Oh, lord, the question of what to do with Magneto is a huuuuuge can of worms. I don't know if there is a good answer. But I'll try.Originally posted by LadyErin
Iâ€™m curious, though, as to what you suggest we would do with him? Imprisonment is out of the question. Too related to his triggers, it would only damage him further. To force his to receive medication and therapyâ€¦well, this never works. And would only add to his illness, making the next break even worse. Possibly permanent. And in fact this is true for many mentally ill people. The justice system, sadly, is not made for them. Magneto, in lucid times, punishes himself for his past actions. The best treatment here, because it must be treatment would be to keep him emotionally balanced. How? By fostering bonds with healthy people. His children and Charles, for starts. Because Magneto does trust Charles, for whatever reason. Gently coaxing him to see a therapist, next. Maintaining his lucid times and being there to protect him and the rest of the world from his manic periods. Taking that dammed helmet away from him. All things to help. But to imprison is bring the DOFP to him at least. That is his nightmare. The thing that haunts him in every unguarded moment. That the mutants are next. That this will happen again. And that needs to be addressed. And in order to stabilize him, resolved.
Okay, between the severe emotional traumas that his childhood experiences have left on him, and the detrimental psychological side-effects his powers have had on his mental processes, a very good case can be made that Magneto is not fully responsible for many of his crimes.
That said, the man is dangerous. Very, very dangerous. If a mentally disturbed person was running up and down a crowded street waving about a chainsaw, what would your first thought be? Would it be that this person needs help badly, and hopefully he will get it very soon? No, rather it would be that this person needs to be stopped *right now* before any innocent people are killed.
Magneto needs help. Lots and lots of help. But when he goes off the rails, he does so in a major way. And people tend to die. And he seems to go nuts on a semi-regular basis. So what is more important, helping him, or saving innocent lives? Ideally, both should be done. But this is not an ideal world, and in reality we often need to make a choice between two courses of action. We very seldom can have our cake and eat it too.
Don't get me wrong. Magneto is a very complex character whose background elicits a lot of sympathy. At the same time, he has continually demonstrated that he is a walking time bomb who can be set off at any moment. Even if Xavier and others were successful in keeping Magneto "emotionally balaced," as you say, they would still have to constantly be on the lookout for the next emotional trauma or personal loss that might come to affect Magneto and set him off again.
Well, it's a very complicated issue. I think it is a good relection of the continuous tension between the rights of the individual and the rights of society as a whole that we constantly find oursleves struggling with in the real world.
So, in the end, I don't have a clear-cut answer. I hope that doesn't seem like I am dodging the issue!