Nebton's picture

    The right to choose death

    Most of us here at Dagblog probably support a sane person's right to choose to terminate his/her life (although we would likely try to talk a friend/family member out of it if no sufferering was involved). What about those of questionable sanity?

    I've always been against the death penalty because I think it demeans us (not to mention that innocent people are sometimes executed), but the case of the holocaust museum shooter, made me pause to question the duty of his lawyer. Clearly, this guy does not want to be represented as insane. Should his lawyer respect that wish (realizing that most insane people don't think they're insane), or should he do whatever it takes to save this guy from death? I don't know the answer, so I welcome all opinions (especially Articleman's, although I understand if he feels he can't express his opinion on this).

    Don't get me wrong: I think this guy is insane, but doesn't that pretty much apply to anyone who commits murder for reasons other than self-or other-defense? Heck, if you buy into his worldview (which I don't think technically qualifies you as insane), he's fighting a noble war (i.e., engaging in other-defense).

    So, should his lawyer respect his wishes, or not?


    I don't mind the government killing people.  When you act like an animal, you deserve to be put down like an animal.  Though I think you're right that the government can't be trusted to not kill an innocent person an accident, so we shouldn't allow the government to kill people period.  The legal system has too many institutional flaws to allow it to decide if someone is innocent or guilty definitively enough to kill people.  That being said, I don't think it would be a big loss for the lawyer to respect his wishes and let him face death.  I don't want him around. 

    My main argument against the death penalty (and it's evolved as I've gotten older) isn't that it's not fair/just to the guilty, but that it demeans us as a society. Along similar lines, I don't think that plucking the wings off a fly causes the fly any emotional distress, but I think it harms the person doing the plucking.

    FWIW, I do agree that I'm not going to cry any tears for this guy if he gets put down. I just don't think it's good for us to be doing it.

    I respect your opinion and shared it with you in the past.  I just think that there are certain times that society should not feel guilty (or demeaned) when dealing with a person who has demonstrated to be a monster of an individual.  If a guy kidnaps, rapes, and murders 15 eight yo girls, he deserves to die and I don't think we should feel bad about killing him.  Again, I'm against the death penalty, but not because I believe killing a person who deserves it is wrong. 

    Let's disagree to agree.  Wait, that's not how that works.  You know what I mean.

    The problem here is that you've exposed yourself to a slippery slope.  You set the bar at 15 eight year old girls.  What if, for someone else, five is enough?  What if one is enough?  I wouldn't be surprised if many victim families feel this way.

    The trouble is that there's no clear definition of what makes someone a monster.  When you couple that with the fallibility of the judicial system, I don't think that you can make a compelling argument that won't do one or both of 1) killing people for the least of criminal offenses and 2) inadvertantly killing the innocent.

    I think the lawyer has to do what he thinks is necessary to defend his client, though that may not be at all what the law requires. and i agree - someone who commits murder is automatically insane or at least temporarily insane


    Just to be clear here, are you saying that the lawyer has to do what he thinks is necessary to defend his client, even if it's against his client's expressed wishes? If so, does this apply in general, or only if the lawyer perceives the client to be insane? (Note the use of the word perceive there - as far as I know, no ruling has yet been made on this guy's sanity.)

    i think it's because he considers his client insane. I would assume that if a client was of sane mind that a lawyer would be forced to follow his wishes. Again, i have no knowledge of the law actually says here, but it sounds right to me. perhaps articleman can clairfy.

    I've always been opposed to the death penalty for two reasons: 1- there is no recovery from a mistake and 2-  life in prision is a far worse punishment than a quick painless death.

    As for the Holocaust Museum killer - he is not insane.  His hatred has been throughly thought out, analyzed and lived for decades with intense consistency.   Too much logic there for an insane person.

    Just my opinions.

    I'm sure he's insane, but perhaps my standard for insanity is different than yours. Heck, I'm not so sure that I'm sane.

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