Psychologist: Marine’s killing signifies state of pervasive violence in society
Renowned Bahamian psychiatrist Dr. David Allen said yesterday that the shooting incident at Government House that left Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Marine Petty Officer Philip Perpall dead, is emblematic of a more deeply-rooted problem that has been manifesting in the country for a long time.
“…There are very distinguished Bahamians who have achieved a lot, who still feel they’re not enough, who still feel they’re unlovable, who still feel they’re a failure,” Allen said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian.
“And so, when that happens, you have to be very careful.
“Violence here is violence there.
“If you don’t get violence over here, eventually it’s Montagu, [then] it’s Government House, but we had a long time for these potatoes to cook; we had a long time.
“…But we ignored the potatoes cooking [and] now the potatoes have cooked.
“All of us have hurt that cooks.
“When it cooks it becomes anger and when it really cooks, it becomes rage.”
On Sunday morning, Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson said a man entered the premises of Government House around 2:30 a.m. and made his way to the guard house where Perpall was located.
Ferguson said the man shot Perpall with a handgun, hitting him several times to the upper body before fleeing. Police reported Perpall died at the scene.
The gunman reportedly opened fire on four other people who were in the room, but none were injured. Ferguson also confirmed that the governor general was not on the premises at the time of the incident.
Asked whether he feels that there should be mandatory psychological evaluations for police and marines, Allen said he thinks that a good solution would be what he calls an employee assistance program.
“…I do believe that all government departments, including police [and] defense force, should have what I call an employee assistance program,” he said.
“An employee assistance program is a program where you have an agency give certain lectures throughout the year.
“Lectures on anger, conflict resolution; lectures on the inner life, how you work through very complex issues.
“Secondly, there should be mandated referrals, if an officer in a government department knows somebody is having problems, that person can be referred to the employee assistance program [and] get help.
“Also, people should have the freedom to know [that] if they’re having problems, [they can] come to the employee assistance program.
“I don’t know if this exists, but I really would think this is really important now [that] each government department should have an employee assistance program because people in government are under a lot of stress.
“Just like people in the country are under a lot of stress. Not to have that is a great loss.”
Allen said that shame is a deep-rooted cause of many of the violent crimes in the country.
“Bahamians would prefer to die in some cases than face their shame,” he said.
“When you decide to work through an issue in your life, you have to be willing to face the shame.
“If shame is not exposed, it gets bigger.
“Once light and love [are] shed on it, it reduces.”
Asked how he thinks the incident at Government House will affect the psyche of the marines on the force, Allen said he was so concerned when it happened that he reached out to the RBDF to assist.
“I’m concerned about that and I’ve made my contact with the commodore and it’s left in his hands,” Allen said.
“He has his own team, he knows my work well and I have no doubt that I will be involved because something like this you have to get to the situation pretty quickly and listen to them; not to speak as much but to be a point of listening.
“…The issue with grief is anytime there is a shattered dream or tragedy, if you don’t learn to grieve, you cannot leave.
“You can only grieve as deep as you love and you can only love as deep as you grieve.”
Education: Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) 3rd Year
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