“What a fascinating read. It’s going to rile folks up as well as having many people yell “Amen!” It will also, probably for the first time, give people an understanding about the direction our society is heading and give them some idea how we got to where we are now. Plus, your chapter on parenting is dead on and will hopefully cause folks to become more active in the lives of their children!”
Larry Winget, Television personality and five time New York Times/Wall Street Journal bestselling author of “Your Kids Are Your Own Fault” and “The Idiot Factor”
As the September release date for my third book “Tasers, Abortions and Parenting: Behind the Curtain of Policing America” quickly approaches, we thought that we would share an excerpt from Chapter 5 (Anesthetized Parenting).
To receive the complete copy of Chapter 5 simply subscribe to this blog (it’s free).
Chapter 5 – Anesthetized Parenting
“They say it’s impossible to stop now, Evelyn Torres, 48, of the Bronx, said of her son’s use of antipsychotics since he received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder at age 3. Seven years later, the boy is now also afflicted with weight and heart problems. But Ms. Torres credits Medicaid for making the boy’s mental and physical conditions manageable. “They’re helping with everything,” she said.”
from The New York Times article “Poor Children Likelier to Get Antipsychotics” by Duff Wilson (December 11th, 2009)
Bipolar disorder at age 3?!? Weight and heart problems at age 10?!?
While there is a certain degree of debate as to when and what children can recall in terms of early life events, it is generally believed that the vast majority can “come up with only a handful of memories from between the ages of 3 and 7.”
Commonly referred to as childhood amnesia which based upon recent studies suggest that memory encoding begins gradually at birth reaching adult levels by age 2 or 3, I cannot help but wonder with all that is happening it is hard to understand how any reputable physician can diagnose a bipolar disorder in a three year old, let alone justify the need to prescribe antipsychotic drugs.
Like the controversial discovery of a crime gene as reported in a July 2nd, 2008 article in which researchers from King’s College London claim to have found that boys who have a version of a gene are much more likely to leave the rails if they are abused when young, the concern “that young people could be labeled as potential troublemakers before they have committed a crime” is as disconcerting as the aforementioned bipolar diagnosis.
The fact that antipsychotic drugs are routinely prescribed to children as young as 3, also provides credence in terms of the fear expressed by crime gene critics that “governments may turn to the use of drugs to fight against crime, rather than tackling deep-rooted social problems.”
When you consider that antipsychotic prescriptions “are the single biggest drug expenditure for Medicaid, costing the program $7.9 billion in 2006, the most recent year for which the data is available,” a certain level of trepidation in this area would seem to be somewhat reasonable.
Leaving the broader debate that attempting to link a criminal disposition to a gene is a form of eugenics, which critics feel would target poor minority children, it is our position that “crime” is a cultural concept, and not a biological entity. As a result, assigning blame to a particular DNA string or specific gene like the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in a 3 year old perhaps borders on the ridiculous.
Five time New York Times/Wall Street Journal bestselling author Larry Winget, whose book “Your Kids Are Your Own Fault” advocates a nurture versus nature view regarding child development, unapologetically places childhood behavior and ultimately adult conduct squarely and forever on the shoulders of the parents.
Winget points to a number of disturbing trends that would seem to support his view, beginning with his assertion that studies seem to indicate that parents on average only spend 3 1/2 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children. Think about that for a moment, 3 1/2 minutes! What can you possibly teach your children and more importantly, what can your children learn about you in 3 1/2 minutes?
Perhaps this is the isolating starting point that leads to 27 out of 29 children being obese, or why only 70% of all kids graduate from high school in an era where those with university degrees are finding it tough to land a job.
Regardless of origins, there is interesting data that can be used to validate both the nurture versus nature position. One such example that immediately comes to mind, was also referenced in an earlier chapter of this book. We are of course talking about statistics presented by the former spokesperson for San Quentin State Prison in California Vernell Crittendon during a recent appearance on the Larry King Show. Specifically, Crittendon’s findings that a good percentage of the current prison population was 3rd and 4th generation criminals from the same family lineage.
Those who believe that a crime gene does in fact exist could point to this ancestral trend as well as a 1984 study of Danish males that were raised by adoptive parents as proof that their theories have merit.
In Jeff Milder’s November 1995 article titled “Eugenics Resurrected: Is Crime in the Genes,” results from the Danish study showed that children of repeat criminals though adopted, “were about twice as likely to be criminals themselves as the children of non-criminals.”
While the majority of genetic determinists as they are called are usually more subtle in that they postulate “the existence of genes for certain crime-encouraging tendencies such as impulsiveness and violence versus a specific criminal act such as rape and murder would tend to lend support to the Danish findings, to those who support the nurture over nature view there remain serious flaws.
Referencing a commonly cited statistic which indicates that while only accounting for 10% of the overall population, blacks in America are responsible for “one-half of all rape and murder arrests, and about two-thirds of all robbery arrests,” Milder is quick to point out that there are numerous explanations for these statistical outcomes which he outlines as follows:
” (1) blacks are more frequently the victims of economic inequality, and poor people commit more crimes than rich people, regardless of race, (2) blacks are treated by society in a way that encourages them to commit crimes, (3) blacks are more frequently arrested than whites for crimes they have committed or (4) that a large percentage of blacks contain genes predisposing them to crime. All of the explanations (or a combination of them) could explain the correlation between race and crime. But which is correct?”
Beyond the variable combination of circumstances listed above, and perhaps others that we haven’t even considered, the growing trend on the part of physicians to prescribe powerful antipsychotic drugs to children who come from a lower socio-economic class is telling.
In the December 2009 New York Times article, it was pointed out that more than 4 percent of the patients aged 6 to 17 in Medicade fee-for-service programs received antipsychotic drugs, compared with less than 1 percent of privately insured children and adolescents.
Similar to the questions we raised in chapter 3 regarding abortion, and chapter 4 regarding socio-economic influence on crime statistics, the nature versus nurture paradigm creates a which came first, the chicken or the egg scenario. It also challenges one of the key tenets of the Declaration of Independence which states that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” We didn’t see a but if their black, or if they are of a lower social status in there, did you?
Unlike the September 6th, 1976 Time Magazine article “The World: Equal Before God But Not Men,” in which South Africa’s Minister of Justice, Police and Prisons James Thomas Kruger made the statement that “All men are equal before God, but all men are not equal before men because the differences are obvious,” the principles of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, through which Lincoln believed the United States Constitution “should be interpreted is what makes this country great if not always in practice at least in intent.
Facing riots at the time of the article’s publication, and blaming it on “the black-power movement based in America,” Kruger went on to say that even though South African blacks sing songs such as We Shall Overcome, they are wrong as it is the apartheid system and its National Party government that shall overcome.
Kruger then concluded his oratory diatribe with the remark that “The black knows his place, and if not, I’ll tell him his place.”
The inference by the South African Minister of Justice is pretty clear in its suggestion that blacks are somehow genetically inferior at birth. If, as any reasonable human being would conclude, that Kruger’s remarks are not only racist but outright wrong, then how can one support the theory of a genetic pre-disposition towards crime in any form, even the muted down tendencies view?
Now some may again argue that observations such as the one presented by Crittendon that the general prison population is mostly comprised of 3rd and 4th generation criminals makes it difficult if not impossible to discount the existence of a crime gene that is passed from one generation to the next.
Note: Once again, subscribe to this blog to receive the complete copy of Chapter 5 from the book “Tasers, Abortions and Parenting: Behind the Curtain of Policing America.”
Your research is nothing short of amazing! (of course I would expect nothing less from Jon Hansen!) I found myself constantly wanting to go to some of the works that were referenced in the book to learn even more; at the same time the use of leading questions kept me focused on the thread of your discussion . . .This is an amazing piece of work!
Jim Bouchard, Amazon bestselling author of “Think Like A Black Belt”
Watch for our Chapter 5 Video Commentary that will hit the virtual airwaves on August 24th, 2010 through USTREAM and YouTube.