You might have a different reaction than I did watching this video, but I didn’t feel comforted by Tim Murphy’s remarks on how to prevent mass stabbings or shootings. At 1:40 it becomes really clear: the main “problem” with the system is that it is too hard to get a man or woman incarcerated against his or her will.
Is it not possible that making it easier to incarcerate people on the grounds of supposed mental illness could have negative effects on society? It seems likely to me.
Rep. Tim Murphy, Pennsylvania Republican, said Wednesday that the school stabbings in Pennsylvania demonstrate the need for more mental health resources for children.
“We know if we identify kids, get them early, help them with medication and counseling, it can make a world of difference,” he said on CNN.
He also cited the need for more psychologists to work with kids in schools and more training for police on how to handle situations like this one, where a 16-year-old student injured 20 people with two knives at school.
Mr. Murphy said it’s not usually one event that sparks a violent act like this, and that communities need to get better at recognizing the warning signs.
“In a situation like this, usually there’s a long fuse,” he said. “When you come to school with two knives with the intent to do this kind of harm, that’s not a normal response and we better get better at dealing with it.”
Basically, we are being assured that there is a way to predict who is going to turn violent and to intervene in a way that is helpful. I’m skeptical. I could easily see some big miscarriages of justice taking place under a regime of new, heavily financed “mental health professionals.”
I am very sorry for those who were attacked and stabbed . But we still don’t have the ability to predict the future. Nor do we have any reason to be confident that an increase in the number of mental health professionals would result in better mental health for everyone. While there are people who need help there are also people who don’t need help and shouldn’t be forced to take it. I don’t see any reason why this latter group would be helped by an army of tax-supported psychologists. They might do more harm than good.