A Commentary of the Events in Connecticut
an essay by Matthew Bissonnette
Once again the media has become saturated with images of another instance of a tragic massacre where an unstable assailant driven by motives which no rational individual could understand has taken the lives of almost thirty men, women and children. Now around thirty families are probably stricken with a profound grief that any whose lives have not been tragically inflicted by violence could understand. One can help but not feel vulnerable since these senseless crimes can happen anywhere and at any time. Men driven by an irrational hatred and rage strike suddenly and seem completely unfeeling about the pain and loss they will cause and often don't even seem to care of their own welfare. Understandably people ask what is the cause of these horrific events, could it be the availability of military grade weaponry in some nations or a global popular culture where violence is pervasive and sometimes even glamorized. Many are shocked by such events and even angered which is natural, for we all want ourselves and those for whom we care to live in safety and not be stricken down by sudden acts of violence. Our leaders and those in authority promise to act and make the world in which we live safer, yet sometimes the solutions to these occurrences of violence may escape even the most learned amongst us. Any society will mostly be made up of those who will contribute to it, but there will always be a small few who will threaten that society for numerous and varied reasons. People are justifiably scared, not only for themselves but for those they care for, and some may even feel powerless to protect them. So what can be done some may ask.
In most of the recent cases of these tragic mass shootings the culprits responsible had been known to be troubled before they carried out their crimes. The shooter responsible for the attack on a female politician in Arizona was known to his college piers to be deeply troubled before those events transpired. The man responsible for the massacre at Virginia Tech was known to be problematic, his teachers and fellow students all knew this. In fact in most of these cases the culprit displayed behavior that many found disturbed and troubling. Though most of these men had no criminal record, they displayed tendencies that most saw as disturbed. So it stands to reason that such men display tendencies which may indicate they could threaten others.
Though I am adamantly opposed to any type of pre-crime where a person is punished not for what they have done but for what they might do, perhaps mental health officials should be able to institutionalize those who may display behavior which indicates they could threaten others. But this theoretical institutionalization would not be permanent, perhaps through therapy and medication these men could be released back into society if those involved in their treatment deem them to be safe. Perhaps both places of employment and academic institutions should have an legal apparatus available so they can notify mental health care providers of individuals who may display tendencies which indicate they may hurt others in the future. But such men are not to be punished but are taken out of society until psychiatric professionals determine them to be safe and no longer and danger to others or themselves. The solution could be treatment and not punishment before such tragic crimes occur.
Such crimes cause grief to many and currently the public rightfully demands action, and perhaps precautions could be taken to prevent even more families losing someone they love needlessly. At least that is my view on the problem.