BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Although this weekend's killings in Tucson,
Ariz., appear to be the work of a mentally ill individual,
University at Buffalo Law School Professor and psychologist Charles
Patrick Ewing says it's important to keep in mind that the vast
majority of the mentally ill are not violent or dangerous.
Ewing, a national expert on criminal behavior and author of
several books on forensic psychology and violent criminals, says
although this vast majority of the mentally ill will never commit
such acts of mass murder, influential politicians and commentators
who preach hatred and revenge should shoulder some of the blame for
this and other violent rampages.
"These influential politicians and commentators who use violent
rhetoric and images -- such as putting a member of Congress in the
crosshairs, telling supporters that it is time to 'reload' and
suggesting that voters unhappy with Congress resort to 'Second
Amendment remedies' -- must realize that they have an incredibly
wide audience," says Ewing. "At least some members of that audience
(both sane and insane) will view their inflammatory statements as
an invitation to violence.
"One thing is certain," Ewing says. "The blame for these
killings does not lie with the perpetrator alone."
Twenty-two-year-old Jared Loughner was scheduled to face a
federal court hearing Monday on charges he tried to assassinate
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Saturday outside a Tucson supermarket.
The shootings left six people dead and 14 people, including
Loughner has a long history of unstable behavior as well as drug
and substance abuse. He also has had a series of confrontations
with police due to disruptive behavior at the community college he
Ewing is a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor and a national
expert on the insanity defense who is frequently interviewed on the
motivation of violent criminals.
Ewing is available for interviews by contacting him by email at
email@example.com, or calling Charles Anzalone in the University
at Buffalo's Office of Communications at 716-645-4600.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public
university, a flagship institution in the State University of New
York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's
more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through
more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree
programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of
the Association of American Universities.