By Edward Fagan
Criminal behaviour, its mental illness connection
Criminal behaviour, does mental illness cause some persons to practise this type of behaviour? Yes, I know some persons who commit such behaviour because of their state of mental illness.
I also know that some persons are in a constant and incurable state of mental illness. Some are mentally ill, even though a psychiatrist has not yet diagnosed them as suffering from mental illness. Those in authority and others, however, do not always realize this.
I also think that mental illness influences much more criminal behaviour than we wish to admit. We should consider some persons who perform certain acts of crime too, to be insane persons.
Here are a few examples:
- 2016: Orlando nightclub shooting, Orlando, Florida, U.S.A. Omar Mateen entered the homosexual Pulse nightclub at 02: 00 a.m. with a semi-automatic rifle and a semi-automatic pistol. He started shooting at patrons and continued doing so for sometime. During this time, Omar Mateen phoned 911 and News 13 in Orlando and expressed solidarity with ISIS. He killed 49 people before police came and shot him dead.
- 2007: Virginia Tech Massacre, Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S.A. Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people on the day of the massacre before he shot himself dead. The massacre took place at Virginia Tech University where Cho was a student. Prior to the massacre, at least one of Cho’s teachers reported Cho to the university authorities. She thought cho’s very violent stories indicated future trouble; she also thought he needed help. The authorities did nothing.
Both men who did the shootings mentioned above were mentally ill. The police were justified in shooting to death the shooter in the first incident. The state acts justly if it executes a madman who commits acts such as those mentioned above.
Mental illness, continuing to look at it
A person’s mental illness, therefore, can sometimes cause that person to commit serious crime. The presence of mental illness in a criminal, however, is not a justification for not punishing that person’s wrongdoing. Mental illness, though, is not always easily and quickly detected.
There is also the question of family members denying the presence of mental illness in their relatives. These family members then refuse to seek diagnosis and treatment for their mentally ill relatives.
The absence of mental illness detection can also lead to another problem. It leads to a person’s mental illness sometimes continuing to exist undetected for years. This prevents that person from getting the help they need, and allows their harmful behaviour to expose others to injury.
by Edward Fagan
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