A New York Times op-ed column this morning (Tuesday, January 11, 2011) by David Brooks entitled “The Politicized Mind” focuses on Jared Loughner and the shooting rampage in Tucson and quotes from a book by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, a research psychiatrist, who wrote (among other books) The Insanity Offense. Torrey was a Peace Corps doctor (Ethiopia 1964-66) and is married to an RPCV, Barbara Boyle (Tanzania 1963-65).
The Brooks column is generating a lot of ‘heat’ for statements such as “..the political opportunism occasioned by this tragedy has ranged from the completely irrelevant to the shame irresponsible” and slamming such noted liberals as Gary Hart, Keith Olbermann, Daily Kos, and the Huffington Post.
Torry’s book is the calm center of today’s op-ed piece. Quoting from it, Brooks uses Torry’s research to show that about 1 percent of the seriously mentally ill (or about 40,000 individuals) are violent. They account for about half the rampage murders in the United States. Brooks ends his column by quoting again from Fuller’s book, writing, “Torry’s book describes a nation that has been unable to come up with a humane mental health policy–one that protects the ill from their own demons and society from their rare but deadly outbursts.”