Source: Colorado Medicine
Source type: journal
Document type: public address
Document title: “The Importance to the Community of Provision for the Feeble-Minded”
Author(s): Pershing, C. L.
Date of publication: March 1921
Volume number: 18
Issue number: 3
Pagination: 60-62 (excerpt below includes only page 61)
|Pershing, C. L. “The Importance to the Community of Provision for the Feeble-Minded.” Colorado Medicine Mar. 1921 v18n3: pp. 60-62.|
|C. L. Pershing (public addresses); assassinations (comparison); Charles J. Guiteau; Leon Czolgosz (compared with Charles J. Guiteau); Leon Czolgosz (mental health).|
|Leon Czolgosz; James A. Garfield; Henry H. Goddard; Charles J. Guiteau; Carter H. Harrison, Sr.; William McKinley; Patrick Eugene Prendergast.|
“Read before the Medical Society of the City and County of Denver, February 15, 1921” (p. 60).
About the author (p. 60): C. L. Pershing, M. D., Denver.
The Importance to the Community of Provision for the Feeble-Minded [excerpt]
Murders have been committed by mental defectives.
In some cases these have been startling crimes that shocked the civilized world.
Guiteau, who killed President Garfield, came of degenerate stock. There were
mental defectives and insanity in his family. Guiteau himself was a ne’er-do-well
who had previously been arrested in New York on account of annoying a young
woman. He seems to have had a paranoiac trend and his may have been a case of
dementia precox. This question of diagnosis however is only one of academic
interest. The important point is that under a proper system of provision for
the feeble-minded, he would have been removed from society and taken care of
before he committed murder. He was probably considered feeble-minded rather
than insane and therefore allowed to go at large.
Czolgosz, who shot President McKinley, was never considered well balanced. He had what is known as the “shut in” disposition, unsocial and morose. There is no evidence that he was an anarchist.
Prendergast who murdered Mayor Harrison of Chicago was probably of the same type.
It is perfectly evident that the feeble-minded are a menace to society. That they are equally a menace to the race is due to the fact that mental defect is incurable, that it is inherited and that the defectives are twice as prolific as normal people. Fortunately their numbers are somewhat diminished by their being more vulnerable to disease than normal people. Dr. Goddard says that the menace of the problem comes from the fact that a quarter of a million defectives who inherited their condition are transmiting [sic] that condition to their offspring. Not only the manifestly feeble-minded but also some normal persons who have had feeble-minded progenitors transmit feeble-mindedness to their descendants.