Orli Peter, clinical and neuropsychologist
The public is seizing on the wrong explanation for these violent events. Uncontrolled anger, not mental illness, underlies most types of violence. The non-politicized, academic research is clear: Of all the factors that increase the risk of violence, mental illness barely registers. Even when one narrows the scope from mental illness to serious mental illness, less than 3 percent of all violence is done by the seriously mentally ill, and when substance abuse is removed, there is no association.
People who do not control their anger — whether they are mentally ill or not — are the common features of those who engage in violence, whether it’s mass murders, domestic violence or workplace violence.
And supremacist ideologies — whether white supremacy or Islamic extremism — can inspire the anger to explode onto each of their preferred ideological targets. That’s why these ideologies try to keep people in a perpetual state of anger.