While I'd first come across a deeper look at the history of sanitariums in this country courtesy of Aydin Paladin, this related, and in many ways overlapping, video by Stefan Molyneux is the springboard for this post.
While both videos are good, the critical subject Stefan covers in greater depth is the connection between crime rates and dumping the people who used to live in Asylums and Sanitariums into the streets to be supposedly cared for. Especially how they then went back down as the war on drugs and getting tough on crime re-institutionalized a lot of the people who were let out into the streets - but put them into a prison as criminals instead of as merely incapable of living a normal live.
Mulling over that was like a gut punch, as I vividly recall the repeated attempts to romanticize and normalize insanity. Everything from Benny and Joon to A Beautiful Mind - though to be fair Nash is an interesting subject and contributed a hell of a lot despite, or because of, his illness. I also recall the staple of the late 70's and early 80's action flick, the criminal who was just plain nuts. It seemed the whole world was going crazy, and everyone in it.
Todays mentally ill and incontinent shout at everyone around them to not clap, and use Jazz hands. The only strike I have against the Promethean is that, even written as recently as it was, it is no longer satire.
In this day and age sanitariums are subject worth revisiting our assumptions on.
Consider Somalia. It is perhaps one of the best examples that the rule "an armed society is a polite society" is not universally applicable. But then, the cultural makeaup and low IQ combined with a population heavy on lack of planning/consideration of long-term consequences goes a long way towards explaining that.
In short, not every group has on average the IQ and personality factors needed to keep a civilization running and not act out violently at little or no provocation. And even in civilized societies, there are those who for one reason or another can't, and not simply for made-up reasons.
And we no longer have a place to stash them before they become criminals.
But this is the point - Yes, the Soviet Union would put protesters in asylums because only crazy people didn't see the benefits of communism, and there indeed were other abuses in the past in asylums in general with poor care, etc. I'm also looking at the ways people could easily abuse red flag laws, and as Borepatch reports, are already planning to (link in the update), to take away the right to effectively defend oneself from further abuse and crime: Oh, you want a gun? You must be crazy! Sorry, no guns for crazies!
Yet, we obviously have nut jobs roaming the streets that have no business being there despite not being criminals. At best they are a hazard to themselves, at worse, they cause damage to those around them.
When even a libertarian like Molyneaux, despite pushing for private institutions instead of the state, starts talking about the need to involuntarily commit people for the sake of themselves and society instead of jailing them as criminals, perhaps it's time we started treating crazy people as crazies and not throwing them in jail, nor letting them shit on the streets? At least a little bit?
Since I'm also hardline enough on 2a that I feel released felons should have their gun rights restored - because if they can't manage self control what are they being released for? - then those who are in sanitariums would also be de facto disarmed, and you wouldn't need "red flag" laws.