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Madness, Deinstitutionalization & Murder
The Federalist Society ^ | March 2012 | Clayton Cramer

Posted on 12/16/2012 2:07:20 PM PST by absalom01

For those of us who came of age in the 1970s, one of the most shocking aspects of the last three decades was the rise of mass public shootings: people who went into public places and murdered complete strangers. Such crimes had taken place before, such as the Texas Tower murders by Charles Whitman in 1966,1 but their rarity meant that they were shocking.

Something changed in the 1980s: these senseless mass murders started to happen with increasing frequency. People were shocked when James Huberty killed twenty-one strangers in a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, California in 1984, and Patrick Purdy murdered five children in a Stockton, California schoolyard in 1989. Now, these crimes have become background noise, unless they involve an extraordinarily high body count (such as at Virginia Tech) or a prominent victim (such as Rep. Gabrielle Giffords). Why did these crimes go from extraordinarily rare to commonplace? For a while, it was fashionable to blame gun availability for this dramatic increase. But guns did not become more available before or during this change. Instead, federal law and many state laws became more restrictive on purchase and possession of firearms, sometimes in response to such crimes.2 Nor has the nature of the weapons available to Americans changed all that much. In 1965, Popular Science announced that Colt was selling the AR-15, a semiautomatic version of the M-16 for the civilian market.3 The Browning Hi-Power, a 9mm semiautomatic pistol with a thirteen-round magazine, was offered for sale in the United States starting in 1954,4 and advertised for civilians in both the U.S. and Canada at least as early as 1960.5 If gun availability does not explain the increase of mass public murders, what else might? At least half of these mass murderers (as well as many other murderers) have histories of mental illness. Many have already come to the attention of the criminal justice or mental health systems before they become headlines. In the early 1980s, there were about two million chronically mentally ill people in the United States, with 93 percent living outside mental hospitals. The largest diagnosis for the chronically mentally ill is schizophrenia, which afflicts about 1 percent of the population, or about 1.5 percent of adult Americans.6

...

In the 1960s, the United States embarked on an innovative approach to caring for its mentally ill: deinstitutionalization. The intentions were quite humane: move patients from long-term commitment in state mental hospitals into community-based mental health treatment. Contrary to popular perception, California Governor Ronald Reagan’s signing of the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act of 196712 was only one small part of a broad-based movement, starting in the late 1950s.13

...

There is no shortage of these tragedies that have one common element: a person whose exceedingly odd behavior, sometimes combined with minor criminal acts, would likely have led to confinement in a mental hospital in 1960. After deinstitutionalization, these people remained at large until they killed. The criminal justice system then took them out of circulation (if they did not commit suicide), but this was too late for their victims. There is a clear statistical relationship between deinstitutionalization and murder rates. Violent crime rates rose dramatically in the 1960s, most worrisomely in the murder rate.58

...

Deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill was one of the truly remarkable public policy decisions of the 1960s and 1970s, and yet its full impact is barely recognized by most of the public. Partly this was because the changes did not happen overnight, but took place state-by-state over two decades, with no single national event. While homelessness received enormous public attention in the early 1980s, the news media’s reluctance to acknowledge the role that deinstitutionalization played in this human tragedy meant that the public safety connection was generally invisible to the general public. The solution remains unclear, but recognizing the consequences of deinstitutionalization is the first step.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 2012; banglist; institutionalzation; massshootings; mentalillness; newton; newtown
The left is blaming everything except the cause of these tragedies. Over the coming months, as DiFi and Schumer and Blumberg and all the rest try to exploit these for their own nefarious purposes, it will be important to at least attempt to inject awareness into the debate. There is much more at the link, and is well worth reading the whole thing.
1 posted on 12/16/2012 2:07:23 PM PST by absalom01
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To: absalom01
It is Cloward–Piven strategy

2 posted on 12/16/2012 2:27:08 PM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your teaching is my delight.)
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To: absalom01
Just review the list of side effects of the SSRI anti-depressants that ALL of these people are prescribed: “HOMICIDAL TENDENCIES”

Its the damn drugs people!

3 posted on 12/16/2012 2:29:23 PM PST by Captain7seas (Fire Jane Lubchenco)
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To: absalom01
An interesting FR thread from 7/20/2011

Deinstitutionalization of the Mentally Ill
4 posted on 12/16/2012 2:38:26 PM PST by SpaceBar
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To: SpaceBar

Thank you.

Excellent link


5 posted on 12/16/2012 2:44:50 PM PST by absalom01 (You should do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, and you should never wish to do less.)
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To: Captain7seas
Its the damn drugs people!

Yeah, that drug-control thingy worked out really well, didn't it? /sarc

6 posted on 12/16/2012 2:45:32 PM PST by lightman (If the Patriarchate of the East held a state like the Vatican I would apply for political asylum.)
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To: absalom01

Somebody locked up in a mental institution who doesn’t kill anybody doesn’t make for a good story. Now, a fun guy receiving electro-shock therapy that fries his brain, that wins oscars. Even if it’s fiction. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST was fiction....like Peter Pan.


7 posted on 12/16/2012 2:48:11 PM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Captain7seas

IMO it’s both, with the new drugs also a factor.


8 posted on 12/16/2012 2:54:12 PM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: absalom01

I read the entire article and it’s fascinating. It’s hard to conclude our “humane” approach has been good for society OR the mentally ill.

I read a lot about asylums a couple of years ago while doing some research on old and disappearing institutional buildings. There was an entire group devoted to the architecture of asylums designed by a Dr. Kirkbride that stressed open air and spaces ease of access and ability to watch patients. Very beautiful and creepy buildings- Gothic.

Sadly as is often the case- many of the staff and doctors running these places were sick themselves but there were countless that were compassionate and did their best to comfort and help the sickest among us.

I don’t know if our culture has the guts to even consider permanent hospitalization for those beyond help- of the sort the article you linked describes. We will continue to pay the price for not finding a way to deal with them though.


9 posted on 12/16/2012 3:00:07 PM PST by SE Mom (Proud mom of an Iraq war combat vet)
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To: absalom01

The 80’s is when the children of the generation that rejected the traditional family model grew up. They are what you can expect from feminist mothers and fathers that lack self control and a sense of duty.


10 posted on 12/16/2012 3:05:45 PM PST by freedomfiter2 (Brutal acts of commission and yawning acts of omission both strengthen the hand of the devil.)
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To: absalom01

Maybe Obama blaming your neighbors for what you don’t have set this guy off. Have we ever had a more divisive person in power outside of the President of Iran in our lifetimes?

Violent videos, Obama’s mouth, a teen getting hyper-sexual due to testosterone hitting in the teens, a stupid now dead mother giving shooting lessons to a mental deficient and you get all this death.

We need to either institutionalize them, castrate them hormonally or lobotomize them.
IMO chemical castration would make them much more docile if you catch them in their early teens.


11 posted on 12/16/2012 3:21:23 PM PST by A CA Guy ( God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: absalom01

Maybe Obama blaming your neighbors for what you don’t have set this guy off. Have we ever had a more divisive person in power outside of the President of Iran in our lifetimes?

Violent videos, Obama’s mouth, a teen getting hyper-sexual due to testosterone hitting in the teens, a stupid now dead mother giving shooting lessons to a mental deficient and you get all this death.

We need to either institutionalize them, castrate them hormonally or lobotomize them.
IMO chemical castration would make them much more docile if you catch them in their early teens.


12 posted on 12/16/2012 3:21:35 PM PST by A CA Guy ( God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: SE Mom

A much older cousin of mine married a mentally ill woman, although he was unaware of this at the time.

Us kids knew something was wrong with her, were even mean about it as only kids can be, but that went right over his head. She was beautiful, from a very good and very prominent family, dressed just so and her manners were impeccable. He was head over heels in love and saw nothing but that.

It turned out that her family knew, that she’d been institutionalized before. Electroconvulsive therapy had kept her from going completely off the rails, but she was absolutely terrified of ever going back to “that place.”. This caused quite the rift between the families, concealing that.

She descended further into whatever mental illness she had, not long after their marriage. He’d had a beautiful brick house built for the two of them, and after they married and moved into it, she seldom left. She let herself go, chain smoking and eating, always eating. She’d stop taking her meds, hiding them, then slip into dementia. It got so bad at times that she’d defecate in the middle of the den rather than get up to go to the toilet.

But, this older cousin of mine, he believed in his marriage vows, despite having been more or less tricked into it. Despite it all, I think he still loved her on some level. This went on for thirty years.

He’d retired and taken to landscaping the yard and remodeling the house he’d built for them as a sort of hobby, a way to pass the days, near enough to keep and eye on her but out of the house since it was not easy to be around her. One day, he had a stroke, fell down in the yard and laid there for two days, with her just looking out the window at him laying there.

He never recovered, dying a few weeks later, at age 65. She has been well cared for, he saw to that. In a secure assisted living facility. She should have been there long ago, but he wouldn’t hear of it.


13 posted on 12/16/2012 3:23:34 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: absalom01

The only problem with this article is that the author has no idea what he is talking about.

There have been mass murders since the turn of the century.

There have been fewer in the 2000’s than in the 1990’s.

There is another thread on this very subject here on FR.


14 posted on 12/16/2012 3:33:16 PM PST by old curmudgeon
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To: absalom01
While homelessness received enormous public attention in the early 1980s, the news media’s reluctance to acknowledge the role that deinstitutionalization played in this human tragedy meant that the public safety connection was generally invisible to the general public.

This sentence should have been crafted a bit better. Maybe it is saying that deinstitutionalization led to homelessness (which is true), maybe it is using the media reaction to homelessness as a contrast to the way the media has dealt with deinstitutionalization. It's hard to tell.

15 posted on 12/16/2012 3:33:54 PM PST by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: absalom01

Interesting read.


16 posted on 12/16/2012 3:39:45 PM PST by Sans-Culotte ( Pray for Obama- Psalm 109:8)
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To: absalom01

Interesting read.


17 posted on 12/16/2012 3:39:46 PM PST by Sans-Culotte ( Pray for Obama- Psalm 109:8)
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To: RegulatorCountry

The man sounds like a saint. If knowing the Lord was his underlying motivation and strength, he will receive his reward in heaven.


18 posted on 12/16/2012 3:41:28 PM PST by TurkeyLurkey
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To: RegulatorCountry

My God! What a tragic and sad story. Poor man. I can’t imagine it was really worth it if you think of what he lost and could have had with another marriage. But even so, I have to say he possessed true nobility and I admire him for his courage and endurance. How awful that her parents did not tell him and tricked him into this life of stress, knowing he was a good-hearted man.


19 posted on 12/16/2012 3:47:54 PM PST by WashingtonSource
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To: RegulatorCountry

Oh my what a sad tale. Living with mentally ill people is a very tough proposition- some days are so “normal” and then...

I don’t know what the solution is- but we’ve seen both ends of the spectrum and they don’t seem to work. There are nightmare stories of what many “lunatic asylums” were like (Nellie Bly wrote a fascinating one based on using a ruse she made up to be a mental patient) in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Whether or not your cousin did the right thing is hard to say- but HE believed it was right and he lived his code with honor. God bless him.


20 posted on 12/16/2012 3:49:55 PM PST by SE Mom (Proud mom of an Iraq war combat vet)
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To: absalom01

http://navlog.org/paper_clip_lady.html


21 posted on 12/16/2012 3:51:51 PM PST by pabianice (washington, dc ..)
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To: SE Mom
Well, the ACLU forced some changes to an admittedly imperfect system, but the outcome has been far worse than what they sought to fix.

Some people are a threat to themselves, and others, and at present, there is no medical treatment to fix that. So now, we're forced to listen to the same liberals who insisted on deinstitutionalization that we have to disarm society to make ourselves safe from the psychotics they themselves set loose.

22 posted on 12/16/2012 3:53:22 PM PST by absalom01 (You should do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, and you should never wish to do less.)
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To: freedomfiter2

When the greatest generation and the silent generation created NOW, it really had an effect on women, and then families.


23 posted on 12/16/2012 3:56:08 PM PST by ansel12 (A.Coulter2005(truncated)Romney will never recover from his Court's create of a right to gay marriage)
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To: exDemMom
No, the way I read that, Cramer is pointing out that since the media refused to acknowledge the link between homelessness and deinstitutionalization, the public, lacking that information, was not apprised that deinstitutionalization ALSO contributed to a rise in violent crime at the time.

I think that Cramer is dead-on with his analysis.

24 posted on 12/16/2012 4:02:25 PM PST by absalom01 (You should do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, and you should never wish to do less.)
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To: absalom01
There is a clear statistical relationship between deinstitutionalization and murder rates. Violent crime rates rose dramatically in the 1960s, most worrisomely in the murder rate.

Unfortunately for this "relationship," the murder rate rose through 1980 and has since declined. We are now just about back to where we were in 1960.

Interesting table: http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

25 posted on 12/16/2012 4:11:32 PM PST by Sherman Logan (Brought to you by one of the pale penis people.)
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To: absalom01

I agree with that conclusion as well.

During the research I mentioned above I went on a tangent (as often happens when I start researching!)about mental institutions of our past. I did learn a lot about the various views our society has had about mental illness and how we dealt with it- it’s always been a very touchy subject and has eluded any solution. Today we medicate enormous numbers of our people who may well have been locked up in the past. Is that a good or bad thing? I don’t know.

The point though- that we haven’t really paid attention to our sick people- is a valid one. I mean I never wondered about it either until the last few years. Suddenly, while reading about the THOUSANDS of people who used to be “put away” I wondered...what the hell happened to them? I found we let them out and then just dealt with the circumstances and consequences as they come up. Since the 70’s we’ve kind of ignored them except when they act out.

Like everything else now- we are so divided I can’t imagine a cohesive, caring and sensible policy toward people like Alan Lanza.


26 posted on 12/16/2012 4:25:24 PM PST by SE Mom (Proud mom of an Iraq war combat vet)
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To: absalom01

The story here:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2969335/posts?page=1

says this kid was on Fanapt, a schizophrenia drug.

Unsurprised.


27 posted on 12/16/2012 4:35:10 PM PST by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: TurkeyLurkey
He was an unpretentious, humble man, hard working and as Baptist as they come. His one brush with pretension was in being impressed and deluded by his future wife's family social standing. He paid and paid for that.

But, he did what he thought was right and didn't waver. Even his mother, my aunt, another staunch Baptist, tried to dissuade him from remaining married to her, that she was never capable of being a wife to him from the very outset and that he was deceived into the marriage, therefore it was not valid.

He stayed with her until he left this world. I doubt I could have done it, myself.

28 posted on 12/16/2012 4:47:45 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: absalom01

We are dealing more and more with the demonic here.


29 posted on 12/16/2012 4:56:12 PM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: freedomfiter2

This kind of thing isn’t new. Check out what Howard Unruh did in Camden NJ one day in Sept. 1949.


30 posted on 12/16/2012 5:46:20 PM PST by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: SE Mom
The point though- that we haven’t really paid attention to our sick people- is a valid one. I mean I never wondered about it either until the last few years. Suddenly, while reading about the THOUSANDS of people who used to be “put away” I wondered...what the hell happened to them? I found we let them out and then just dealt with the circumstances and consequences as they come up. Since the 70’s we’ve kind of ignored them except when they act out.

I believe that the truth is that the former inmates did not all have any one fate. Some were taken in and cared for by family, some became wards of the criminal justice system, and a large number met any one of a number of grisly (often at the hands of other former inmates) and/or sad ends. Improved pharmacology has meant that more than in the 1950s, can live a more or less normal life as long as they take their meds. So while closing the asylums was not an unmitigated good, neither would reopening them.

31 posted on 12/16/2012 5:55:45 PM PST by Fraxinus (My opinion, worth what you paid.)
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To: old curmudgeon

Around the turn of the 20 th century, Indians were still scalping and beheading people, even families out west. Quite a few weird murders too. I read quite a few accounts not long ago while reading newspapers from the 1890s while researching Great Lakes shipping.


32 posted on 12/16/2012 6:04:27 PM PST by sbMKE
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To: absalom01

Congress needs to open up hearings on the treatment of mental illness. This has to be a national discussion.


33 posted on 12/16/2012 6:15:28 PM PST by cradle of freedom (Long live the Republic !)
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To: RegulatorCountry

Only by the grace of God


34 posted on 12/16/2012 6:40:39 PM PST by TurkeyLurkey
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To: old curmudgeon

You either didn’t read or didn’t understand the article. He’s quite clear on the fact that deinstitutionalization of the mentally contributed to the rising homicide rate of the 60’s, 70’ and 80’s and that the rising imprisonment movement of the 90’s decreased the murder rate.

Because the mentally ill are now in prisons instead of mental institutions.

It doesn’t solve the rampage killer problem however if a mentally ill person’s first contact with mental health or law enforcement is after the rampage as is often the case now that it is practically impossible to get mental health care or hospitalization for your unfriendly neighborhood psychotic until they kill somebody.


35 posted on 12/16/2012 7:41:36 PM PST by Valpal1
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To: FreedomPoster

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2969335/posts?page=1

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/nancy-lanza-feared-son-adam-worse-article-1.1221505

Neither link mentioned fanapt when I tried to find it.


36 posted on 12/16/2012 8:45:27 PM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem

I should have saved off the web page, they’ve deleted it.. They say they updated the story at 10:37pm.

There is no doubt the the earlier version included a picture of a man they identified as Jonathan Lanza, an uncle, and the quote in my post 106 in that thread. There was a paragraph or two from him.


37 posted on 12/16/2012 10:20:11 PM PST by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: neverdem

Here, this article says much the same.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4701316/Killer-Lanzas-mum-armed-herself-with-arsenal-after-bitter-divorce.html


38 posted on 12/16/2012 10:23:52 PM PST by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: absalom01
The woman was becoming paranoid by the collapse of the American economy under Obama and was doing a survival thing and spread the paranoia and gun skills to her child.

Obama’s fault more than anything from what I am reading.

39 posted on 12/17/2012 7:34:04 AM PST by A CA Guy ( God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: absalom01
I believe that the points made in your posting have validity--as do some of the points made by others in the thread, above. But I would seriously urge that many of these things are more symptoms, than the basic cause of the underlying malady. (Now, by "symptoms" I do no mean to imply that they are not in fact, seriously aggravating factors in the general unraveling of the social order in many American communities.)

Basically, we have been Losing America's Multi-Generational Purpose. Loss of a natural functional sense of purpose will effect different psychological types in different ways--all destructive, but not all violent. But look at some of the clues that we can discern about the origins of the sort of bizarre suicidal rage that we have seen--the particular targeting of religious students in some of the atrocities; the targeting, here, of the most innocent groups in the school--those still not corrupted by the vices of our society.

Is there not evidence of a satanic rage against those who still offer the possibility of some form of redemption for our people?

In psychologically healthier times; times when men defined their manhood in terms of a Chivalric code--where they measured themselves against others in their willingness to protect women & children, for a clear example of the point; did we have, even among the most irrational or debased, these same tendencies--or, if we did, to the same degree?

All sentient beings, both human and the more intelligent species of animals, display characteristics, which today are demonized by a cultural war on nature; in the human case, actually coupled with a totally insane war, not only on normal sex roles, but on public displays related to Faith & the acknowledgement that we are answerable for our conduct. Is this creating a void, which drives certain personality types over the edge; that what we witness is the insane rage of those denied constructive focus?

It is certainly not caused by the availability of tools, that others maintain to defend family, property & heritage. The most "successful" sociopathic atrocities, for that matter, involved not guns, but fertilizer, or boxcutters & airplanes.

William Flax

40 posted on 12/17/2012 8:17:46 AM PST by Ohioan
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To: absalom01

Ping for reference, important and useful thoughts here, both in the article and the posts.


41 posted on 12/17/2012 8:46:42 AM PST by Springfield Reformer (Winston Churchill: No Peace Till Victory!)
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To: Valpal1
Perhaps you are the one who did not comprehend what you read.

His first paragraph, quoted below is totally false.

Mass murder is NOT on the rise at all.

His opening pp.:

“For those of us who came of age in the 1970s, one of the most shocking aspects of the last three decades was the rise of mass public shootings: people who went into public places and murdered complete strangers. Such crimes had taken place before, such as the Texas Tower murders by Charles Whitman in 1966,1 but their rarity meant that they were shocking.”

So I repeat: His basic premise on which his article is based is totally false.

42 posted on 12/17/2012 2:48:54 PM PST by old curmudgeon
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To: old curmudgeon

Reading the first paragraph is not the same as reading the full article. He is quite clear that there was an upswing (starting in the 70’s) and then a down swing both of which can be related to the emptying of mental hospitals followed by a prison building spree, high numbers of incarcerated mentally ill and a resulting decrease.

Read the entire article.


43 posted on 12/17/2012 3:21:48 PM PST by Valpal1
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