Since the shootings in Tucson, the airways have been filled with accusations, theories, justifications, and just general nonsense. Extremist political types from both sides have accused each other of over heated rhetoric. Talk radio, some say, has caused this senseless act. Mentally unstable individuals, they theorize, are easily led by too much of such rhetoric. Can they not see that by making such ridiculous comments, they are just adding to the heated conversation?
I intend to offer a somewhat different view. I believe the “alleged” shooter in this case is just a whack job. That’s all. Just a whack job who should have been institutionalized years ago. From all we can learn at this point, everybody who knew him or came in contact with him knew that he was nuts. This killer probably didn’t listen to talk radio, watch TV, or read the newspapers. The only voices he heard were probably in his head. The shootings in Tucson were just a random act of violence committed by a deranged nut job who lived in a world all by himself. I am sure that he planned the event. I am sure it was premeditated. I do not think that just because he is crazy, that he cannot form intent. He knew completely what he was doing and in his pea brain probably thought it was the right thing to do.
I know it’s cliche, but this seems to be a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It could just as easily have been a building collapse, or a lightning strike, or a run-away rabid dog. I understand that this is not a very satisfying answer, but sometimes s--- happens.
So, that having been said, what should we do to try and prevent future such acts from happening? Remember we live in a free society. We cannot arrest a person just because they act funny. If we did, we would fill our prisons. The law is clear. In order to be arrested one must have committed a criminal act, not before he commits it. Then, of course, as in the case in Tucson, it is too late.
We need instead, to be more aware of individuals who demonstrate unsocial or uncivil behavior. As a society we need to take mental illness more seriously. We need to be able to commit people to hospitals for their as well as society’s own good. Obviously we will never be able to get them all off the streets. Consider the “uni-bomber.” A complete wing nut who took himself out of society and nurtured his madness while living as a hermit. Today there are probably hundreds if not thousands of people just like old Ted. I believe, however, that somebody knows of most of these individuals but will not say anything for whatever reason. Maybe it is family loyalty, maybe its political correctness, whatever. Once the crazies in question unleash themselves on the public, it is too late. I assure you, the family of this killer in Tucson knew he was a deranged madman and that sooner or later he would wind up on the front page of the newspaper. In many ways they should share in his guilt.
As far as heated political rhetoric is concerned, we enjoy free speech. One man’s criticism is another man’s compliment. If I feel that your political views are ridiculous, I am free to say so. You have the same right to criticize my opinion. That is what America is all about. I will not soften my views because some wing nut might get upset or offended, anymore than if someone who holds an opposite opinion might object. Free speech is what we are about. Mentally ill people need to be identified and dealt with for their own good as well as society’s.
Ron Scarbro January 11, 2011
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