Thursday, March 15, 2018

The False Association Between Mental Illness and Mass Shootings

In the wake of every mass murder, whether it is a terrorist attack or a lone wolf mass shooting, the public, swept up by mass hysteria, has always looked for an easy scapegoat and a quick and simple solution to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future. In the case of terrorist attacks the blame is usually placed on Muslims or in instances where the perpetrator is not a Muslim, the tragedy is politicized to smear everyone on one side of the political divide. In the case of mass shootings committed by lone wolves, the tragedy is used to smear gun owners and the blame is placed on mental illness. In fact, mental illness seems to be the common refrain whenever a religious or ideological motive is absent, and it is usually followed by suggestions that we spend more on mental healthcare and prohibit people with mental illness from buying firearms, which is already a law on the books. However well-meaning these people may be they are marginalizing an already disenfranchised and misunderstood population based on the false notion that mentally ill people are inherently violent.

The corporate media plays no small part in promoting prejudice against the mentally ill. A 2013 survey study examining the effect of news media coverage of mass shootings on public attitudes towards mentally ill persons found that stories about mass shootings increased negative attitudes towards people with serious mental illnesses and increased support for taking away their rights (Mcginty, Webster, and Barry, 2013). Baseline attitudes towards people with mental illness were already pretty dreary; thirty-six percent of participants were unwilling to work closely with mentally ill people, thirty percent did not want them as neighbors, forty percent believed that people with a serious mental illness are far more dangerous than the general population, and more than seventy percent wished to ban people with mental illnesses from buying firearms (Mcginty, Webster, and Barry, 2013). The media takes this natural prejudice and amplifies it. Participants who read one of three stories describing a mentally ill person going on a shooting spree reported less willingness to work with or live near a mentally ill person compared to the control group, who simply responded to the survey, and reported a higher perceived dangerousness of mentally ill people (Mcginty, Webster, and Barry, 2013).

The scientific consensus contradicts media narratives and popular opinion about the link between mental illness and violence. The clear majority of people with a serious mental illness are not violent. A National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related conditions found that only 2.9% of persons with a serious mental illness alone committed acts of violence (Swanson, Mcginty, Fazel, and Mays, 2015). The clear majority of people with a serious mental illness are also not prone to mass murder. Only four percent of psychiatric outpatients, in an urban setting, report a history of homicide attempts (Rueve and Welton, 2008). Disenfranchising the mentally ill would do very little to prevent acts of violence, specifically mass murder. Only four percent of violence is associated with mental illnesses by itself; even if the slightly elevated risk of violence by mentally ill people were reduced to the average level of risk in the general population, ninety-six percent of violence that occurs now would continue to occur (Swanson et al., 2015).

Although psychiatric patients are more likely to commit acts of violence compared with the general population, this disparity is due, in large part, to multiple social, economic, and psychological risk factors such as substance abuse comorbidity, low socioeconomic status, crime victimization, and early life trauma (Swanson et al., 2015). The MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study found that most of the violence committed by discharged psychiatric patients was attributable to substance abuse comorbidity; outpatients who had no substance abuse issues were at no higher risk of committing acts of violence than their non-mentally ill neighbors (Swanson et al., 2015). Psychiatric patients with substance abuse comorbidity are seventy-three percent more likely to display aggressive behavior than people who don’t have a history of substance abuse, regardless of whether they also have a history of serious mental illness (Rueve and Welton, 2008).Furthermore, studies that assessed the contribution of covarying risk factors such as crime victimization, exposure to neighborhood violence and substance abuse history found that psychiatric patients who only have a diagnosis of serious mental illness have annual rates of violent behavior that do not significantly differ from the general population (Swanson et al., 2015). For an issue that affects one out of five U.S. adults on an annual basis and about one out of twenty-five U.S. adults who suffer from a serious mental illness, it does not help to make sweeping generalizations and smear millions of people struggling to get along (National Alliance on Mental Illness,.n.d.).

The false but popular belief that mental illness causes mass shootings or that mentally ill people are prone to mass murder is a prime example of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy; inferring that one phenomenon caused another simply based on their chronological order (commonly abridged as the post hoc fallacy). The narrative is usually that the perpetrator had a pre-existing mental illness or had developed a mental disorder, although the diagnoses of armchair psychiatrists is always dubious, therefore, mental illness caused the perpetrator to kill people. It would make about as much sense to say that ice cream causes violent crime since the sale of ice cream and violent crime both tend to spike around the same time of year. This is also an example of a hasty generalization. Just because one person or even a few mentally ill persons committed mass murder does not mean that all mentally ill people are violent. Social phenomena like violence are complex problems that cannot be delineated to a single cause, but rather have multiple causes and contributing factors that need to be studied in depth.


Dowden, B. (n.d.). Fallacies. Retrieved March 13, 2018, from

Knoll, J. L., M.D., & Annas, G. D., M.D. (2016). Mass Shootings and Mental Illness (4th ed.). American Psychiatric Association Publishing.

Mcginty, E. E., Webster, D. W., & Barry, C. L. (2013). Effects of News Media Messages About Mass Shootings on Attitudes Toward Persons With Serious Mental Illness and Public Support for Gun Control Policies. American Journal of Psychiatry,170(5), 494-501. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.13010014.

National Alliance on Mental Illness. (n.d.). Mental Health By The Numbers. Retrieved from

Rueve, M. E., & Welton, R. S. (2008). Violence and Mental Illness. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 5(5), 34–48.

Swanson, J. W., Mcginty, E. E., Fazel, S., & Mays, V. M. (2015). Mental illness and reduction of gun violence and suicide: Bringing epidemiologic research to policy. Annals of Epidemiology, 25(5), 366-376. doi:10.1016/j.annepidem.2014.03.004.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

America's Secret Police (part 4)

NYPD has a secret gang database

The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them. The most iniquitous plots may be carried on against their liberty and happiness.

- Patrick Henry

Sources: New York Daily News, am New York, Legal Aid NYC

And it’s not much different from the FBI terrorist watch list or the DHS no-fly list; there is no transparency, no accountability, and no due process. Like the aforementioned databases, NYPD’s gang database includes people with a criminal record and known gang affiliations as well as those without a record based on specious reasons such as wearing certain clothes, living in a certain area, and having a Facebook friend who is affiliated with a gang. It is in effect another dragnet policing tactic that fundamentally violates our constitutional rights, specifically those rights contained within the 5th and 6th amendment. This policing tactic disregards our right to not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process as well as our right to know the accusations made against us and the right to confront our accusers.

The Strangest Secret Synopsis

We become what we think about

  • Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.
  • The opposite of courage is conformity.
  • A successful person is anyone who is doing deliberately a predetermined job because that's what he or she decided to do.
  • Going through life without goals is like a captain navigating a ship without a destination.
  • The key to success and failure: we become what we think about.
  • If you think in negative terms you will get negative results; if you think in positive terms you will achieve positive results.
  • The most valuable things we have in life are free.
  • Familiarity breeds contempt.
  • For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction; we can achieve nothing without paying the price.

30 day test

  1. Each of us wants something, and each of us is afraid of something.
    Write down what you want more than anything else. Make sure it's a single goal that's clearly defined.
  2. Stop thinking about what you fear. Each time a fearful or negative thought comes into your consciousness replace it with a positive and worthwhile goal.
  3. Do more than you have to do.
  4. Ask and it shall be given to you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you.
  5. Act as though it were impossible to fail.

Friday, March 9, 2018

NYPD Gang Lets Criminal Cops Keep Their Jobs

Sources: Secret NYPD Files: Officers Can Lie And Brutally Beat People — And Still Keep Their Jobs, WYNC News,

And keeps it a secret from the public.

From 2011 until 2015, at least 319 NYPD employees committed criminal offenses, but were allowed to keep their jobs. At least 50 employees lied on official reports, under oath, and in internal affairs investigations. 57 employees were found guilty of driving under the influence. 38 officers were found guilty of using excessive force and instigating fights by a police tribunal. 71 officers were caught ticket fixing. At least 3 officers were found guilty of sexual harassment, one of whom solicited sex from a minor. One officer sold prescription drugs to another undercover officer, and another officer threatened to kill someone. The police commissioner gave all of them a year of dismissal probation, which amounts to a slap on the wrist. They were allowed to keep their job and salary; the only difference is that they got less overtime and weren't eligible for promotion during the one year of probation. What’s more disturbing is that the public isn’t allowed to know about their misconduct. New York is one of fifteen states where officers’ disciplinary history and personnel files are confidential and can only be released by court order, so the public is kept in the dark about crooked cops. This information only came to light when an anonymous source within the department leaked it to Buzzfeed.

There is also no proportionality in the manner in which this penalty is applied. Officers that commit minor infractions, which are not necessarily criminal in nature receive the same punishment as those who commit criminal offenses. According to the NYPD, 777 officers in total were given dismissal probation over the same five year period, some of whom were punished arbitrarily for complaining about other officers’ misconduct or not going along with their department’s politics. Not surprisingly, the union that represents these thugs didn’t want to talk about anything negative. The deputy commissioner of the Advocate’s Office also had little to offer in the way of a justification since state law prohibits him from talking about specific disciplinary trials.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Police Are Just Bureaucrats With Guns

Sources: How Much Crime Fighting Do ‘Crime Fighters’ Really Do?, Fergunson and the Criminalization of American Life

A google search of the phrase ‘abolish the police’ turned up a 2015 opinion piece from The Nation, a left-wing news site, on the first page. The piece was written by someone who appears to be a BLM supporter and who would probably describe himself as a democratic socialist. While I agree with his conclusion that the police, as an institution, should eventually be abolished his reasons for doing so were very artificial and lacking in depth until he mentioned one statistic that struck a chord. According to prof. David Graeber of the London School of Economics, the average police officer only spends about 10% of his time fighting and solving crime; the other 90% is spent enforcing administrative codes; petty regulations that govern what you can do with your own property, how you must run your own business, and what you must have on and inside your own car. I am not sure where this professor got these figures from, and to be honest I was a bit skeptical at first since he didn’t include any references, but I was able to find corroborating evidence through a little bit of digging. In a 2013 study on Police activities and FBI crime statistics, Victor E. Kappeler, Ph.D., an associate dean of the school of justice studies at Eastern Kentucky University, found that only 2 out of 14 arrests police officers made in 2011 were for violent crimes and property crimes. Out of the 12.4 million arrests police officers made in 2011, 534,704 were for violent crimes, 1,639,883 were for property crimes, and 10,234312 were for petty offenses, which is about 82% of arrests. Furthermore, violent crimes like murder, rape, robbery, and assault only made up a fraction of the total number of offenses police had to contend with.

'when we look at the different types of violent offenses, we find that the murder rate is .017 per officer, rape .09 per officer, robbery .4 per officer and aggravated assault .84 per officer.'

Even as some on the left begin to question the legitimacy of the people who enforce the laws, they still leave us wondering why they haven’t also questioned the legitimacy of the people who make the laws that police enforce. Mainstream political theory would have us believe that our lawmakers make their laws with our consent, but as I have pointed out in a previous post on voting the sheer number of laws and programs congress creates makes informed consent impossible, yet we are expected to adhere to this ethical standard in our daily interactions with each other. Voting, at least in this country, appears to be motivated by learned helplessness, not informed consent. This was apparent in the last presidential election when we faced the dilemma of choosing between two horrendous candidates. For these reasons, I would have to disagree with the author’s alternative to police which is a litany of additional welfare programs (albeit he does mention drug decriminalization, which I would agree with). We as private citizens are responsible for our own safety and security. The only real defense against violent criminals is a vigilant, armed, and organized citizenry.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Why The Police Cannot Be Trusted

Sources: Ex-St. Tammany deputy caught falsifying DWI report but might not face legal consequences, No criminal investigation after deputy admits to falsifying arrest reports

This happened where I live. Former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s deputy Bryan Steinert was caught lying about the outcome of two parts of a field sobriety test in a police report after a cellphone video surface contradicting his claims about a driver arrested for DUI. The incident in question took place on January 16, 2016, when then Deputy Steinert detained Ryan Heyd, an off-duty National Guardsmen, in his driveway for careless operation of a motor vehicle. Deputy Steinert arrested Heyd for intoxicated driving and in his police report stated that Heyd raised his arms to keep his balance during the one leg portion of the test, lost his balance three times during the walk and turn test, and was swaying side to side during the entire test among other things. However, a video taken by one of Heyd’s friends didn’t show any of these behaviors. After Ryan Heyd’s attorney sent a copy of the video to St. Tammany Parish DA Warren Montgomery, Montgomery dropped Heyd’s case and contacted STPSO about the blatant contradictions between the video and Steinert’s report. In an internal affairs interview, Steinert admitted that he fabricated the report on Heyd’s arrest by copying and pasting the affidavit of probable cause from a previous DUI offense and resigned before the internal affairs interview. This has called into question dozens of other arrests made by the former Deputy including the arrest and subsequent DWI conviction of Darren McFarland. Steinert arrested McFarland in the same month as Heyd and included identical passages about the subjects performance on the field sobriety tests, for instance, stating that they had to be told four times not to move their head during the Nystagmus test. However, McFarland’s BAC level was measured at 0.063 on the breathalyzer, which is below the 0.08 legal limit in Louisiana.

Steinert is a good boy, he dindu nuffin

According to Sheriff Randy Smith, Steinert’s false report on Heyd is not a criminal act even though intentionally filing false public records is illegal in Louisiana, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. It is very unlikely that Steinert will be charged now that the Sheriff has closed the internal affairs investigation and Steinert has already resigned. It is all too common for American police to cover up each other’s criminal activity, even when there is clear cut evidence of their wrong doing. Case in point, the police are not here to protect and you shouldn’t trust them. Their purpose is to generate revenue for the state which entails preying on innocent citizens. Until we change public perception of them they’re will be no political action to restrain they’re power.

The 3 Kinds of Desires

'We must also reflect that of desires some are natural, others are groundless; and that of the natural some are necessary as well as natural, and some natural only. And of the necessary desires some are necessary if we are to be happy, some if the body is to be rid of uneasiness, some if we are even to live. He who has a clear and certain understanding of these things will direct every preference and aversion toward securing health of body and tranquility of mind, seeing that this is the sum and end of a blessed life.'
- Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus

The three kinds of desires are divided along lines of their ease to satisfy and their importance to our well-being. The category ‘natural and necessary desires’ encompasses desires for sustenance, protection from the elements, and anything else we would need to survive. They are relatively easy to satisfy and vital to our physical health. The category ‘natural and unnecessary desires’ encompasses all of those actions that are pleasurable and productive to our health, but which are not necessary to maintain our health. They are nonetheless aids to our health and mental well-being. I would include exercise/working out in this category along with the desire for friendships and romantic relationships. These are a bit harder to satisfy than natural and necessary desires. The desire for human contact itself could be considered a natural and necessary desire given the deleterious affects complete isolation has on mental and physical health. We are, after all, social animals. The category of groundless desires encompasses all vain and empty desires which are neither natural or necessary. By this I mean that their satisfaction is unnecessary to maintain our health and well-being and they do not aid our health and well-being. I would include in this category all the ornaments of wealth, the desire for popularity, fame, and fortune along with the desire to induce happiness through drugs or alcohol. Given that the average person will never obtain the objects of these desires, these desires are extremely difficult to satisfy and will most likely lead to despondency if you make your happiness dependent upon them. Substance abuse has its own set of dangers to mental and physical health on top of unhappiness. The aim of hedonists should be to direct their efforts towards those desires that secure physical, mental, and spiritual health. This would include all the natural and necessary desires and some of the natural and unnecessary desires. For instance, some relationships could be precluded if you believe that they wouldn’t be feasible in your current circumstances.