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Posts Tagged ‘ Death Penalty ’

Death Penalty Looms For Batman Killer But Is It Justifiable?

America got its first glimpse of James Holmes on Monday as the man believed to have murdered 12 people and injured at least 58 in a mass shooting at a Colorado movie theatre made his first appearance in court.

Holmes (24) stands accused of bursting into a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie in the Denver suburb of Aurora and shooting his victims, the youngest of which was six.

He also left behind a booby-trapped apartment filled with homemade bombs. When arrested he reportedly told police he was the Batman villain the Joker, who also has coloured hair.

In a small courtroom packed with media, relatives of the dead and injured, and even some of the walking wounded themselves, Holmes sported a shock of dyed orange hair and a prison jump suit.

His hands were cuffed and he did not say a word. He did not seem to look at his victims, either staring straight ahead or looking at his feet. He had been brought into the building via an underground tunnel from a next-door jail, where he is being held in solitary confinement and is on suicide watch.

One possible sentence for college dropout Holmes if found guilty is the death penalty, something which has been handed down in Colorado for lesser crimes.

Here Irish News Review contrasts the arguments for and against executing the now notorious Batman killer.

For-Glenn Dowd (Editor, Irish News Review)

I have never advocated the death penalty but over the past year my mindset has been forced to change a little due to the atrocities carried out by people such as Holmes and Anders Behring Breivik, both of whom I believe should be executed. A life for a life or rather in their cases twelve lives for a life or seventy seven lives for a life.

The manner in which Holmes acted was cunning, devious and downright evil. How anybody can bring such carnage to the world is despicable. Furthermore, what sort of a man can live knowing that he has murdered twelve people, including a six year old. Holmes heinous acts clearly showed what is wrong with American society. Anybody can be granted access to weaponry with relevant ease. The American government have themselves to blame for this latest catastrophe.

America is synonymous with gun crazed morons who have etched themselves into history for all the wrong reasons. The death penalty has befelled some of them but not all of them. Holmes has shocked the world with his actions and on a personal level I have been sickened by his endless depths of evil. Some media outlets have suggested that the perpetrator may in fact be insane but how often have we seen insanity used as a get out clause in murder cases? Should this plea of insanity decrease the severity of the punishment handed down to Holmes? In the real world the answer would be no but then again we don’t live in the real world.

The victims’ families will no doubt be split over what they feel is adequate punishment for Holmes. Some believe his actions will warrant execution while others will hold that life imprisonment will do them justice as he will be left to rot and ponder his actions in a prison cell for the rest of his life. But in this instance I don’t agree that Holmes should be sentenced to life imprisonment.

The families will discuss what they feel is adequate punishment with the state authorities and will seek to find closure fast. There is no definitive way of doing this and views will conflict but in my opinion if there is any justice in this world the state of Colorado will ultimately serve Holmes with notice of his execution.

Against-Tara Cunningham (Reporter, Irish News Review) 

Personally, I don’t think he should, not because I believe he will feel remorse for the outcome of his actions, nor because I believe that he can be treated for his insanity, but because death is a simpler option in my view, a ‘get out of jail free card’ some would say.

The simplest example which I can liken it too is the action of ripping off a band aid. If you rip it off at the fastest possible speed, the impact and pain is minimal. If you slowly peel that band aid off, little by little the pain intensifies, until it is somewhat unbearable. In my view, for the criminal involved, the death penalty is an easier solution, a less painful solution, as opposed to day by day facing up to the crime you have committed, and facing a long slow life dealing with it. As simplistic as that analogy is, I believe it to have some veracity.

The death penalty debate has been at the forefront of international media for countless years.  They say to take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, but it is not justice and I would indeed agree. Yes, it gives the victims who survived and the families of those who didn’t the revenge they want for the unbearable hurt they must now carry with them for the rest of their days, but does it aid the healing process? No, it merely removes the culprit from the earth, but leaves emotional scares which last for eternity. The victims and their families need justice, not revenge. Justice is making the guilty face up to their crimes, and James Holmes should face life imprisonment for the heinous massacre in Colorado. Life imprisonment in which every day he is reminded of the damage, destruction and the pain he caused. He needs to realise that his actions were immoral, and he will not realise that if he faces the death penalty, an option that will end his suffering and mental struggle.

It is my opinion that the driving force behind the notion that retribution is immoral is that it is just a sanitised form of vengeance. Howling mobs attacking prison, chanting outside the prison in which the accused is due to be executed, suggests anger, unresolved anger, inability to forgive and does suggest that vengeance remains the foremost reason behind the public’s support of capital punishment. But those angry mobs must realise that for all they chant and hurl abuse at the offender, their anger or inability to forgive will not subside the minute Holmes faces the death penalty. It will not subside until they address the horrific actions which they were faced with in that cinema, or the devastating news they received about their loved ones soon after. Vengeance must be separated from your desire for justice. Vengeance doesn’t make the hurting stop, knowing however that justice has been sought, and a life imprisonment order imposed on the accused, will aid the recovery process as you know that not only do you have to face this every day, that the accused will too.

The death penalty provides insufficient retribution, whereas life imprisonment without the possibility of parole can be a greater source of suffering to the offender after a short period of time in imprison. It may be also interesting to note that the death penalty leads to a brutalisation of society, and an increase in the murder rate. For example, statistics have shown that in the USA more murders have taken place in states where capital punishment is allowed. According to the FBI the murder rate difference between death penalty and non death penalty states rose from 4% in 1990 to 44% in 2003. Therefore the threat of the death penalty does not deter these atrocious crimes, and disturbed individuals from carrying out acts of terror in the future.

When we think of James Holmes, and his actions, we are drawn to the conclusion, that for a person to conduct such an inhumane act that they must be insane. Has he a guilty mind? Surely if a person hasn’t a guilty mind, why punish them for actions they were not aware that they were doing. They clearly need help – by this I do not mean in any terms that he ever be let free, but people suffering from insanity need to be confined to mental institutions, for the safety of the public.

There is one question that remains, and is burning in the minds of everyone, why did James Holmes do this? It appears that there was premeditation, a number of calculated moves and a degree of intellectual intelligence for this massacre to transpire. As he stepped into the courtroom on Monday we saw a man slipping in and out of consciousness, lost in his head. The bleak reality is you can’t look into the face of a killer and know his heart or his mind. We see a murder, an obsessed character, obsessed with the Joker, wanting to play out the villain from an earlier Batman movie but as we watch him, we also see the images of the 12 dead splashed across the media, and for this Holmes must pay the price. But is that price the death penalty?

The decision will be made in consultation with victims’ families – but bear in mind, ripping the band aid quickly is often painful for the offender, the death penalty will shorten his suffering and mental anguish following the realisation of what he has done, but it won’t shorten the suffering of the victims’ families. Short term vengeance is not always the answer, James Holmes deserves to be reminded every day for the rest of his life what he did, the hurt and pain he caused, and not be faced with the easy option – after all for him, the easiest option now is the death penalty.

 

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A Real Life Villain

We all know the villain from the movies… the vacant eyes, yet a face of terror, responsible for the most heinous of crimes. We are shielded from their acts by a cinema screen, a half eaten box of popcorn perhaps or the human shield you’re sitting next to in the comfort lined cinema seats. We’ve all been there; if you dare to admit it or not, I’m sure there was that one movie, that one scene, which ignited an element of fear within you.

Unfortunately, for the packed cinema in Colorado last Friday, at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, the villain that came to life that night was not one from the movies, but a real life villain. An incident, that within minutes resulted in the shooting dead of 12 people and causing injury to 58 others.  A man dressed in body armour and toting three guns opened fire at the midnight screening of the Batman movie. Moments after the massacre this man was apprehended.

President Obama was due to visit the town to meet victims and their families last night. This atrocity will now serve as a reminder for the President that the issue of gun control in America is one of grave salience and one which needs to be addressed immediately.

Today, that suspected gunman made his first court appearance, refusing to talk about the reasoning behind the shootings, a massacre which is undoubtedly one of the worst in US history. Police are still searching for the motive which led him to this terrible onslaught.

As the suspect sat in court, courtesy of the TV screen, the rest of the world were today sheltered from this villain; dressed in a red jailhouse jump suit, with bright red dyed hair, his glare fixated straight ahead – James Holmes, a real life villain, and one that will now haunt Colorado for life. He will face at least 71 charges, one for each victim, and may face the death penalty.

In the movies, the villains are also tried at the end, but it is then the happily ever after ensues, but not this time, the bleak realism for the people of Colorado is no happy ending, it’s a heartbreaking tale of a packed cinema screening that ended in tragedy, a tragedy that will remain with Colorado for years to come.

To the twelve victims of the Colorado Massacre– Rest In Peace.

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