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Compassion and Fear Over AIDS

July 18, 1987

Surely there can be no more poignant or tragic enactment showing the dangerous defects in so-called mental health law (Lanterman-Petris-Short Law of 1968) than that of Markowski. "He is a threat to everyone." (Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner) "I see no moral distinction between this case and the person who put poison in Tylenol." The judge felt the same way and attempted murder charges were filed. On June 23, we are informed, Markowski pleaded "Kill me, kill me. I have AIDS," while being apprehended.

On July 1, we are told that Markowski was taken to mental hospitals because of obvious mental illness, alcoholism and/or crimes. "But each time was quickly released." Detective Bill Pavelic with LAPD's mental evaluation unit says: "He was a time bomb just ready to explode--there's something drastically wrong here."

Many of us have known that for a long time. For 20 years I have watched the physical and mental deterioration to utter degradation of a beautiful, talented and intelligent daughter with schizophrenic psychosis, unable to force any professional help or even control for her under the law, because she refuses to admit her illness. So Markowski, it seems, will go to prison rather than a mental health facility because of this law and the way it is shabbily implemented. Can you imagine what our jails are becoming? Bedlams.

When will our political leaders do something about this? Maybe it will take more Markowskis and more AIDS "murders." If all manner of non-psychiatrically trained people, like Pavelic can see it, why can't those in the California Senate and Assembly?

CHARLES G. CRADDOCK, M.D.

Pacific Palisades

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