Mental Health Cases are Difficult to Handle

Some crimes are so bizarre that it becomes apparent the perpetrators need the kind of help not readily available within the parameters of the criminal justice system.

I’m talking about the sort of person who recently made an appearance in federal court for mailing out more than 400 letters containing a harmless white powder.

Getting loaded and doing such a thing once or twice is bad enough and should certainly be dealt with in a harsh manner. This guy, the one from Texas who sent out hundreds of hoax letters, did so hundreds of times over a period of almost seven years.

Not only did he send the greetings to recipients across the United States, he also sent some to U.S. embassies in foreign countries. No one could accuse him of being xenophobic.

Some schools targeted

Schools and preschools were some of the targets he chose for his letter jokes. Very funny.

There was nothing harmful about the powder contained in most of the letters, which was apparently supposed to look like anthrax. However, the cost to law enforcement agencies and businesses that were victimized by this guy was enormous.

Millions of dollars were spent protecting the targets under the assumption that the powder was a deadly poison. And a far-reaching investigation designed to put the hoax mailer out of business cost the taxpayers a pretty penny.

While the sender had the presence of mind to leave a return address off the envelopes, they were almost entirely mailed from the Dallas area.

The man has not yet been sentenced. He admitted what he did in court and will go away for five years and face heavy fines.

Needs special treatment

This is the type of criminal who needs mental health care, the type of treatment that police officers are ill equipped to provide.

Fortunately he was taken into custody without violence. That is not always the case when dealing with such people.

Once in prison, it would be nice if he could get the counseling and therapy he needs. Yes, it’s tough to do that on the taxpayers’ dime. The alternative is worse.

And law enforcement officers should get the training needed to deal with such people in a professional manner for the benefit of all concerned.

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