Texas A&M shooting: Could Thomas Caffall's mom have made a difference?
"The minute I saw the TV I knew it was him. I've been that worried about him." That's what Linda Weaver, the mother of Thomas Caffall, the gunman in yesterday's Texas A&M shooting, told The Huffington Post. Caffall's stepfather, Richard Weaver, told local station KPRC that his stepson was a "ticking time bomb" who'd quit his job nine months ago saying he would never work again. "He was crazy as hell. At one point, we were afraid that he was going to come up here and do something to his mother and me," he said.
And most people's immediate reaction was: So if they knew he was mentally ill, why didn't they do anything about it? Could they have somehow made a difference?
Read more in ¿Qué más?: What happens when your son is accussed of being a mass murderer?
Some people might think that if the parents of this gunman--or of any other, including Colorado's James Holmes--knew that their son had some kind of mental illness, they should have done something about it. Maybe they should have tried to get him committed or get psychiatrists, or even the cops, involved.
But what most people fail to account for is that, at least in both these tragedies, the gunmen were (are) adults. And committing an adult involuntarily is practically impossible--unless there's absolute proof that he's an immediate threat to himself or to others and then, only law enforcement officials, physicians or mental health professionals can make it happen.
Even so, I know for a fact that even those adults who are committed to a mental health institution against their will because they supposedly pose an imminent threat, are usually released after an initial examination, which usually takes place within 72 hours after being committed. So, this doesn't always work. Or maybe something is prevented at that moment, but who knows what will happen later if the person is unwilling to get help.
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Being the mother of an adult child whom you know is mentally sick and not being able to do anything about it must be extremely difficult. I am, by no means, justifying the mayhem, pain, and suffering that monsters like Holmes and Caffall have inflicted on so many innocent victims. I'm just saying that making their mothers somehow responsible for not doing something to prevent these tragedies is absolutely absurd. I'm sure they already have a lot to deal with trying to figure out how, like Caffall's mother, Linda Weaver said, "the really sweet kid you raised turned into a huge monster."
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