Fraudulent diagnosis for mass murderers; ‘Mental illness’ is a metaphor, not a predictor
National, state and local legislators in the wake of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., are all abuzz over the prospect of stopping such people as Adam Lanza by preventive diagnosis and possible preventive detention.
If my late friend, eminent psychiatric critic Dr. Thomas Szasz, were alive today and read about all of the references to “mental illnesses” and “mental health” as a way to lessen the number of mass killings, he would say, “Am I surprised? No, of course not. This is a way to pretend that evil does not motivate such atrocities and a way for politicians to act as if they have discovered a way to stop them.”