As much as we all seem to think that Amanda Bynes is off her rocker, authorities say she's not. At least not to the level that she can be held in a psychiatric facility against her will, reports TMZ. Amanda was hauled off to a psych ward for evaluation after being arrested in her New York apartment, where cops say she threw a bong out the window (which she denies). This was after reportedly smoking a spliff in her building lobby and muttering incoherently. While the strange platinum wig she's been wearing might scream CRAY, the truth is, it's not that easy to take away someone's freedom and stick her in a mental facility.
Although Amanda has had her license suspended (and then continued to drive for days until her car was finally impounded) and she's ranted on Twitter and posted half-nude photos of herself, and told a pilot to Google her, if this rose to the level of being mentally incompetent, most of us would probably spend some time in a mental facility.
When Amanda was sent to the psych ward after her arrest, TMZ reports that the psychiatrists there didn't believe an involuntary hold was warranted. For an involuntary commitment to hold, a person has to be deemed by a psychiatrist to be a "substantial risk of harm to self or others."
While certainly there have been plenty of cases of genuinely mentally ill and dangerous people on the streets that should have been off of them, making it difficult to send people to an institution against their will is for the benefit of us all. Once was a time that women were routinely sent to mental wards against their will -- for everything from adultery to epilepsy to just their husbands being tired of them (one complained his wife didn't do her housework) -- and they never came back out again.
The difficulty society has is in knowing when out-of-the-norm or "rebellious" or "strange" behavior is actually a mental illness presenting itself -- but it hasn't lapsed into dangerous behavior yet. How do you know when it's going to? Or if it never will? Unless someone is making direct threats, you really don't know. And we can't run around committing everyone whose behavior makes us uncomfortable.
TMZ reports that the only other way Amanda could be committed against her will is if she doesn't understand the charges against her -- but given that at her hearing she sounded fine, that's unlikely.
So we're all stuck with Amanda's wacky behavior for awhile.
Do you think Amanda should be committed? Have you ever tried to commit someone?
Image via AmandaBynes/Twitter