It was a really warm day in 2011 or so. A crowded theater was viewing Heath Ledger’s Joker in the Dark Knight, the second installment of a Batman movie. Suddenly, James Holmes, who was conspicuously sitting in the theater, opened fire, killing 12 and injuring 70. During the trial that took place recently, we find that Holmes was mentally ill.
I was listening to the sentencing phase part II where the jury and judge were reading the sentencing verdict. The jury did say they’d move on to Part III, where the victims and their impact statements would be considered.
Every person who was killed had their name read, from Jonathan Blanc to the young Veronica Moser Sullivan to the last victim called Rebecca Winkle. I forgot her last name, honestly.
What we do know of Mr. Holmes is this: he was mentally unable to really say he was sane. But not the jury, not when they saw the evidence.
there was a provocative notebook displayed to the jury, and the witness for the defense, a doctor who specialized in schizophrenia and other mental health conditions, did not present herself in a good light. My big question is this: will Holmes’ death sentence possibility allow the American people to commit crimes against the mentally ill?
Let me begin my statements by saying that the Death Penalty is hotly contested, but it is not punishment. It is not punishment because the body and spirit are parted. The person behind the death sentence may be a mental patient, or he may have been a world leader. There were many death sentences in the history of this country, mostly hangings. There are many victim impact statements that have to be read in today’s death sentences, but let’s just say this: we are the only developed country that even bothers to put people to death. What is the point!
Death is the liberation of the soul. When we die, we are liberated. We are in Heaven with God if we have done our jobs. God would say in the Scriptures, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I’m sorry, but death is no punishment for any crime. It is still a liberator.
The thought of putting someone to death who has aggravating mental illness is disgusting. James Holmes had a mental illness, and the worst thing was his parents acted all nonchalant about it. They were all, “Oh, God, we didn’t know our son had a mental illness.” Uh, they were the parents and they didn’t even know?
Now, suppose Holmes was put to death soon after the judge in this case, The Honorable Carlos Simor, sentences him to death. If Holmes is sentenced to death, and it is carried out, what will it provoke in our society?
We have a huge problem with people beating up, killing, and otherwise taking advantage of the mental patients in our midst. I’ll admit that I’ve had problems with services dealing with mental health and all, but this whole James Holmes mess should either do one of two things: lower the amount of mentally ill people who commit crimes and spur on the service providers to get help for potentially fatal risks. Or the sentence and subsequent execution of Holmes could lead people to think that all mental patients like me and the people who are just plain depressed will commit gun violence. There are figures you will have to know in order to understand my point:
95% of mental patients are VICTIMS of crime, not the PERPETRATORS. You don’t hear as many stories like that of Holmes as you do the stories of homeless guys being beat up, and the guy who does the beating is just a downright ignorant SOB who doesn’t know that the homeless man on the corner was an alcoholic who could still not get housing, still not get help for his alcoholism. The homeless guy that gets beat up on the corner is not only the representative of many mental patients denied services, denied accommodations due to the resources the clinic or facility doesn’t have help, but the worst thing is that the mental patient you see on the corner is not a harmful guy all the time.
Yes, there are crazy patients, well, crazed lunatics, no, I don’t know how to be gentle about this. There are madmen on the corner, I don’t doubt it. There are women who have voices in their heads, men who drink excessively. Most mental patients are homeless, and I’m lucky I have a place to live, and I’m lucky to be typing this blog. I’m lucky I’m able to do this with a clear head, but I want to provoke some thoughts.
Will we as an American society show compassion and try to save lives? If so, how?
Will all psychotic patients have to suffer at the hands of law enforcement, however? Is that how to save lives? Let me tell you all, it won’t save lives. Because every person who dies has a family. Yeah, same with flies as well.
I will write a short but concise blog post on the death sentence phase III of Holmes’ trial. Please stay tuned.