It’s merely conjecture on my part, uninformed by any reliable data from the brief account of this tragic incident in the local press.
But what stands out for me is that the suspected killer was very young and possibly an immigrant from Haiti, one of the most desperately poor and generally benighted island nations on earth.
We shall have to address more incidents like this as young émigrés are displaced from very deteriorated parts of the southern hemisphere, and struggle to adapt and survive in densely alien cultures, while possessing no resources of education, money or social support to help them settle and re-invent themselves in a new environment.
Many such third world cultures produce people in whom individuation and a strong sense of personal identity is much less in evidence, and of much less social value, than in the north.
In cultures which seem alien to their general understanding, and in which they make no progress, such immigrants become highly anxious, and eventually this anxiety turns to pathological depression.
This depression in African and some Asian cultures often and even usually presents as persecutory delusions of a psychotic kind: with pervasive and irrational suspicion of others, amounting to terror; and to lethal violence to perceived persecutors, often at random and directed at innocent strangers. Not uncommonly, perpetrators are diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenics. Or judged to have acted as terrorists of one stripe or another.
Many mental health professionals with experience of ‘cross-cultural psychiatry’ have legitimate concerns about such mis-diagnosis and inappropriate treatment, which is widespread.
But as I say and believe, we are going to see more of this as the tide of emigration from (climate-driven) hostile regions increases, and as debate about how to manage it remains shallow and weak.
My thoughts, of course, extend to those who knew, cared for and loved the young victim, as does my appreciation of those who have responded to its aftermath both professionally and as a community of concern.