Judge: 'Big man syndrome' responsible for spike in violence in Tri-county

Judge: 'Big man syndrome' responsible for spike in violence in Tri-county


A Charleston County judge says “big man syndrome" when it comes to having guns is responsible in part for a spike in violence in the Tri-county area.

Inside his courtroom, Judge James Gosnell decides if there is enough evidence to send a case to trial.

“I just cannot fathom, have not been able to fathom why everybody thinks they have to have a gun these days,” Gosnell said Monday. "I think first of all, putting it in their pocket and having it is one of their problems, and two, is they don't think beyond the fact is if I pull that trigger what are the consequences. It's the mentality of it all."

“Pulling the trigger, that's easy. That makes them the bigger man in the sequence of events that lead up to the robberies, to the shootings,” the judge said. “ Pulling that trigger makes everything better for the second."

The  judge says critics who say it's easy for repeat offenders to get back on the streets after committing crimes are wrong.

"These people are not thinking when they go out here and commit these crimes as to what kind of sentence am I going to get. That's not in their vocabulary," Gosnell said. "These people don't think about that. It looks like the revolving door with some, for others it's their first time and they think they're just the big guy now. They're somebody in the community now because they've got a gun."

Gosnell says there is no simple answer to solving the violence problem.

"I think if I had an answer, I wouldn't be sitting here today. I would be sitting somewhere higher up."

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