From time to time, discussion of the philosophy of enlightened penology requires serious consideration of the doctrine of locking the cell door and throwing away the key. Such is the case with Philip Chism, accused rapist, sexual mutilator and murderer of high school math teacher Colleen Ritzer. I’ve written about the murder of Ritzer here, here and here.
I began that first article with this illustrating a photo of Chism:
Gaze upon the face of evil.
In this case, I’m not at all shy about saying “I told you so,” and I’ll keep telling you if it will help keep him behind bars forever, or hopefully, contribute to his prompt execution. From Fox News:
Prosecutors have asked for strict security for a Danvers teenager charged with killing his teacher after he allegedly attacked a female youth worker this month.
In court papers released Thursday at the request of The Salem News, Essex County prosecutors said 15-year-old Philip Chism slipped away from caregivers before the June 2 incident at a youth facility in Boston.
Prosecutor Kate MacDougall said Chism crept along a common hallway ‘crouched down out of view,’ followed the woman to a locker room and tried to choke her while holding a pencil. Other workers came to the woman’s aid when she screamed.
Chism is at Worcester State Hospital for evaluation.
Dear Worcester State Hospital, here’s an evaluation: That woman is lucky to be alive. Chism is a serial killer in training. If he is ever free again, women will die. Many women. Don’t let him run around free. No charge. You’re welcome.
Note the passive tone of the article. Prosecutors are asking, pretty please, for strict security for a killer who raped, murdered and sexually mutilated a female teacher who was kind to him, an innocent, kind young woman who almost certainly didn’t see it coming, who couldn’t have seen it coming. Shouldn’t have someone figured out that this is the kind of person they might want to–you know–kind of keep an eye on? And no, I really don’t need to write “alleged or accused murderer.” He’s admitted it. The evidence is conclusive and overwhelming.
Tragically, it’s entirely possible, given Chism’s age, he’ll spend a few token years in “treatment” and we’ll be hearing from him again–in blood.
As I’ve written before in this series and elsewhere, threats of active shooters aren’t the only reason willing teachers should–must–be armed with concealed handguns. Sociopaths like Chism aren’t common, but they are more common than most imagine. One of the primary benefits of competent training for concealed carry and its daily practice is a heightened sense of situational awareness, an awareness that might have enabled Coleen Ritzer to recognize the danger Phillip Chism represented thus preventing an attack, or when attacked, to be prepared to save her life. So may it be for other female teachers.
Victim disarmament zones don’t save lives. They cost lives, the lives of those that least deserve to die, the lives that, once lost, diminish us most. If we eventually learn this, Coleen Ritzer will indeed have left behind a worthy legacy.