Top Psychiatrist’s Stunning Announcement About Gun Violence

Paula J. Caplan, PhD
76
1371

After each highly publicized gun violence incident, some lawmakers—whether with good intention, for political gain, or both—declare that we must have laws to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental illness. It is therefore stunning and profoundly important to note Sunday’s blog post from the American Psychiatric Association’s president, Dr. Renee Binder.

As chief executive of the major lobby group that advocates for the interests of psychiatrists, Binder might have been expected to recommend an increase in psychiatric treatment for the mentally ill as a way to reduce gun violence. Amazingly, she not only did not make that recommendation, but she made the powerful—and well-documented—statement that people diagnosed with mental illness are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of it and that most of the mentally ill will never commit acts of violence against others. Thus, to pass laws to prevent the mentally ill from owning guns is no way to reduce the frequency of murders. In fact, as Binder pointed out, “Stronger indicators of risk include a history of violent behavior, domestic violence, and drug or alcohol abuse.”

Politicians on the Sunday morning news shows either failed to read Binder’s essay or chose to ignore it and plowed right ahead, pushing for gun laws about the mentally ill. And on Monday morning, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy appeared on CBS, making an impassioned plea to prevent the mentally ill from owning guns and making the bold—and unfounded—assertion that that such a step would have prevented the most recent mass shooting. It will be worth watching to see if over time, Binder’s strong statement alters politicians’ proposals. Today, Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson made a similar plea.

Two important points shed further light on this matter. One arises from the fact that the primary way that “the mentally ill” are identified is by having been given psychiatric diagnoses, but a vast body of work over three decades has revealed psychiatric diagnostic categories to be constructed and applied with little or no scientific support, so attempts to divide the populace into “the mentally ill” and “everyone else”—and aim to pass laws affecting the former—make no sense.

The other relevant point is that the ballooning numbers of categories and subcategories that are called mental illnesses has led to the psychiatrizing of our society, the tendency of therapists, media people, the public, even some novelists to try to explain every aspect of human behavior as caused by a mental illness. This often takes the form of, “Person X did Y, and the fact that they did Y proves that they are mentally ill, because Y (almost any action or expression) is a mental illness.” Defense attorneys operating in a system that is often stacked against the accused, especially if the latter are poor or women or people of color, understandably try to get their clients diagnosed as mentally ill, hoping to argue that the psychiatric disorder is reason for a reduced sentence. As a result, a confounding factor we will increasingly need to consider is that an artificially created correlation between a diagnosis of mental illness and commission of a violent act will result, as anyone charged with an act of violence is increasingly likely to be labeled mentally ill. As that happens, it will unjustifiably become ammunition for those who want to base laws on the notion that “the mentally ill” are more dangerous than the rest of the populace.

76 COMMENTS

  1. Most angry, depressed young men never enter the mental health system or ask for help, and even among the few that do, you can’t predict who will lose control and shoot 10 people. So laws aimed at mental healthcare and guns might make a small difference, but they can’t stop the vast majority of mass shootings.

    Short of America copying Australia’s example and outlawing most guns, the pattern of American mass killings occurring every few weeks is going to continue indefinitely. We should accept that this is the price paid for having guns be widely available. The fact is that humans, guns, and emotions like anger and fear will never go together safely.

    Short of banning them, this whole debate about guns IMO is mostly a waste of time. Guns are not the biggest killer. Last year 32,000 Americans died because of guns. About 31,000 died in car crashes, yet how much attention is given to safe driving programs relative to guns? And other causes of death are much more important but even less focused on.

    According to the CDC, smoking caused 480,000 deaths last year, including about 40,000 alone from second hand smoking. Smoking is causing a order of magnitude more harm than guns. But if smoking is 15 times as dangerous as guns, why is it not in the news?

    The CDC also says diabetes caused about 75,000 deaths last year. So, simplistically one can say that diet and exercise programs would do much more to keep Americans safe from death than any amount of gun control…

    The fascination with gun violence and gun control is because guns are the most scary, deadly, and emotionally affecting issue. That doesn’t mean guns are a threat we should continually be obsessed with over other issues.

    • While I support the 2nd amendment, your comparison between car related deaths and gun related deaths is flawed. There are tens of millions more drivers than gun owners. Moreover, people are using cars more often than they use their guns. If everyone were using their guns as often as they were driving, you would definitely see an increase in gun related injuries and deaths. You ask how much attention is given to driving. Well, for one, you need to be licensed and you can lose that privilege. Two, we have Highway patrols and city police that are constantly regulating drivers through tickets and arrests. We also have DUI checkpoints and increased police presence during holidays. This has reduced DUI related deaths dramatically. So yes, a lot of money is spent regulating driving.

      In regards to smoking – I guess you don’t remember all of the lawsuits in regards to smoking. Furthermore, we have school programs that specifically target smoking and drug use. Lastly, your insurance increases if you are a smoker, so you end up paying more. Because of anti-smoking programs, smoking has gone down – in 1965 43% of Americans were smokers, in 2013, it’s down to 17%.

      Lastly, your argument isn’t an argument. Pointing other issues out as more important does not actually argue against the claim that guns should be more regulated like driving and smoking. In fact, your statements make it seem that guns should be regulated more like driving and smoking! Read up on the fallacy of relative privation.

      • I agree with some of your ideas but my point was that relative to other killers, guns are still highly overfocused on because it is more shocking and traumatic when someone dies after being shot versus when someone dies slowly of lung cancer (smoking), heart disease (lack of exercise). A lot of research shows that humans overfocus on emotionally scary things like guns, poisons, lightning, etc. that are not high risk but appear likely to kill you. However, the much greater danger is from things like lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking, etc. There’s a good book about this called The Science of Fear by Dan Gardner which shows how evolving as hunter gatherers plays into this.

        As I said in the big picture I don’t think it matters that much what happens with guns because you are much more likely to die of cancer, heart disease or smoking. Government investment into programs that support physical health, exercise, diet, further cutting smoking, etc would save far more lives than confiscating all guns.

      • Actually of those 32000 gun deaths 21000 were suicides. So to suggest those 21000 individuals would not have committed suicide if they did not have guns is very flawed. Also, there are 255 million cars in the U.S. owned by about 200 million drives and 300 million guns owned by about 150 million people. You do not need a license to drive. It is just illegal to do so. Also, there is no constitutional mandate making it legal to own and drive a vehicle but there is for gun ownership. There are definitely more deaths related to cars than firearms once suicides are backed out yet there are more guns out there than cars. Because more people use cars in their everyday life it has become an “acceptable” though unfortunate loss of life situation yet considered discusting when a firearm is involved. I consider that to be hypocritical. The real fact is that the loss of life is always unacceptable but it is never the fault of the car or the gun.

        • No not flawed at all, I personally know of someone who tried to shoot themselves, it failed. This person is alive and well today. Sudden desair, grab a gun, all over. No gun, takes rationaly thought how to kill oneself, and taking time to think, saves people.
          An how many little kids, shoot themselves or others. How did a 10 year old shoot an 8 year old, who wouldnt let him see her puppy? Would that boy have killed her if he didnt have a gun? Absurd.

      • For what it’s worth, estimates put the number of cars in the US at ~250 million.
        Similar estimates hold that there are ~ 300 million guns here.
        Why is it that cars do in 1.35 times as many people considering that autos carry all that regulation and safety burden?

        It’s not the car, unless something breaks.
        Ditto the gun. To quote an old saying, ”Watch out for that loose nut behind the wheel.”

    • Yes, many more people die by prescription medications, diabetes, smoking, and other causes more than guns, but those things do not suit the agenda.

      Gun control is less to do with guns and more to do with control. And those in power are absolute control freaks.

      Protecting people and keeping people alive is not why the government is pushing gun control. If they were about protecting life, why has/is America engaged in so many wars around the planet? Why does America spend more on military (stuff designed to kill) than the next 20 countries combined? Why are toxic drugs allowed in the market place? Why are GMO’s in almost every type of food? The government does not care about the people. That should be obvious by now.

      Gun control is not about protecting people, it’s about getting guns out of the hands of the people. Before the Nazi’s could begin their mass extermination they first had to get the guns away people. Without their weapons the people had no way to fight back. Imagine what things would be like now with all the advances in technology. The government could easily round up people and put them in concentration camps or simply exterminate them. If you don’t think that could happen, just ask anyone of Japanese decent living in America during World War II, who were rounded up and put into concentration camps.

      American freedoms have been rapidly eroding, especially over the past decade or two. America has dropped to 46th on the World Press Freedom Index (https://rsf.org/index2014/en-index2014.php). There is the increasingly invasive mass surveillance by the NSA and other government agencies. There is the invasive body scans or sexual molestation patdowns by the TSA. There is civil/asset forfeiture, which is simply legalized theft by the government and police forces. There is the militarization of police, which has a big impact on the police mentality where they no longer see people to protect and serve, but see the people as the enemy. The government has purchased over a billion rounds of hollow-point ammunition, enough for every man, woman, and child in America. Guantanamo Bay is still operating, with most of the people in there not being charged with any crime, with no access to a lawyer, and no trial. America also has legalized torture programs. And there are many more abuses committed by the American government.

      As others have said before, America is no longer the land of the free and home of the brave. It is the land of the fee and home of the slave.

      The American (and world) people better wake up fast. It will be too late to challenge the system when you are already in a concentration camp or on your knees with a rifle pointed at the back of your head.

      • Lol your argument is adorable. The gov’t has tanks, fighter jets, aircraft carriers, drones, flamethrowers, chemical weapons, nuclear weapons, and on and on, so what good are your cute little guns going to do?

        Also, the people of japanese descent had guns and the 2nd amendment to protect them, what good did it do for them when the full force of the army was knocking at their door?

        • Adorable? Cute? Hmm.

          I’m quite sure that “cute little guns” are no such thing whatsoever. I understand the point you’re making – that military weapons are extremely advanced and guns are no match, in that regard – but guns are not cute, and shouldn’t be dismissed as if they were powerless and insignificant. O.o

        • Ever heard of Posse Comitatus? It is a law designed “to limit the powers of the federal government in using federal military personnel to enforce domestic policies within the United States.” Meaning, the government cannot deploy the military on American soil. So, the arguments of the military having bombs and tanks and whatnot that guns wouldn’t be any match for is null and void. However, to get around the Posse Comitatus act the government has been increasingly militarizing the police. Sure they now have military gear and weapons, but they are still mostly guns with bullets. Do you see the police with tanks and jets and aircraft carriers and nuclear weapons and 2000 lb daisycutter bombs? Thankfully not. Atleast not yet.

          • So the evil government is going to take over and put everyone in the concentration camps but they will bother to obey what is written on a piece of paper?
            I grant you if there’s a coup or any other regime change the Posse Comitatus will fly off the window.

      • Ragnarok I have to agree with the commenter below that guns are not going to be much use when the government decides to drop a 2000 lb daisycutter bomb on your house. I think guns psychologically make people feel safer, but is the government wanted to get rid of you, they would whether or not you had guns. If the government suddenly turned rogue it could do pretty much whatever it wanted with its army, navy and air force.

        Nevertheless, I don’t think that the government will try to exterminate groups of people Nazi style, for a variety of reasons. There are many differences between our situation today and the Third Reich in the 1930s. Despite all its problems, America has some political, economic and geographic strengths compared to other countries. On the other hand, I agree with you that there are many things deplorable about the state of our governance, the condition of the middle class, and so on.

        I usually like your comments but think in this case you are overestimating the danger from our government.

        You might also like the book I recommended above, the Science of Fear, which discusses these perceptions of threat in a very interesting way.

        • Nevertheless, I don’t think that the government will try to exterminate groups of people Nazi style, for a variety of reasons

          Not when they have people psychically exterminating themselves with disempowering self-identifications, such as that they’re “mentally ill” and need to “work on themselves” before worrying about the rest of the world.

          I hope you do understand that the U.S. has had political prisoners languishing in lockup since the 60’s whom they are trying their best to exterminate extra-judicially via abuse and medical neglect.

          • Ok… the US does indeed have covert ways of controlling and even eliminating certain groups within the population. But, this control is still not as bad as Nazi concentration camps, North Korean labor camps, Chinese prisons where you go to jail without a trial, life as a woman in Iran or Nigeria, etc.

            Not all, but many people have some degrees of freedom in the US and in parts of Europe, freedom to learn things, communicate and express themselves – that you don’t get in other countries. As they say a democracy is the worst form of government apart from all others (which is indeed in the US a democracy in name only in many ways, but still qualitatively different than the way that, for example North Korea or Iran or Russia is governed)

            It’s easy to be pessimistic but there are still some positives to living in the US. I doubt you’d move to North Korea or Iran if you had the choice. On the other hand it occurs to me that people labeled bipolar or schizophrenic may do better in some of those countries.

          • Ok… the US does indeed have covert ways of controlling and even eliminating certain groups within the population. But, this control is still not as bad as Nazi concentration camps, North Korean labor camps, Chinese prisons where you go to jail without a trial, life as a woman in Iran or Nigeria, etc.

            Tell that to Leonard Peltier or Mumia Abu-Jamal.

          • Since I spend my vacations in nicer places than federal prisons, I won’t be able to tell them! So sorry!

            Seriously, citing two guys who got shafted isn’t proof of anything, nor does it respond to my points. I’m sure one could give me two names of people in Spain, Australia, and England too.

            Point is that there is a difference of kind/degree in how universally harsh and oppressive are the governments of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, modern Russia, North Korea, China etc…. and countries like USA, France, New Zealand, etc. There’s plenty wrong with these countries, but they’re not all bad either.

          • I mean, do you want a list of political prisoners in U.S. prisons? I put “US political prisoners” in google (actually startpage) as a search term and came up with this at the top of the page:
            https://afgj.org/politicalprisonersusa It’s as good a list as any.

            Sooo do we want to compare, say, the horror of untreated hep C in the U.S. vs. that in North Korea? I’m not sure what the point is of this competition to not be the worst prison system imaginable, is that the standard we go by?
            Or is it a need to believe that we must be better off than someone?

        • Sure, the government has massive bombs, but that would also mean taking out the infrastructure. If they didn’t care about a place, sure, bomb it, but what if they want to keep what’s there? Bombs are not practical in that case. And they sure as hell wouldn’t detonate an A-Bomb willingly and have to deal with the fallout. Plus, bombs are way more expensive than a bullet. Also, how many people in the military would turn against the military if they started bombing their own people? But how many would go along with rounding people up ‘for their own safety’?

          You folks are focused on the hard kill method (bombs and bullets) but fail to consider the ongoing soft kill methods. How many people each year die because they can’t afford healthcare? How many die from toxins released by various industries? How many die from obesity or starvation (how do those two even co-exist?) How many die from pharmaceuticals or other medical interventions?

          One guy with a gun kills 10-20 people and it’s plastered on practically every newspaper and television station for atleast the next week. 100,000 people die every year from iatrogenic causes (according to the FDA), but this is rarely heard of. 10-20 people die because of a gun and everyone hears about it. Over ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND people die EVERY YEAR from the medical and pharmaceutical industry and people rarely if ever hear about it.

          It’s much cheaper to kill someone with a bullet than a bomb. And if you kill someone slowly with pharmaceuticals, or smoking, or nutritionless food, then not only are you still killing people, but the people are paying for the privilege and will even vocally or even violently defending their ‘right’ to it.

      • I would have to agree with most of what you say, possibly not for all the same reasons; there’s a rightward tone I might be sensing but maybe I’m oversensitive.

        I think it’s pretty obvious though that “gun control” is about who controls the guns. One’s position on this reflects one’s position on the status quo, regardless of whether he/she actually owns a gun. Does the government want to set an example by disarming the military and police? Who goes first?

        On the other hand, as this system is better and more efficient at violence than any in human history, and in the end knows no other way of holding power, freedom-loving people should refrain at all costs from being lured into any sort of physical confrontation. That’s their department and they would love to engage the people on those terms because we’d be dead ducks. We need to be smarter, recognize that their castles are built on sand, and heighten people’s awareness of the core contradictions underlying their power. At that point non-participation would be our ultimate “weapon.”

        • And the mass exterminations were not started by the Nazis. The mass exterminations were started by German psychiatrists with the permission of the German government. German psychiatry invented the gas chambers and the ovens and these were first used against the “mentally ill” and the developmentally and physically disabled. These people were collectively referred to as “useless eaters”. The attempt to create the perfect race began long before the Nazis showed up on the scene. Hitler and the Nazis just took over the system from German psychiatrists.

          • And the goal of mass extermination was not accomplished by disarming anyone. It was accomplished by creating “other” groups and demonizing them, assuring the general public that they were in danger from the “others,” not the government. Group by group, they peeled off larger and larger segments of the society, until those who would resist were so marginalized that resistance was not realistic.

            It was xenophobia, nationalism, corporate domination of the government, and the acceptance of eugenics theories that made Nazi Germany possible. Arms control had about zero to do with it.

            —- Steve

    • Perhaps we should examine the end game
      resulting from past gun control efforts:

      1. In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915-1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves against their ethnic-cleansing government, were arrested and exterminated.

      2. In 1929, the former Soviet Union established gun control as a means of controlling the “more difficult” of their citizens. From 1929 to the death of Stalin, 40 million Soviets met an untimely end at the hand of various governmental agencies as they were arrested and exterminated.

      3. After the rise of the Nazi’s, Germany established their version of gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, 13 million Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally ill, and others, who were unable to defend themselves against the “Brown Shirts”, were arrested and exterminated.

      Interestingly, the Brown Shirts were eventually targeted for extermination themselves following their blind acts of allegiance to Hitler. Any American military and police would be wise to grasp the historical significance of the Brown Shirts’ fate.

      4. After Communist China established gun control in 1935, an estimated 50 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves against their fascist leaders, were arrested and exterminated.

      5. Closer to home, Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayans, unable to defend themselves against their ruthless dictatorship, were arrested and exterminated.

      6. Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves from their dictatorial government, were arrested and exterminated.

      7. Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million of the “educated” people, unable to defend themselves against their fascist government, were arrested and exterminated.

      8. In 1994, Rwanda disarmed the Tutsi people and being unable to defend themselves from their totalitarian government, nearly one million were summarily executed.

      The total numbers of victims who lost their lives because of gun control is approximately 70 million people in the 20th century. The historical voices from 70 million corpses speak loudly and clearly to those Americans who are advocating for a de facto gun ban. Governments murdered four times as many civilians as were killed in all the international and domestic wars combined. Governments murdered millions more people than were killed by common criminals and it all followed gun control.

      • Ok but these are 8 examples across thousands of possible time period and country combinations.

        To counter your analysis, you have to take into account 20-30 European countries over the past several decades, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, some southeast Asian countries, etc…. where strict gun control has been in force and resulted in fewer mass shootings, but where the people have not been exterminated. It depends on the type of government and other factors.

        I still think that if the US military wanted it could get rid of most gun owners without a problem. Also, the military and the government could probably confiscate most guns if they wanted; it would just be harder. Guns are no answer to the 2000 lb daisycutter bomb dropped on your house or underground bunker. Or, in the worst case, to nuclear bombs used against the people by a maniacal leader.

      • I don’t have time to check all of those but the Nazi example is simply wrong:

        “The 1938 German Weapons Act, the precursor of the current weapons law, superseded the 1928 law. As under the 1928 law, citizens were required to have a permit to carry a firearm and a separate permit to acquire a firearm. But under the new law:

        Gun restriction laws applied only to handguns, not to long guns or ammunition. The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as was the possession of ammunition.”[5]

        The legal age at which guns could be purchased was lowered from 20 to 18.[6]

        Permits were valid for three years, rather than one year.[6]

        The groups of people who were exempt from the acquisition permit requirement expanded. Holders of annual hunting permits, government workers, and NSDAP (the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, aka the Nazi party) members were no longer subject to gun ownership restrictions. Prior to the 1938 law, only officials of the central government, the states, and employees of the German Reichsbahn Railways were exempted.[5]

        Manufacture of arms and ammunition continued to require a permit, with the revision that such permits would no longer be issued to Jews or any company part-owned by Jews. Jews were consequently forbidden from the manufacturing or dealing of firearms and ammunition.[5]”

        The gun laws were actually relaxed, not strengthened by the Nazis. And all of this was anyway mostly irrelevant or what happened to the Jews and others since you don’t need firearms to organize a pogrom not having firearms will save you from one.

    • Adma Lanza- diagnosed with asperbergers, lived with divorced mother who bonded with him firing assault rifles, allowed him to play violent video games. Killed 26 including young children execution style.
      Oregon shooter- diagnosed with aspergers. Lived with Divorced mother who bonded with him over guns, bragging online, according to cnn, that she kept loaded assault rifles and pistols in her home. Killed 10 wounded many others execution style.

      Do we see a pattern?

      The odds of a person with aspbergers living with a divorced mother are now more predictive of leading to a massacre than gun ownership or any other factor. about 500,000 people or so have aspbergers, 400k would be males according to the research. Anyones guess how many of those are being raised by single mothers who love guns. But if it was exceedingly high, even 200k of them, then we now have a 1 per 100k persons rate of a young male with AS living with his mother massacring innocents.

      • It’s more remarkable that Lanza and Harper-Mercer shared a diagnosis than the fact that they had divorced mothers (and that those mothers were approving of guns). When considering the diagnosis, it is impossible to not account for the neurotoxins (especially when it is KNOWN that psych drugs cause homidicality / suicidality).

        How many young men live with their gun approving divorced mothers, who do not have diagnoses, and have never swallowed a deadly neurotoxin? If they exist at all, it’s easy to conclude that the primary causal factor isn’t the guns or the divorced moms (unspoken indicator of bad parenting) or even the diagnoses (difficulties and sufferings). It’s the drugs.

        Of course, if people don’t have guns, they’re going to have a much harder time with their neurotoxic induced homicidal state. But they’ll certainly and absolutely find a way (bombs, for example).

      • Yes, we do, all people involved in these shootings had RECENTLY been put on psychiatric medications. Read Study329.org or http://antidepaware.co.uk/homicides/ people get labels after they go nuts on the medications. The Pills Kill, Germanwings pilot, the pills sent him nuts, sad story, but look into every school massacre in USA, every one, every killer, had just gone on meds…………….. Psychiatric medications, such as Ritalin, Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, can send 1 in 10 people crazy, even written in the sheet enclosed with the pills (FINALLY!). Why arent the drug manufacturers taken to court for murder?

  2. Agreed. I think that guns are a more “exciting” media popular and politically useful issue for most people. A gun represents so many of America’s skewed values; male-dominance, power and control, even sexual prowess. Emotional distress for most people is a frightening and confusing issue and they like to steer clear of focusing on it.

    • fact is according to the dept of justice gun violence rates are half what they were in 1999 (3.6 per 100k homicides currently compared to almost 8 in 1999) and less than what they were in 1973. Its sensationalistic media selling ad space of sensational but limited events.

      Sandyhook and the oregon shootings were both caused by young males with aspbergers living at home with a divorced mother who overcompensated by bonding over guns.

      • JohnCitizen,

        I hope you’re not inferring that people with AS are more violent than folks who don’t have it because of these two shooters? That would be like saying that because the shooters were African American, that African Americans are more violent than most people.

      • Asperger’s Syndrome, John Citizen, is no longer a valid designation. The DSM-5 changed all that to Autism Spectrum Disorder, didn’t it? What was formerly labeled Asberger’s Syndrome would now be considered “high functioning” on the Autism Spectrum. I would suggest that Asberger’s is no mental disorder at all. The Autism rate has risen dramatically in the USA, and one of the reasons for this remarkable increase may be the diagnosis of people who would not have been considered Autistic in the past, such as people labeled as “suffering” from Asperger’s. Speculation has it that Autism is neurological, and that people diagnostically labeled Asperger’s, aren’t really “mentally ill”. Okay. If Asberger’s Syndrome isn’t a valid diagnostic term, the question becomes why are they blaming these crimes on “mental illness” in the first place. I kind of suspect that people, rather than “diseases”, were responsible for committing these crimes, and I think as well that people should be held accountable for them.

        • Autism Spectrum Disorder is classified as a developmental disorder and therefore is not considered a “mental illness”. Autism can manifest itself from being severely impaired (IE non-verbal) to “high-functioning”. Individuals who are mildly impaired all will show a deficit in their social relationships, such as difficulty in making friends with peers, impaired ability to converse with others and difficulty in connecting emotionally with others. So Asperger’s is a valid diagnosis under the category of Developmental Disabilities.
          I do not know what the data shows, if any, regarding a link between Asperger’s and violence. But part of being a psychotherapist is conducting a risk assessment on your patients and then making an evidence-based decision. I think it would be fair to say that some syndromes-both developmental and psychiatric – would lead a therapist to assess, more readily than others, the individual’s risk of doing harm to himself or others. HIPAA does permit a therapist to report to police, etc. if they determine that a person is in imminent danger to themselves or others.
          On the other hand, I agree with Frank that most violent crime is committed by people with no “mental” (or other medical diagnosis) illness.

          • I’ve seen a lot “deficit”s in “social relationships” but these “deficit”s were primarily between people rather than in individuals. Communication problems are communication problems. Perhaps you have one.

            Valid as a 3 dollar bill.

            The autism numbers in the USA have increased considerably in the last few years, and so-called Asperger’s syndrome has to be one of the reasons for this increase. Now as to whether it is real or no…I gave you my opinion. Granted, it is not that of a quack expert, …or is it expert quack?

            Anyway, yes, psychiatry provides many examples of people who are emotionally shallow in one way or another, and serves its purposes when it comes to providing excuses for heinous crimes. Again, “mental” or other diagnoses don’t commit crimes, people commit crimes. Try the diagnoses at your own, and everybodies, peril.

        • The truth is every mass shooter gets labelled as mentally ill if not before then after the shooting. Afterall you have to be crazy to do that right? Circular thinking at its best. When almost every person on the planet can be diagnosed with some DSM insult, what difference does it make?

  3. There is a cause of distress and eroding mental health in Britons. http://www.rt.com/uk/250501-austerity-toxic-mental-health/

    Question is, do they have the level of violence that the fighting Americans have? If no, why are Americans so violent?

    For some people it’s the psych drugs. Other than that, I’d say that after 39 years of living in America, the reason why Americans are violent people is because they’re Americans.

    We all know only the United States has the cultural, societal problem it has of deadly strikes against the public.

    I’ve known violence since I was a little girl. It’s an AMERICAN PEOPLE problem. Period.

    • Automatic Weapon Acquisition Disorder (AWAD). New disease in DSM V-R.

      It goes along with my other suggested diagnoses:

      Dorian Grey’s Self-Deception Disorder – illness afflicting old men who chase after women 30 years younger than them on OkCupid despite rejected rejections.

      Childhood Islamic State Affiliation Disorder – for those teens who can’t resist trying to travel to Syria/Iraq to join ISIS.

      Called to Duty Disorder – applies to those kids who play Call of Duty more than 6 hours per day.

      Fat Person Disorder – for people who demonstrate an abnormally low level of daily physical activity. Treatable with pills.

      Facebook Addiction Disorder – for people whose overuse of Facebook interferes with their work and ability to engage in meaningful relationships.

      etc…. there is no limit. Anything can be an illness!

        • No but the Big Pharma pays researchers to continually invent new diseases. That might actually be very funny… posing as a researcher who’s “discovered” one of the illnesses above and marketed it to Big Pharma…. it reminds me of the channel Ownage Pranks on Youtube, where he calls people and poses as someone else…. maybe I can do this with Big Pharma…. reminds me of that experiment where the guy went in to the hospital and tricked the people into thinking he was “schizophrenic” because he was hearing the word “Thud.”

          • Well, do pharma “researchers” have to have degrees in pharmacology? To be a “counselor” all I think you have to do is hang up a shingle.

            Avoiding psychiatry must be an indication that pathology is present, right? How about not wanting to work, or marry, or join the military? This could be very lucrative the more I think about it…

    • Leave it to a psychiatrist to figure out how the DSM V can be expanded to make psychiatry’s main function of labeling their prey *appear* rational ! — when in fact it makes more sense that this new diagnostic category will come replete with a drug treatment that will transform wishful thinking to an obsession — one that does not yield to gun control laws.

    • @oldhead,

      I think one of the best descriptions of what has been the ultimate disaster for our society, DSM–diagnosis of mental illness, was expressed by Bob Whitaker in his 30 minute talk at the recent ISEPP conference. Finally, he puts it on the line with the affect that connects to the outrage, with emotional inflection and tone that connects directly to this outrage– and sounds like a plea for action.

      http://www.transformingmadscience.com/robert-whitaker/

      This was not Bob’s usual lecture. Like his ground breaking book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic”, this talk is loaded with *new material*

      • Thanks for the link, just realized you had directed your post to me. RW’s recent statement from his last MIA blog certainly sounds like a clarion call: We cannot expect psychiatry to reform itself, and that leaves only one option: We need to strip psychiatry of its authority over this domain of our lives. The challenge for society is to figure out how to do that. I think this is a significant stepping up of MIA’s traditional academic tone, and most welcome.

  4. Most of thes killers are committing these crimes because their ultimate goal is getting news media attention and notoriety.

    As long as lonely young guys, feeling slighted by the world, know that everybody will know their names by acting out violently, the public mass killings will continue to take place.

    Putting gun restrictions on the mentally ill won’t change that fact. The Oregon shooter purchased his guns legally….unless you give everybody a mental exam at the gun shop, there is no way of knowing who has a big plan to killing lots of people.

    • And what mental exam would you give people to prove that they were “mentally ill”? There are no tests for what is referred to as “mental illness”. And when push comes to shove there is no “mental illness”, only problems in living life that’s been complicated by trauma, poverty, racism, and abuse.

  5. “This often takes the form of, “Person X did Y, and the fact that they did Y proves that they are mentally ill, because Y (almost any action or expression) is a mental illness.”

    Very well stated, Doctor; and I’m so encouraged by your sentiments. One important aspect to also note is the fact that correlation doesn’t prove causation. I think this is the first “rule of thumb” to consider during the introductory stages of Psychology 101. So many people in society as a whole make the false assumption of labeling people in society which (in my opinion) is found later in many instances to be the culprit for a vast majority of wrongful incarcerations.
    But in defense of the justice system… society often puts pressure on these agencies to perform when in a situation where justice is DEMANDED. In other words, with the increasing gun violence that is escalating on college campuses and universities today, society doesn’t simply seek out justice… justice is DEMANDED which puts unnecessary pressure on law enforcement to comply.
    Another very important aspect of this article that I feel also happens to highlight problematic situations is the concern with domestic violence, violent behaviors and substance/alcohol abuse. I believe that temperament is of the utmost importance when attempting to assess or categorize behaviors. Temperament is so highly overlooked in today’s society… it’s as if the population as a whole wants to either ignore it, justify it… or just sweep it under the proverbial rug. But if you’ll note, a wealth of violence and or psychotic behavior is in fact inflicted upon society as the hands of “mad men/women” living within the supposed “safe haven” of our population. More people are killed out of RAGE than out of psychotic behavior alone. Road rage for one is a growing menace in our population today as well as violent behavior in the work force. There are so many “triggers” with behavior today, that a person can’t simply be deemed with the blanket term of being “psychotic” without life long — long term psychological assessment. Our government is so emphatically insistent on labeling individuals that they fail to consider one fatal point… and that is — psychological profiles are not always correct!

  6. People who have had experience inside the mental health system, mental patients, serve, as they always have served, as convenient scapegoats. Expansion of the mental health system is driven by the totally false perception that mental patients are violent. In the state of my former residence, Virginia, I’ve seen the state legislature change the law on two occasion of recent date, first after the shootings at V-Tech and secondly after the stabbing by, and suicide of, Senator Creigh Deeds’ son. The most recent incident, the second, has resulted, absolutely unnecessarily, in an increase in the number of beds, due to the building of new crisis stabilization units, in the state. The issue, as I see it, had to do with a communication problem. The state had plenty of space to house Gus Deeds in, there was just a big communication problem between mental health facilities that denied that this was the case. Rather than fix the lines of communication that were, due to human error, tangled, the state has expanded its mental health system physically.

    Another example of this hopefully limited phenom can be seen in the Murphy Bill that I hope, and for obvious reasons, will not be passed into law.

    The formula for proposing such legislation as the above goes as follows, an individual seen as troubled commits a massive act of violence, multiple murder. Politicians and members of the public come forward saying this proves the mental health system is broken. If the mental health system were not broken, according to them, such individuals would not have been free in the first place because they would have been caught (diagnosed as insane) by the mental health system, and they would, therefore, be receiving “treatment”. This “treatment,” it is presumed, would serve as some kind of deterrent, or preventative, to such crimes as I have described. Schools then become one of the beachheads for the psychiatric profession that would, in theory, diagnose such troubled individuals before they committed their heinous crimes. What happens? The diagnosed “mentally ill” rate skyrockets while having absolutely no effect on the incidence of multiple murder by troubled young men, except perhaps to contribute to its increase as well. An epidemic of “mental illness” is not the solution to multiple murder, and what you are going to get out of this legislation is just that, more and more people labeled “mentally ill”.

    Thank you for this post, Paula. I hope it does some good.

    • Craig Deeds got stabbed by his son for turning him over to psychiatry to be abused.

      “Gus Deeds was hospitalized twice, but the only diagnosis that Creigh Deeds could get (because his son was over 18) was that Gus was “somewhat bipolar” and to be treated with medication. Gus got better, but then he got worse. “Sometime in the springtime of 2013, Gus stopped taking his medicine,” Deeds said. “As parents we continued to believe we could get our son back.” ”

      Read more http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2014/03/31/creigh-deeds-tells-sons-mental-health-horror-story

      If inpatient psychiatry actually was actually “help” instead of a nightmare from hell ordeal including strip searches, pill lobotomies and threats of injections, restraints, forced injections and other violence by staff that stabbing NEVER would have happened.

      ____ you Dad, turning me over to those brain butchers to be locked up and tortured with those “treatments”. You don’t love me, I am going to kick your ass… How else could that stabbing story have gone down ????

      Even the news story I linked says he got “better” on the drugs, they call the zombie anhedoina pill lobotamy “better”, and then worse after psychotropic drug exposure and withdrawals.

      The worst part of these stories is after psychiatry drives a kid to suicide the damn parents become advocates for MORE psychiatry.

      Psychiatry killed my kid, let me help you psychiatrize yours…

      “Craig Deeds” I hate that story.

      • ““Craig Deeds” I hate that story.”

        Agree. It is another example of the stories told about people who were tortured because of the stories told about them, and the stories told to justify the torture, culminating in the horrifying acts committed by this person. The consistency from the beginning to the end of the Craig Deed’s story, is total disregard for Craig Deed’s own story, which of course, is the result of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment; that he be labeled *poor historian*– mentally incompetent.

        At what point, though, should we expect a competent psychiatrist to add to this story; share the known adverse effects of withdrawing from anti-psychotic drugs? Who should have known how to interpret the changes in Craig “off meds”? Who could we say is professionally obligated to PREVENT these horrific events in the first place?

        This is simple straight forward medical information relating to psychiatric drugs– and not one g–damned psychiatrist can get that out in MSM–?? Just this little bit of evidence that they have a grasp of some aspect of the medical effects of their drugs would give them a bit of credibility. Why aren’t psychiatrists jumping at the chance to prove they do know how to think like a *real* doctor?

        The answer: biomedical psychiatrists *believe*that all adverse drug reactions, including those that result from withdrawal– are *symptoms* of either A) Worsening of the mental illness , or B) A symptom of a new, more severe mental illness.

        Bio-MEDICAL psychiatry model beliefs demand one suspend rational thinking and ignore the significance of SCIENCE all together– and the rest?

        The *non-believing psychiatrists* fear being persecuted as heretics …

        So, we have another tale told by *idiots*.

  7. Today ( Jul 31, 2007) a new law goes into effect that will require all registered sexual offenders and sexual predators in Florida to get a new driver license or state identification card with a special marking that will allow residents to identify them… http://www.google.com/search?q=+sex+offenders+special+driver+license

    What are they going to do now have registered mental health offender driver licenses and state identification cards with a special marking that will allow residents to identify them ?? Maybe with those DSM diagnosis billing codes right under the offenders ID photo ?

    Family Watchdog is a free service to help locate registered sex offenders in your area. They could do the same thing for mental health offenders too.

    This is so ridiculous already.

  8. Almost every mass shooter is already on psychiatric drugs.

    A Nevada lawmaker has called for an investigatory study into whether or not there could be a link between psychiatric drugs and mass shooters.
    Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/2481579/lawmaker-calls-for-study-to-examine-link-between-mass-shooters-and-psychiatric-drugs/

    The mainstream media does not cover the fact that most of these modern day mass shooters were either on SSRI anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, anti-psychotics or had been taking them but stopped and were in a withdrawal phase because TV news corporate sponsors include the pharmaceutical companies.

    Ask your doctor about the latest suicidal side effects pill you saw on TV.

  9. Is this an argument about gun control or whether the mentally ill are more dangerous than the rest of society? The evidence, world-wide indicates that the `mentally ill’ whatever that is, are far LESS likely to be dangerous than others, and MORE likely to be victims of violence. Plus, both the APA and its UK counterpart the RPA have categorically refused to accept responsibility for predicting violence in the so-callled `mentally ill’, therefore a diagnosis and psychiatric intervention isn’t likely to help. In fact it’s more likely to get a whole lot of innocent people locked up and deprived of their rights, leaving the carnage continuing unabated elsewhere. PLUS, Australia and the UK and every other country has its quota of `mentally ill’ people but they don’t have massacres of what effectively are bystanders, on a regular basis. Indeed, the only regular public group murders elsewhere in the world seem to be by terrorist groups with agendas, not by disenfranchised individuals who are armed to the teeth. PLUS, where is the line drawn between MAD and BAD. Unfortunately we have listened to psychiatrists for the last 30+ years, and have embraced their assertion that we are the victims of our genetically determined
    `chemical imbalances’ and therefore `ill’, and therefore don’t have control over our behaviour, and therefore need their special, and expensive intervention, to the point where our society and I include mine, has raised its children to believe they need medical help for bad behaviour, not discipline and self control. The ` fault lies in our stars (genes/imbalances) not ourselves’, (sorry Will).
    People don’t take cars into a school and mow a dozen people down, and I don’t see too many smokers taking 10 people out at a time so these analogies are ridiculous.
    Another thought, I’m not sure about the constant violence presented to little children as `games’ either. Perhaps in some people real guns and real death is linked to fantasy guns and fantasy death in a way that awareness that people don’t get up/or are back next time you turn on the game is somehow limited. Whatever, if there are no real guns, people don’t really die.

  10. Paula,

    After reading Dr. Binder’s statements in support of gun control as the most logical response to this latest mass shooting, and your noting the failure of the MSM to pick it up as newsworthy, I see what may be a concerted effort to maintain support for psychiatry’s role in protecting the public— from the mentally ill getting the guns that everybody else should be packing. It will be interesting to see how her message fares with the APA.

    The MSM could report on : “…a vast body of work over three decades has revealed psychiatric diagnostic categories to be constructed and applied with little or no scientific support, so attempts to divide the populace into “the mentally ill” and “everyone else”—and aim to pass laws affecting the former—make no sense. ”

    Maybe I am wrong concluding that since all of the *unforeseen* tragedies connected directly to the DSM III, IV, & V are essentially expanding the business of biomedical psychiatry, no prominent psychiatrist is going to set the record straight. This is an example of protecting the guild interests of the institution of psychiatry. In any case, I would much prefer your perceptions and the argument you raise be reported by MSM, than anything from the APA.

    Best,
    Katie

  11. Don’t want to be too cynical but could this growing opposition to labelling “mentally ill” as dangerous among psychiatrists come from the fact that they’ve realized it’s actually against their own interests? As people are less likely to “seek help” when they are immediately deprived of their rights?

    • I noticed this, too. My thinking was that psychiatrists do not want to place *mentally ill* and *dangerous/violent* in the same sentence, since most of these mass shooters are on meds, in the MH system-.

      Your take speaks to marketing strategies, mine sort of hints at their lame attempts to cover up the obvious. Like, keep the terms away from each other and people might forget there is a connection.

  12. Sorry but i have very little respect for psychiatry, at this point its my opinion that psychiatry has very little to offer anyone, in terms of an understanding of what people need to heal.

    Here’s why; “Stronger indicators of risk include a history of violent behavior, domestic violence, and drug or alcohol abuse.”

    There is not difference between psychiatric medication and drug and alcohol abuse. In fact it is well documented that a high percentage of shooters in mass shootings have been on psychiatric medications. These drugs can trigger manic episodes, and damage a persons ability to function cognitively, thereby losing the ability to reason, and react with reason.

    I would also venture to say that many of those shooters also used street drugs along with their medications, and that the psychiatrist was either aware of it or turned there back to it because they have little understanding of how to treat drug uses. They should not be given psychiatric medications, because it will further damage them cognitively..

    At this point, the public and media will continue to turn to them for expert advise on these matters, which continues to be a huge mistake.

  13. Psychiatry in the 1980’s: Talk about your childhood.
    Psychiatry in the 1990’s: You are unstable.
    Psychiatry in the 2000’s: We can silence your child, and your inner child.
    Psychiatry now: “Do you feel like killing anyone? How many guns do you own?” (with one hand on the pen writing the prescription, the other on the panic button under the desk that will quickly alert Security as soon the subhuman brute attacks).

    In 2003, I finished up my undergraduate studies with a fast-paced and entertaining class in American Government and Politics. Our instructor had worked many years as an attorney. This was mostly a class in Constitutional Law. This instructor had observed the behavior of policemen over many years while working as an attorney. One day, with great sadness, he stated that his own cousin had become a cop. He said he watched his beloved cousin’s personality change as soon as the kid began to carry a gun. I took great interest in this statement, for what it was worth.

    I went home that day thinking about this man’s words. I have never touched a gun but I have seen them in photos and on TV. We writers sometimes must research details about guns if we write novels that involve gun use. I have always been amused at the resemblance between a gun and the human penis. I sometimes refer to guns as penis-extenders.

    Friends of mine have felt that it was necessary to own a gun for self-defense. Not one of them ever used their guns for that purpose. My brother hunts and owns a rifle or two. He shoots a deer once or twice a year and freezes the meat for his family. But when I have been asked about guns, I tell people I have no need for one. I have a dog who loves me.

    To ask a patient if he/she feels like killing is insulting. Distrust should not be the basis of helping a person who is suffering. These doctors get paid and praised for “protecting the public.” Is that logical?

    • You’re right about that….of course it’s a way to dehumanize and otherise and make the pseudo doctor feel better about giving toxic nerve killing poison to their “patient.”
      But what if someone actually was having violent thoughts which they wanted “help” for?
      Instead of giving them zoloft, which is proved to make you “manic” and blunt your emotions….Why not just talk about the reasons someone is having violent thoughts…the rage and pain that has brought them to that point..
      Maybe it would help…certainly alot more than what psychiatry does…
      These discussions often make me think of the documentary Child of Rage, which showed that violent thoughts could be “treated” with love and understanding….

  14. I recently went here: http://mentalillnesspolicy.org/ looking for Mental Illness Policy information, and this is what was staring me square in the face. Given the tragic recent mass shootings, again, in Oregon, why is America still prosecuting Schizophrenics to the Public in this light? I was horrified to see this portrayal of schizophrenic’s on this Mental Illness Policy website. I personally don’t know any diagnosed schizophrenics, but what I do know is that this information is so far from accurate it’s not even funny. I’ve read many articles that say the mentally ill (including schizophrenics) or not only, not usually violent, but are more apt to become victims of violence themselves. Look at the date 1993! This is the information they’re using to educate the Public NOW in 2015 !!! I posted the ‘Uncivil Rights’ too, because I didn’t know what it was. Am I somehow misreading or misunderstanding this ?? Please tell me if I am….Every word below is as it appears. There is no editing. (I have one comment in parentheses. )

    (THIS IS THE TOP HEADING TO THIS EXTENSIVE WEBSITE TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC ON MENTAL ILLNESS:
    Learn why seriously mentally ill people receive such poor care and the policies that can improve care; save money;
    and keep public and patients safer. Read “Uncivil Liberties” first… then left hand column and work your way across.
    Uncivil liberties
    Far from respecting civil liberties, legal obstacles to treating the mentally ill limit or destroy the liberty of the person
    By Herschel Hardin
    (PDF VERSION)
    Herschel Hardin is an author and consultant. He was a member of the board of directors of the Civil Liberties Association from 1965 to 1974, and has been involved in the defense of liberty and free speech through his work with Amnesty International. One of his children has schizophrenia.
    The public is growing increasingly confused by how we treat the mentally ill. More and more, the mentally ill are showing up in the streets, badly in need of help. Incidents of illness-driven violence are being reported regularly, incidents which common sense tells us could easily be avoided. And this is just the visible tip of the greater tragedy – of many more sufferers deteriorating in the shadows and often, committing suicide.
    People asked in perplexed astonishment: ” Why don’t we provide the treatment, when the need is so obvious?” Yet every such cry of anguish is met with the rejoinder that unrequested intervention is an infringement of civil liberties. This stops everything.
    Civil Liberties, after all, are a fundamental part of our democratic society. The rhetoric and lobbying results in legislative obstacles to timely and adequate treatment, and the psychiatric community is cowed by the anti-treatment climate produced. Here is the Kafkaesque irony: Far from respecting civil liberties, legal obstacles to treatment limit or destroy the liberty of the person. The best example concerns schizophrenia.
    The most chronic and disabling of the major mental illnesses, schizophrenia involves a chemical imbalance in the brain, alleviated in most cases by medication. Symptoms can include confusion; inability to concentrate, to think abstractly, or to plan; thought disorder to the point of raving babble; delusions and hallucinations; and variations such as paranoia. Untreated, the disease is ravaging. Its victims cannot work or care for themselves. They may think they are other people – usually historical or cultural characters such as Jesus Christ or John Lennon – or otherwise lose their sense of identity. They find it hard or impossible to live with others, and they may become hostile and threatening. They can end up living in the most degraded, shocking circumstances, voiding in their own clothes, living in rooms overrun by rodents – or in the streets. They often deteriorate physically, losing weight and suffering corresponding malnutrition, rotting teeth and skin sores. They become particularly vulnerable to injury and abuse.
    Tormented by voices, or in the grip of paranoia, they may commit suicide or violence upon others. Becoming suddenly threatening, or bearing a weapon because of delusionally perceived need for self-protection, the innocent schizophrenic may be shot down by police. Depression from the illness, without adequate stability — often as the result of premature release — is also a factor in suicides. Such victims are prisoners of their illness. Their personalities are subsumed by their distorted thoughts. They cannot think for themselves and cannot exercise any meaningful liberty. The remedy is treatment — most essentially, medication. In most cases, this means involuntary treatment because people in the throes of their illness have little or no insight into their own condition. If you think you are Jesus Christ or an avenging angel, you are not likely to agree that you need to go to the hospital.
    Anti-treatment advocates insist that involuntary committal should be limited to cases of imminent physical danger — instances where a person is going to do bodily harm to himself or to somebody else. But the establishment of such “dangerousness” usually comes too late — a psychotic break or loss of control, leading to violence, happens suddenly. And all the while, the victim suffers the ravages of the illness itself, the degradation of life, the tragic loss of individual potential.
    The anti-treatment advocates say: “If that’s how people want to live (babbling on a street corner, in rags), or if they wish to take their own lives, they should be allowed to exercise their free will. To interfere — with involuntary commital — is to deny them their civil liberties.” Whether or not anti-treatment advocates actually voice such opinions, they seem content to sacrifice a few lives here and there to uphold an abstract doctrine. Their intent, if noble, has a chilly, Stalinist justification — the odd tragedy along the way is warranted to ensure the greater good. The notion that this doctrine is misapplied escapes them. They merely deny the nature of the illness. Health (Official) Elizabeth Cull appears to have fallen into the trap of this juxtaposition. She has talked about balancing the need for treatment and civil liberties, as if they were opposites. It is with such a misconceptualization that anti-treatment lobbyists promote legislation loaded with administative and judicial obstacles to involuntary committal.
    The result, will be a certain number of illness-caused suicides every year, just as surely as if those people were lined up annually in front of a firing squad. Add to that the broader ravages of the illness, and keep in mind the manic depressives who also have a high suicide rate. A doubly ironic downstream effect: the inappropriate use of criminal prosectuion against the mentally ill, and the attendant cruelty of commital to jails and prisons rather than hospitals. Corrections officials once estimated that almost one third of adult offenders and close to half of the young offenders in the correction system have a diagnosable mental disorder.
    Clinical evidence has now indicated that allowing schizophrenia to progress to a psychotic break lowers the possible level of future recovery, and subsequent psychotic breaks lower that level further – in other words, the cost of withholding treatment is permanent damage. Meanwhile, bureaucratic road-blocks, such as time consuming judicial hearings, are passed off under the cloak of “due process” – as if the illness were a crime with which one is being charged and hospitalization for treatment is punishment. Such cumbersome restraints ignore the existing adequate safeguards – the requirement for two independent assessments and a review panel to check against over-long stays. How can such degradation and death — so much inhumanity — be justified in the name of civil liberties? It cannot. The opposition to involuntary committal and treatment betrays profound misunderstanding of the principle of civil liberties. Medication can free victims from their illness — free them from the Bastille of their psychosis — and restore their dignity, their free will and the meaningful exercise of their liberties.
    (PDF VERSION)
    (THE ENTIRE LEFT HAND CORNER OF THE FRONT PAGE INFORMATION IS DEDICATED TO THIS)
    The Vancouver Sun July 22, 1993
    Reprinted with permission. Copyright 1993 The Vancouver Sun. All rights reserved.

    Problem
    People with serious mental illness account for a disproportionate share of suicides, homelessness, violence, and incarceration.
    • 18% of population over 18 (43 million) has ‘any’ mental illness.
    • 4% of population over 18 (10 million) have ‘serious’ mental illness (SMI). This site focuses on serious mental illness.
    • 2 million mentally ill go untreated
    • One-third of homeless are mentally ill (200,000)
    • 16% of incarcerated (300,000) have mental illness
    • 1,000 homicides a year are committed by mentally ill
    • 10-17% of seriously mentally ill kill themselves
    • $15 billion is spent incarcerating mentally ill
    • Random acts of violence by minority are tarring the majority.
    Five Policies that Save Money, Improve Care, and Keep Public and Patients Safer
    • 5 POINT PLAN FOR OBAMA TO REDUCE VIOLENCE BY PERSONS WITH MENTAL ILLNESS
    • Spend smarter: Spend on mental “illness” not mental “health”. (Video of untreated schizophrenia)
    • Use Assisted Outpatient Treatment (court ordered outpatient treatment) for those with a history of violence dangerousness or multiple rehospitalizations due to noncompliance.
    • Reform involuntary commitment laws so they prevent violence, rather than require it.
    • Reform Medicaid law to preserve psychiatric hospitals (eliminate the IMD Exclusion)
    • People found Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity and unfit to stand trial should receive mandated treatment
    Are people with mental illness more violent?
    If you are talking about the 40-50% of Americans who may have a “diagnosable mental disorder” during their lifetime (18% annually), then ‘no’, the mentally ill are not more violent than others.
    If you are talking about the 4% of Americans with the most serious mental illnesses that affect daily functioning–primarily schizophrenia and treatment-resistant bipolar disorder, then ‘no’, the mentally ill are not more violent than others.
    If you are talking about the subset of the 4% group who go off treatment that has previously prevented them from being psychotic, hospitalized, or violent, then ‘yes’ the mentally ill are more violent than others. This higher than normal rate of violence increases even more when these groups abuse substances. When people ask, “Are the mentally ill more violent”, they are usually asking about this group, the most seriously mentally ill who are not in treatment.
    What can make people with serious mental illness become violent?
    Short video: Consumers with untreated schizophrenia interviewed

    Violence is almost always associated with going off treatment and becoming delusional or psychotic. There are many reasons people with serious mental illness go off treatment. Some reasons are not unique to mental illness while others are. (They have this right as the withdrawal symptoms from ALL psychiatric drugs can, and usually do, induce psychosis that continually goes unrecognized by doctors, psychiatrists, and mental healthcare workers. I became extremely homicidal during SSRI withdrawals.)
    The ability to regulate behavior is compromised because the brain is the organ affected.
    Anosognosia: Up to 50% of people with schizophrenia and many with bipolar lack insight: they are so sick they don’t know they are sick (anosognosia).
    Costs/Side Effects: Some refuse treatment because of costs, side effects, lack of support, etc.
    Civil Liberties: A misunderstanding of civil liberties, the nature of mental illness, combined with misinformation leads us to protect the right of the psychotic to ‘die with their rights on’ rather than mandating violence preventing treatments that can restore free will.

    Reaction to hallucinations and delusions. When people with serious mental illness act out, they are often doing so as a logical reaction to their delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia. If you think someone is the Devil and trying to kill you, you will try to hurt them first.
    Misplaced Funding: Most money spent goes to improving mental ‘health’ not treating mental “illness”. People with serious mental illness are usually sent to the end of the line, rather than the front. The ability to get services is inversely related to need, therefore people with serious mental illness find it difficult to get services. Mental health providers often discriminate against highly symptomatic people with serious mental illnesses.
    Discussion
    Almost everyone has issues with involuntary commitment and involuntary treatment. This site rather than saying “it’s a difficult issue” and dropping it, attempts to study the science and law to come up with policies that balance the right of patients to have freedom, their right to receive treatment, the public’s right to safety, and sound fiscal policy. And while not advocating mass institutionalization, we recognize that the dearth of hospital beds has caused mass incarceration.

  15. Sandy, that sounds like the version of mental illness I used to see in some movies. Dangerousness. I have known many DIAGNOSED schizophrenics. This was my own diagnosis for many years. Looking back, not one “schizophrenic” was at all violent. Accusations of dangerousness or “future dangerousness” are so often done for convenience, as an excuse to take kids away, as an excuse to force-drug, or as an excuse to incarcerate. Never mind that forced “hospitalization” means milking Medicaid. Much is done as retaliation, and most of these accusations have no basis in reality. Mostly, we were nonviolent due to apathy. We were either depressed or so drugged that we didn’t have any chance of meaningful and productive lives. We watched TV all day and smoked. Those I knew, and still know, who may have been thought of as “psychotic,” such as voice-hearers, who were lucky enough to bypass psychiatry entirely ended up living incredibly productive and amazing lives. None of these people ever had to view the world from the point of view of “patient,” nor ever lived as a diagnosed person, which clearly freed them up to do extraordinary things.

    • “I have no time to deal with you” – that’s the most prevalent reason for someone being labelled as “dangerous”. I mean why would you do your job when you can force drug someone, put them in restraints and go for coffee.
      That is btw the literal quote. They don’t even bother to pretend, they’ll just lie in the hospital documents and to the judge.