What to do with guilty Jodi Arias and other psychopaths

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?

Tags: Arias, Jodi, liar, pathological, psychopath

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I don't ascribe to the view that ethnicity defines superiority or inferiority exists. From what he wrote, Adam doesn't seem to either. If you do, I am sorry to hear that is the case.

I suppose the other possibility is that you just don't understand what is being proposed, or what eugenics is.

I would generally steer away from the term 'eugenics' because it is ingrained with historical views and pseudoscience, but the basic concept is merely strengthening the gene pool by promoting or inhibiting certain genetic traits.

It doesn't hinge on ethnicity. A genetic disorder, for instance, doesn't have to be confined strictly to one ethnicity or be intrinsic to that ethnicity. If it was deemed beneficial to eliminate that disorder, one could propose preventing every carrier of the relevant gene from breeding without any regard for ethnicity at all.

There are many problems with this approach, but it doesn't mean that the principle itself is entirely without merit or that it is inherently racial or ethnocentric.

That is probably the weakest argument ever offered against ethnic cleansing.

because the discussion at hand has nothing to do with the ethnic cleansing except for that fact that he brought it out from far left field.  I do not want to go off topic into sub discussion about something that I never even implied.

Adam, don't you think if members of a species terminate each other, the species would still function because in this way they could check on population growth?

You call it justice because you have delegated the power of revenge to the state. I call it revenge by delegation. The end result is to be even, settle scores. An eye for an eye. That is what it is. 

It's not an excuse for murder, but it's a reason not to execute her.

We are essentially giving the state the right to take a human life. What if the country you live in is rotten to the core, like, say the Democratic Republic of Congo (a misnomer of the highest order)? Or somewhere in-between, like South Africa, where I live? I would be worried if they re-introduced the death-penalty here.

Regarding sociopaths and psychopaths, from the reading I have done on this, and my experience with sociopaths, I doubt whether they can ever be 'reformed.' So what do we do with these individuals?

I'm not opposed to the death penalty - in theory.  In practice, however, I think we have a long way to go before I could support it.  The trouble is that it is often used to coerce confessions; tell us how it went down and we'll make it sound like self defense or you'll have to face a judge and you'll likely get the death penalty.  Essentially that boils down to 'confess or die'.

I'm not sure this woman is a psychopath.  A psychopath wouldn't necessarily rage kill in the way she did.  Her repeated lies about the event might only indicate her own inability to rationalize her actions, and all the rest likely came from defense attorneys.

Everybody is dancing around the question of "What about the victims?" as though justice really doesn't involve them. If it doesn't, explain why.

Now, I don't believe a human life has an inherent value in any meaningful sense. if it does, then God must exist. Otherwise, lives might have value through legislation.

Let's consider this notion: life has an exchange value. If you save a life, you double the value of your own. If you take a life, your life's value becomes zero.

Isn't that more likely just fear of fire? If I don't lay my hand on the burner on my stove, it has nothing to do with giving my life value. It's all about fearing the pain.

What would give you that idea? I reject the notion that fear of fire has anything to do with evaluating one's life.

You're overthinking it.


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