A Pontotoc County Oklahoma man was arrested for going to his former neighbor’s home carrying several knives, yelling at him to “come and get some”. He has taped several pornographic magazines around his midsection for protection. Donald Gauthier, age unreported, appeared to be under the influence of alcohol when he went to Troy Bagley’s home and challenged him to a fight. Gauthier was angry at Bagley as he blamed him for being kicked out of his mobile home park. He apparently thought stabbing Bagley would resolve this situation, and wore the pornographic body armor in case Bagley engaged him in a knife fight. Gauthier has a lengthy criminal history, including Aggravated Assault, robbery, possession of stolen property, and extortion. He has added Assault with a Dangerous Weapon and Possession of an Offensive Weapon to his criminal history.
Some people should not consume alcohol, as their behavior becomes very erratic while under the influence. Ethanol, aka ethyl alcohol is a disinhibiting drug. Ethanol acts on the RAS (Reticular Activating System) which is the brain’s dimmer switch. As the lights dim, non-critical areas of the brain will be progressively shut down to preserve critical cardiovascular and respiratory function located in the brainstem. If copious amounts of alcohol are consumed, progressively deeper and more critical brain functions will be taken off line, until the functions in the brainstem which are needed for life are shut off. After only several alcoholic drinks, depending on one’s tolerance, the first part to go will be the right frontal lobe. The right frontal lobe is located behind the right side of the forehead, and regulates self-control, inhibition, judgement, and consideration of long term consequences. When these functions are shut off, some people will get loud and silly, others will brood quietly, others will become amorous, and still others will become hostile and aggressive. In Vino Veritas, in wine is truth. When people drink alcohol in sufficient quantities to shut off the right frontal lobe, who they really are will emerge. Gauthier was clearly an unstable and angry individual, and alcohol fueled his anger into a white hot rage.
Gauthier could have been shot by the responding deputies. He was displaying knives in both hands and was non-complaint with the deputy’s orders. A knife can do considerable damage to the human body, and he could have severely injured or killed his intended victim. Gauthier himself indicated he was “in survival mode” aka a flight/fight freeze state of adrenaline release, and he was reverting to his prison behaviors. In his apparently volatile state of mind, he could have assaulted a passer-by. While some aspects of this are comical, this could have turned out very badly for all parties involved.
How many chances does someone need to conform their behavior to the law and the expectations of society? It is difficult to grasp why the criminal justice system does not deal effectively with individuals like Mr. Gauthier, and they continue to victimize others, and be a burden on society.