Antisocial behavior has reached pandemic levels. Disruptive airline passengers are punching flight attendants. Thugs are attacking Asians, gays and other minority groups. Criminals have grown more brazen in bringing violence to the streets and into American politics as seen in the savage invasion of the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Mental illness clearly underlies a lot of these disturbing trends, with the cracks widening during the COVID-19 scourge. The pandemic deprived many of community, personal interaction and, for those on the edge of psychic breakdown, the in-person mental health services they relied on or need.

America's system for supporting good mental health has never been strong to begin with. The 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act did help expand coverage, but getting insurance to pay for treatment of serious psychiatric problems remains problematic.

And the need has risen. From March through October of last year, hospital emergency rooms saw a surge of patients seeking urgent mental care, according to JAMA Psychiatry. The numbers were far lower in the same months of 2019, right before the pandemic hit. The crises ranged from suicide attempts to drug and opioid overdoses to abuse of partners and children.

Last year, a third of American adults displayed symptoms of clinical anxiety or depression, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That was up from 11% in previous years.

Many of the Capitol insurrectionists had a history of mental illness and related social dysfunction. We made fun of several.

Eric Munchel of Nashville, Tenn., who brought restraints police use on hands, legs and arms to the Capitol, was dubbed the "zip-tie guy."

Actually, Munchel had been charged with assaulting a man and woman in 2013. Recently fired from his job at a bar, he entered the Capitol costumed in paramilitary gear, his mother at his side.

Sean McHugh of Auburn, Calif., who attacked Capitol police with chemical spray, had accused the officers of "protecting pedophiles." McHugh, it turns out, had done jail time for statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl.

It was thought at first that Rosanne Boyland had been crushed to death in the rush of stampeding vandals, but the medical examiner concluded that the Georgia resident died from an overdose of amphetamines. Boyland had a history of drug use, including a charge of felony drug possession. The pandemic cut off her in-person group meetings of addicts.

When you look at some of the creeps who had been attacking Asians, you find something more than the usual racial animus. For example, the homeless man seen viciously stomping on a 65-year-old woman of Filipino origin in New York is Black. He was on parole for having killed his mother in front of his 5-year-old sister.

Another homeless man with 90 prior arrests was charged with slashing a gay man. Both the criminal and the victim were Latino.

You see madness in the faces of airline passengers throwing tantrums over demands that they wear masks. Videos show the protesters, usually women, making noisy and self-righteous stands for their right to break the rules. No matter how normally these disrupters dress, they radiate the look of the unhinged.

The mission here isn't to solve the dearth of psychiatric services for those barely hanging on. Others can better do that. Rather, it's to note that fragile psyches often lie beneath the growth of appalling behavior. And a society in the grips of fraying social ties is going to suffer more of it.

We now have an evil mix of social isolation and extremist rhetoric that some use to confer an air of respectability to their delusions. The social services that keep the mentally unbalanced in check need to be strengthened -- and soon.


(26) comments


As we can see, Ms. Harrop is retrieving and using the Wuhan virus (“scourge”) narrative in a pretense that it is the underlying cause of increased criminality. The Wuhan virus “scourge” is very handy politically, and when it is being resurrected in the corporate media it means someone is getting nervous. For example, today on CNN Carl Bernstein declared that Mr. Trump is an American war criminal responsible for the “slaughter” of thousands of Americans and should be investigated as such. I can think of three very good reasons why the establishment is freaking out.

One – The powers that be thought they had effectively silenced Mr. Trump and would simply have to do some mopping up and re-educating of Trump voters. Instead, Trump is roaring back and bypassing the establishment media and big tech, demands for investigations into the election are increasing in spite of the media’s hysteria in claiming from day one that it was the most honest election ever and ever, anywhere, anyhow and any questioning of it was downright un-American and Trump voters need to be de-programmed anyway because – well -- because.

A second reason is that the establishment media (basically an arm of the ruling elites) is freaking over Mr. Biden’s unavoidably obvious deeping cognitive decline (anyone who has cared for or is caring for a dementia-adled relative has no difficulty recognizing the symptoms) which is just making it even harder to hide that the government is being run by a behind-the-scenes group of unelected handlers.

A third reason is that the anticipated Biden replacement has turned out to be a complete and totally incompetent non-entity who is disliked by much of the electorate.

So, I would suggest that Ms. Froma is going the Wuhan virus (“scourge”) route for the same reason the rest of the corporate media is – desperate distraction. Distraction from a cognitively impaired resident in the oval office, distraction from an incompetent backup resident, distraction from a sudden onset of bad inflation reports, distraction from an ongoing massive border disaster, distraction from increased questioning of the election, distraction from the establishment-supported poisoning of the military, governmental departments, and schools with racial hatred disguised as theory, distraction from increasing lawlessness and violence, etc.

Mr. Bernstein begins at the 2:18 minute mark:

P.s. I think the hatred and fear the establishment and its media mouthpieces have for Mr. Trump is an extension of the hatred and fear the establishment has for Americans and the American nation in general.


Excellent response Donald. Spot on in every category.


One has to wonder if Ms. Harrop is so ignorant that she does not realize she is advocating sluggish schizophrenia when she writes “The social services that keep the mentally unbalanced in check need to be strengthened -- and soon.” Sluggish schizophrenia was a concocted diagnosis applied to political dissidents in the Soviet Union and the ‘strengthening’ was a stint in a mental institution.

Since there have been earlier calls by others for the “deprogramming” of Trump voters I suspect she has at least a foggy inkling of what her words actually allude to – or it could simply be her totalitarian nature is subconsciously asserting itself.


Donald, you are giving Froma way too much credit. You seem to think she is a decent human being who is simply "misguided", or is being unwittingly being used by the left to promote their totalitarian agenda. This woman knows exactly what she is doing, and she is not only a terrible journalist, she is a terrible human being. She wholeheartedly believes the tyrannical drivel that she spews simply because she is that evil and arrogant. We need to see this broad for what and who she is, and not sugarcoat her intentions.


I have a somewhat different slant on it, Mr. prodigalson. I think it is useful to have folks such as Ms. Harrop provide us with a window into the intellectual bubble that is the cocoon in which boutique progressive-lites such as she marinate (I use the word “intellectual” here in its most pedestrian form). Not only does it offer an opportunity for others to express a different opinion or to critique her assumptions and claims, but because she tends to be all over the place it offers posters an opportunity to address a rich span of issues that would otherwise be “off topic” (hence my referring to some columnists columns as being a “free space”). For example some issues made available in this column on which one could fairly respond are:

Imprisonment without bail

Racially motivated violence

Racially disguised violence

Jan 6th protests

Summer riots by Antifa and BLM-O

What is antisocial behavior in a political sense and what examples are there of regimes who used it against its citizenry

Government lock-downs and the mental impact they had/have

The real cause of increased criminal activity

Should services for mental illness be better covered by insurance

Who died or was murdered during the Jan 6 protests and by whom

How and why did the US census bureau compile data on “American” adults “displaying clinical anxiety or depression”

How did the US census bureau know these adults were all Americans

Is a mask effective and has there been any consistency on advised usage of masks – where, when, by whom etc.

Who/What has been responsible for “fraying social ties” and has it been intentional, and has it been an ongoing thing and, if so, for how long and for what ultimate purpose

There are additional valid topics available thanks to Ms. Harrop’s tendency for all-over-the-place columns but those are a start.

I remind myself that though this is a tiny, tiny pond there are probably a number of students who read this blog. Comments by the posters may be the only exposure some of these students have of differing not-politically-correct opinion. Let us take advantage of opportunities presented.


Donald, I take your point about Froma's incoherent ramblings giving opportunities for posters to discuss multiple subjects without being flagged by the editor as "off topic" and banned. But let's all be honest with ourselves here, and with one another. The Daily News Record has been taken over by leftists who wish to push their left wing agenda on a conservative community. They attempt to hide it, and they deny it, but every one who reads the paper and pays attention knows the shift that has taken place since the Byrd family sold to Ogden. Conservative posters are randomly censored and comments deleted with no explanation given, while liberal posters are allowed to rant on and on, spreading lies and half truths. I have spoken with DNR employees who worked for the paper both before and after the transition, and have been told that the difference in tone is obvious, and deeply concerning. At the end of the day Donald, the "off topic" excuse for deleting comments is just that, an excuse. The truth of the matter is that any comment that the editor sees as "inconvenient" runs the risk of being banned, with no explanation given.

The readers of this community are not being well served by The Daily News Record. I have no problem with the DNR publishing liberal columnists, and allowing liberal posters to comment. In fact, I think this lends to a healthy debate. But the same rules that apply to liberal posters and columnists should apply to conservative posters and columnists. At The Daily News Record, this clearly is no longer the case.


Nailed it.


prod: Some comments have always been deleted, going back decades. And while the deletion of some comments has been a real mystery, the reason more "conservative" comments have been deleted in the recent past is most likely the crazy and nasty content that some conservative comments contain. By way of a counterexample, I don't think any of Donald's comments have ever been deleted, even though his political content is well to the right, because his comments do not contain off-topic, inflammatory gibberish. So I think you are looking in the wrong direction.


Of course you do... notzi.


Still waiting for bike notzi to 'splain this for me...


You should at least get an email from the editor explaining why your comment was deleted.


It was "off topic"... lol


Apparently so. [smile]


There must've been some "off topic" deleted comments when I was away?


Yep, the "inconvenient" stuff is getting zapped.


Yep, Jim was being a party pooper.


No LVW, comments have not been "deleted" going back decades, the primary reason being that the comment section of the DNR hasn't even existed that long, the secondary reason being that until a couple of years ago, the Daily News Record was owned by the Byrd family, who actually believed in and promoted free speech. As for your theory on conservative commenters posting crazy and nasty comments, I totally disagree with you. Conservatives are having their comments deleted simply because we don't promote the narrative that the new "DNR Management" prefers.

Now LVW, I highly encourage you to change your ways, and come over from the dark side and into the light. Otherwise, you risk spending all of eternity in The Hot Place with Santa and his elves. Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle.


It’s interesting Froma has forgotten to mention the 5+ year TDS epidemic experienced by herself, the leftist posting peanut gallery here, and not to mention the wider liberal citizenry. Unglued left wingnuts were spewing vitriol toward anything Trump long before the China virus pandemic struck. But the actual leftist incivility really took off when George W. won the 2000 election and has continued to worsen ever since.

I just wish some one would come up with a TDS vaccine.


As if on cue, the blamers and complainers below have proven the author's point exquisitely.

Carry on.


Heh, Froma is causing these posters "mental distress."


Mostly she's causing us to need eye bleach... heh


Yes, there needs to be a warning label on her photo advising readers that some hideous things just can't be unseen!


George Floyd was a career criminal and drug abuser. He once held a gun to the belly of a pregnant woman and threatened to shoot her baby if she didn't come up with the money for drugs. Because of his criminal way of life he ended up being killed by the drugs in his system and being restrained by police. Why would anyone put this thug on a pedestal and try to make him a hero of some sort? Would social services have helped this guy or social interaction? Not!


That coward capitol cop that murdered Ashli Babbitt seemed pretty unhinged too, yet he's still out of jail and collecting a taxpayer funded paycheck.


Hey about an article instructing the dems/lib/progs/socs to stop "fraying social ties" and then maybe we could get back to some resemblance of a civil society. Yea, I didn't think so.


The editor should be absolutely ashamed of himself for printing the rantings of this unhinged broad. It's an embarrassment to think that the DNR has such poor judgment.

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