12 of 121 DOCUMENTS

	The Boston Globe

	August 06, 2006 Sunday 





	LENGTH: 4149 words

	LAST WEEK, a 30-year-old Pakistani- American, Naveed Haq, went on
	a shooting rampage at a Jewish Federation office in Seattle. After
	a forced entry, he shouted, ''I am a Muslim-American, angry at
	Israel'' and opened fire, killing one woman and wounding five. Haq
	had frequently told colleagues that he despised Jews. His parents
	told reporters that their son had long suffered from bipolar
	disorder. Cases like this happen close to home, too. In February,
	an 18-year-old man went on a crime spree, assaulting patrons
	inside a gay bar in New Bedford and killing two people in a gun
	battle with Arkansas police before killing himself. Jacob Robida,
	the killer, hated gays, blacks, and Jews. He collected Nazi
	memorabilia and filled the walls of his bedroom with swastikas.
	Robida had also been severely depressed.

	We deplore such acts of hate as perpetrated by Robida and Haq in
	part because they are considered to be purposeful. According to
	some psychiatrists and psychologists, hate is also a mental
	illness causing bigots to become totally irrational and

	Most hate is cultural. Normal people learn to hate from an early
	age from parents, teachers, friends, co-workers and the media.
	They might never translate their bigotry into behavior beyond
	using stereotypic epithets and telling bigoted jokes.

	But some hate is pathological. It becomes so severe that it takes
	control of a person's life, causing him to become isolated,
	fearful, self-destructive, and dangerous to others. Haq and Robida
	seem to have suffered from pathological hate.

	Mental health researchers now propose medicalizing the most
	extreme and dysfunctional forms of prejudice by treating
	pathological hate as an official psychiatric diagnosis. Edward
	Dunbar, a psychologist at UCLA who has treated dozens of patients
	for ''racial paranoia,'' suggests that dangerous forms of hate can
	be reduced by administering an appropriate form of psychotherapy.
	Alvin Poussant, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, argues
	that patients who suffer from pathological hate might benefit from
	antipsychotic medications and other forms of therapy.

	Opponents assert that this diagnosis would only allow bigots to
	evade responsibility for their nasty and illegal behavior. They
	express a concern that the hatemongers would be treated as victims
	rather than perpetrators, even when they are tried for assaulting
	members of the groups they despise.
	But it is already the case that a defendant's mental illness can
	be a mitigating factor in a judge's sentencing decisions. For
	example, killers may get a lighter sentence, even when not
	diagnosed as hatemongers, if they can show they were abused as
	children. It is the plea of ''not guilty by reason of insanity'' -
	not a diagnosis of mental illness - that allows defendants to
	avert criminal responsibility. And only 1 percent of all felony
	defendants attempt the insanity defense.

	More important, the threat from individuals like Haq and Robida
	would be reduced by treating pathological hate as a mental
	disorder. First, it would help to discredit and stigmatize the
	prejudices of individuals whose persistent fears of other groups
	are regarded as a product of disease rather than rational thought.
	Their stereotyped views of blacks, Muslims, Jews, or gays would be
	viewed as delusional, entirely lacking in any reality, rather than
	as a normal case of prejudiced thinking. Also, extremely hateful
	individuals would no longer be ignored by the mental health
	profession or treated only for depression, but would be more
	likely to receive the attention that they so sorely need to combat
	their delusional beliefs.

	Even if Haq and Robida had received effective treatment in the
	form of psychotherapy or antipsychotic medication, they would
	probably still have held bigoted views. But they might not have
	gone on a rampage.

	LOAD-DATE: August 9, 2006


	NOTES: JACK LEVIN AND ARNOLD ARLUKE Jack Levin is director of the
	Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict and Arnold Arluke is a
	professor of sociology, both at Northeastern University.



	Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company