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No, she wasn't poisoning pigeons.

An 81-year-old woman diagnosed with both Alzheimer's and dementia is being held in jail because she was allegedly feeding crows.

Mary Musselman was arrested on Monday for allegedly leaving bread outside her home in central Florida to feed the birds.

It's one thing to put food out for bears, as in lots of it. I can understand the safety problems with that, and can understand why the terms of her release ("Don't feed wild animals!") were what they were.

But we're talking about someone diagnosed with Alzheimer's and dementia. To what conceivable purpose can anyone imagine the act of locking her up again when she failed to obey the order - by scattering bread around for some crows?

I suppose it's merely a rhetorical question at this point, but do police really have absolutely no common sense left? No ability to discern when something is totally absurd?

And then there's the judge.

The judge ordered Musselman to be held in jail until a more complete mental evaluation can take place.
Perhaps he had no choice. Perhaps there is no one who can take responsibility for her. Jail is now the only place to put the mentally ill or unstable, yet jail likely contributes to mental illness and triggers mental problems. Jails were not created to help people; they are simply sets of cages to lock people up, either for punishment or because they are suspected of being a criminal.

A hundred years from now, I hope and dread that people will look back on what this country does to those most in need of help as barbaric, inhuman and unforgivable. None of us will likely be around for that, but perhaps some intrepid MultiSuper Googleplex user will discover this diary and will understand that not everyone was blind, even if we all were unwilling or incapable of doing anything about it.

Originally posted to jpmassar on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 10:11 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kossacks for the Homeless Person, Occupy Wall Street, Healthcare Reform - We've Only Just Begun, DKos Florida, Prison Watch, and CareGiving Kos.

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