This morning it was 8 (F) with a windchill of -7. Its a balmy twelve degrees now.
A couple years ago this spring I had a conversation with someone who insisted that “obviously” a man who killed his daughters and grandchildren did it because he was “suffering” from PTSD, because he was an Vietnam war vet. That was it. PTSD from a war decades ago could be the only explanation. Oh and I was creepy for thinking murder is normal behavior.
News agencies speculate as to whether or not the man who killed a young Muslim family had mental issues, because parking.
“Top professionals” decided Putin must be autistic because he’s an ass in social situations (any situation?)
All of these suppositions come from an underlying belief that the mentally well are good law abiding people and that it takes a mental disorder to disregard others. It doesn’t matter whether or not the person in question is actually diagnosed with anything. Obviously, there must be some disguised “illness. ”
We see evil doers as strange and isolated. The disfigured (or disabled) and insane bad guy boogey man lurking in the shadows. We look for ways they must not be “one of us.” This is in order to distance, because surely one of us cannot be capable of hurting others. When they do happen to be we say “oh he must have just snapped” or “he seems like such a typical guy.” “He just seemed so…normal.”
Most of the time, people who commit violent crime are considered “normal” by society. While the loner sociopathic or delusional killer is featured most in our television, most perpetrators of crime are quite mundane. Investigators generally don’t have to look beyond friends, family or associates of the victim with motive being greed, pride, jealousy, rivalry, or hate. People who prey on our children are usually their “wonderful” teachers, coaches, ministers and family members whom we wouldn’t suspect. We reserve our fear and suspicion for those we don’t consider “normal.” When people hurt others, we look to see how they must have been different.
Typical people hurt and kill others.
Typical people lie, and steal, and cheat.
Typical people exclude and judge, and attempt to coerce and manipulate.
Typical people perceive others who are different from them as threats.
Typical people hate and let anger boil into murderous rage.
I have to say it so often, and I’ll keep saying it,
People with mental disorders are not inherently more dangerous that typical people.
We must consider how we perpetuate stigma when attempting to arm chair diagnose every violent criminal.