Washington Post: “Predicting Violence is a Work in Progress”


The Washington Post, reviewing the problem of predicting violence in relation to mental illness, quotes Jim Gottstein: “One of the problems that happens when you become a psychiatric patient is that everything that you do or say can be labeled as a psychiatric symptom … If the police knock down your door and haul you off and you get upset, you get labeled as ‘hostile’ and ‘labile.’ If you decide that you’re not going to react to these provocations, you get labeled as having ‘a flat affect.’ If you think something is funny and you laugh to yourself, then they write down ‘responding to internal stimuli.”

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  1. Yes, there is a link between mental illness and violence. This link exists between the idea of mental illness and the violence perpetrated against the people who are the victims of this invidious labelling. Yet you won’t find any articles pertaining to this fact buried beneath the rhetoric of therapeutism.

    It is the idea of mental illness that is a predictor of violence, not some entity.

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  2. All those brains mutilated, damaged, diseased and fried because of belief in this idea, lives destroyed etc., yet I’ll be damned if I can find one article pertaining to the fact that the very idea itself and belief in it is predictive of violence. No matter how well meaning the writer of this article may be, it is still more of the rhetoric of oppression, because it focuses not on the behaviours of the oppressor, but those who are oppressed.

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