Fictional Tale: The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is suspected of being involved in illegal activities in violation of federal law. The FBI institutes an investigation. It just happens that an FBI special agent is a graduate of clown college. The Bureau decides to have the agent get a job as a clown with the circus and work undercover to gather evidence on the organization. Although the agent dresses as a clown and acts like a clown, he is no clown.
People have criticized me for "acting like a clown," sending out bizarre letters. My behaviors have a purpose. My letters are calculated to elicit responses from the recipients or establish facts.
A good example are the following two letters. The first letter dated May 27, 1996 addressed to the District of Columbia Community Mental Health Center-North ("P Street Clinic") is a hysterical communication I wrote that was intended to establish certain facts: namely, that (1) the P Street Clinic (a public clinic) had improperly denied me psychiatric services; (2) the George Washington University Medical Center wrongfully failed to take any action to assist me find alternative psychiatric care when it terminated my treatment despite the fact that my psychiatrist (Dimitrios Georgopoulos, M.D.) had promised to assist me in securing alternative psychiatric care; and (3) the George Washington University Medical Center and Dr. Georgopoulos did not form a good faith belief that I suffered from paranoid schizophrenia as it claimed in writing in February 1996 (3 months earlier) and that the diagnosis "paranoid schizophrenia" was a self-serving attempt to discredit my allegation that GW had been engaged in illegal activity.
The letter to the P Street Clinic reads:
May 27, 1996
3801 Connecticut Ave., NW #136
Washington, DC 20008-4530
Community Mental Health Center-North
3246 P Street, NW
Dear Ms. Heydt:
We spoke by telephone on Thursday May 16, 1996 at which time I inquired about the availability of psychotherapy at the P Street Clinic. You advised me that psychotherapy was not feasible because of the staffing limitations at the Clinic.
I remain interested in therapy at the Clinic, and I enclose a document relating to my current situation: Memorandum dated May 21, 1996 to Stuart M. Sotsky, M.D., Director of Psychiatric Out-Patient Care at the George Washington University Medical Center.
My situation remains desperate. According to senior managers at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld (my former employer), my belief system is the product of a severe mental disturbance that renders me potentially violent. Senior supervisors stated a concern during my tenure at the firm that I might be disposed to commit murder. The D.C. Corporation Counsel has affirmed, in a document filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on May 17, 1996, that the fears of Akin Gump managers and senior supervisors were genuine.
Please, please I beg of you. Don't turn away from me. According to the D.C. Corporation Counsel, recommendations that I need counseling are based on a good-faith belief that I suffer from a serious mental disturbance that renders me potentially violent. How many lives light be lost, how many people will be destroyed 1/, if I do not get the psychological counseling that the Government of the District of Columbia has affirmed that I need?
cc: U.S. Department of Justice
1/ Consistent with the determination of senior Akin Gump managers and supervisors that I suffer from a severe mental disturbance that renders me potentially violent or homicidal.
The fact that the hysterical tone of the letter did not reflect my true mental state is established by a cover letter dated May 28, 1996 that I wrote the very next day to the D.C. Commission on Mental Health Services transmitting a copy of the earlier letter addressed to the P Street Clinic. The cover letter to the D.C. Commission on Mental Health Services (below), dated May 28, 1996, is business-like and professional. The purpose of the hysterical tone of the earlier letter to Ms. Heydt is clear: it was an affectation -- like clown paint -- that I assumed to create a certain impression, to establish certain facts. Speaking figuratively, I may act like a clown, but I am no clown.
May 28, 1996
3801 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20008-4530
District of Columbia
Commission of Mental Health Services
2700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., SE
My former employee, the Washington law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, terminated my employment, effective October 29, 1991, after determining, in consultation with a psychiatrist (Gertrude R. Ticho, M.D.) that I suffered from a serious mental illness that rendered me potentially violent.
The District of Columbia Corporation Counsel filed a brief 1/ in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on May 17, 1996 stating that the employer's concerns about my mental stability and potential for violence were genuine and non-pretextual, and that the fears of senior supervisors that I might be homicidal were genuine and not the product of a hostile or offensive work environment. The Corporation Counsel found that a co-workers' fears that I might be armed and homicidal were not evidence of a hostile work environment, and that the action of senior supervisors in securing an office suite against a homicidal assault that I might commit were based on genuine fears that were not the product of a hostile or offensive work environment.
The Corporation Counsel further found that the employer's recommendation that I receive counseling was based on the employer's legitimate concern that I had emotional or psychological problems that might be associated with a risk of violent conduct.
I am concerned about the refusal of the District of Columbia's mental health clinic, the "P Street Clinic," to provide counseling in a case such as mine. Enclosed for your information is a letter to the P Street Clinic (plus attachment) that addresses my need for counseling.
1/ See Brief of Respondent in Opposition to Petition for Review of No Probable Cause Determination by Department of Human Rights. Freedman v. Dept. of Human Rights, No. 95-MPA-0014 (Superior Court of the District of Columbia, filed May 17, 1996).