I certainly am no expert in the mental health field, but I have done a bit of reading about it (I do bit of reading on everything, consider me and amateur researcher
). In my humble and simple minded observations I've found there are few concrete facts and a lot of opinion in the area. It seems that there is consensus on what a healthy mind is and what an extremely sick mind is (schizophrenia, psychopathy, etc.), but in between the extremes there isn't. In the middle of the road no one agrees on what should be done. Do we medicate or use therapy, or use some combination of the two? This is nothing against you Glenn, I'm certain you have forgotten more about about it than I will ever know.
Someone mentioned the use of the word psychopath. You have all almost certainly interacted with one in your life. You may even know one well. They look and act like everyone else, and the vast majority are not inclined toward violence.
So, for all the experts here (credentialed and otherwise), what was the difference
Well for one thing, in 1950 the U.S. population was about 150,700,000. Today the population is somewhere around 315,100,000 (US Census Bureau estimate as of this writing). Even if the per capita incident rate was the same as today, there would have been half as many incidents per year.
On the other hand, research indicates that we were a far more violent nation at that time than we are now, so are we even sure that school violence wasn't more widespread (per capita) than it is now? Someone posted the number of school incidents and deaths as a result per decade, starting with the 1960s, over in the thread about psychiatric drugs (sorry, can't link to it on my phone). What we haven't considered in that thread is population growth over the years. Does anyone have any pertinent information on school incidents in the 1950s era?
Tying the question back to mental health, we know that treatment of the mentally ill was primitive (even barbarous) and less common back then. If incidents were indeed not as prolific as now, is this a case of less is more, as far as treatment?