Is extremism a mental illness that can be cured?

It’s an important question, seeing how far fringe groups all across the political spectrum are going these days.

In a time where people are actually condoning and excusing violence against those of a different political ideology, extremism has become a part of our everyday lives, both here in the US and around the world.

But the question of whether extremism can be cured has returned to the forefront of the conversation with the recent developments in the case of Russian Muslim and former nanny Gyulchehra Bobokulova. Bobokulova brutally cut off the head of the child she was tasked to care for and protect, then paraded through Moscow’s streets screaming, “Allahu Akbar!” and “I am a terrorist!”

After being arrested and sentenced for her heinous crime, Bobokulova was just released after serving only five years in a psychiatric ward, and she was then deemed “cured” from her psychotic delusions.

Now, the case seems to have evidence indicating she was motivated by something far different than a “chronic mental disorder,” and Bobokulova herself said that the event that led her to kill four-year-old Anastasia Meshcheryakov was Putin’s bombings of Syria.

However, instead of being treated like a criminal or terrorist,  the Russian court ruled that Bobokulova suffered from paroxysmal paranoid schizophrenia even though Anastasia’s mother testified that  Bobokulova was “sane” and “cheerful” before she became influenced by extremist ideologies over the internet.

This was a claim that obviously fell on deaf ears.

A “Harmless” Extremist: Do They Exist?

And now, five years after the horrendous killing and grotesque parade, her doctors claim they are confident that she is “harmless” and will be releasing her back into the public…and Anastasia’s family doesn’t feel safe.

The child’s mother, Ekaterina Mescheryakova, told reporters, “My family cannot feel safe if Bobokulova, in the future, finds me or my other child. During the investigation, she testified that she had an intention to kill our entire family.”

And now this “former” extremist will be walking the streets.

So, again, it begs the question…

Is “extremism” a mental illness that can be cured?

Here’s the problem…

While I do feel that extremism is a mental disorder brought upon by stressors and the trappings of a weak mind, it’s not a mental illness.

These people are sane in the fact that they KNOW what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. They feel it’s what is necessary to get their beliefs pushed to the forefront of society.

As Americans, we’ve had experience with extremism more and more often since the attacks on the World Trade Center in September of 2001.

We’ve had experienced extremism from Liberals, Conservatives, Muslims, Christians, Blacks, Whites, Hispanics – we’ve dealt with it in the form of mass shootings at concerts, on highways, in stores, and in schools…

But can those that take things to the extreme be “cured” of their extremism?

Deprogrammed From Hate… NOT “Cured”

Maybe…

But it’s more deprogramming than curing.

It’s not as much an illness as a miswired belief system, which can be rewired to show the truth rather than highlight the lies and flaws that would cause one to hate so much that they’d kill over it.

Regardless, if one of these extremists commits a violent act, like Bobakulava did, then they can be deprogrammed and then made to spend the rest of their lengthy sentence as the criminal they actually are.

They’re not insane…

They’re just full of hate—and that should NOT excuse them from their actions.

Hate is not a mental disease…

It’s a disease of the soul—and the health of the soul is something Americans are neglecting more and more, but it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

This is how America can escape the clutches of extremism…

But we better work fast before it becomes the new “normal.”

We have time…

But not much.

 

“What is objectionable, what is dangerous, about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.” – Robert Kennedy