Yesterday (May 8, 2013), Jodi Arias was found guilty of murdering her boyfriend. Actually, she more than murdered him, she virtually obliterated him. Stabbing him 29 times, shooting him in the face, and slitting his throat almost from ear to ear. She made damned fucking sure he was dead.
That alone should qualify her as a psychopath. However, she's also a pathological liar. She had several versions of her story, finally admitting that she killed him but in, as she termed it, "self defense." She trotted in battered woman syndrome, post traumatic stress disorder, and just about everything but the kitchen sink in an effort to beat the rap.
She may get the death penalty, but should she? The syllable "path" in "psychopath" and "pathological liar" indicates a sickness. She's not a mentally healthy person.
pathology (n.) "science of diseases," 1610s, from French pathologie (16c.), from medical Latin pathologia "study of disease," from Greek pathos "suffering" (source)
As revolting as the murder was, can we separate her guilt from the sickness from which she suffers?
More generally, suppose all crimes could be traced back to some sort of pathology. What would happen to the entire concept of guilt? And suppose that once a pathology was identified, there was a "cure." Could we ethically hold people responsible for their actions before the cure, given their diminished capacity for making proper ethical choices?
I simply pointed out that collateral damage is a problem everywhere, pointing to examples in your backyard as proof.
The justice system shouldn't be there to compensate victims or survivors, but to dispense justice. And who needs it more than the victims and survivors?
Well that's the thing, Unseen. Why is the state obliged to recompense the victims? I'm not a big fan of "justice" in the way it seems to be used here. You seem to be looking at the emotional perspective - I'm just considering practicalities. A dead offender is a non-repeating offender. I really don't feel the need to make the victims feel better. You do. That's not an argument, simply a different viewpoint.
A dead offender is a non-repeating offender. I really don't feel the need to make the victims feel better.
But it DOES make the victims feel better. Who does the judicial system exist FOR if not for the injured parties?
That's a great question, and I suspect there are many viewpoints on that. I think for me it is basically to make society a safer place, so for me the system is there to remove criminals. I can see that for others, there may be a different understanding.
"I think the main purpose of the judicial system is to provide justice for those affected by murderous criminals."
Neurolaw is becoming huge now and there are Lawyers specializing in it.
There are questions like:
Is he guilty or did his brain make him do it?
If they are psychopaths are they guilty or defective?
If something is defective do we destroy it or try to fix it or just keep it out of harms way?
If a lot of psychopaths are going to be spared the death penalty in the future then how else could justice be served for victims of crime?
Yes, both the law and commonly-held attitudes are having a hard time keeping up with the science.
No, not really Doug. Funnily enough I think its a reasonable price to pay. I really love my life, but once I'm dead I'm not actually going to miss it.
And if it is my beloved, I've been through losing a partner to breast cancer - these things happen. You learn to accept what you cannot change.
"both the law and commonly-held attitudes are having a hard time keeping up with the science."
Yes - very much so.
More generally, suppose all crimes could be traced back to some sort of pathology. What would happen to the entire concept of guilt?
If all crimes could be traced back to some sort of pathology, I reckon American courts would drop the "Not guilty by reason of insanity" verdict and use "Guilty but insane."
Could we ethically hold people responsible for their actions before the cure, given their diminished capacity for making proper ethical choices?
Fear always trumps reason.
Yes, I think we still do have to hold people responsible, despite any mental illness they might be suffering from, but at the same time, I believe we have an obligation to learn everything about how such a person is formed, be it genetically or from environmental factors, or a combination of both. This makes it all the more important that we continue mental health research. If we can figure out what makes people do horrendous things to other human beings, then maybe, someday, in the far future, we can stop the suffering that these acts cause.
This is gonna be tough, because I am oddly attracted to her
Tom Leykis used to say (when he had a radio program) "crazy chicks are the best sex."