Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog

A Snip at Snapping

I read in the news back on May 1 that a Dutchman “snapped” and drove his car over 5 people in an attempt to kill the Dutch royal family. He was an ordinary guy who was fired and the trauma from that event caused him to “snap” and begin killing people.

It has become commonplace for lawyers and media voices to attribute snapping to murderers and other criminals as an excuse for their crimes. (Berni Madoff snapped pretty much constantly for 25 years.) The legal term for it, of course, is “temporary insanity”. You would think that as many people who snap and go temporarily insane, we would have invested billions into research to come up with a cure for snapping. But nothing comes up from a search of the NIH website.

We need a discussion on snapping but I’m not the person to launch it, since I’m old fashioned enough to still think snapping is a euphemism for losing your temper.

2 Responses to “A Snip at Snapping”

  1. תרגומים Says:

    Being fired is a poor excuse to hurt anyone. Even so, you can’t really understand someone until you have walked in he’s shoes (and that would never happen).

    My final argument is a mute in the never-ending debate on the human “soul” and the twist we sometimes feel, “living in an modern society we must live by everybody laws.”

  2. Stargzer Says:

    ” … since I’m old fashioned enough to still think snapping is a euphemism for losing your temper.”

    No, I think that snapping is much more than losing one’s temper.

    Some people are just plain warped to begin with, like James Von Brunn at the Holocaust museum. I think he was so close to the edge for such a long time that it wasn’t so much a snap as a short step over the line.

    Someone who loses their temper might swear a blue streak or start a fight, but not lose all touch with reality. Someone who’s snapped has definitely “gone ’round the bend.”

Leave a Reply