Early on a summer morning in his Vernon, B.C., apartment, Kenneth
Barter gave in to his delusions.
Foreign agents were warning him that the man smoking a cigarette on
his couch, a good friend with whom he had been drinking the night
before, was plotting to kill Kenneth's father. So he rose from his bed,
and struck Nathan Mayrhofer with a hammer.
Then he chopped his friend's body up with a meat cleaver (as he
learned on the TV show Dexter, he later said) and shoved the
parts in his fridge. His mother and his father, a former police officer,
discovered the remains two days later – after their son, in a bizarre
confession, told them he had been hypnotized.
The killing happened in August, 2010. At the time, Kenneth, 37, had
been on a six-month wait list to see a psychiatrist. His appointment was
scheduled for October.
Two weeks ago, he was found not criminally responsible for murder and
sentenced indefinitely to a secure mental hospital. It was justice,
bluntly administered, leading to the old, frustrating question: Why
didn't the system step in earlier and save two lives?
Mental-health advocates have fought the stereotype that mental
illness leads to violent crime, aware of the stigma this creates for
already-isolated patients, most of them much more likely to be hurt than
to hurt another. When the most bizarre crimes occur, mental illness
comes as an automatic explanation, deduced in hindsight from ranting
Facebook posts and odd behaviour – as with Jared Lee Loughner, charged
with killing six in a shooting spree in Arizona, and Richard Kachkar,
accused of killing a Toronto policeman in a snowplow rampage.
Those men have yet to be diagnosed as mentally ill by trained
professionals. But for most crimes, expert says, that would be looking
in the wrong place. Research has found that less than 15 per cent of
mental-health patients ever commit a criminal offence of any kind.
‘It's not The Shining we're talking about,” says Christian
Joyal, a neuropsychologist at the University of Quebec, Trois-Rivières.
Yet while crimes such as the ones Jared Loughner and Kenneth Barter are
accused of are rare, new research is showing that with the right mix of
symptoms and circumstances, the link between mental illness and violent
crime is stronger than advocates might like to admit.
“The vast majority will not be violent. But who will be?” Dr. Joyal
says. “If you don't want to stigmatize everyone, you should know who is
at higher risk.”
Under pressure to identify high-risk patients, psychiatrists are
working to develop better screening tools and build on the early
findings of brain scans. But as they do, medical staff will need
resources, hospital beds and time to make diagnoses – three things in
short supply in Canada's mental-health system.
They mainly hurt the ones they love
“You probably have more chances of winning the lottery than of being
killed by a psychotic person you don't know,” says Dominique Bourget, a
clinician in the forensic psychiatry and schizophrenia program at Royal
People with schizophrenia – a disorder estimated to affect .5 to 1
per cent of the population that often brings on powerful delusions and
hallucinations – may indeed have a higher risk of homicide or arson.
By analyzing 20 international studies, Seena Fazel, a senior
psychiatrist at Oxford University, calculated that the homicide rate
among male patients with schizophrenia was about five times higher than
in the general population. (For women, the risk was about eight times
higher, though the sample size was smaller.) He found a similar
correlation with bipolar disorder, in which patients typically cycle
between depression and mania.
But people with a mental illness rarely harm strangers. More often,
the victims are people they love – family, friends, caregivers. A Quebec
study of 64 cases in which offspring killed parents found that about 67
per cent had a psychotic disorder.
This article alludes the mentally ill are not dangerous. Read the
article, it says, Quote:
"But people with a mental illness rarely harm strangers. More often, the
victims are people they love – family, friends, caregivers"
Murder is not the most frequent destruction created or caused by the
The mentally ill unfortunately include some of the most high performing
members of society, the elite professions, in fact, extremely high
intelligence and mental illness go together like turbo supercharged race
engines and the probability of an engine failure.
It's this segment of society, who are intelligent enough to hide their
illness from most people most of the time, who believe that because no
one can see they have a problem that therefore they don't have a
The reality is schizophrenics are one of the highest causes of
litigation in family court. If Family court required more mandatory
mental health assessments odds are the person who has the mental health
problem is the person alleged in the court documents but the other
person. One of the favorite attacks of a mentally ill person is to go on
a crusade that someone else is mentally ill. They learn from lots of
practice that the best defense is an offense.
Women suffer mental health problems around 5 times that of men, but in
family court, most of the alleged mentally ill are men who are faced
with a practical, Male Sharia Law that makes it impossible for man to
have any legal due process.
Around the child rearing ages, women seem to explode in the number of
sufferers of schizophrenia and most professionals seem to have little
understand of the illness and its causes.
For women, its often caused or contributed by child hood sexual abuse,
it can be multiple generational, and often is. It leaves adult women
crying and displaying the facial distortions of a child, of about the
age when the trauma occurred.
The problem is, that few are ready to listen to the professionals who
have the most experience and any comments have to protect the very large
number of mentally ill who are not a danger to society but, are most
probably an extreme danger as a spouse a daughter or a son.
It swamps our courts, and Government needs to take a long sighted
approach to solving many of societies problems, jails, crime, the
justice system, the courts, the root causes and spending money where it
is best spent.
Criminalizing mentally ill people is the most expensive solution. The
first start is to decrease dysfunctional families and that starts with a
Legal Presumption of Equal Parenting.
For our courts to function, our courts need Mental Health Screening for
the Judiciary who are at present riddled with judges who leave endless
trails of destruction.
Our judiciary operate with legal immunity and impunity from even
criminal acts which when committed by a judge is all OK. The judiciary
need a real watchdog agency. As do our police forces whose extortion
rackets of public money in one form or another make it impossible to see
where officialdom starts and crime takes over. The police practice of
"paid duty" is nothing less than extortion.
Take a look at the G20 videos and it shows very clearly, any officer
acting improperly is surrounded by fellow officers trying to hide his
badge number from cameras.
The leave trails of incredible destruction including marriage
destruction, alienation of children that increasingly breeds more
generations of dysfunctional children at higher risk of a similar
Real crime starts in family court
It takes a dead beat judge to create a dead beat dad.