Thursday, July 16, 2015

Killing is so common it is sane

Only in America can a man file into a movie theater, fatally wound 12 people and be found sane. And it took a jury in the Denver area less than two days after 13 weeks of testimony.
Also on Thursday, a gunman killed three US Marines in Chattanooga. Are terrorists insane? The trial of a lover of the Confederate flag, who murdered nine blacks praying in South Carolina, is at least a year away.
A day earlier Colorado’s medical board voted to deny veterans the right to use medical marijuana to treat PTSD. The Denver Post said 5 percent or less of Colorado doctors approve of the use of marijuana, showing they were at odds with the 55 percent who voted to approve it.
The expected death sentence for Holmes likely will result in years of appeals. The same jury will go through a procedure to set the verdict for the 27-year-old man who also wounded 70 people on July 20, 2012.
The Denver media much of the fact that two of Holmes” jurors had some involvement in the Columbine massacre. The need for more mental health treatments in the country remains on the backburner 16 years are two young men killed themselves after their bloody attack.
As in the Columbine case, there were warnings that Holmes was dangerous. Most massacres have been preceded by what were later deemed to have been writing on a public wall.
A major issue will be the idea that anyone who can tell right from wrong is insane. Some assume that a crime that takes considerable planning is ipso facto sanity. Using such logic Hitler would be considered sane.
But there also is the “irresistible test” when a killer would commit a crime even with a policeman at his/her elbow.
Psychiatrists from the same community that helped federal agents torture people post Twin Towers were hired by both the prosecution and the defense to convince jurors.
Film of Holmes smashing his head again his cell wall may have raised questions that didn’t need to be asked by shrinks or psychologists.
A jury might well be asked whether killings like the Aurora theater are so common that they are clearly indicative of sanity.
Even psychiatrists hired by the defense made it a patchwork defense. Pursuing their arguments to their logical conclusion, a killer could vacillate between sanity and insanity.
Alfred Hitchcock made a career of exploiting this thin and constantly shifting line in movies like “Psycho” and “Spellbound.”
Gregory Peck’s performance is far more disturbing than any false impression he gave as Atticus Finch 17 years later.
The most important question, and one that is attracting little attention, is how can such horrific crimes be stopped.
How to deal with this issue in age of terror must also be considered. The New Yorker reports in “Dark Hours”  the “sense that everything has always been thus and nothing we do can matter. “
Even bringing these subjects up can get you knocked off of Websites like Digital Journal. The stories are still out there for everyone to see. Today we find out that the Tennessee shooter spent seven months in Jordan. What next? With all this spying?

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