"A Popular But False Assumption
Recent research has found that the bell curve has less to do with human performance and achievement than people thought.
Instead of the bell curve normal distribution, a power distribution often applies,
which puts just a few people making most of the progress, production, and awards, while the rest of us tail off into relative obscurity below the average. In an e-mail response to a query about the distribution of criminal acts by individuals, one of the authors cited by NPR, Professor Herman Aguinis at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, noted that his research found that most of the errors are committed by just a few people as well.
In other words, a minority of repeat offenders account for the majority of crime and violence. This is nothing new; it has been known for decades. As previously noted here, research over more than 30 years has demonstrated that of the mentally ill people who commit crime and violence, a small minority of repeat offenders account for a majority of the attacks on others.
Yet mental health law, like Oklahoma’s Title 43A, is mostly predicated on the popular but false assumption that people with mental illness are dangerous and unpredictable. Every time a drug-using person with mental illness commits some horribly violent and senseless crime, everyone with mental illness is tarred by it. Journalists, editors (even at the Tulsa World, oh my) and politicians rush demonstrate their alleged civic and humanitarian responsibility and declare that we just have to get more controls on those with psychiatric disabilities. They argue that it is worth it to deprive and destroy the civil rights and liberties of an entire minority if it can save just one life. That people with mental illnesses or psychiatric diagnoses should be confined and medicated upon even the mere perception of imagined threat. In other words, stop them before they kill again. One hears that even Black Americans have been familiar with this phenomenon.
Which the State is only too glad to support, as noted here before. Anyone dragooned into one of the State’s mental facilities can find that every statement he or she makes will be parsed, and even badgered, by the facility’s mental health professionals for the most negative interpretation that will justify a commitment to that facility. That no positive or exculpatory statement will be recognized or recorded. That all previous contacts with psychiatric counseling and management will be denied out of existence, even in court papers. It’s a rigged game. "