his rights; but they are the rights of an occasional madman, however long and lucid his intervals may be ; and no man knows this better than himself. He knows that, under certain distracting circumstances of provocation or temptation, he may first or last almost certainly become an offence, if not a fear, to himself and others, even when at large on his honorable parole, of which, at wiser times, when seated at the feet of the Gamaliel of his own prudence and duty, he is so tenderly jealous. Then the rude hand of the law, insensible to sentiment and scornful of psychological analyses, will be laid upon him, a policeman’s coarse paw shall bruise the raw of his fierce sensitiveness. Just there his rights begin, and he naturally turns for them to the Asylum, which, as a mere matter of money not less than of morals, owes him a rescue; for she is his guardian under bonds, and has accepted in respect of him, for a consideration, certain positive responsibilities and obligations.• Whether he can or cannot be trusted beyond bounds, is a question for the discretion of those having him in moral and medical charge, – a nice question, I grant, its safe decision implying the possession of a rare and fine combination of experience with tact ; and occasional errors of judgment are inevitable. But it is certain the decision does not rest with him, nor is he responsible for the consequences of a blunder. His Asylum owes it to his friends, as well as to himself, to stand between him and the police, and to demand that he be restored, the moment his arrest becomes necessary, to the custody of his appointed guardian and physician, the superintendent, whose demand should be a habeas corpus in this matter, – all charges to be paid by the Asylum, and collected from the patient. Just there his rights cease; he certainly has no right, in reason or feeling, to complain of the preventive punishment he may receive. But if he is not in an Asylum for this very protection, for what, in the name of common sense and business is he there? A passage from the Report will follow.
But if he is not in an Asylum for this very protection, for what, in the name of common sense and business is he there?
What a great line is this, Wally…
To say this man did not have lucid moments, indeed profound moments of incredibly penetrating understanding of, not only the inebriate himself, but also of those fellow actors within and around the periphery of this drama (the lawmen, doctors, the courts, etc.,) would be to underestimate him altogether…. Another great read…
Thank You, Wally…!
Waldo "Wally" Tomosky said:
Carolyn, He just never stops amazing us does he? With his background he must have been a paying guest; however, others obviously were not and may have been committed. His empathy for them is obviously not overridden by his status. Thanks for enjoying the story, it makes my day. Wally