There is a difference and I am not qualified to give a medical diagnosis and go into the many parameters involved although I do have some training in Psychology (I am not a Psychologist), have been educated in Bible College and served in Christian ministry for over 40 years. That gives me a small foundational base from which to address the issue. However, in this article, I acknowledge that I am approaching it from a personal viewpoint and the research I have been able to do concerning mass-shootings and mass-murderers. Therefore, my opinion is my opinion, and yours is yours!
There is much speculation as to the mental state of the most recent confessed mass murderer Nikolas Cruz just as there has been about every other such incidence and person. Mostly it is speculation and sometimes it is the spin of the desired narrative by some group or entity. The fact that few know anything concrete about his mental state or the possible mental illness he may have been suffering from. Likewise, describing his act as one of a driven evil person would not be fair, if he is truly suffering from a mental illness and his ability to comprehend the evil of his actions. That has not prevented virtually everyone speaking publicly on the matter from diagnosing him as one suffering from some incapacitating mental issues.
Why is that a problem? I see it is a problem because it allows a justification if not an excuse for the evil, at least in some measure. It seems that in our modern society we are more comfortable with labeling someone as “mentally disturbed” or suffering from some form of “mental illness” rather than defining them as “evil.” If we can characterize them as “disturbed” we do not have to confront the terribleness of evil and can totally divest the moral or biblical aspects from consideration. We do not have to address the possibility of the devil being involved and the need for God. We do not have to investigate the possibility of supernatural influence through the demonic and can completely secularize the matter and sanitize it, in a measure, as being something clinical rather than spiritual. We can make it a matter of the mind rather than the heart and that seems to be a safer position and allows those who want to target the GUN or the NRA to do so without holding the shooter totally accountable for his/her actions.
If we can make the crime pathological and move from the old viewpoint of the criminal “getting what he/she deserves” or JUSTICE, we feel compelled to cure him/her and the punishment become therapeutic rather than punishment befitting the crime. C.S. Lewis addressed the “Humanitarian Theory of Punishment” and described this approach as removing the concept of “desert” [d’ZERT] from the equation. He said: “[The] concept of Desert is the only connecting link between punishment and justice. It is only as deserved or undeserved that a sentence can be just or unjust…Thus when we cease to consider what the criminal deserves and consider only what will cure him or deter others, we have tacitly removed him from the sphere of justice altogether; instead of a person, a subject of rights, we now have a mere object, a patient, a ‘case’.” The danger is that a wicked government is allowed to categorize crime and disease as the same and the masters of the state can choose to call anything the desire a ‘disease’ and when a crime is so labeled they no longer seek punishment, but cure and the deterrent of punishment loses its effectiveness. That helps to facilitate and invite heinous criminal behavior for the evil person knows they have an out in the societal and governmental view of the matter. Thus, evil is called disease and rather than treated as unadulterated evil it is treated as a disease beyond the criminal’s ability to control.
C.S. Lewis also said, “We know that one school of psychology already regards religion as a neurosis. When this neurosis becomes inconvenient to government, what is to hinder government from proceeding to ‘cure’ it?” That is frightening and part of what the Framers and Founders wanted to protect us against in the 1st Amendment’s provision of Freedom of Religion and the prohibition of Government infringing upon it. Joy Behar and a myriad of others, I suspect, would welcome such a move by the government because she believes that if one believes God talks to man, they are suffering from mental illness. I say, “Ms. Behar, you are treading on dangerous grounds and demonstrating a lack of understanding of the Bible and God.” From the beginning of Genesis to the conclusion of Revelation, God speaks and speaks to man, frequently, clearly, and personally. No, I am not suggesting that everyone hears an audible voice, but that does not mean He is not speaking through impression and the revelation of His written word.
Do you not see the problem in placing in the hands of ‘doctors’ the responsibility of administering justice and punishment and thereby stripping the jurist of that mandate? The doctors, frequently know nothing of the law and would then be permitted to using their own pre-conceived ideas, ideological beliefs, and clinical understanding to administer punishment eliminating desert from the equation. If we allow criminal behavior to become defined as a disease then what is to prevent the doctors from, over time, deciding that it is neither a disease or a crime and the new normal? Yes, I am stretching the matter to the limits but what has the government not stretched to the limit when allowed to infringe upon our rights? Are we becoming a society where there are no parental rights or expectations with regard to discipline, which often leads to evil being borne in the heart and the total devaluing of personal accountability? When I was a child and when my children were young, “temper tantrums” were not tolerated and certainly not called “releases of frustration.” They were deemed “bad behavior” and corrective action taken. Tragically, there are countless numbers of those who have grown up with “no discipline” in their lives and commit heinous acts such as that in Florida and there is the view that they are not to be judged harshly for their actions and drugged rather than required to face the consequences of their actions. That is not a solution and does far more harm than good. It does harm to those who are truly mentally ill and endangers the masses by subjecting them to the dangers of the uncontrolled behavior that is evil at its core rather than simply being “mentally disturbed.”
I am concerned that the continued removal of God from the equation of our expected behavior patterns and the amoral view that is prevalent will result in the government issuing edicts and regulations banning the practice of teaching Christian values even in the home or church. The shootings in Las Vegas and in Florida were evil. The shooters may or may not have been suffering from some form of ‘mental illness’ but UNLESS that is unquestionably diagnosed this shooter needs to be subjected to JUSTICE and his punishment needs to fit his crime. It is my view, that to do less is an open invitation to others to copy his actions and act out their particular brand of hate or fulfill a misguided desire of notoriety. The subject matter of discussion in seeking a way of preventing this type of tragedy should be the heart and the mind, not the firearms or weapons used. The weapons are simply tools, not the cause. We need to refocus on the importance of the home, family, and discipline rather than seeking an explanation or a justification for these acts of evil. I believe the Bible when it declares in Proverbs 26:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
God bless you and God bless America!