EditorialKeeping madmen off our streets

Keeping madmen off our streets

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Dumagueteños were filled with rage last Monday as a man with a history of drug abuse and theft cases was recorded on CCTV casually stabbing an innocent woman who had just come from the public market, and was on her way home to San Jose, eventually killing her.

The man was initially believed to be mentally-deranged, but appeared to be of sound mind, leading people to conclude that what he did was for him the “natural thing” to do.

The Police were swift to act, and were able to capture the perpetrator of that stabbing incident in a few hours.

This incident was not only talked about locally, but went viral on the Internet as it was captured on CCTV.

Police later confirmed that this man has been in and out of jail more than 20 times already after being caught in public space for being high on rugby, and about four times for theft.

Why he was still roaming the streets despite his police record is beyond any of us.

“That isolated incident is not representative of the true situation in Dumaguete,” City Chief of Police Ronoel Fungo assured his fellow Rotarians in one meeting. 

This is not the first time, however, for a person of not-so-normal behavior to have been reported as terrorizing this City of Gentle People.

You many have encountered this very tall mestizo who walks around the City streets grabbing food from other people, or suddenly barging into private offices to lie down in the couch. There also is the case of another mentally-unstable man who scares Silliman students, stalking the women, and apparently enjoying being a flasher.

One student, through her mother, has since complained to the City government about these instances. It’s been more than a year since, and the flasher is still very much around in this University Town.

The City claims it has a weekly program to pull out dangerous individuals from the streets.  At most, this happens only once a week, and then these threatening persons are soon released back to the streets. The reason: the City does not have a facility to keep them.

Keeping mentally-unstable and menacing people in an institution that could clinically treat them would do more good, and benefit a greater number of people in a community.

We also realize that patients in a mental care facility need more than just isolation from an outraged citizenry. There’s also the issue of mental rehabilitation, long-term care, and continued support. The best part for government and the community in setting up together a program like this would be in the field of early detection and treatment.

Meanwhile, we cannot just conveniently release these people from jail after having committed an infraction of our laws. Ensuring the safety of the general community is a primary responsibility of any government. When one person poses a significant threat to many others, there may be a need for intervention to prevent harm on the majority.

 

 

 

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