When murder is committed, the person responsible is a murderer. Murderers ought to be sentenced to death. When one takes a life, he gives his own in return to demonstrate that human life is of such a high value that life is the only penalty for life. Human beings are created in the image of God. As such, humans are designed to display the glory of God. When one human being takes it on himself to kill another human being, then he must face justice. Justice says, when you take a life, you must give your own: Life for life (as in the adage, “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life”).
With that basic idea of justice in mind, read this story. As you read this story, you will cringe and be repulsed. You will have no doubt that the murderer must have been out of his mind. Whether he was or not, he murdered another human being in a manner that demeans human life. Justice in this case demands he offer his life. The verdict in this story appears to be unjust. It was a terrible miscarriage of justice.
For a more thorough treatment of the death penalty, check out this message.
I am very excited you are talking about this. Since I work in the mental illness field I encounter/think about this on a daily basis (not as with murder but with other actions that people with mental illness do). This was actually the cover story of a LEO Weekly issue because Kentucky is trying to determine if they are going to put to death criminals that were metally ill at the time of their offensive (read about it here: http://leoweekly.com/news-features/major-stories/features/crazy-and-condemned-kentucky-could-be-the-first-state-to-ban-ex). One of the psychiatrist that I work with responded in a letter the the editor. I am goint to paste his response because I think it is great: For years, I have been unnerved when a news report suggests after a horrendous crime, the perpetrator “has a history of mental illness.” As if to suggest this somehow explains the crime. As a psychiatrist charged with the assessment of dangerousness, I have recognized different types of potential violence. One is non-directed or paranoid, in which a patient who is actively hallucinating, delusional or delirious may rarely strike at the most proximate person unfortunate enough to invade their personal space. Another is a malicious disregard for fellow mankind that has nothing to do with illness. I have known very psychotic schizophrenics who would never harm a fly. I have met sociopaths with an alleged history of psychosis because they have learned that if they claim a voice told them to do it, they go to the hospital instead of jail.
The unintended consequence of eliminating the death penalty for the mentally ill is twofold. The first is the implication that the second, malicious sort of violence is the direct result of mental illness, which is undoubtedly false. The second is a perpetuation of the stigma of mental illness wherein healthy citizens are misled into believing that seeking psychiatric care is admitting that you are a dangerous, broken being. I support eliminating the death penalty, but only because of humanity. Any circumstance that we hold as a potential exemption bears the double-edged sword of denigrating the condition; rendering one subhuman. A normal person would be guilty, but this one …
Ben Schoenbachler, Louisville
After reading this I e-mailed Dr. Schoenbachler and asked him to e-mail the remainder of his answer (ie: the elipses) and he responded back and this is the summary of what he had to say. He said that if we hold people with mental illness to a different standard, that in itself is deaming them a subclass and therefore removing parts of their humanity. AMAZING. I would think that he would feel the opposite being a psych MD.
Anyway, just a little thoughts. I hope this makes sense, I am in a hurry.
Thanks for throwing out things to think about via your blog!!
Thanks so much for the great reply. I genuinely appreciate Dr. Schoenbachler’s response and his concern for humanity. I believe he is spot on when it comes to the demeaning of humanity. Obviously, I believe the death penalty is just and serves to uphold humanity (among other things). About that, I would disagree with the good Dr. However, that disagreement need not undermine the profundity of his comments. He has a very helpful perspective. I hope he will continue to fight for human dignity. Thanks for the post.