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"When a Killer Blames His Doctor"

The following letter appeared in The New York Times on October 14, 1998.
[See also --link to Schaler letter of same title on Schaler page, Related Writings]

When a Killer Blames His Doctor

To the Editor:

That killers can successfully blame their therapists for their actions (front page, Oct. 10) is the consequence of the fiction of mental illness and the junk science of psychiatry that it supports. Although lawyers, psychiatrists and society conspire in the twin charades of civil commitment and the insanity defense, the main culprits are the mental health professionals. If they believed in personal responsibility rather than in mental illness -- and rejected the practices of depriving innocent people of liberty and excusing guilty people of crimes -- we would be spared the spectacle of criminals' being acquitted of crimes and collecting damages as if they were the victims of untreated diseases.

Syracuse, Oct. 10, 1998
The writer is professor emeritus of psychiatry at SUNY Health Science Center.

Thomas S. Szasz Cybercenter for Liberty and Responsibility:
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