Some people are going to pillory her for that, surely, saying "She knew he wasn't 'right' and should have done something!"
Of course, they're really just exhibiting their ignorance: what do they think she could have done? The guy was 24. That would be "more than 18". Which means that his parents had exactly two choices:
- Try to get him declared incompetent/insane
So Door #1 was the only option. And his mother's worst fears (well, presumably only most of them—he's still her son, so she's surely glad he's alive) came to pass.
There's no clear or easy answer here. We've decided as a society that we have the right to protect the common good from those who are clearly deranged, but we also strongly value the individual. And that's as it should be: if everyone who fits the criteria for some sort of mental disorder were declared incompetent, we'd have a much larger problem dealing with all those wards of the state, and likely wouldn't actually improve things.
I've said for many years that one of the hallmarks of a nominally free society is that there are times when the society cannot react until it's too late. Random, senseless attacks like this are in that category. The alternatives—explored in 1984 and Minority Report (as well as the former Soviet Union), among many, many others—are clearly much worse.
I wish I could discuss this with Katie. I know she'd have some insights I don't.
On a lighter note, she would have liked this picture. It reminds me of a visit to the St. Jacobs Farmer's Market in Ontario, near where I grew up, where someone was selling emu oil. Katie asked him if it was from emus or for emus; when he looked confused, she pointed out that "baby oil" isn't from babies. He laughed...a bit nervously. Anyway, from the "In case you wondered" department: