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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I've always been a bit on the fence when it comes to the death penalty. In general, I favor it, but only for the most heinous crimes and only if the evidence is irrefutable.

In the Aurora, Colo., movie theater massacre, the evidence against suspect James Eagan Holmes seems, indeed, irrefutable. And a conviction is virtually assured.

Which is why I think he should be allowed to live. For as long as possible.

Yes, you read that correctly.

A painless death — lying back on a gurney and drifting away peacefully as poison is injected into his arms — seems too good for such a scumbag. None of the 12 people Holmes is accused of slaughtering early Friday in a dark movie theater was allowed such ease in passing from this world to the next. To the contrary, they were brutalized, their bodies pumped full of hot lead, some of them left to bleed to death slowly and agonizingly.

One of the victims was 6-year-old girl, for God's sake! How can anyone be so sick, so heartless, so callous, so destructive, so unfeeling as to violently end the life of a 6-year-old girl?

And the pain inflicted on Friday goes well beyond the 12 people Holmes is accused of killing. Let's not forget the pain that will be felt by the loved ones of the dead for years to come. And let's not forget that the gunman wounded an additional 58 people. The fact that they survived the massacre hardly means their lives will return to normal in a matter of days or weeks. My guess is their lives never will return to normal — physically or psychologically.

It seems the only appropriate punishment for a person who causes such suffering is that he be forced to suffer, too. And because our laws do not allow inhumane executions, the next best thing is to throw him in a tiny, solitary-confinement prison cell for the rest of his life. Make him sleep on a cement floor. Provide him with the bare minimum of food needed for survival. Never let him outdoors. Give him nothing but a small hole in the floor for his bodily functions. If he vomits from time to time, let him clean it up.

There can be no excuse — NONE — for what the Colorado gunman did. Likewise, there would be no excuse for our legal system allowing him either a quick and painless death or a lengthy life in which he is afforded the "comforts" provided to too many of our nation's most despicable criminals.



Blogger Flan said...

James Holmes has schizophrenia, which is a cognitive, developmental, brain disorder. Most people with serious mental illness are not violent - and more people with mental illness are victims of violence than the perpetrators of violence.

As a newspaper editor, I would think you would be aware that schizophrenia impacts a person's ability to understand that their hallucinations and delusions are not real. About half of all people with serious mental illness, like schizophrenia, also have a documented brain disorder that causes them to lack insight into their illness.

We still are learning more and more about how to treat these horric illnesses. Rather than call for this poor soul to torture himself over what he did - which was horrible and I am not saying that he should not be kept in an institution of some kind, perhaps for the rest of his life - you should be calling for more research into better treatment for mental illness - so we can prevent these tragedies from ocrring in the first place.

Please read "The Insanity Offense" by Dr. E Fuller Torrey and open your eyes.

August 18, 2012 at 10:21 PM 

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