Gov. Mike Beebe rolled out his trauma system funding plan yesterday with a public relations blitz. Somehow I suspect that a letter e-mailed Sunday to all legislators by Dr. Dan Hawkins—the governor’s newest appointee to the Arkansas Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Advisory Committee—was not thoroughly vetted by Beebe’s PR staff. Here’s a taste (I’ve introduced paragraph breaks to make the text more readable):
“Seventy percent of cigarettes are smoked by mentally ill people. This is documented in the 2004 Archives of General Psychiatry. I hope to share more on this twist upon another occasion. But, for now, just let me say that 30 percent of smokers have an Axis II Personality Disorder, i.e., they not only have one or more serious psychiatric illness(es), but, may also be bad people.
Regardless of party affiliation, Arkansas legislators have historically caved in to constituents who own convenience stores that sell tobacco in counties with a border contiguous with other states, who protest that they may lose cigarette sales because of a proposed higher cigarette sales tax in Arkansas that might lead some of their customers to cross state lines to purchase their cigarettes in lower-taxed states.
Thus, these legislators would, perhaps unwittingly, ‘let the inmates run the asylum.’ Those who might resent some of my remarks, made here today, should perhaps instead fear that they resemble some of these remarks. I have been led to believe that it is usually that which people actually subconsciously may feel to be true about themselves which makes them angry, mad, upset, or afraid.”
Dr. Hawkins adds that “most of our legislators” have been “conditioned” to “blame the victim,” noting: “According to the unbiased medical epidemiological research literature, pro-tobacco legislators have both lower-rated intelligence & integrity.” I personally am unsure that the General Assembly will find such arguments persuasive.
This morning, Hawkins amended his letter with another e-mail: “let me say that nearly half of all cigarettes are smoked by some 30 percent of smokers who also have one or more serious psychiatric illnesses, which can also include one or more serious Axis II Personality Disorders. Individuals with Axis II Personality Disorders not only have one or more serious psychiatric illness(es), but, some may not infrequently also, exhibit criminal behaviours.” Dr. Hawkins, thanks for clarifying!
However, the most incisively awesome part of Hawkins’ missive to us was his comparison of people who disagree with him to Nazis:
“Ironically, we lose more Americans, dead from smoking, each & every single year, as were killed by the Nazis throughout the entirety of World War II. The whole point of the post-War Nuremberg Trials of the Nazis was to disabuse our leaders of the notion that they can write, facilitate, implement, or ignore, substantially pro-death laws, and then immunize themselves as lawmakers against any legal accountability with a self-protective law, fiat, or decree, all entirely contrary to the public interest.”
Of course, it only makes Hawkins more persuasive that I first read his e-mail today, International Holocaust Remembrance Day.