Politicians and the media are encouraging people to play the victim card to demonstrate their “caring” for the criminals and mentally ill while ignoring their role of protecting our society. American institutions are not doing their job of safeguarding rational law-abiding citizens.
Currently, mentally insane people and cold-blooded criminals have more rights than innocent victims. Our teachers, police, mental health professionals, and other authorities are being handcuffed by the priority of not causing controversy. Our political leaders do not want strong men or women who might anger a civil or national organization that would cause an uproar in the community. We are focusing on the rights of perpetrators rather than on the public safety.
This mentality of brushing everything under the rug is just hiding the dirt. It does not solve the problem. The issue just grows until it bursts out of control. At that moment, chaos prevails until someone or some group stands up to bring back law, order, and sanity. People doing the right thing have to be honored, not punished, by our government officials. Too many politicians want to win the favor of certain voting blocs by catering to their lowest instincts to look like they are doing something.
Our law enforcement and mental health authorities are being overwhelmed, especially in our urban centers. The major reason is not the lack of personnel but the lack of support by the media and cowardly government officials, especially when a mental health worker, policeman, or other public worker makes an appropriate decision that might provoke a politically negative reaction by a small but vocal element. This leaves the worker doing the courageous, correct action appearing as a culprit, not as a conscientious employee. The undercutting of appropriate decision-making is weakening the integrity of our institutions.
It is easier when doing a psychological evaluation not to commit a person to an institution. It is easier for the judicial system to put a criminal back on the streets rather than put the person in prison. The same reality exists when teachers ignore bullying or academic slacking behavior in students to avoid having to face angry school authorities. It is easier and safer for the official to overlook problems than it is to confront and solve them.
The Jordan Neeley situation on a New York subway is a case in point. Mr. Neely entered a subway car yelling, “I don’t have food, I don’t have a drink. I am fed up and don’t mind going to jail and getting life in prison. I am ready to die.” These are statements of a deranged person. Most of the time, subway riders put their eyes down to appear like they are not going to get involved in any dangerous incident. This time someone took courageous action.
A 24-year-old ex-marine, Daniel Penny, and other passengers were sufficiently threatened in that subway car that instead of putting their heads down, they decided to do something. Several riders tried to incapacitate Neely by putting him down on the floor of the train, with Mr. Penny putting him in a choke hold while a black male passenger tried to hold Neely’s legs down. This was to prevent him from hurting himself and others.
Instead of being honored for his courage in subduing this out-of-control person, Penny is being charged with second-degree murder and being held in prison with a huge bail. According to Mr. Neely’s aunt, her nephew was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was suffering from depression and PTSD from the trauma of his mother’s murder. He had 42 prior arrests, including the punching of a 67-year-old woman in the head and breaking her skull. He was also charged with threatening to kill his grandfather. He had a violent history that cannot be denied. Mr. Neely was a mentally unstable individual who needed a safe and secure institutional environment for the seriously mentally ill.
The real question should not be whether Mr. Penney committed murder, but why was a severely mentally deranged person not in a mental health facility receiving help? The answer is simple. Clearing out the prisoners and mentally ill from institutions is cheaper in the short term but more dangerous, expensive, and more tragic in the long run.
Justice is necessary to establish a safe and stable society. Daniel Penny is a hero in protecting the people in the subway car. He should be commended as a hero for protecting the people in the subway. We need more people like him.
Without safe streets, the fear exhibited by all citizens is unhealthy. It costs to establish law and order, although, in the long run, the country can self-regulate with less expense for more policing and mental health provision. We do not need more victims, but we do need more honest and strong people to uphold and support justice so we can have a safe and law-abiding society.
Domenick Maglio, PhD. is a columnist carried by various newspapers, an author of several books, and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. Dr. Maglio is an author of weekly newspaper articles, INVASION WITHIN, and a new just published book entitled IN CHARGE PARENTING In a PC World. You can visit Dr. Maglio at www.drmaglio.blogspot.com.