Letter from someone in Washington

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In Montlake, WA, the police have forced a judge to involuntarily commit an 18-year-old man, only recently released from jail, to two weeks of psychiatric evaluations, to determine if he should be put away for life for his "own protection." The man's jail sentence was for burglary. While in jail, however, one of the police decided that the man had a "predatory nature for children," claiming that the man had a plot to abduct children (yet no evidence of this plot has been found). The police tried to prevent the man from being released, but because they could present no evidence, he was released at the end of his jail sentence.

Since then, the police have gone public, frightening everyone with stories about this predatory man being loose in their neighborhood. After they stirred up the community, they went to a judge to have the man committed for evaluation, claiming that the neighborhood was in an uproar about the man (but not including the fact that they were totally responsible for the uproar). The man has done nothing, but now faces reconfinement. I am shocked at how one man's personal hatred can come to be accepted by the uninvolved public as truth.

source: Letter from someone in Washington; NAMBLA Bulletin, vol. 10, n. 10; December 1989