Most mentally retarded and mentally ill people are not in the least dangerous.I think the chances are slim that you would ever be attacked and hurt by one, my friend.
Mostly I would agree with you. That is certainly what I learned in every psychopathology class I've ever taken and for the most part, my experience has born that out. However, I like viewing mentally retarded or mentally ill people just as I would "normal" people. That is to say that ANYONE, mentally ill or retarded or not can have the capacity to be violent.
I have worked with mentally ill people and addicts in groups and I currently work as a caregiver in a home for developmentally disabled adults and have seen quite a bit of violence. Both of the women I care for have attacked staff before. One, a mentally retarded schizophrenic who is also bi-polar, threw a staff member through a plate glass window, permanently disabeling her. She got another staff person on the ground and stompped her face, breaking several bones. Another time she burned down the house she was living in. For the most part, this lady was a delight to be with and I enjoyed her a great deal, but she did have a tendency toward violence and I went to work many days wondering if I would get the crap beat out of me that day. She eventually had to be removed from the house when she attacked her roommate. In our company, my boss has been beaten up by other clients many, many times. And I had a friend who was murdered by a schizophrenic lady. I also have a friend who I have known for most of my life who is mentally ill. He raped and murdered a 5 year old little girl. So I wouldn't want people to believe that mentally challenged people are never violent, just that they, like anyone else, can be. Neither do I want people to fear mentally retarded or mentally ill people. My appraoch with them is as it is with the rest of the poplulation - to not fear them or distrust them utnil the individual gives me a reason to. Anyone, mentally challenged or not can be wonderful human beings, or they can be violent. To me it seems that with any population it is more of an individual thing than something that can be pinned on a catagory of people.