The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘mental illness’


William Spengler will become the next buzz word  as we discuss the most recent mentally disfigured person who went on a killing spree.  This time it was two firefighters in Webster, NY. The police believe that he was also responsible for the death of his older sister, either through shooting her or because of the fire he started in her and other homes in this community.

Mr. Spengler will not achieve the same degree of attention that Adam Lanza is receiving as the number of his victims was small and they were both adults – and people who had signed on to put their lives at risk in the service of others.  That should in no way diminish our sorrow for them or their families or minimize their status among the murdered.  They were both heroes on their jobs and victims in their deaths and they, and all others who place themselves in jeopardy for the welfare of society, deserve both our respect and our gratitude.

In 1980, Mr. Spengler accepted a plea bargain of manslaughter in the death of his grandmother.  He served 17 years in prison for this crime.  Unlike his recent victims, he murdered his grandmother with a hammer.  In some ways, his earlier crime is even more gruesome than the one he just perpetrated.  It was far more personal.

After reading about Mr. Spengler, when I came to the part of the story that briefly addressed his grandmother’s murder, I couldn’t help but think of the late Elizabeth Montgomery in the title role in, “The Legend of Lizzie Borden”.

While most of us remember her best for her portrayal of the lead character in “Bewitched,” Ms. Montgomery showed herself in a very different light as Lizzie.  She was distant, aloof – and frightening.  Much like the man who left the note before he began his shooting spree, which said in part:

“I still have to get ready to see how much of the neighborhood I can burn down, and do what I like doing best, killing people.”

What kind of mind could not only believe in but admit to that statement?  I think we all know the answer.  And that answer, to which I believe both my conservative and liberal friends would subscribe is “sick.”

This goes beyond argumentation about guns and gun control.  This goes to the question of whether a person has a right to defend himself should he be confronted with one of these “sick” people.  And I believe, that the answer to that question is that we do have that right.  There are, apparently, more than a few of them roaming these United States.

Because Mr. Spengler was a convicted felon, our laws denied him the right to possess any weapons.  But he apparently ignored that law and made himself armed and dangerous and deadly.

So, before I need to get a background check completed so that I may purchase a hammer at my local Ace or Lowe’s or Home Depot, I think I’m going to stock up … just in case.

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