Post-traumatic stress disorder of inner-city teens
Violent reactions to urban crime
Some speculate that urban crime is both cause and effect in itself. Thus, the notion of urban psychosis, the psychological mutation and destruction of those living in violent urban areas, is a means by which the proliferation of urban crime may be explained. Some physicians liken urban psychosis to post-traumatic stress disorder, which relates the experience of inner-city teens to those affected by war, natural disaster and family violence. Current discussion on urban psychosis poses serious ethical, medical and legal questions, which include the degree of personal responsibility in the case of inner-city crime.
When a 14 year old boy lives every day of his life witnessing drive-by shootings, murder of his schoolmates, rape and trafficking of drugs; and when he has been traumatized enough to hide every time he hears the sound of a car backfiring, who is surprised that he is capable of shooting a loaded gun ? Urban psychosis is a reality, and its victims are all of us, including those with guns.
While it is valid to uncover the root causes of urban crime, the punishment of its perpetrators should not be overlooked. If a society operates under the belief that everyone, including the perpetrator of a crime, is a victim, no one will accept personal responsibility. To plead innocence by reason of urban psychosis is to give in to the inevitability of urban collapse.