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Can identifying mental illness stop terror attacks?

14 Comments
By JILL LAWLESS

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The vast majority of serial killers are on psychiatric drugs or have a history of mental treatment. Psychiatry doesn't seem to be capable of either identifying or "treating" mental illness. In the article above, one psychiatric report stated that Breivik, who slaughtered 77 people in a gun rampage in Norway was SANE!

Psychiatrists and psychologists are therefore not likely to help discover and/or treat potential terrorists.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Agree for once, Bertie. Making mental health care accessable would do a lot to solve the problem, but planning to lock up everyone that is off is not going to accomplish anything. They are insane, not stupid.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's not identifying mental illness that's the problem, it's being able to get and afford treatment.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All religious fanatics are mentally ill.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Fascinating and well written article. Don't know what the answer is, but the problem is scary.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@BertieWooster

Sanity does not preclude mental instability. I believe that crimina insanity is not having the ability to discern right from wrong. You can be extremely depressed and unstable, but still be sane.

Perhaps I misread, but I don't think the article mentioned "treating" terrorists with psychology. The question at hand is whether or not it's an effective heuristic tool for identifying lone-wolf terrorists. You say that it isn't effective, and your defense is that serial killers general have a history of mental health issues. That would seem support the claim that mental health can be an indicator of extreme violence.

0 ( +0 / -1 )

History has shown that what is perceived as mental illness in one country is not in another.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

By chucking terms like mental illness at these murdering scum is to reduce what they did to the old 'diminished responsibility' excuse. These pieces of filth knew what they were doing, and should receive no sympathy or feelings of empathy from any sane person.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Obviously not the only people with lost sanity. It always seems there is plenty of insanity go around any time there are events like this, and people say the damnedest, craziest things.

Conflating mental illness with terrorism is not going to gain any answers. Loons do all kinds of crazy stuff, and whatever seemingly rational or at least typical motives they ascribe to their actions, whether its religious, political, jealousy, anger, whatever, is pretty much meaningless. Thus, when a lone nutter does something, we cannot call it terrorism, because they are nutters and don't act on reason. They, many of their sane but evil counterparts, merely look for excuses for their actions.

Thus, we need to pay attention to nuts in general, and not go trying to parse their rhetoric, cause that is a nutty exercise!

This guy in Australia was, at best, a pretend terrorist. But he did nothing nuts with no flags and no political gripes have not done before!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sounds like yet more nonsense for so called experts and government to get excuses to explain away terrorism as Well as hide from the fact the culture of a given country is raising kids into adults who have zero self control. There are not that many mentally ill people and fewer still are those who would commit such acts like terrorism. Honever most countries have cultures which supplant morals and self control with the concept some leader or book or group determines morals and control Plus government in patterns countries are varying degrees of Marxist like socialism which teaches the idea it is perfectly Ok to commit horrible acts as long as the ideology is the reason. Add the fact social justice permits any sort of crime to obtain goods for the self by force. All it takes from there is the person losing the connection to the external control, mom, priest, teacher and this person become completely open to be controlled by terrorist groups through propaganda. But forget all of What I said, it must be as the article states, terrorists are not bad, just misunderstood mentally ill victims

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The 'terror attack' has effectively been applied to dozens of acts by deranged assailants.

Terror attacks are more properly applied to the slaughters committed by political groups like ISIS or Taliban extremists as a part of controlling innocent populations. Belief in any mad reality isn't terrorism, the act of a deranged psychopath should be described as it is for what it is.

Giving the mentally ill attacker some status through the terror-fication of his acts only encourages a pattern of rewarding a marginalized lunatics' slaughter with political status. A responsible journalist wouldn't create a fiction of terror applied willy nilly to every disturbed gunman's abattoir.

These dangerous freaks, by their acts, shouldn't receive special amplification of attention. Fact based reporting of these acts needn't include their particular brand of crazy. A uniform attribution as 'a deranged act by a mentally disturbed aggressor' without motive should stop the attention seeking justifications that are likely wrapped too tightly in a malfunctioning brain of a mad man.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If I say I hear voices from an invisible man I'm mentally ill...unless I say it's God.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

spbpb,

Psych doesn't have a clue what it's doing. Breivik's case is a good example. Psychs couldn't even agree whether he was sane or not.

Comparing this to medicine, a simple medical examination would be able to tell whether a person was healthy or not. And whether a cure had been accomplished.

Psych doesn't seem capable of doing this.

It's not complicated.

How did they decide that Breivik was sane?

Because he thought that what he was doing was right?

Since psychs are patently incapable of distinguishing something as basic as sanity, I doubt very much whether they could tell whether a person was a potential terrorist or not. And I would be very much against a national "potential terrorist screening," along the lines of the dead but unlamented "teenscreen."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Breivik's case is a good example."

On a finding of sanity Breivik would face trial. On a finding of insanity Breivik is imprisoned until such time as sanity is found and then Breivik would face trial. Either way, Breivik is imprisoned.

The strength or weakness of psychiatry is not evaluated in the Breivik case.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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