Patterico's Pontifications

8/21/2012

Government Involuntarily Detains Former Marine for Facebook Post About a “Coming Revolution”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am

Scary, no?

A former Marine involuntarily detained for psychiatric evaluation for posting strident anti-government messages on Facebook has received an outpouring of support from people who say authorities are trampling on his First Amendment rights.

Brandon J. Raub, 26, has been in custody since FBI, Secret Service agents and police in Virginia’s Chesterfield County questioned him Thursday evening about what they said were ominous posts talking about a coming revolution. In one message earlier this month according to authorities, Raub wrote: “Sharpen my axe; I’m here to sever heads.”

Police — acting under a state law that allows emergency, temporary psychiatric commitments upon the recommendation of a mental health professional — took Raub to the John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell. He was not charged with any crime.

The scariest part: you’re not entitled to the sorts of protections you think you’re entitled to when detained, because you’re not being charged in criminal court:

Raub’s supporters characterized the detention as an arrest, complaining he was handcuffed and whisked away in a police cruiser without being served a warrant or read his rights. But authorities say it wasn’t an arrest because Raub doesn’t face criminal charges.

I haven’t seen the messages that led to the commitment, but it doesn’t take a genius to see the potential for abuse here. When the government has the ability to throw you in custody because you have made “ominous posts talking about a coming revolution,” there is something really wrong going on. Plenty of tea party activists speak of the possibility of an upcoming civil war, or the need for revolution. Perhaps some of these calls are literal, but far more often they are metaphorical: designed to convey the need for a complete upheaval of a corrupt government, root and branch.

As for committing someone because they wrote: “Sharpen my axe; I’m here to sever heads” — well, one wonders if we are going to throw bloggers in custody because they adopt as their slogan Mencken’s phrase:

Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.

If government can do that, then Obama may call the men with the tight white coats to arrange a spot in the loony bin for that Ace of Spades guy. (Not only is Ace clearly dangerous, but he’s making good points about Obama in a funny and convincing way. We can let him go after the election.)

Is it evidence of your dangerousness when you talk about your Second Amendment rights? Perhaps the government will consider you dangerous if you quote Jefferson, saying: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Do you want to give government the power to make these decisions?

Now, I can understand why government might legitimately want this power. After all, we have seen shootings where the perpetrators were showing signs of bizarre behavior beforehand. And Pete Earley’s book Crazy persuasively makes the case for loosening standards for involuntary commitment, in situations where a family and long-time doctors know that a relative is mentally ill, but the illness prevents the patient from seeking the help he needs.

But there is a difference between allowing loved ones and long-time doctors to make the case that a mentally ill man can benefit from an involuntary commitment, and allowing the government to make a long-distance diagnosis based on comments on the Internet.

Now, in most cases government employees are simply trying to prevent tragedies and protect the public. But the potential for real abuse is there. Let me give you a real-life example of government using this power for ill. The program This American Life had a segment about a Serpico-style police whistleblower who recorded everything at his job:

For 17 months, New York police officer Adrian Schoolcraft recorded himself and his fellow officers on the job, including their supervisors ordering them to do all sorts of things that police aren’t supposed to do. For example, downgrading real crimes into lesser ones, so they wouldn’t show up in the crime statistics and make their precinct look bad.

The segment, which you can listen to here, ended with an encounter in which a very high-ranking official from NYPD showed up at Schoolcraft’s home with a team of police officers, to involuntarily commit Schoolcraft because (they said) he had left work that day without permission. (He says he told supervisors he felt ill.) They seized Schoolcraft’s recording device, which (in addition to discrediting Schoolcraft) was the real reason for the commitment. But unknown to the officers, Schoolcraft had another recorder running on the shelf. You can listen to that encounter at the link.

Wouldn’t Obama love to have the ability to declare the Fast and Furious whistleblowers crazy and toss them in a sanitarium?

Interestingly, the first segment of that show details a Raub-like episode in which a loudmouth gets a visit from police and a criminal charge after he quotes Tyler Durden on Facebook after a nasty encounter with an Apple employee. The whole episode is worth your time.

If the government can twist your words because it doesn’t like your message, and involuntarily commit you by convincing a single judge you are dangerous, then all of our liberties are at risk.

60 Responses to “Government Involuntarily Detains Former Marine for Facebook Post About a “Coming Revolution””

  1. when you have a corrupt fascist as your attorney general there’s simply no reason for the piggy piggy union whore cops to behave as if they were at all likely to ever be held accountable

    those ones need a firm pimp hand at the best of times

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  2. I think its fairly safe to say that most of the Framers would be seen as dangerous ideologues today; by BOTH parties!

    Libertarian Advocate (c660ae)

  3. Note that they “couldn’t” do anything about the lunatic who shot up the theater in Aurora — despite his doctor warning the police. But this guy…

    Rob Crawford (e6f27f)

  4. All this supports is my belief in the bias, bigotry that Liberals have against military service. They view them as scare so even words (which other lunatics mutter without consequence) are viewed hysterically. Also supports the CYA mindset among Gov.t folks.

    A rapper does it to good beats and they get interviews by the pool in Miami and a video.

    Rodney King's Spirit (aeda60)

  5. I’m seeing more and more similarities between Obama and Putin. Only missing the competence thing.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  6. How many monday morning quarterbacks argue that the various recent mass murderers should have been detained, evaluated, and committed?

    Better, I think, for concealed carry to be encouraged and people attempting to shoot up places be killed on the spot instead of sent to the rubber room for life.

    Phillep Harding (1b8b26)

  7. Patrick, I live in Richmond as you know. This guy is bona fide crazee. (His mother is a little off, too.

    He’s on the schizophrenic spectrum, and you are familiar with the type – 9-11 truther paranoia &c. T law was not abused here. This is prudent crazy person control, vs. gun control, and he’s not having his rights trampled. AT ALL. His psych evaluation is mandatory, and perhaps incovenient to someone with little insight into their own disease, but the detention is temporary and his not only detention MUST be reviewed and supported by doctors with input from family, but unless he continues to relate violent plans for himself or others, he will be un-detained in very short order.

    SarahW (b0e533)

  8. I accidentally some words. Hope you can make it out what I said.

    SarahW (b0e533)

  9. he didn’t have a shirt on when they arrested him

    that’s just never a good sign

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  10. Since this was an involuntary commitment (he was in handcuffs), if it was reported to NICS (National Insta-Check System), there is a very high probability that his 2nd-Amendment Rights are in jeopardy.
    I know of a gun-owner here in CA who had a purchase at his local gun-store declined recently (I have seen the paperwork for CA DoJ to the store) for an incident 30-years ago where he was arrested for possession of a controlled substance (unspecified) which he told the officers was No-Doze, and which subsequently was determined to be No-Doze, and he was released with out charges.
    This “involuntary commitment” will live in the system forever, regardless of any future determination in favor of the individual, and at some point will come back to bite him.
    And, since individual “criminal justice” actors have sovereign immunity for virtually all of their actions, there is no restraint upon those actions, or future recourse for the individual who has been harmed.

    AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (b8ab92)

  11. The trick to circumventing detention and a trip to the Gulag is to merely preach in favor of Jihad, Sharia Law, and the eradication of Israel.

    That way, Obama and Eric Holder will leave you alone.

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  12. _____________________________________________

    The absurd irony in all this is juxtaposing the case of Brandon Raub against the case of Major Nidal Hasan. So I’m really not being sarcastic when I muse that Raub perhaps would have gotten more slack from the government (including no less than the US military) if he were a devout Muslim.

    Mark (b175ab)

  13. ES, I’ve got a soap-box in Crown Heights to sell you.

    AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (b8ab92)

  14. _____________________________________________

    For example, downgrading real crimes into lesser ones, so they wouldn’t show up in the crime statistics and make their precinct look bad.

    I’ve sometimes wondered if the supposedly lower crime rates reported by certain cities, including New York City, have been tinkered and toyed with. IOW, while the amount of crime may be lower right now compared with over 10 to 20 years ago, it may not be down as much as claimed.

    Mark (b175ab)

  15. Hey, Mark, did you see this over at Insty:
    Study: Red states more charitable.@ 7:50am.
    Here’s the link to Politico….
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/79888.html

    AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (b8ab92)

  16. SarahW’s comments should reassure the nervous Nellies, shouldn’t they?

    Pious Agnostic (7c3d5b)

  17. ________________________________________________

    Study: Red states more charitable.@ 7:50am.

    AD, I saw coverage of that study in the LA Times. The writer of the article resisted mentioning the political angle and noted the difference between red and blue states only at the end of his piece. You can be quite sure his type of reaction is pervasive throughout the media, and among the crowd in general that likes to think of itself as so compassionate, loving and generous.

    Mark (b175ab)

  18. Sometimes people don’t have family or long time doctors willing or able to make the call. The best defense against abuse is a strong free press and free speech, sunlight laws regarding detainment and law enforcement, and protections and recourse for those affected. I do think anyone forcibly detained when they have committed no crime should have at least the same rights as someone suspected of committing crime, of course.

    When Ace finally gets detained, it will be for the hobo hunting or excruciatingly long movie reviews, not Mencken quotes.

    MostlyRight (4f90a6)

  19. happyfoots wrote:

    he didn’t have a shirt on when they arrested him

    that’s just never a good sign

    It is if the suspect is a woman! :)

    The sexist Dana (3e4784)

  20. for certain values of woman I guess

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  21. happyfoots wrote:
    he didn’t have a shirt on when they arrested him
    that’s just never a good sign

    It is if the suspect is a woman!
    Comment by The sexist Dana — 8/21/2012 @ 9:50 am

    – This happened in Virginny, NOT West Virginny.

    Icy (8445db)

  22. It sure sounds like Mr. Raub was eager to start his new job at the chicken farm!

    Icy (8445db)

  23. Where are the brave police officers refusing orders to make these trumped up arrests?

    Fred Z (85f51b)

  24. Icy, I lived in Virginny fer awhile, and Kentucky, too, and passed through West Virginny many times, and I can tell you, there ain’t nothin’ finer than a cute woman wearin’ her bib overalls with no shirt underneath.

    ‘Specially if one of the straps is undone.

    The Southern Dana (3e4784)

  25. I jus’ loves that car-washin’ scene in “Cool Hand Luke”!

    AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (b8ab92)

  26. I accidentally some words. Hope you can make it out what I said.

    Comment by SarahW — 8/21/2012 @ 8:44 am

    Oh you used it! I accidentally some love.

    Ro (5da4a0)

  27. > Do you want to give government the power to make these decisions?

    No, not at all.

    Which is why I was strongly opposed to the policy decisions taken over the last decade in which the executive claimed the authority to hold someone indefinitely, without charging them with a crime, under the theory that they were a terrorist and therefore presented a threat to national security.

    The Secret Service should be required by law to make its case for holding this man to a judge or release him.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  28. there once was a country, that was widely feared and scorned here, that routinely had it’s citizens arrested and placed in mental institutions for no discernible reason other than they made anti government comments.

    I know it had four initials.

    What was it . . .?

    jcw46 (b4329c)

  29. 28- CCCP!

    AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (b8ab92)

  30. #29 – if that isn’t just the cyrilliest answer I have seen on here in a long time !

    Alasdair (81fcf1)

  31. Someone touched on this already, but let me second the thought, “where are the cops who won’t just follow orders?”

    And Sarah, last I checked, crazy people still had the right to freely speak their minds. Should they institutionalize Ted Nugent for saying that republicans need to ride into battle and chop their damn heads off? Because that’s just crazy talk. Are you volunteering to be the arbiter of what is or isn’t “crazy?” Are you willing to let Janet “The System Worked” Neopolitanicecream decide what form of speech is acceptable?

    And I seem to remember a time when being a truther who planned te violent overthrow of the US government got you the Green Jobs Czar title, and get paid thousands of dollars for speaking…

    The point is, this is America. We’re supposed to punish evil deeds not crazy thoughts.

    Ghost (6f9de7)

  32. Ummmm…. this isn’t new.

    The specific laws vary from state to state, but in Florida, you’ve been able to get “Baker Act”ed for at least two decades or more.

    There are specific legal requirements for how it gets handled, and for how long before they have to either commit you or charge you or do something else to keep you in custody. In re: the Baker Act, it’s (I believe) 72 hours.

    I haven’t seen the messages that led to the commitment, but it doesn’t take a genius to see the potential for abuse here. When the government has the ability to throw you in custody because you have made “ominous posts talking about a coming revolution,” there is something really wrong going on.

    Neither have I. So what you should be doing here, I’d argue, is to demand that the government specifically indicate which statements gave it cause for alarm. What data that it was using to be sufficiently concerned for everyone’s benefit that this individual was dangerous.

    In other words, hold it directly accountable for this. It should be able to answer tough questions here right from the start.

    Make such expectations part of the standard for anything of this sort.

    Given recent events in Aurora, and other not dissimilar events, I can kind of grasp the government being a bit skittish about “waiting for action” in some cases, especially right now… As long as the guy is taken to a legitimate place where they (and not some “special” appointees) can examine the guy’s mental state and find out if he’s a threat or not, I only expect them to be held closely accountable, and don’t think it appropriate to

    As an ex-marine, they may also have access to discharge papers or psychiatric evaluations which had them ALREADY watching him as a person of (legitimate) concern, and, assuming the Marine Corps is vaguely competent, then he’s ALREADY someone with both the mental capacity and the basic skills to kill people. I believe the operative phrase, here, would be “heightened awareness”.

    P.S., the manner in which he got taken away doesn’t mean jack — they clearly (assuming legitimate action) were concerned about potential violent behavior, so making sure he could neither harm himself nor others during the arresting process sounds pretty SOP.

    IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States (8e2a3d)

  33. The silver lining is, when people of conscience read stories like this, they will understand the stakes, and they will know the right and moral path forward.

    Kevin Stafford (1d1b9e)

  34. OOP.

    and don’t think it appropriate to

    … assume nefarious intent. For one thing, if there was nefarious intent, it was done awfully visibly.

    IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States (8e2a3d)

  35. I’ve sometimes wondered if the supposedly lower crime rates reported by certain cities, including New York City, have been tinkered and toyed with.

    Absolutely. It’s funny that in just the previous comment AD mentioned Crown Heights, because that’s one place where this has definitely happened. People report crimes to the police, and they are not recorded, or the police discourage the person from making the report, because they want to keep their stats looking good. See, e.g., here, here, here, here, and more at that site.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  36. Somehow I doubt this action will cure him of his distrust of the government. Has anybody thought about how this might prompt him to take action now that he has a Casus belli that he did not have before?

    Think about it. All the authorities did was prove him right. Maybe venting is therapeutic for him and once that outlet is taken away he will explode. You should not assume that what was done was prudent rather than inflammatory if he had taken no action to this point. Maybe it was the best thing to do but I don’t think we have enough evidence to prove that right now.

    Also, I would urge Patterico to not specifically mention the Tea Partiers in association with revolution without mentioning the OWS crowd which has a propensity for violence. I think the Tea Partiers are very sober and understand that things will have to get very bad to warrant taking up arms… but that we are on the express lane to the time when that will be necessary. The OWS loons are just plain crazy and are trying to blow things up right now because… well just because. It is apples and oranges.

    I really shouldn’t have to point this out on a conservative blog and Pat may have just chosen an unfortunate way of framing things. Given where he lives he has to hear it all of the time.

    Voluble (0b86d9)

  37. The OWS crowd will continue their destructive ways against corporate and government property because both entities are reluctant to act.
    When they start to destroy property that is owned by members of the TEA Party, they will be stopped (see: Korea-town, during the “Rodney King Riot”), because individual property owners will take those attacks as threats against the lives of themselves, their families, and their employees.

    When life and death is a matter of seconds, the police are just minutes away (if you’re lucky).

    AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (b8ab92)

  38. Putting me in cuffs creates “officer safety”? I do not think you know what that means ….

    htom (412a17)

  39. What a disturbing story!

    Is our government that insecure that a man’s comments are cause for that degree of reaction? We have a nearly invincible military. The government can afford to have thick skin.

    If he’s not free to go home, they need to be able to justify an arrest. This is insane.

    Dustin (73fead)

  40. His hearing is Monday, and I predict he will be released, crazy and all, the same day.

    SarahW (b0e533)

  41. Which is why I was strongly opposed to the policy decisions taken over the last decade in which the executive claimed the authority to hold someone indefinitely, without charging them with a crime, under the theory that they were a terrorist and therefore presented a threat to national security.

    Actually under the theory that they were an enemy making war on the USA, and thus being held under the power the military has always had to capture enemy combatants and hold them prisoner for the duration of hostilities or as much longer as necessary. Prisoners of war have never had the right of habeas corpus; that was established back in the 18th century, in the cases of the Three Spanish Sailors and that Swedish guy whose name I don’t recall. And they don’t have to be released as soon as the war is over either; some WW2 prisoners sued for habeas in 1947, and were turned down because as POWs they have no right to habeas.

    The principle is that the civilian courts simply have no jurisdiction over the military’s holding of prisoners, any more than NY’s courts have jurisdiction over NJ prisons; the holding of POWs is subject to the military’s own justice system, and if someone claims to have been captured by mistake, or that they ought to be released for some reason, they need to take it up with the military. That was the case of the Spanish sailors who claimed to have been granted release by the Governor of Jamaica, to take effect as soon as they got to England; the court said “sounds like you’ve got a case, so take it up with the admiralty”.

    From a civil liberties POV it is frightening, but the principle of war is that we do take risks and can’t afford all the luxuries — including expanded civil liberties — that we enjoy in peace time. We can’t lose fundamental liberties, but there’s padding in there that can go war time so long as we get it back afterwards. And we have to be vigilant to make sure we do.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  42. there once was a country, that was widely feared and scorned here, that routinely had it’s citizens arrested and placed in mental institutions for no discernible reason other than they made anti government comments.

    Indeed, I recently read that Mordechai Dubin, a Jewish Latvian politician, relatively well-known in at least some Jewish communities, who was long assumed to have been murdered by the Nazis, actually died in a Soviet mental institution in the late ’40s.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  43. Correction, his hearing WAS Monday. The 72 hour hearing has taken place.

    He wasn’t released: and that does happen when there is something more serious going on than having quirky notions. The hearing would have included input from care professionals including psychiatric physicians, a representative for the detained person, and often family are present to give input and answer questions as well.

    SarahW (b0e533)

  44. So what you should be doing here, I’d argue, is to demand that the government specifically indicate which statements gave it cause for alarm. What data that it was using to be sufficiently concerned for everyone’s benefit that this individual was dangerous.

    No, no statements should be admissible in this context. It should be impossible to commit someone without personal knowledge of their character and behaviour. That’s easily abused too, and must be monitored, but commitment on the basis of Facebook posts should be impossible.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  45. All this supports is my belief in the bias, bigotry that Liberals have against military service. They view them as scare so even words (which other lunatics mutter without consequence) are viewed hysterically. Also supports the CYA mindset among Gov.t folks.

    Liberals may indeed have a bigotry toward those in the military, but clearly the criteria has exceptions: Nidal Hasan.

    Dana (292dcf)

  46. “I can tell you, there ain’t nothin’ finer than a cute woman wearin’ her bib overalls with no shirt underneath.

    ‘Specially if one of the straps is undone.”

    - The Southern Dana with Impeccable Taste

    I could not agree more. An agitating image, to say the least.

    Glad we all agree that the involuntary detention of American citizens is a slippery slope, by the way.

    Leviticus (102f62)

  47. Why just citizens, Leviticus? I don’t see what citizenship has to do with it.

    Milhouse (cdd41b)

  48. I wish they would detain Todd Akin !

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  49. So I guess those members of the New Black Panthers advocating violence are in that same hospital with this guy? You know, the ones that want to “kill all the white babies, the white women and just keep killin”, and the woman who wants her “boot on whitey’s neck” encouraging violence. They’re in custody too?

    pjstx (329008)

  50. “They’re in custody too?”

    How it works:

    As long as the NBPP members limit their threats to killing white babies, they’re okay. If they start threatening to kill public officials, they’re in trouble.

    Dave Surls (46b08c)

  51. My client has video, audio and documented proof of corruption in Monterey County, Merced County and leads to Leon Panetta. DOJ, FBI, California AG’s Office all refuse to investigate because of the doorstep where the corruption ends.
    Go to “Badgerflats.com” for the informaton. Not a delusional person but dangerous to many politicians.

    “The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.” – Thomas Jefferson

    Warren (3a7b85)

  52. It would be nice to know more details and to know more clearly the law by state and how it was implemented.

    In my experience one cannot commit someone against their will unless they are judged to be an immediate threat to themselves or others. This can be widely open to interpretation, but does require someone to put it in writing with their signature and is reviewed before a judge.

    I don’t know if details to understand the case better are available or not, as psychiatric health records typically are protected even more than “standard” health records, which are protected by hippos that will sit on you if you leak something ;-) .

    In general the law is written and interpreted to err on the side of giving people the freedom to be crazy and kill themselves later today, so it would be another example of government of men and not of law if the usual standards were suspended.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  53. Comment by Warren — 8/22/2012 @ 8:54 pm

    TJ would not approve of our current “Gangster Government”.

    AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (b8ab92)

  54. Raub in in the process of being un-detained this minute. A hearing called for today has taken place, the judge used procedural failure to release; no facts set out in the detention order.

    Without getting into particulars, Raub is actually crazy. Whether he is a danger and met all tests for detention in another issue.

    The facebook posts you’ve heard about are not the whole story (and for that matter some family went in and deleted some of the wackier posts after his detention -including his delusions about secret government pedophilic rape-castles in Colorado, &c).

    I noticed how readily everyone was to say, on the basis of some skewed reports from biased parties, that the bar was too low in Virginia; I think it is far too high. (If detention is too severe, mandatory monitory and even medication should be easier to order.)

    But it should be some small comfort that even when the person is crazy, they go free unless the state follows procedure and makes a clear case.

    SarahW (b0e533)

  55. Raub is actually crazy….
    Well, that qualifies him to Democrat Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate.

    AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (b8ab92)

  56. Comment by SarahW — 8/23/2012 @ 11:21 am

    Thanks for the follow up. Yes, the bar is generally too high everywhere, so it would be news if someone was detained without sufficient cause.

    The easiest way to distort something is simply to leave out important facts. Thanks again.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  57. I sprained by bad foot. Anybody here know the therapeutic dose of ibuprofen?

    nk (875f57)

  58. Reagan — that heartless, stingy, rightwing, fascist, depriver of civil liberties — was responsible for starting the movement away from throwing people who talk to themselves into snakepits. Now talk must be accompanied by an illegal act. Illegal act.

    nk (875f57)

  59. nk #57 – personally, I find aspirin more effective, but mileage varies …

    The ibuprofen container should have dosage recommendations on it … if not, the web has a lot of different suggestions …

    Effectiveness tends to last 4-8 hours … and effectiveness is also related to body weight … 200 mg for someone weighing 120 lbs is likely to be more effective than 200 mg for someone weighing 240 lbs …

    I hope this helps you find the correct dose for *you* …

    Alasdair (e7cb73)

  60. HI-RICE, nk, and I hope you have a speedy recovery.

    DRJ (a83b8b)


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