I’d hate to think setting people on fire is becoming a trend, but it was only weeks ago that I wrote about a high school kid who was set on fire by a 16 year old assailant who admitted that he was motivated by homophobia.

Horrific as the incident was, I figured that the good side was at least that sort of thing didn’t happen too often.


KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A 15-year-old West High School student was arrested Monday morning for assaulting a teacher by using a lighter to ignite her hair and shirt.

School resource officers responded to a classroom around 10:45 a.m. According to the victim and witnesses, when teacher Gabriela Penalba, 23, turned her back to the classroom, a male student lit her hair and shirt on fire.

Other students quickly helped put out the fire.

The suspect then tossed the lighter out the window while Penalba was getting help.

The suspect fled from officers, but was quickly caught after a foot chase. He admitted to the assault during a police interview.

One of the commenters said this:

I go to the school this took place at. I can honestly say that I’m worried about the future of the kids at West. I passed him in the hallway when the cops were escorting him and he was laughing. He deserves all that’s coming to him. This isn’t even half of it. He is one of the biggest bullies at this school.

I can’t help but in both of these cases, the fire starting assailants were:

1) underage; and

2) thought setting people on fire was funny.

That they are not sorry means they have no remorse about torturing human beings, and that by any definition of the term, they are psychopaths.

Is there some reason that simple fact cannot be recognized?

Rather than studying people’s brains in the hope of labeling people who have done no wrong as psychopaths, wouldn’t it make sense to at least take steps to protect the public from people who have engaged in actual psychopathic behavior, and shown no remorse for it? Instead (if past experience is any indication), monsters like these two will soon be set free to do awful things to other people in the future.

As usual, it seems there must be something I am not getting. Anyone who can fill me in, I’m all ears.

Rather than scan the brains of the innocent, wouldn’t it be better to lock up the guilty?