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elbanditoroso's avatar

Is serving in the Army a good reason for having a reduced sentence for attempted murder?

Asked by elbanditoroso (15956 points ) April 15th, 2014

See the news article below:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2014/04/15/us/15reuters-usa-alabama-crime.html?hp

The attempted murderer was an army vet who had been on a lot missions. Probably has PTSD.

Is that an excuse for contracting for a racially motivated murder? Isn’t the ex-Army guy just as responsible?

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13 Answers

Seek's avatar

PTSD is a good reason. Especially if confinement is a trigger for him.

Simply being an ex-Army… member? soldier? officer? What’s the word? no.

GloPro's avatar

There is another important detail at play, here. He incorrectly thought the neighbor had raped his wife. No details are given, but that just as relevant as PTSD.

ragingloli's avatar

PTSD, or mental illness, is a good reason for a reduced sentence.
Being in the army is a good reason for a harsher sentence.
Put both of them together and it should cancel out still be the harsher sentence.

Coloma's avatar

No. The army manufactures murderers. Big surprise when one of them goes ape shit.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I have to agree with @GloPro, many of us may lose it if our spouse was raped/ viciously abused.
That being said, if he was diagnosed before the incident, it should be taken into consideration.

seekingwolf's avatar

I don’t think having a mental illness should result in a REDUCED sentence. Regardless of where the mental illness comes from.

Mentally ill criminals should get the SAME sentence but spend it in a mental hospital.

Sane person commits murder = life in prison. no parole.
Insane person commits murder = life in mental hospital. no “parole”, no leaving.

That’s how I think it should be.

Seek's avatar

@seekingwolf What’s the difference? Isn’t the whole point of a psychiatric institution to prepare its patients for returning to the real world with other people, as a healed individual?

If there’s no hope of the sick person leaving, what’s the point?

seekingwolf's avatar

@Seek

There’s a huge difference. There have been many criminally insane people who have been locked in psych places for life after being taken to court for crimes that they have committed. They aren’t just thrown in jail. Like sane people who commit murders and shouldn’t be on the streets again, there are insane criminals who are unlikely to ever be rehabilitated (for a variety of reasons) and should be kept off the streets forever.

Keeping them in a psych center is more humane because it gives them the mental health care and supervision that they need. They’d be sitting ducks in a regular prison.

Just because they have mental problems doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be locked up, at least IMO. It just changes where they should be locked up.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

@seekingwolf, I take issue also with that. If they never improve, sure, they should stay in care, but if they improve, and can function normally again, they should be allowed to live life, not do life. Suppose someone has an aneurysm, it causes pressure on the brain in such a way the individual becomes violent. Surgery is successful, the patient is normal again, and is stricken with grief over what they have done. Still lock them up for life?
There are mental illnesses not so easy to find and end, but are cureable.

flutherother's avatar

No, he shouldn’t get favourable treatment because he served in the military. I think the military should investigate how he behaved in Iraq on his 175 combat missions. I don’t think he became a racist after returning to the US. More likely his racism developed in Iraq where it was condoned forgetting that one day he would have to come back home.

seekingwolf's avatar

@Jones

I don’t have a real problem with it as long as they are 100% cured like in the case you mentioned. The vast majority of schizophrenics are not violent but I think the few that murder people should be locked into mental hospitals and never released. Because you can’t cure them and you can’t make them take their medications once released.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Okay, right. I’m with you there. I thought you were making that all inclusive. Somebody who CAN’T be okay without meds isn’t curted in my view either.

seekingwolf's avatar

Yeah I understand that some brain issues can be cured and thus, the problem disappears completely. But unless you can force people to take their medications once they are on the streets, then many mentally ill people with tendencies toward violence should never be released.

I am on 2 antidepressants myself and I am a complete utter dysfunctional mess without them (I take them regularly and never stop) but I am not hurting people if I go off of them. Just too much of a risk in my mind. Way too much.

You could even extend this to criminals with rare genetic issues, like XYY males. XYY males, although rare, tend to be extremely violent and commit crimes. You can’t really cure that either. If they commit murder or other violent crimes, they need to be locked in an appropriate facility for the safety of others.

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