“We spend tens of billions of dollars to fight crime in the US. Unless the physiological functioning of the brain is included in the quest to alleviate crime and violence, we suggest that any effort will be a failure.” John Wacker
In 1974, John Wacker was executive vice president and board member for Centex Corporation, one of the most prominent building contractors in the United States. Yet, while immersed in this demanding job, the struggles of his young daughter were never far from his thoughts. She had been diagnosed with a significant learning disability, and the experts offered little help. It was because of their daughter’s difficulties that John and his wife, Lee, embarked on a journey to make a difference. In order to learn more about the causes of learning disabilities, the Wackers founded a family charitable organization: the Wacker Foundation. John Wacker is its president.
Wacker was intrigued and encouraged by the pioneering work of researchers and physicians who, during the ’70s, ’80s, and early ’90s, sought to unravel the connection between learning, nutrition, allergies, and behavior: Drs. Camilla Anderson, Billy Crook, Ben Feingold, Abram Hoffer, Marshall Mandell, Carl Pfeiffer, Theron Randolph, Doris Rapp, Bernard Rimland, Bill Walsh, Bernie Weiss, and Ray Wunderlich.
Because a high percentage of children with learning disabilities eventually develop behavioral problems, the foundation began a gradual shift to also support research that examined the causes of behavior disorders. Most of the funding provided by the foundation now focuses on the impact that improper nutrition and toxic environments have on behavior.
In 1995 the foundation took the project a step further, launching Crime Times. For many years this quarterly newsletter was mailed free of charge to over 10,000 selected members of congress, medical schools, psychiatrists, criminologists, psychologists, researchers, foundations, justice system professionals, media, and government officials that are — or should be — concerned with the basic causes and effective treatments of crime. Subject matter in the newsletter highlights research on relationships between aberrant behavior and neurochemical imbalances, physical injury, drugs, toxic environment, diet, food and chemical sensitivities, birth trauma, and genetic vulnerabilities. It was also distributed via email, and is still available to all without charge.
Crime Times features the work of researchers and clinicians who have recently expanded the search for the causes of violence — a search that started almost 30 years ago: Drs. Daniel Amen (using SPECT to link specific behaviors to different brain areas), Robert Hare (functional MRI), Steve Schoenthaler (nutrition for the incarcerated), Adrian Raine (brain imaging of violent offenders), and James Dabbs (testosterone link with aggression).
John Wacker’s dream is to help sponsor a center that will specialize in treating aberrant behavior with a multidisciplinary staff using Dr. Daniel Amen’s SPECT techniques, Dr. Bill Walsh’s balancing of neurotransmitters, and Dr. Hugh Riordan’s techniques for improving the functioning of the entire body.