It was a nightmare growing up with a depressive mean alcoholic mother and a depressive father. Then, when I was 8, mother married a sociopathic monster, a con-man so low he rustled cattle. He would wake my younger sister and I at 3AM. At ten years old, I was good to go, driving a stakebed truck around a corral while he did something. Then he took us for donuts and hot chocolate, the first time, anyway. Not long after, I learned that he had been loading calves into the truck. Not long after that, he went off to prison again.
I began to run away with more and more frequency into my teens. I would go stay with friends. My mother would come get me and say that she would never do X again. But of course, she did. Children are helpless and have no representation, no ways out of these abusive, poverty-stricken, unstable lives. When we moved, it was never announced to my sister and me. We just ended up in a new place. As an adult, I understand now that they were skipping out on paying rent.
It was just too appalling to stay under their roof sometimes. They got drunk and beat one another regularly. It was a horror show. I begged my grandmother to take me away. She told me, many years later, that my stepfather threatened to kill her if she tried to get custody.
The above is an expanded version of my comment on this article at Alternet. Some legislators propose to give powers to government actors to involuntarily medicate certain mentally-ill persons with a demonstrated tendency to violence. In California, we have had the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, which allows members of the public to have threatening persons taken to a psychiatric emergency room.