"I am healthy, and I have a plan to stay that way.”
October 6, 2015 11:17 AM   Subscribe

Dallas County district attorney Susan Hawk's life fell apart after she took office: divorce, depression and thoughts of suicide. After she fired some of her most experienced staff and amid allegations of erratic or unstable behavior, she vanished from public view in late July. Nine weeks later, she re-emerged to announce that she had undergone two months of treatment at a mental health facility for Major Depressive Disorder. She says she’s ready once again to serve. Is she up to the job? (Some links in this post discuss suicide / suicidal ideation. Some readers may find linked content disturbing.)

Additional Articles
* Texas Monthly: The Trials of Susan Hawk.
* Dems urge Dallas DA Hawk to resign after she details depression therapy, threats to kill herself
* Dallas County DA Susan Hawk apologizes, offers to rehire fired worker

Sexism and the Stigma of Mental Illness
Accusations have been made that the media, pundits and even Hawk's colleagues are speaking about her in sexist terms, contributing to the stigma of mental illness and holding her to an unfair double-standard. Sexism, Stigma and Susan Hawk: Let’s Find a New Way to Talk About the Dallas DA:
"Hawk’s colleagues and pundits alike have openly questioned her ability to do her job without being “too emotional.” The dozens of articles written about Hawk’s absence are littered with this kind of coded language — “unstable,” “erratic,” “paranoid,” “irrational” — used to describe and deride women, particularly those in positions of power.

For centuries, women have been accused of being too “emotional” to hold high office, from British queens to Hillary Clinton, and have frequently had their complaints and decisions minimized by language that equates emotional volatility with mental instability and, fundamentally, femininity.
...
When the gender roles are reversed, these rhetorical rules don’t apply. Hawk’s own predecessor, Craig Watkins, was a frequently volatile man known for engaging in screaming matches with City Council members. In the vast coverage of Watkins’ tenure as district attorney, though, it is nigh impossible to find references calling him “emotional” or referring to his council meeting tantrums as “erratic.”"
More: Susan Hawk Coverage a Sexist Pile-On? Free-For-All Perhaps a Better Word?
posted by zarq (108 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
Unless anyone can show concrete evidence to the contrary, then yes, she's fit to serve.

This should not be a question.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:25 AM on October 6, 2015 [18 favorites]


I can barely handle how much emphasis that second link puts on her appearance, even from her supposed friends.
posted by Etrigan at 11:32 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Someone had a health issue. It's in remission now. It may come back. In the meantime, let's treat her with dignity and let her do her job.

Why is that so hard? (stigma, I get it, but still, I don't get it at the same time)
posted by Annika Cicada at 11:39 AM on October 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


In America, we say we want to make sure that people get the help they need... but even when we manage to live up that, we make damn sure these folks are stigmatized and can never work again. Because that helps recovery, right?

Amazingly, we have even dumber ideas about how to handle people who have served time and are just shocked, shocked I tell you, that recidivism doesn't seem to improve more.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:45 AM on October 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


I have to say that there are a lot of things to sift through here, but substance abuse seems to be a real issue. It seems noteworthy to me that she was married for a while to someone who has access to and can prescribe controlled substances.
posted by TedW at 11:47 AM on October 6, 2015


I struggle with this, because on the one hand, the stigma sucks, but on the other hand, when someone's health issue creates a hostile work environment for their co-workers, should we really take that person at their word when they say that they are ready to come back?

And then the whole mental health thing is rolled up with the gender issues thing. The sexism of a society that says that various shitty behaviours from a dude-boss are just "tough leadership" are signs of "instability" in a lady-boss is unacceptable, of course. But isn't the answer to stop accepting the shitty behaviours from people regardless of gender?
posted by sparklemotion at 11:48 AM on October 6, 2015 [12 favorites]


As someone who also has Major Depressive Disorder, or however you want to label it, it would be nice to see some affirmation that it is in fact possible for someone with this condition to be employed.
posted by kafziel at 11:55 AM on October 6, 2015 [18 favorites]


I have to say that there are a lot of things to sift through here, but substance abuse seems to be a real issue. It seems noteworthy to me that she was married for a while to someone who has access to and can prescribe controlled substances.

Her second stint in rehab wasn't for prescription drug abuse, though. Just depression. It does appear that she has stayed clean since 2013.
posted by zarq at 11:59 AM on October 6, 2015


But isn't the answer to stop accepting the shitty behaviours from people regardless of gender?

I think there's a difference between shitty behavior resulting from a bout of difficult mental situations and shitty behavior resulting from just being a shitty person. This would apply to anyone regardless of gender.

I'd hope this workplace understands that there is going to be work to be done to rebuild the team and works toward that.

If the shitty behaviors continue, then she obviously isn't ready to come back. (Same would apply if there were a he involved in this situation.)
posted by hippybear at 12:04 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


For me, the absolute worst part of having MDD isn't the daily wake-up call to delve into a pitch-black pit of despair at 3 AM or the niggling voice in the back of my head reminding me that the world would be a better place if I could just gather the courage to take myself out of it, it's reading stories like these and being made to realize yet again just how scared most people are of people like us.

No matter how much it hurts, it's always going to be in our best personal and professional interest to let people make shitty jokes about mental illness around us without saying a word. It's always going to be a good idea to keep our mouths shut tight whenever anyone feels the need to riff about the kind of loonies who self-injure or try to off themselves. It's never going to be safe for us to object to rants about how we need to lock up all the nutters right after we make it illegal for them to own firearms. If and when lawmakers decide to abrogate our civil rights -- say, by making it easier to commit mentally ill people against their will -- we can't say boo: No one trusts a crazy person.

So then I just get left feeling like I usually do, which is like I want to crawl under a rock and hibernate after telling everyone that I'm sorry for existing. I wish I wasn't this way. I wish I could fix it, goddamn, no one has any idea how much we all wish we could fix it. I wish medicine and therapy and yoga and friends and dogs and love were enough, and I wish I could go back and make it so that I was never born. But they aren't, and I can't. So here I am -- here we all are. Peace to Susan Hawk and everyone out there who struggles in kind. You're doing good, and I'm glad you're still here.
posted by divined by radio at 12:06 PM on October 6, 2015 [60 favorites]


While the sexism is objectionable, maybe the problem is Watson should have been called emotional and erratic, not that Hawk shouldn't have been.

If the old DA was screaming at City Council members and "throwing tantrums," that is not acceptable behavior in the workplace and I wouldn't want him in the DA job. If she was firing people for discussing other firings or engaging in the sort of prescription drug abuse she was responsible for prosecuting, I don't think saying I was sick then and am better now is a good enough excuse. If she is fit to serve now, that's great, but she doesn't get a pass on previous conduct. If previous conduct rose to the level of being removed/resignation, she should be removed or resign. If it didn't rise to that level, then she should return to work and best of luck to her.

It is absolutely wrong to penalize or criticize her for taking leave to get healthy. But holding her responsible for previous behavior at work in a position of such importance is not inappropriate.
posted by Across the pale parabola of joy at 12:12 PM on October 6, 2015 [17 favorites]


> This should not be a question.

Of course it should be a question. The allegations against her go far beyond "She was depressed" and far into "creating hostile workplace". If you haven't experienced such a thing, let me tell you that a being in a hostile workplace is particularly destructive of not just your happiness but your health.

It's hard also for my opinions not to be colored by who she is - a Texas prosecutor. I do not have great respect for law or law enforcement as it is practiced in Texas. The fact that the discussion of someone who should be an impartial public servant is so much about the Texas political establishment - because these jobs are entirely political - does not make me love the people concerned.


> I think there's a difference between shitty behavior resulting from a bout of difficult mental situations and shitty behavior resulting from just being a shitty person.

What evidence is there that she is not a shitty person?

> If the shitty behaviors continue, then she obviously isn't ready to come back. (Same would apply if there were a he involved in this situation.)

No, we can't just experiment with a prosecutor's office like that! If there's _any_ chance that the shitty behavior is going to continue, then she definitely shouldn't get her job back. She's a prospector - she is literally deciding life-and-death for human beings. We can't have a hostile, angry person in that job - it's already destructive enough as it is.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:16 PM on October 6, 2015 [16 favorites]


I struggle with this, because on the one hand, the stigma sucks, but on the other hand, when someone's health issue creates a hostile work environment for their co-workers, should we really take that person at their word when they say that they are ready to come back?

I understand that and it does make some sense, but I think the short answer is 'yes.' If she did or does something that should be cause to remove her from the job then she should be removed. I'm struggling with how to explain this, so I'll use my own example. When I came back from treatment, I had checked about 8 boxes on the 10 (made up numbers for example - there's no actual checklist that I'm aware of) required to fire me due to various issues I caused at work. I had to be very careful to not do something to get those last two boxes checked off because then I would have and should have been fired. And over time I have been able to work back down closer to zero of 10 boxes checked. This is all fair. What seems to happen too often is that the mental, substance, whatever issue itself or the treatment of that is used to check those final boxes and then out you go. That is not fair, and it's especially if someone is doing something to try to get better.

I couldn't read all of this because it's too close to home, but I'm happy anytime I see this being discussed. There's obvious sexism there but also many other stigmas that all should be irrelevant. She should not get more or fewer chances than anyone else.

Thanks for posting this.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 12:16 PM on October 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


> I think the short answer is 'yes.'

NO, the answer is "it depends on the person *and the job*".

I am a computer programmer. I have known programmers who were fairly out there - drinkers, drug-users, bipolar etc... but no one cares because the consequences are not so great even in the very worst case. If these people were airline pilots, they wouldn't have made it a week - indeed, being decent people, they'd have quit first.

Stop looking at this from the point of view of the single prosecutor and instead look at it from the point of the view of the tens of thousands of lives she'll affect during her career.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:22 PM on October 6, 2015 [16 favorites]


Dems urge Dallas DA Hawk to resign after she details depression therapy

Well fuck them.

I'd say this if it were Republicans going after a Dem DA. Fuck them too. Fuck anyone who stigmatizes a very real medical condition, particularly for a partisan political agenda in this case, but really in general.

The fact that we as a society allow for people to be treated differently because they have a disorder that affects their brain, rather than their heart, or bones, or kidneys, or muscles, et. al. is shameful. Your job is protected by law if you get cancer, but watch out if the chemicals in your head go off balance...because that threatens your job, which is your livelihood not just in the sense of it provides your income, but in America we have the beautiful bonus of it enabling your access to health care.

This needs to be shamed. These people. Not her.

Not anyone suffering from this.
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:28 PM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


NO, the answer is "it depends on the person *and the job*".

Yeah but I said that in the rest of my comment. If she's done something that should require her to be removed from her job, then this should not be an excuse or crutch and she should be removed. BUT it also should not be a thing itself that is used to remove her from her job. So I didn't say she shouldn't be fired because of whatever reasons. The question was whether she should be allowed to come back and get another chance to get fired or succeed.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 12:30 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Stop looking at this from the point of view of the single prosecutor and instead look at it from the point of the view of the tens of thousands of lives she'll affect during her career.

How about looking at it from the viewpoint of other people suffering from mental illness who see a public official getting pilloried for choosing to get help, and deciding that they need to hide their own suffering?
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:44 PM on October 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


For a moment I'll put aside her conduct and focus on just the mental heath angle.

A person who wants to take medical leave for mental illness should be allowed to do so. Much of what originally made this newsworthy is that nobody knew where the DA was for a few weeks, so I suspect this would have gone better if Hawk would have announced up front why she was taking leave. Of course, part of why Hawk didn't divulge her treatment until after the fact is the existing stigma surrounding mental illness, so I might be wrong.

There's a “Jed Bartlet has MS” angle to this, too; I think we also haven't decided to what extent holders of public office are allowed to keep their medical history private. Presumably, if I needed to take leave for depression, I could do so without everyone at my company knowing my whole mental health situation. But I get the sense that many voters feel entitled to know these things about the people they vote for.

One reason they may feel entitled to know is that, as evidenced in this case, people who are not of sound mind can make decisions that hurt people. Certainly that's true of a DA. I'm also sure that there are others who have a skewed sense of what mental illness is, and think that she's going around screaming at the top of her lungs or wearing a lampshade or talking to animals, and that's lamentable.

Now, as for the stuff she did on the job: none of it sounds good. Morale in the DA's office probably sucks, and it sounds like she made some awful personnel decisions. But none of those acts by themselves amount to criminal behavior (the drug abuse, it seems, stopped before she took office), and if the mental health stuff weren't on the table, I doubt anyone would be suggesting that such conduct would be enough to get her out of office. But I imagine it'd be enough to endanger her chances of reelection. I suppose we'll see.
posted by savetheclocktower at 1:04 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


One reason they may feel entitled to know is that, as evidenced in this case, people who are not of sound mind can make decisions that hurt people. Certainly that's true of a DA.

I'm mentally ill and I have a lot more confidence in my ability to make decisions that don't hurt people than in that of a DA whose continued employment ultimately means being "tough on crime" regardless of who that impacts or how badly.

Also would love to see a breakdown of the cases she prosecuted by presence of mental illness among defendants. I'm sure that data doesn't exist but my guess is that she was as hard on them as legally possible.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 1:09 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


What about the staff that she dismissed? Do they get back pay? What about the health of the workers (and their families) who were dismissed? What about all of the defendants whose deals or trials may have been adversely affected by the DA's vindictive tendencies while suffering from this illness?

By all means, let her come back to the job. And make all those other people whole as well, as a pre-condition.
posted by chimaera at 1:11 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Aren't there some ADA laws prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities, or does that only apply to the disabilities we don't feel like stigmatizing?
posted by corb at 1:14 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Look, I'm all for destigmatizing mental health issues. And I know plenty of lawyers who have quietly dealt with depression or substance abuse and returned to a full practice. But this person is literally in charge of making life and death decisions! How would you feel, if you were possibly facing capital criminal charges, and your fate was in her hands? Would you feel confident that she was going to make a rational decision?

Sorry, this person is absolutely terrifying and frankly unfit for the office of DA of a major city. Instability, paranoia, and demanding personal loyalty oaths from her deputies? Firing long time prosecutors who are loyal to the office but not the whims of the elected DA? Analyzing phones of former prosecutors to see who they were talking to? I have seen where things go in counties with DAs like that, and things get very bad very quickly, for defendants and honest prosecutors both.

I'm glad she feels like she's healthy, but what if she relapses? Who will be able to call her on it? Do you want to be the defendant in the line of fire when she does?
posted by bepe at 1:17 PM on October 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


Aren't there some ADA laws prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities, or does that only apply to the disabilities we don't feel like stigmatizing?

How exactly would the ADA apply in this situation? How is Ms. Hawk being discriminated against by her employer?
posted by zarq at 1:23 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was with you right to the end there bepe. Maybe she should be fired for her behavior or maybe that will be coming soon and fine as long as it's dealt with appropriately.

But the line: I'm glad she feels like she's healthy, but what if she relapses? is where I live my life. People are constantly assuming I'm one little 'trigger' (I hate that damn word) away from something. I don't try to excuse anything I've done in the past or am doing right now, but how about you let me fuck up again before you tell me you magically already know I did in the future? Also, knowing that people are waiting for me to pop a bolt - because some of them tell me so in those words - makes it that much closer to happening.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 1:26 PM on October 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


It's hard to untangle all the issues here -- the stigma of mental illness, sexism, politics, Texan politics, etc.

However, I've had a few coworkers over the years who have had significant mental breaks that have seriously traumatized the whole office. And while I can try and be empathic and remind myself that it's just another illness, I would quit - I think our whole office would quit - before working with them again. People can do real damage, and saying "I'm better now" doesn't erase that damage.
posted by kanewai at 1:29 PM on October 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


But this person is literally in charge of making life and death decisions!

No, this person is literally a part of a system that makes life and death decisions. She can't execute someone without a judge, probably a jury, several more judges, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and the Governor agreeing with her.
posted by Etrigan at 1:29 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sorry, this person is absolutely terrifying and frankly unfit for the office of DA of a major city...[reasons].

See... this is where it is tricky. All of those horrible [reasons] were apparently not enough proof of her lack of fitness for the job that she was fired. Similarly, her male predecessor also had [reasons], but wasn't dragged through the mud like she is being.

If [reasons] aren't enough to boot a seemingly "sane" person, are they enough when that person has an admitted mental illness?

To be fair, it seems like people were calling for her to resign before the MI issues became public, but those same people are using the fact that she has an MI as EVEN MORE [reasons] why she should go -- and I'm not sure that that's fair.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:33 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


She's the DA in Dallas, and she makes the final call whether the State will seek the death penalty. What do you think the odds are of beating a death charge in Dallas? You can't try to diminish the power she has by passing it off on "the system." This person holds a tremendous amount of power.
posted by bepe at 1:33 PM on October 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


> How about looking at it from the viewpoint of other people suffering from mental illness who see a public official getting pilloried for choosing to get help,

Stop right there.

No one - no one at all - is pillorying her for getting help. My comment wasn't saying that, no one was saying that.

She's being being criticized *for doing shitty things to people* - for being creepy and hostile and possibly misusing government money.

The idea that her desire to get a second chance automatically trumps the rights of tens of thousands of people to get justice and of the dozens of people working for her to have a non-hostile environment is ridiculous.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:39 PM on October 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


Look, I'm all for destigmatizing mental health issues. And I know plenty of lawyers who have quietly dealt with depression or substance abuse and returned to a full practice.

Someone wiser than I once said that nothing before the 'but' counts.

She's being being criticized *for doing shitty things to people* - for being creepy and hostile and possibly misusing government money.

None of which she was fired for before, and much of which may have been caused or exacerbated by her illness. Having received treatment, it is reasonable to believe (assuming that this is not entirely self-reporting, that her care team also believes she is fit to work) that many if not all of those things are at an end. If they are not, if she continues her behaviour, then by all means fire her for shitty behaviour. Until then, she's addressed her problem and deserves some benefit of the doubt.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:49 PM on October 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


No, she's being criticized for having a mental illness. People tend to lead and speak strongest about what most upsets them, and people aren't "Oh dear god, corruption, keep her away!" Everyone's using words like "instability" and "paranoia" and "creepy" and "hostile". People are afraid of the possible scary danger of the mentally ill, and that's beyond not cool.
posted by corb at 1:54 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


No one - no one at all - is pillorying her for getting help. My comment wasn't saying that, no one was saying that.

If you mean no one here is pillorying her then fine, but in the Dems urge Dallas DA Hawk to resign after she details depression therapy, threats to kill herself people are publicly pointing to her mental health treatment and saying that for that reason she should resign. If I were in her position I don't know how I'd take that except as an attempt to rally the public opinion that I am crazy and use that to push me to quit. That sounds like she's being pilloried to me unless I'm misunderstanding what is meant by the term.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 1:54 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm glad she feels like she's healthy, but what if she relapses?

I have no strong opinion on whether or not Susan Hawk is a good elected official; there seems to be a lot of evidence for and against. I have a lot of sympathy for her journey so far, especially since it seems to be mirroring a lot of my own in recent months, but I also see that she's been fairly destructive to her employees, so who knows. But I want to talk about this idea, the "what if she relapses" idea. So long as this is the question people with mental illness have to answer, they will always be stigmatized, because there's no way to answer it positively. Embedded in the question is the assumption of a catastrophic breakdown, coupled with an implied sense of inevitability. People with mental illness can't ever be healed in this formulation, because they could relapse at any time, so they're to be held to account for their worst days during their best ones.

If she relapses, then her office and the constituency can deal with that relapse in a professional sense, and hopefully she can seek help in terms of her health. Ms. Hawk has a persistent and incapacitating illness. She has apparently been rendered unfit for work in the past by this illness. She's gone through treatment, and now her illness appears to be in remission. It is unfair to treat her as though she was still incapacitated by her illness when she isn't. The proof that she is again capable of doing her job is in letting her do her job.

Now, in this particular case, whether or not she was ever competent is in question, and as I said, I don't have any answer for that question. But "what if she relapses" is all of the stigma around mental illness rolled up into a question that can't be answered to anyone's satisfaction. What if the courthouse burns down? What if the judge has a heart attack? What if all the computer files get erased? It's probably good to have a contingency for all of these adverse situations, but they must be treated as adverse situations, not as inevitably imminent ones, or we're never going to get anything done. Any stressful job might cause someone to break down, but if what we're saying is that you can work in the stressful job until you break and then never again, we're institutionalizing burnout and discarding people with situational or chronic illness as irretrievable.
posted by Errant at 1:55 PM on October 6, 2015 [17 favorites]


What seems to happen too often is that the mental, substance, whatever issue itself or the treatment of that is used to check those final boxes and then out you go. That is not fair, and it's especially if someone is doing something to try to get better.

It's not fair, AND it's one of the big reasons why people don't go for treatment. You can hang on for years being barely functional. But go into rehab or mental health treatment, even with assurance that your job will be there when you get back, and you'll likely still get screwed.

But the second linked article makes it sound like there was so much politicking and indeed dishonesty involved in her getting this job in the first place. Is a powerful, high-level public position like this really something you are entitled to keep like a more ordinary job?
posted by BibiRose at 1:55 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


But I want to talk about this idea, the "what if she relapses" idea. So long as this is the question people with mental illness have to answer, they will always be stigmatized, because there's no way to answer it positively.

Bingo. If she'd had a behaviour-altering brain tumour, there would be cheering about beating cancer! and what a survivor! And nobody would be asking about relapses.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:05 PM on October 6, 2015 [12 favorites]


Right, even though cancer does come back! So much of this seems to be based around the idea that mental illness isn't really life destroying, that if you just tried hard enough you could get over it.
posted by corb at 2:08 PM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


This kind of illness is so common, and treatment can be so successful. It would be so much better if we had a culture - especially in high positions or high-pressure jobs - where early treatment was supported and encouraged.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:10 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


[One comment deleted. Please skip the slang terms for mental illness, they're not a good way to go in this context. And please comment with care in here, this subject is close to home for a number of people here; we can all stand to make an effort to be considerate of each other's sore spots on this stuff.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:20 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


And one more thing - what's her last word? “I’ve been given this opportunity to make Dallas County a safer place. I intend to do everything I can to make that happen.”

What does "safe" mean? What is she selling? She is selling more policing. She is selling more arrests. She's selling more jails. She's not selling a better life for people - she's not selling fairness or justice. She's selling "safety" and that means throwing people in jail and locking up the key.

I didn't see one of the articles talk about her actual professional record - the cases she covered, how she behaved. Considering she's a prosecutor in Texas, which is the state with the sixth highest incarceration rate in the country with the highest incarceration rate in the first world (at least), what exactly do you think her record would be like? Do you believe she has meted out the mercy and forgiveness that she is now asking of us?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:22 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


> What does "safe" mean? What is she selling? She is selling more policing.

It's not that you're wrong — she is a Republican in Texas — but show me a District Attorney who doesn't campaign on making their county a safer place.
posted by savetheclocktower at 2:26 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I didn't see one of the articles talk about her actual professional record - the cases she covered, how she behaved.

Which is exactly why people are saying she's being criticized for her mental health status and not for her professional record.
posted by cjelli at 2:28 PM on October 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


See... this is where it is tricky. All of those horrible [reasons] were apparently not enough proof of her lack of fitness for the job that she was fired.

She wasn't fired before because her position is an elected one. Also, it appears that Texas doesn't have a recall provision for her job. (From here - "Recall of local elected officials in Texas is available only in political subdivisions that have their own charter, and only if their charter specifically authorizes recall of the local elected officials." Dallas County is not a political subdivision with its own charter, as far as I can tell. Looks like "political subdivison with a charter" = cities)
posted by cnelson at 2:30 PM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is she asking for mercy and forgiveness or just equal treatment? Is her record is so bad that people would want her to resign regardless of whether anyone knew of her diagnosed mental illness? If not, the question becomes whether she should resign because of the mental illness alone. That sounds discriminatory to me, whether she's a nice or efficient or morally upright DA or not. If an incompetent or awful employee was fired on the grounds of race or gender or sexual orientation - in a situation where an equally awful employee of a different race / gender/ sexual orientation wouldn't have been fired - that would be bad, not because the employee is so great but because discrimination is wrong whoever the victim is.
posted by Aravis76 at 2:33 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I personally don't believe there's a meaningful difference between a "crappy person" and a sick person; I think most people who get called "crappy" became that way for reasons beyond themselves, and, sick people do sometimes engage in crappy behaviours.

I don't think it matters, either, as far as outcomes. She's influential, and if her judgement is compromised, with the consequences as big as they are, maybe she shouldn't hold those responsibilities. Her subordinates would certainly have a time calling out problematic behaviour without fear of repurcussions, and I dunno, maybe I'm not the only one, I'm not so confident in Texan judges acting as useful checks on poor decisions.

The former mayor of Toronto had no business in public office either, for the same reasons.
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:50 PM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


> Embedded in the question is the assumption of a catastrophic breakdown,

She's already had two catastrophic breakdowns, the second of which involved her essentially vanishing from her job for nine weeks, so bringing it up is hardly unreasonable.

Now, if she were a decent human being, I might well argue for her. But if these articles are to be believed, she's simply an awful person. It's not just one or two people who are saying this, and the stories are cruel:
One day, Jeff Savage stepped out of the elevator on the 11th floor. He’d been an investigator with the district attorney’s office for 26 years, through four administrations. He’d recently been promoted to supervisor. He was well-liked around the office. A friend came to meet him at the elevator. “She’s letting you go,” he said. The friend escorted Savage to his office, where Hawk was waiting. “I’ve worked 20 years to get where I am,” Hawk said, according to Savage. “I’m not going to let anyone mess it up.” Savage was 10 months away from retirement.

The same day, Hawk fired another man, Jonathan Hay, who worked in the office’s technology department. Hay was the one who knew how to research people’s phones, find browser histories on computers. Hay was stunned by the firing and given no explanation. He, too, packed up, then went home to tell his wife, a stay-at-home mother of two. Now they had no paycheck and no health insurance.

Later, Savage heard that Hawk had taken his phone down to the tech department to have it analyzed, to see whom he’d been talking to. But there was no one left who knew how to do that. A woman in the technology department, Edith Santos, resigned at the end of the week. Someone had come in asking whether she was monitoring Hawk’s communications. Santos saw the writing on the wall.
Now, having spent most of the last year and half in a hostile work environment (free as of last week THANK GOD), I really don't care about this woman's state of mental health, but that she treats people badly. All the evidence I have seems to show she's just a bad person who made life bad for employees and citizens alike. Why should we show her the consideration and mercy that she does not show to others?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:56 PM on October 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


(Yikes, I'm not saying all people with mental illness are crappy, I've experienced mental illness; just that as a materialist I don't really see a place for moral judgement kind of in general. Main thing is to manage damage where it shows up, that's it imo)
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:03 PM on October 6, 2015


Why should we show her the consideration and mercy that she does not show to others?

Because we are better people, and because - as has been pointed out - there are ramifications beyond her to not doing so.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:14 PM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


It would be interesting to find out what kind of employment all the officials (and citizens) who want Hawk ridden out of town on a rail think people with major depressive disorder should be allowed to seek. Which positions are low-stakes enough that they'd readily let us get in there and taint everything by association? Surely not anything to do with finances, the legal system, or health care, but even benighted food service positions are probably iffy at best, considering errant employees in that industry can cause outbreaks that sicken thousands.

I'm well aware that most people would have no problem incorporating people with mental illness into the permanent socioeconomic underclass, I'd just like them to let me know where I can realistically set my sights when it comes to choosing a career, because hey, I might relapse someday.
posted by divined by radio at 3:16 PM on October 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


To respond to divined by radio, in general, I would support someone with major depressive disorder holding any job that exists. Hell, Lincoln was a great president, and countless other prominent people have struggled with depression and gone on to do great things. But I will not support a person if (1) they hold a position with great power over people lives, making irreversible decisions that will deeply affect the futures of the poor and dispossessed, and (2) their illness manifests through bouts of extreme paranoia involving the firing of senior staff for petty or bizarre reasons, searching employees' phones for evidence of people plotting against them, and demanding personal loyalty oaths. That sounds like a toxic combo to me.
posted by bepe at 3:31 PM on October 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Everyone's using words like "instability" and "paranoia" and "creepy" and "hostile". People are afraid of the possible scary danger of the mentally ill, and that's beyond not cool.

Let's remember that these words have more uses than just stigmatizing mental illness. They also refer to discrete attributes that can describe a person's behavior. We can't equate every suggestion of "hostility" and "paranoia" in the workplace with mental illness when those attributes have been experienced by her staff and coworkers. There's a sea of difference between "I don't trust her because she seems so paranoid" and "She asked for loyalty oaths." One is stigmatizing, one is worth noting in a story questioning the complicated ethical situation going on here.

Nothing brings out the internet's pitchforks like accusing people of bringing out pitchforks. I see a lot of pitchforms in here, so I'll see myself out of this comment thread.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:32 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


After learning what this person did beyond the Pollyanna frame above the fold, I am confident saying that she deserves zero chance of returning and the people she fired should be brought back. I'm bipolar and wouldn't consider myself fit for many positions. I don't consider it a disability and am not a fan of people who insist on labeling mental illnesses as disabilities -- I think it's possible to have debilitating, disabling depression but that it's not the normal state for most sufferers.

This person created a hostile work environment and was in a position to destroy lives. She's done enough damage and should be focusing her efforts on finding a career path that allows her to be productive without ruining the lives and careers of others.
posted by aydeejones at 3:40 PM on October 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


How about looking at it from the viewpoint of other people suffering from mental illness who see a public official getting pilloried for choosing to get help, and deciding that they need to hide their own suffering?

Uhm, if she had gotten help before completely fucking shit up, you'd have a point there. As it is, no. I hid my bipolar swings from my employer as long as possible, and before it got a chance to seriously hurt me, I got treatment and told my boss what was going on when I built up a level of trust. This person has demonstrated that they must raze the village before they consider their own health and their effect on others. She should move on.
posted by aydeejones at 3:43 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Now, if she were a decent human being, I might well argue for her. But if these articles are to be believed, she's simply an awful person.

Consideration for illness is and must be universal; it doesn't depend on whether you're a good person or not.

Again: if she'd had a brain tumour causing her to act erratically, people would be cheering her on right now.

That's mental illness stigma at work, and a disturbing number of people are participating in it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:45 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


how about you let me fuck up again before you tell me you magically already know I did in the future?

In some career paths, that's fine. In others, I'm all in favor of one major fuck-up and you're done.
posted by aydeejones at 3:46 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


their illness manifests through bouts of extreme paranoia

I agree that the major depression angle here doesn't concern me nearly as much as this. It does sound as though she let paranoia steer her into making some bad decisions that hurt people. At the same time, though, my understanding is that paranoia can also be temporary and/or treatable/controllable, there's no indication she had any previous bouts of paranoid behavior, and she seems to now have insight into what happened. I don't know, it's a tough one.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:47 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I cheer her efforts to pursue treatment. There's just no real room for it in her world. Her colleagues thought a break of *two weeks* for therapy was an acceptable amount of time to take, the first time she took one.
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:50 PM on October 6, 2015


But "what if she relapses" is all of the stigma around mental illness rolled up into a question that can't be answered to anyone's satisfaction.

Sure it could. For critical jobs where the consequences of relapse are high - of any condition - we should ask about probabilities.

If someone had surgery on their leg and was told "this surgery will enable you to walk again, but you can never put it under high pressure or there is a 90% chance that it would break catastrophically, stopping you from your critical activity immediately" - that would disqualify you from a bunch of jobs that routinely required intense physical activity. Maybe there is a better treatment - that should be explored. Maybe there is another task or job you can give that person.

Questions like this should be answered with risk-benefit analyses. These are tough analyses to do and tough questions: a blanket "you always/never get to go back to your job after having a condition that impacts it" is not the right way to view it.

Some diseases and their imperfect treatment disqualify people from critical activities.
posted by lalochezia at 3:55 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


In some career paths, that's fine. In others, I'm all in favor of one major fuck-up and you're done.

Completely agreed. That's the issue here. If this is one of those jobs then her illness should not be a deciding factor. The one major fuck up should be. But for some people it is very much the illness and everything that goes with it for them that is the issue.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 3:55 PM on October 6, 2015


Now, having spent most of the last year and half in a hostile work environment (free as of last week THANK GOD), I really don't care about this woman's state of mental health, but that she treats people badly. All the evidence I have seems to show she's just a bad person who made life bad for employees and citizens alike. Why should we show her the consideration and mercy that she does not show to others?

The way I see it is, she couldn't be fired because it was an elected position, but otherwise should have been, and she's clearly unfit to serve. Plenty of non-mentally-ill people are unfit to serve as well. We should be thankful that we have a reason to remove this person, even if it's just a technicality and we should change the dialog to be not at all about mental illness in general, but about how a corrupt paranoid person was removed from office after abusing power and disappearing without an explanation -- I wouldn't blame her depression for most of the decisions she made, but if I were to go there, she actually sounds familiar -- recurring depression which I see truly as bipolar spectrum, with paranoia and delusions of grandeur / mania / power trips bolstered by the illness but not necessarily the sole fault of the illness.
posted by aydeejones at 3:56 PM on October 6, 2015


Using mental illness to remove someone from their job (or to pressure them into resigning) is odious whether the person is a shining paragon of humanity or not. Further, using it is not even the beginning of a slippery slope, it's already wallowing in the depths.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:59 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


That's mental illness stigma at work, and a disturbing number of people are participating in it.

It's mental illness stigma plus gender bias (plus eww Texas), and the conversation wouldn't have the same tone if it were about a male DA in Chicago who was difficult to work with, unpleasant to be around, and went to rehab. That she's a woman experiencing/exhibiting all of these qualities is the nail in her coffin. It's the thing that damns her, and it's inseparable from the story.

Thanks for including the links to the pieces that address this, zarq.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:24 PM on October 6, 2015 [14 favorites]


It is an interesting question, would people feel the same way if she had a tumor that caused this behavior, and it was removed, and she was all better. I admit, I probably would have a different opinion if that were the case. On some level, I guess I'm a bit uncertain both that her actions were directly and solely caused by a treatable mental illness, and also that the underlying issue is completely cured, like a tumor being removed.
posted by bepe at 4:24 PM on October 6, 2015


Removing a tumour is never a guarantee of a complete cure, nor can you definitively ascribe all behavioural changes to the presence or removal of a tumour.

This is no different. She was sick. She has sought treatment. Time will tell whether the treatment was effective--this is true for many, many conditions.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:28 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


> Embedded in the question is the assumption of a catastrophic breakdown,

She's already had two catastrophic breakdowns, the second of which involved her essentially vanishing from her job for nine weeks, so bringing it up is hardly unreasonable.


"Vanishing from your job for nine weeks" is also called "short-term disability leave", protected by the Family Medical and Leave Act. She could have taken 3 more weeks if necessary. That's the point: if you're using her medical time off as a reason for her incompetence, you're stigmatizing her for her illness beyond her performance of the job.

I get that you don't like her, and I understand why you don't. You think she shouldn't have her job because she's demonstrated that she doesn't deserve it, and that's fine. She doesn't sound like a very good DA to me either. Vote for someone else in the next election. People get to take time off from their jobs for medical attention, and that time off isn't an indication of future inability to perform their duties. "I had two breakdowns, but I'm under medical care and I'm better now" is a legitimate statement and legally protected.

Sure it could. For critical jobs where the consequences of relapse are high - of any condition - we should ask about probabilities.

If someone had surgery on their leg and was told "this surgery will enable you to walk again, but you can never put it under high pressure or there is a 90% chance that it would break catastrophically, stopping you from your critical activity immediately" - that would disqualify you from a bunch of jobs that routinely required intense physical activity.


Funny story: in your example, that person isn't necessarily disqualified from any of those jobs. They may be radically ill-advised to take them, and they may be far from the best candidate for any of them, but they're not barred from holding those positions on the basis of their medical condition alone, if that individual can otherwise perform the essential functions of the job. This is precisely what Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act is all about. If they are not currently impaired from performing the essential functions of the job, you cannot discriminate against them for any future possibility of impairment if they're already doing that job. This is why sports teams can't fire athletes for being injury-prone.

Further: what are the actual consequences of Hawk's future relapse into depression, anxiety, and/or addiction? You don't know. The consequences seem like they must be high and horrible because the position is higher-status with greater responsibility. If people with mental illnesses are increasingly disqualified from higher-status and higher-responsibility positions because their potential episodes will have commensurately broad negative effects, this is implicitly an argument that people with mental illnesses must be constrained from affecting society for fear of their potential negative impact.

It is an interesting question, would people feel the same way if she had a tumor that caused this behavior, and it was removed, and she was all better. I admit, I probably would have a different opinion if that were the case. On some level, I guess I'm a bit uncertain both that her actions were directly and solely caused by a treatable mental illness, and also that the underlying issue is completely cured, like a tumor being removed.

That's kind of the whole point: you, not being her, will never know for sure if her invisible illness is being successfully managed. Treating people with invisible illnesses as though they were permanently incapacitated is discriminatory ableism.

None of any of the above is to say that Hawk is a good judge or lawyer or DA. She might well be horrible at all of them. But she's not horrible at those jobs because she suffers from mental illness, and her treated condition doesn't nevertheless render her unfit to serve, although she might be unfit to serve anyway.
posted by Errant at 4:54 PM on October 6, 2015 [20 favorites]


Someone who treats their employees the way Hawk did should not be allowed to work in a position of authority over others. It's really that simple. This isn't a case of a person with MDD having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, whose untreated illness bogs down their lives and the lives of their family and close friends. This is a case of someone whose reprehensible behavior has a blast radius probably measured in hundreds of people ranging from a fired a long-time employee just before their retirement to who knows how many people are languishing in prison right now.

Right this moment, I would be willing to bet that someone is in jail or prison who otherwise would be free. These kinds of miscarriage of justice should not be forgiven until amends are made.

When Jeff Savage gets HIS forgiveness, I'll give Hawk hers.
posted by chimaera at 5:21 PM on October 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


If there is a reliable system in place to support a person who holds public office in managing their illness (and prevent or mitigate a relapse), and if their colleagues and staff can safely express valid concerns when that person is - because of the nature of their illness - unable to recognize that they are engaging in behaviour that severely impacts the functioning of that office, to the detriment of the people it serves, no problem.

In the absence of a system like that, an ill DA could do a lot of harm (ultimate harm, in a setting like Texas) to a lot of people. An ill mayor could hamstring, weaken, impoverish a whole city.

Doctors and other professionals who suffer from this kind of illness are (sometimes, in some places, to at least some degree) protected by their professional colleges and associations, in the sense that when things go wrong, they're usually mandated to seek help and time off, and are often provided with some form of ongoing supervision. And mechanisms exist for members of the public to seek recourse or register complaints, if they have reason to believe something's gone wrong. (Whether doctors and other professionals feel free to act preemptively to seek care is another question, and that's certainly influenced by stigma.) It's not quite the same for a DA (or mayor).
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:28 PM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


(I have no idea what such a system would look like for an elected official, but there ought to be something. The city council had to resort to mutiny, effectively, to protect Toronto from Rob Ford's addiction.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:17 PM on October 6, 2015


Something from the new Doctor Who has stuck out to me quite ever since I saw it.

When the PM Harriet Jones whom he had formerly allied with isn't doing what he wants, he says he can ruin her career with six little words:

Don't you think she looks tired?


Reading this post made me think of that. And I'm honestly a bit too tired myself to elaborate but I hope it makes sense. I felt it was one of the terrible things the doctor had done and it still fills me with revulsion and horror to remember him saying it. And i feel the same thing is happening here.

Don't you think she looks depressed?
posted by sio42 at 6:18 PM on October 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


When Jeff Savage gets HIS forgiveness, I'll give Hawk hers.

The third link after the jump reports that Hawk has apologized to Savage, that Savage has been offered his job back, and that he's already employed by the constable's office but is considering going back to work for Hawk. So, I guess that "when" is now?
posted by Errant at 6:23 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Eh, it's weird. She says that all of the firings were justified and, in my opinion, without more information it's hard to know what's going on.
posted by I-baLL at 6:28 PM on October 6, 2015


What do you think the odds are of beating a death charge in Dallas?

First off, there's no such thing as "a death charge" in Dallas.

Second, since you are interested: In Dallas County, the odds against being sentenced to death after being convicted of a capital crime are 78%. What's that I said? Am I for serious??

Yes, seriously. Since 2007, of the 28 capital cases tried in Dallas County that resulted in a guilty verdict, only six of those resulted in a sentence of death. So, 78% of people convicted of a capital crime in Dallas county since 2007 "beat a death charge." Yay!!

Look, I'm anti-death penalty. I'm anti-prosecutorial-misconduct. I'm not about to defend the bloviating of the political characters in Texas who have all the momentum right now, and I'm not going to defend Texas' judicial system as a whole. I'm not at all convinced that Susan Hawk is a good district attorney. BUT. Don't go dramatically implying that Susan Hawk going back to her job in her fragile, mentally ill state means that she is irrationally going to start sending busses full of innocents to the death chamber. It's a shrill but-what-about-the-children tactic. It's a loopy prediction not backed by history or statistics. It's an easy, knee-jerk, facile argument. And it's just one more way of insinuating that women, when compromised by mental illness or emotion or their fucking menstrual cycles, are dangerous and liable to flip out at any moment and not to be trusted, and certainly not to be trusted with power. Oh hello stupid trope, I've missed you.

And when it's finally time for us to have this Metatalk discussion, I hope we can also talk about how any conversation even tangentially Texas-related is destined to go a certain direction on Metafilter. I can say that's tiresome without saying that everything that happens in Texas is awesome. (I get it, fucked up things happen in Texas.) It's seriously tiresome, though. It goes on the list of things Metafilter doesn't do well.
posted by mudpuppie at 7:04 PM on October 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


I seem to be in a minority here.

I think that the only reason this is even an issue is that she's politically powerful - if she were an actual public employee she'd have been fired weeks into her nine-week no-show, if not before.

The people who successfully create a hostile working environment are precisely the people who know that they can always get away with it, that they can go as far as they like and will always be forgiven.

I personally think the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one - not excepting but particularly when the one is rich and powerful. Hawk has made terrible mistakes repeatedly - not just innocent mistakes but seemingly malicious attacks and deliberately corrupt activities. There are so many other competent candidates out there - and this is a key role that will affect thousands of people's lives.

To be frank, I feel many of you have an emotional attachment to her because of shared concerns, and are missing the fact that she has demonstrated neither compassion nor ethics nor even basic competence for this critical role. I think if any of you nice, liberal, progressive people - people much like me! - spent half an hour talking to this 1%er about what she really thinks about criminal justice and the law, you'd have nightmares for months.

(And long sad experience leads me to be really dubious about the "I was depressed but nine weeks and I'm cured! Now I can make you safe!" thing - but I've downed your trip too much...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:10 PM on October 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


This is precisely what Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act is all about. If they are not currently impaired from performing the essential functions of the job, you cannot discriminate against them for any future possibility of impairment

I favorited your comment. Very informative. However, the more I read about ADA, the more I believe it errs in the protection of a previously-discriminated against class to the much greater detriment of society around it.

In my example of the fixed-broken-leg: Isn't there a psychological aspect for both the worker and their staff - to this to do with impending very-likely impairment? I'm not referring to prejudice. I'm referring to data - specifically based on the rational, scientific observation that 90% of the people who do this activity with this injury will relapse/fail in their actions?


Further: what are the actual consequences of Hawk's future relapse into depression, anxiety, and/or addiction? You don't know.


One should be able to make legal rules on the preponderance of evidence - including probabilities.

You can't know to 100% what the consequences are of a driver driving a car with untreated grand mal epilepsy, or people with vision defects who don't wear glasses. We still disallow anyone (as a function of their license - and they would be criminally liable if they did) for doing so, because on the balance of probabilities it endangers the world, even at the expense of their rights.
posted by lalochezia at 7:14 PM on October 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


There are a lot of problems with the idea of making those kinds of projections when it comes to mental illness. It's not possible to apply predictions based on epidemiological data to an individual's course of illness. There are way too many variables (reporting/follow-up of instances in the first place; the particular expression of illness [and even if that weren't the most important thing, although we are talking about real illnesses, their classification is in flux - the DSM-5 isn't uncontroversial]; the nature of available care, access to care). You can't tie the huge (and variably expressed) range of possibly illness-related dysfunctions neatly to a defined set of behaviours, either, in the way it's possible to do with vision impairment and driving. (Not without a schwack of assessments and observations, and even then.) That kind of narrowly defined liability can't be linked to the mere fact of a diagnosis, or to an identity relating to an illness.

The outcomes really are unknowable. Ongoing care, and self-care, make better ones more likely.

I do think that both individuals charged with weighty responsibilities, and those to whom they're obliged, would benefit from some sort of impartial buffer or monitor, for their mutual protection.
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:44 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


You can't know to 100% what the consequences are of a driver driving a car with untreated grand mal epilepsy, or people with vision defects who don't wear glasses.

You can't know to 100% what the consequences are of any driver driving a car, untreated epilepsy or vision defects or no other known physical condition that might affect their driving. And yet, we let people drive cars all the damn time despite all of us basically being collections of time bombs wrapped in skin.
posted by Etrigan at 7:51 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


So, I guess that "when" is now?

I'd say that "when" is the day he gets a check for back pay plus interest for the dismissal he should never have been given.
posted by chimaera at 8:29 PM on October 6, 2015


You can't know to 100% what the consequences are of a driver driving a car with untreated grand mal epilepsy, or people with vision defects who don't wear glasses. We still disallow anyone (as a function of their license - and they would be criminally liable if they did) for doing so, because on the balance of probabilities it endangers the world, even at the expense of their rights.

Susan Hawk's illness isn't "untreated", so this isn't a very good analogy. However, in most states, driving probations for epilepsy are lifted after a determined period of time without seizure, usually 6 months. Only 6 states require a physician to report that seizure to the DOL. Most states don't require an affirmation of medication, although a few require periodic physician reports. We don't permanently disallow epileptics from driving, with very few exceptions, because denying equal treatment to someone for a past or remissive condition is discriminatory, despite the possibility of an epileptic relapse.

In my example of the fixed-broken-leg: Isn't there a psychological aspect for both the worker and their staff - to this to do with impending very-likely impairment? I'm not referring to prejudice. I'm referring to data - specifically based on the rational, scientific observation that 90% of the people who do this activity with this injury will relapse/fail in their actions?

Well, unless the worker chooses to disclose their medical history, there's probably no psychological aspect for the staff, since they wouldn't know. As for the worker, there probably would be a psychological aspect at play for someone who chose to continue their job despite that risk. I'm guessing it's the same aspect that convinces football players to keep playing despite repeated concussions or soldiers to go back on tour despite combat injuries.

However, the more I read about ADA, the more I believe it errs in the protection of a previously-discriminated against class to the much greater detriment of society around it.

You can choose to believe that equal protection and consideration for people with disabilities is detrimental to society, if you wish. I think I'll just say I disagree with you and leave it at that, because if you believe that society is harmed because disabled people have increased accessibility, housing, employment, voting access, and other basic social functions, I don't really know what to say to you.

I'd say that "when" is the day he gets a check for back pay plus interest for the dismissal he should never have been given.

Well, I'm sure he'll be right along with a press release if and when that happens. If you don't want to forgive Hawk and believe that she's a public menace, just say so. You don't have to dress it up as rage over an employee who has already been offered restitution that he finds acceptable, and you don't have to keep shifting the goalposts about it.

I think that the only reason this is even an issue is that she's politically powerful - if she were an actual public employee she'd have been fired weeks into her nine-week no-show, if not before.

She's an elected official. She can't be fired, and there is no provision in place for a recall. Her "nine-week no-show" was an unpaid, federally-protected medical leave of absence.

To be frank, I feel many of you have an emotional attachment to her because of shared concerns, and are missing the fact that she has demonstrated neither compassion nor ethics nor even basic competence for this critical role.

It's funny you say that, because I've been thinking that your recent experiences with a hostile work environment are coloring the way you're looking at this. She was the Greater Dallas Crime Commission's Prosecutor of the Year in 2002. She was a criminal district judge for over ten years. During her tenure as judge, she started a program called ATLAS to help nonviolent offenders with mental health issues seek treatment and stay out of penitentiary, garnering awards from the National Association on Mental Illness and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. And, of course, she was voted into office by the constituency. She's certainly demonstrated compassion, ethics, and basic competence throughout her career, and to say otherwise is absurd in the face of the facts.
posted by Errant at 9:56 PM on October 6, 2015 [12 favorites]


As a seriously depressed person married to a person who used to be seriously depressed (thanks Paxil®), I think about what my life would have been like if me or my husband, at all those times when we were both barely hanging on, had had to go to work every day in an environment like the one Hawk created, and I want to jump out of my skin. I just would not have coped, I would be dead. I'm genuinely impressed that other mentally ill people want to stand by her. Maybe that's the right thing to do... but I viscerally hate her. I think mentally ill people especially need to be protected from abusive authority figures, whether their behaviour is a manifestation of illness or not. Maybe letting her go back to work is the best thing for whatever reason, but man, it's still shitty. I hope she stops fucking people's lives up now.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 10:26 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Eh, it's weird. She says that all of the firings were justified and, in my opinion, without more information it's hard to know what's going on.

Yeah, seriously. If you live by that sword, that's the same sword that's going to end up taking you down.

Go ahead and uphold bad practice, it's ironic, yet appropriate, that you lose your job that same way.

Texas whatever.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:32 PM on October 6, 2015


Oh, I did forget to mention something that I find weird. I didn't read the links in the FPP in full but this is what stood out:

From the DMagazine link:
Her thoughts kept turning to the empty bottle of Trazodone sleeping pills in her top dresser drawer.
Trazodone was prescribed to her as a sleeping pill?
posted by I-baLL at 12:14 AM on October 7, 2015


Eh, I should've pointed out that I've no idea if it actually is used as a sleeping pill but the fact that it seems to be a strong anti-depressant and that the article refers to it as a sleeping pill is weird to me.
posted by I-baLL at 12:15 AM on October 7, 2015


Trazodone is very commonly prescribed off-label for insomnia, I think second only to zolpidem (Ambien).
posted by Errant at 12:32 AM on October 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Co-signing, I know a bunch of people who have at one point taken Trazodone for sleep.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:39 AM on October 7, 2015


Errant: But she's not horrible at those jobs because she suffers from mental illness, and her treated condition doesn't nevertheless render her unfit to serve, although she might be unfit to serve anyway.

Reportedly, her paranoia escalated until eventually she accused members of her staff of spying on her, breaking into her home, conspiring against her, etc. Whether that paranoia was the result of her depression or an underlying issue, it points to a deeper mental health issue that yes, impaired her ability to do her job properly.
posted by zarq at 3:46 AM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wrote: However, the more I read about ADA, the more I believe it errs in the protection of a previously-discriminated against class to the much greater detriment of society around it.

.You can choose to believe that equal protection and consideration for people with disabilities is detrimental to society, if you wish. I think I'll just say I disagree with you and leave it at that,
...because if you believe that society is harmed because disabled people have increased accessibility, housing, employment, voting access, and other basic social functions, I don't really know what to say to you.


For someone who is obviously trained in the law, that is a spectacular example of argument by bad faith and drawing unwarranted conclusions. Where did I state that I believed the sweeping- and obviously evil - generalizations above? I stated that the ADA errs on the side of harming people as a whole - in this case, people have been harmed! by the law! - not because of the raft of rights-protection listed above, but their overbroad use at the expense of others.

Let me give you an example using your reductio ad malo technique. Should every single public place have maximal disabled accessibility, no matter the cost or the number of disabled people it affects? Every entranceway in governmental and historical sites be widened to accept motorized wheelchairs, every stair have an elevator or ramp on it - including 17th,18th, 19th century buildings, every single display have auditory assistance and for-the-blind text? If you do: congratulations! You would bankrupt municipalities, destroy art and history and take away resources from other people in need of governmental assistance.

I don't believe you believe the above paragraph's approach . What we do is we come up with a balance that neither denies disabled peoples rights nor destroys fairness to other stakeholders in society. I'm merely saying that in some cases (including this one), the ADA's balance has erred.
posted by lalochezia at 6:12 AM on October 7, 2015


Also, since we are talking about the law and your examples:

I'm guessing it's the same aspect that convinces football players to keep playing despite repeated concussions or soldiers to go back on tour despite combat injuries.


We should have, as a society, mechanisms to support people injured by their work. But!

If a person in an analogous situation - when they become injured or ill and return to work unfit, thus knowingly endangering other people - in critical jobs - then they should be criminally liable. If an organization, upon examining the injured person, on the preponderance of evidence,, finds that they endanger people, and sends them back to that job anyway, they should be liable too.

And we should not have laws that supersede these liabilities.

or I like cotton dress sock's analysis

I do think that both individuals charged with weighty responsibilities, and those to whom they're obliged, would benefit from some sort of impartial buffer or monitor, for their mutual protection.<

posted by lalochezia at 6:22 AM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Trazodone is very commonly prescribed off-label for insomnia, I think second only to zolpidem (Ambien).
posted by Errant at 3:32 AM on October 7 [4 favorites +] [!]


Co-signing, I know a bunch of people who have at one point taken Trazodone for sleep.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:39 AM on October 7 [+] [!]
Wow, I had no clue. Ambien, as far as I'm aware, isn't an anti-depressant. The fact that an anti-depressant is being prescribed as a sleeping pill is eye-opening. Personally, I'd be worried about the side effects.
posted by I-baLL at 7:23 AM on October 7, 2015


While I agree that woman, etc. makes this all end up with worse bias going on, what I think it boils down for me is: If you worked in the DA's office and had so far not been fired, how would you feel about her saying, "I'm all better now and ready to come back to work?" How comfortable would you feel in that situation?

Because whether it's a mental illness or no, that was a hostile work environment.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:41 AM on October 7, 2015


So basically, she fucked up while suffering an illness. She's treated the condition and is better now, but I am sure there are some very powerful microscopes on her at this moment analyzing her every.little.move. (which a lot of that is attributed directly to stigma). So maybe she fucks up again and has to be removed from her position? Or maybe not? Whatever it is, the situation needs to be addressed and the office allowed to move forward from this with a plan that seeks to make the organization whole again.

Or you know, we could get our pitchforks and be vocally passionate about how she doesn't deserve or job and whatnot. A camp of which I will not belong to.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:00 AM on October 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I guess my comment begs the question "Can the organization be whole again as long as she is at the helm?" To which I don't think any of us, from the reading of these articles, can even begin to answer. She's back at the job so I assume people inside the office have reviewed the situation and decided it's worth trying.

I believe a plan to address the trauma her actions caused her employees while she was suffering from her illness is in order, for sure. Mentally ill people can harm and traumatize other people. Boundaries and expectations are not beyond the pale to ask ask for when working alongside others who suffer from mental illness. I just think its a matter of addressing it in the workplace effectively and taking the time to work through all the issues that come with this and seek to adequately address those issues.

I dunno. Just my thoughts. I could be totally wrong.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:09 AM on October 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wow, I had no clue. Ambien, as far as I'm aware, isn't an anti-depressant. The fact that an anti-depressant is being prescribed as a sleeping pill is eye-opening. Personally, I'd be worried about the side effects.

At therapeutic dosages for depression (600mg, per my prescribing psychiatrist), Trazodone basically knocks you right out. At dosages for sleep (25-50mg), it helps you drift off, and can have a synergistic effect with antidepressants if you are on them. It's like Zoloft aka Wellbutrin for quitting smoking.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:40 AM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


> To be frank, I feel many of you have an emotional attachment to her because of shared concerns, and are missing the fact that she has demonstrated neither compassion nor ethics nor even basic competence for this critical role. I think if any of you nice, liberal, progressive people - people much like me! - spent half an hour talking to this 1%er about what she really thinks about criminal justice and the law, you'd have nightmares for months.

It’s strange to hear you claim this, lupus_yonderboy, because I feel like you’re the one arguing in contravention of the established facts. She is an elected official. She cannot be “fired” in the typical sense. I imagine she could be removed from office if she were convicted of a crime and jailed, but you don’t seem to be arguing that she has committed a crime.

You keep saying, in effect, “Stop defending her! Don’t you realize she’s a ‘law-and-order’ Republican?” It’s an argument that implies that there are never larger principles at stake — there are only “good” people and “bad” people. I’m sure the people in this thread who defend her know what her politics are, and would probably vote for another candidate if they lived in Dallas County, but are defending her nonetheless because we’re a rule-based society and precedents matter.

If you think she should resign because of the hostile work environment she created, that’s fine. It won’t happen, but it’s reasonable for you to feel that way. If you think that she should resign because her treatment for mental illness suggests that she’ll once again create a hostile work environment, then that is exactly what people in this thread are reacting to. Hold her accountable for her past actions, but don’t convict her of pre-crime.
posted by savetheclocktower at 10:29 AM on October 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Let me give you an example using your reductio ad malo technique. Should every single public place have maximal disabled accessibility, no matter the cost or the number of disabled people it affects? Every entranceway in governmental and historical sites be widened to accept motorized wheelchairs, every stair have an elevator or ramp on it - including 17th,18th, 19th century buildings, every single display have auditory assistance and for-the-blind text? If you do: congratulations! You would bankrupt municipalities, destroy art and history and take away resources from other people in need of governmental assistance.

I don't believe you believe the above paragraph's approach .


Yes, I do believe every single public place should have the maximal disabled accessibility available, so I do believe the above paragraph's approach. But, to invoke your same reductio ad malo, that doesn't mean that the maximal accessibility available is the maximal accessibility possible. Nonetheless, the disabled have as much right to our shared public space and shared public history as anyone else, and a society which accommodates disability is a better, more compassionate society. Does that mean we destroy 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century historical sites? Sometimes no, sometimes yes. It depends on other factors such as historical preservation and efficacy of reconstruction. For a time I lived in an old historically-preserved colonial pillbox house with very narrow, steep stairways. You couldn't make those accessible without destroying the house, so that's not a possibility. But if you tell me that a 17th-century church or library is getting remodeled to include ramps, at the cost of an old historical face but without detriment to the overall service, I'm going to shrug and say, "good". It seems like we probably disagree about that.

As for "taking resources away from other people in need of governmental assistance", every use of public funds for public assistance "takes away resources" from other public assistance, since the pot is limited. Increasing public accessibility and guaranteeing nondiscrimination is helping "people in need of governmental assistance". It's what public money is for. We clearly disagree on the necessity of some accessibility proposals, and that's fine, budget arguments are like that.

I stated that the ADA errs on the side of harming people as a whole - in this case, people have been harmed! by the law! - not because of the raft of rights-protection listed above, but their overbroad use at the expense of others.

The key word here is "overbroad", which I think begs the question. I don't think the provisions of the ADA are overbroadly applied; if anything, I think we are unreasonably noncompliant with a legal act passed 25 years ago. I'd challenge you to back up this assertion that the ADA errs on the side of harming people as a whole. Every one of your arguments was made in 1990, when the act was being debated. 25 years later, there is no net decrease of abled employment due to disability assistance, the country is not financially harmed by the vast expansion of accessibility in public spaces, businesses have not suffered in talent or ability due to protected consideration of disabled candidates, and there has not been a flood of discrimination lawsuits impeding the courts, business, or the public sector.

For all of that, the ADA isn't really in play here. since, as an elected official, Susan Hawk's job isn't unfairly endangered by her employer due to a disability condition. FMLA is more relevant, with its provisions for unpaid medical leave of which Hawk availed herself.

Reportedly, her paranoia escalated until eventually she accused members of her staff of spying on her, breaking into her home, conspiring against her, etc. Whether that paranoia was the result of her depression or an underlying issue, it points to a deeper mental health issue that yes, impaired her ability to do her job properly.

I think I wasn't clear enough, so I apologize. Hawk is not unfit to serve because she is a person with depression, although the manifestations of her depressive episodes may incapacitate her. Maybe it's a small distinction, but I think it's an important one. I was making this point because there are people in the public conversation and here saying "we don't know if it's really treated, so she should resign". If she continues to manifest the behavior that made her workplace toxic and reduced the efficiency of her department, yes, I think she should probably resign then. But she deserves a chance to demonstrate her capability in light of her current treatment schedule.

Ambien, as far as I'm aware, isn't an anti-depressant. The fact that an anti-depressant is being prescribed as a sleeping pill is eye-opening. Personally, I'd be worried about the side effects.

Ambien isn't an antidepressant, so you're right about that. There's no real data-driven consensus on trazodone's efficacy for insomnia, but lots of doctors prescribe it anyway because of its anecdotal success.

It's like Zoloft aka Wellbutrin for quitting smoking.

Minor correction: Zoloft is different than Wellbutrin (sertraline vs. buproprion), but you're right that Wellbutrin is similarly often prescribed for smoking cessation (frequently marketed as Zyban for that purpose). Although, unlike trazodone for insomnia, that's an on-label, FDA-approved indication.
posted by Errant at 10:31 AM on October 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think I wasn't clear enough, so I apologize. Hawk is not unfit to serve because she is a person with depression, although the manifestations of her depressive episodes may incapacitate her. Maybe it's a small distinction, but I think it's an important one. I was making this point because there are people in the public conversation and here saying "we don't know if it's really treated, so she should resign". If she continues to manifest the behavior that made her workplace toxic and reduced the efficiency of her department, yes, I think she should probably resign then. But she deserves a chance to demonstrate her capability in light of her current treatment schedule.

Yep. I agree.
posted by zarq at 11:20 AM on October 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


First off, there's no such thing as "a death charge" in Dallas.

Capital case. Criminal prosecution in which the death penalty is sought by the State. My point was clear, and I can do without your condescension, or your attribution to me of sexist arguments I didn't even remotely make, mudpuppie.

The issue is that a DA's office is not a regular workplace. Here is a personal example. There is a prosecutor's office of a major city near me that is run (by a male DA, not that it matters) in the manner Hawk seems to have run her office. The purges, the paranoia, the whole bit. It is an absolute shitshow of Brady violations, prosecutorial abuses, personal vendettas, reversed convictions, the list goes on. A toxic head of a prosecutor's office breeds a culture that is toxic to justice. One of the biggest signposts, and what really caught my eye, was her purges of anyone who wasn't personally loyal to her. A deputy prosecutor should be loyal to the office and the law, not to the person who was elected. Heading down that road leads to bad things. Anyway, it'll play out how it plays out I guess, since there's no recall.
posted by bepe at 12:20 PM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bepe, if she wasn't diagnosed with a mental illness I'd understand your insistence. You are questioning her at present based on an illness that has been treated. Your comment doesn't make any sense to me at all based on what I know from close-up, intimate and firsthand experiences with people suffering from mental illness. Once a person is on the recovery side of their treatment plan it's questionable to me that we gain much value or insight by comparing them presently against their actions prior to treatment.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:15 PM on October 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


If she continues to manifest the behavior that made her workplace toxic and reduced the efficiency of her department, yes, I think she should probably resign then. But she deserves a chance to demonstrate her capability in light of her current treatment schedule.

Ok - but who, exactly, is placed to judge whether she's manifesting this behaviour? Her psychologist, who's (probably?) not hearing from coworkers? Her political opponents, who might (possibly fairly) be accused of having an agenda? Her staff, who might be afraid of losing their jobs? Is there someone in an HR department somewhere with the knowledge (and power) to make this determination?
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:17 PM on October 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Once a person is on the recovery side of their treatment plan it's questionable to me that we gain much value or insight by comparing them presently against their actions prior to treatment.

Fair point. I'm probably transposing too much of my personal experiences onto this situation.
posted by bepe at 1:33 PM on October 7, 2015


The fact that an anti-depressant is being prescribed as a sleeping pill is eye-opening. Personally, I'd be worried about the side effects.

Well, in this case it's being taken for the side effects. But really, the distinction about whether a particular pill is an anti-depressant or a sleeping pill is kind of an artificial one -- chemicals don't care what you call them, after all, and most psychopharmaceuticals actually affect multiple responses and behaviors. For example, hydroxyzine has not only anti-histamine but also anxiolytic, sedative, and antipsychotic properties. Even Benadryl has mild anti-depressant effects.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:57 PM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ok - but who, exactly, is placed to judge whether she's manifesting this behaviour?

She is, which is why it'll be up to her to resign if that's the right thing to do. Failing that, the voters who are her boss will pass that judgment in the next election and will hopefully be guided by the whole story, for better or worse, and not just a fear and misunderstanding of mental illness. One hopes that if she finds herself truly unable to serve, as she has for a brief time already, that she'll do the best thing for herself and for her constituency. But if you don't trust her to do that, well, she's far from the first elected official to experience a lack of confidence from her base.

In a sense, that's really what all this comes down to. Addicts and people with mental illness experience debilitating and often externally harmful episodes which have negative impact on those they're responsible for and those they're close to. Then they go into treatment. How much are you willing to trust them and that process? Conversely, how fractured is your sense of trust already? For some people, it'll be irretrievably broken. Others can be won over. But there's no doubt that people suffering from mental illness also create their own trust gaps which they have to bridge. and it takes a lot longer to build or rebuild trust than to break it. It might be all the way gone in this case. If it is, that's almost certainly also the end of her career in public life, and she's spent a lot of time and effort to go far in that field. It's not surprising that she's trying to hang on to her job and rehabilitate her image. Does she deserve that chance? I'm saying yes, but "no" is a legitimate answer, even if it's one I disagree with. If the end of her career is the consequence of her distorted actions, then that's a thing she'll have to deal with. My hope is that those around her and her constituency act from an informed place and make their decisions with the best understanding of mental illness possible, but that isn't the same thing as saying that she gets a free pass because she is or was sick. I think the Democrat plan of concern-trolling her is as despicable as it is cowardly for the party supposedly devoted to expanded health care, but she does have something to answer for. I think we're a better society when we give people with mental illnesses the chance to reintegrate and when we don't place artificial limits on their potential or contributions based on fear or ignorance, while understanding that it's up to those people to take advantage of that chance.
posted by Errant at 2:19 PM on October 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Even Benadryl has mild anti-depressant effects.

Oops, it looks like that's more controversial than I thought, but what I said for hydroxyzine still stands.

posted by en forme de poire at 2:46 PM on October 7, 2015


It occurs to me that if she does relapse, and doesn't manage it appropriately, she's at risk of exposing herself to some heavy threats to her mental health (especially if paranoia figures into it again - staffers leaking information to journalists, fire from political opponents and journalists, public inquiries...). She's giving herself a real challenge, that's for sure. (Imo it really is a shame there's nothing but an election to intervene, in that case.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:46 PM on October 7, 2015


Let me give you an example using your reductio ad malo technique. Should every single public place have maximal disabled accessibility, no matter the cost or the number of disabled people it affects? Every entranceway in governmental and historical sites be widened to accept motorized wheelchairs, every stair have an elevator or ramp on it - including 17th,18th, 19th century buildings, every single display have auditory assistance and for-the-blind text? If you do: congratulations! You would bankrupt municipalities, destroy art and history and take away resources from other people in need of governmental assistance.


We do this in Soviet Canuckistan and it's not bankrupting anybody. Nice job on the "being decent to people who have less ability than you will COST SO MANY MONEYS" though.

Minor correction: Zoloft is different than Wellbutrin (sertraline vs. buproprion), but you're right that Wellbutrin is similarly often prescribed for smoking cessation (frequently marketed as Zyban for that purpose). Although, unlike trazodone for insomnia, that's an on-label, FDA-approved indication.

Sorry. I meant Zyban and obviously had a brainfart.

posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:09 PM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]



We do this in Soviet Canuckistan and it's not bankrupting anybody.


You are either deliberately or ignorantly misreading my suggestion.

My point was that EVERY SINGLE DOOR AND STAIRWAY (in the same building) does not need to be converted...That's not the same as every (or most) buildings having some form of disabled access.. I've been to soviet canuckistan multiple times. There are buildings where only one door or stairway is converted for disabled access -and that's fine. There are a few, heavily justifiable, historical buildings where no conversion was possible. That's fine too.

....... and this gambit was a "reductio ad absurdum" response to a hyperbolic assertion that anyone who questions the ADA must want all disabled people to be stripped of their rights.

But why not just assume the worse and accuse posters of being assholes, rather than reading the comment in detail. Keep at it! MeFi's site culture will do really well with this level of engagement.
posted by lalochezia at 9:22 AM on October 8, 2015


lalochezia, no one in here has made the argument that every single door and stairway needs to be converted, except for you in a straw man caricature. Largely, that argument wasn't made because building accessibility for the disabled has absolutely nothing to do with Susan Hawk's fitness for her public office, as well as it being a ridiculous argument. You can question the ADA all you want. Here are the two broad statements you've made about it:

However, the more I read about ADA, the more I believe it errs in the protection of a previously-discriminated against class to the much greater detriment of society around it.

I stated that the ADA errs on the side of harming people as a whole - in this case, people have been harmed! by the law! - not because of the raft of rights-protection listed above, but their overbroad use at the expense of others.

That's your claim: in expanding protections against discrimination for disabled people, the ADA acts to the detriment of the larger society. Why do you think that, and what is your evidence?
posted by Errant at 10:04 AM on October 8, 2015


(and I would like to know how the ADA is even relatable to this discussion?)
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:48 AM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Here are some problems with the over broad use of the ADA being used as a bludgeon and bullying tool.

1, 2.

However, upon further reading this originates with the pairing of the ADA with a California based law making any violation of the ADA a civil rights violation.

This pairing has opened the door to serial lawsuits by plaintiffs that have never visited the business or public area in question; a raft of minuscule violations can (and has) lead to fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars and businesses being bankrupted and closed - if they don't "settle" with the lawsuit bringer who mysteriously no longer cares about the compliance of the business, who then goes on to other people to milk.

So in this case, my issue is with the combination of the ADA and the Unruh Civil rights act having (presumably) unexpected consequences. California govt. has in the past year tried to fix this problem but it is still not entirely resolved.
---

People can argue that copyright law is broken with regard to patent trolls without stating that the idea of intellectual property is Wrong. I am trying to display a similar position with regard to the ADA and disability rights.

---

As far as the Hawk case - fine. the ADA is not germane, but you asked me to defend my statement that ASPECTS of the ADA can act as detriment to larger society.

I stand by my point : I am against laws that say you may not consider using evidence and a balance of probabilities to decide that the potential future impairment of a critical employee could be harmful to others.....

rather the ADA, as you say states "If they are not currently impaired from performing the essential functions of the job, you cannot discriminate against them for any (emphasis mine) future possibility of impairment if they're already doing that job".


Again, for the skim readers I am *not against* promoting disability rights in general, using the force of the law. Sigh.

I have to leave it here.
posted by lalochezia at 1:07 PM on October 8, 2015


But why not just assume the worse and accuse posters of being assholes, rather than reading the comment in detail. Keep at it! MeFi's site culture will do really well with this level of engagement.

Why not just assume that someone is ignorantly or deliberately misreading you, instead of shooting down your strawman? Keep at it! MeFi's site culture will do really well with this level of engagement.

You made broad statements. I responded to exactly what was said. If you wanted me to respond to something else, it would have served you well to have said something else.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:04 PM on October 8, 2015


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