"Loonies" is what Rod Liddle calles them in The Spectator in his article on how people are getting let out of prison and out of places where they are supposed to be treated, let out onto the streets of Britain; and how some of them kill, not with premeditated motive but just because they suddenly have to urge to kill someone, anyone. There are more dangerous men on the streets of Britain than authorities admit, he says.
I don't know the facts so I can't agree but there have been a quite a few cases of murder by such people, usually men I think. Too many probably. One is too many.
I was on a bus a while ago and there was a man across the aisle and further back in the bus who was talking to himself loudly so that everyone could hear, using language that one doesn't hear on buses or streets except on weekend nights outside clubs; in short, his language was filthy. He was, everyone on the bus surely realised, quite mad. I wondered whether to say something to him but was too much of a coward (he was sitting behind me and might have attacked me from behind with a razor or something so I kept mum, but annoyed. Then a young man sitting across from him said: "Shut that cake-hole of yours," and he stopped. He looked frightened. I almost felt sorry for him. Almost. Not quite.
Another time a few years ago when I was teaching in a Technical College, I was sitting behind a table in the Physics lab when I felt a sort of presence in the room, can't explain exactly: I knew someone was there close to me but he hadn't spoken. I looked up to see a young, quite good-looking man, smiling at me politely. Seemed a nice sort of fellow. Then he said: "I'm losing my hair; I wonder if you could help me to stop it falling out." Now, he had a full head of straight, black hair, parted neatly on one side - not a sign of even one hair falling out let alone a whole tuft.
I told that I taught physics, not Chemistry so I suggested he go down the corridor to the Chemistry department. He went. Thank God. After a while I looked down the corridor to see if he had been attended to and there he was in conversation with H.C. They seemed to get on OK. But that was not surprising because I always maintained that H.C. was mad too.