Insane vs Evil and Sane?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Huntn, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #1
    A person with no record accumulates 4 guns, including an assault rifle and 6000 rounds of ammo legally, no record, heads into the local theater in Aurora, Colorado and starts shooting.

    Is this person sane and evil or insane?

    Do sane people do this? What does it take to exceed the boundaries of socially accepted behavior to be labeled insane?

    I understand people who kill to achieve something, such as accumulate riches, get rid of a pesky spouse, or to get back at those who picked on you (Columbine).

    But let's say you are hurting, hurting to such an extent that you are willing to give up on your life...and... make some other people, strangers suffer too. This is not rational is it? Is this sane or insane?

    And finally, how do you deal with mass murderers and serial killers? Is death all they deserve? Although for years I have been anti-death penalty based mostly on the statistics regarding innocent people sentenced to death, I'm starting to feel that for no-doubt guilt assured, heinous crimes, death might be an option. As I said in the other thread, at this point, do we care if an individual finally understands that the evil deed they perpetrated was wrong? Or screw'm, send back to God for a redo? What if they are no-s*** mentally ill? Should this be considered in how to deal with them? My inclination is to say yes, but it might be simpler to just hold them responsible for their actions.
     
  2. barredfreak macrumors 6502

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    #2
    Killing for no apparent reason? Insane.

    Completely insane.
     
  3. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    #3
    False dichotomy and bringing evil into it puts us in the realm of sky fairies.Because the motive is not apparent doesn't mean there isn't one.Perfectly sane people do bad things often.
     
  4. Fazzy macrumors 6502

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    #4
    alittle bit of both imo.

    You have to be pretty evil to want to do that, and insane to actually carry it out
     
  5. twietee macrumors 603

    twietee

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    #5
    In europe we had the mind-devasting attack of Anders Behring Breivik on 22 July 2011. He bombed government buildings within Oslo and killed 69 teenagers attending some political gathering/camp, trapped on an island. He was disguised as an police officer and actually gathered those teenager around him saying he has to protect them - the bombing took place same hours before.

    The question about about sanity and insanity was THE main question during the trial. In the end it was more of a political/strategic question, and I think this is right, as there can't be a real answer to that. As an insane person, his 'manifesto' is worth much less (not that it was worth something before, but still) and he's put into an asylum - where, but I could be wrong on that, he likely can never be released. Which is not necesserly the case within a normal prison, where he would have been put considered sane.
     
  6. Andeavor macrumors 6502

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    #6
    What Breivik did was a calculated move against those he considered evil. I wouldn't declare him insane but guilty of hate crime and murder.

    The assault in Aurora was, in my amateur opinion, the result of insanity. The student had reached a point in his own distress that he snapped and needed to act out and unfortunately he did so by hurting dozens and eventually killing some innocent people.
     
  7. Queso macrumors G4

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    #7
    It all depends on context doesn't it. For instance, if a USAF pilot with an airborne arsenal bombs a target resulting in the same casualty rate nobody bats an eyelid, yet somebody must have ordered the pilot to do it and planned the entire thing beforehand.

    Is there really that big a jump between that thought process, considered legitimate, and the thought processes behind James Holmes' actions?

    And there's the problem. How can we conclude one to be honourable service and the other the actions of a madman without introducing hypocrisy into our position? As such, evil is very much a subjective thing.
     
  8. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #8
    absolutely

    And an insane person can have a motive for their actions.

    Not so much. Most countries have a legal definition for what's considered "insane" and it has nothing to do with moral posturing
     
  9. Queso macrumors G4

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    #9
    Went well over your head that didn't it?
     
  10. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #10
    no, you're not particularly subtle actually
     
  11. Queso macrumors G4

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    #11
    Ah right, so you're going to play dumb....

    Why is it acceptable to kill large numbers of people in an expected setting, but those who carry out the same actions in an unexpected one are considered insane?

    Wedding guests in Afghanistan for instance do not expect to be gunned down by NATO forces, yet when they are those responsible are pardoned by our way of thinking. It was mistaken intelligence we way. Yet those who planned that deed still intended to kill people, just as Holmes did, it's just that they chose the wrong targets required to legitimise their actions in our eyes. So in our heads we write it off as a mistake. Why don't we consider that act as insanity? Because we collectivity permit some deaths as being legal?
     
  12. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #12
    ah so you're going with insults instead of discussion :rolleyes:
     
  13. Queso macrumors G4

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    #13
    I apologise. Now please, consider the rest of that post.
     
  14. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #14
    Why is it wrong to say that a person can't be evil?

    I have to agree based on the definition above, that it is an evil act.

    I would tend to call the Oslo attack as a hate crime based on a political agenda. However, this in itself would not preclude insanity. Examinations of the individual state of mind, which I am sure happened extensively, would be required.

    Acts of war are separate from what amounts to an act of domestic terrorism lacking a political motive. Society makes it rightfully so imo. I acknowledge that one group's terrorist is another group's freedom fighter. But the Aurora case really has no agenda other than to inflict pain on others. I heard the perp referred to himself as the Joker. This is cause for further examination into the insanity claim or a disconnect from reality, which can also be a psychosis.
     
  15. Queso macrumors G4

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    #15
    This does go to the core of my question though. Why do we accept in our heads that a political motive is a legitimate reason for acts of violence, but a personal motive is not? A political motive can sometimes be as simple as one nation wanting to cause damage to their opposition, which is the same inflicting pain on others motive on a larger scale.

    I don't want to go too much into Holmes in particular here, because we don't yet have any details on what he considered his motives to be. But take for instance, Anders Breivik, who sees his motive as political. Would you consider him insane, and if so, why so when a general who orders a drone strike is not?
     
  16. twietee macrumors 603

    twietee

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    #16
    Well, like I wrote: almost the whole trial went around this single question. And it was an important trial. No final solution was found, and I wouldn't know how that can be possible. Edit: Of course they found one, but due to political/tactical considerations. One expert says sane, the other the opposite.

    They both were isolated and haunted males, not too old either, detached from society. I see things like this as a problem worth discussion and personally do not care if considered sane or insane so much. The problem with considering such people as insane is: society tends to think as them as lunatics you can't prevent somehow, because the fell from the sky.
     
  17. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #17
    what you've described is the issue of making a judgement about what might or might not be morally acceptable, but insanity isn't defined by some collective decision about what is right or wrong, rather it's an issue of an individual's lack of the ability to draw such a distinction;

    source
     
  18. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #18
    Is one pure evil or does something have to drive them too it. How do we tell the difference from a psychopath and just someone pushed over the edge.
     
  19. Queso macrumors G4

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    #19
    Thanks, but I suppose what I'm trying to get at is the step beyond the individual. The boundary of the collective decision is not absolute. It is possible for nations to do wrong in the full belief that their actions are for the greater good, regardless of the harm it causes. Can an entire population be described as insane if they all mistakenly agree on the necessity of the aggression performed? Or by nature of it being a collective decision does it negate the label of insanity?

    I've a feeling I need to go read some Plato or something...
     
  20. quasinormal macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Sane people pushed over the edge don't go around shooting people or blaming other people for their problems. They are responsible.

    This bloke ,like all serial killers has deminished responsibility.
     
  21. ender land macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    This is actually a reason why I am reasonably in support of more gun control.

    On their own, I think there is no issue with guns. But the problem is when people lose control and get pushed over the edge they become an "easy button" for all sorts of escalations into violence, which is much more easily fatal than other "easy buttons" (bats, knives, hands/feet, etc).

    I don't have statistics on this but I'd be quite surprised to find that most gun crimes do not result from people in neutral emotional states.
     
  22. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #22
    I can't think of any problem where the rational solution is "shoot a bunch of strangers in a movie theatre."

    I vote insane.
     
  23. kavika411 macrumors 6502a

    kavika411

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    #23
    The key to escaping punishment vis-a-via a successful insanity defense is to increase the scope of you your carnage to a level that renders you must-be-insane.
     
  24. quasinormal, Jul 21, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012

    quasinormal macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    And have an accompanying physiological evidence. Evil seems to be fallback we use when we can't explain something. I would argue that all these killers have something in their brains that predisposed them to commit these acts.

    Edit- Actually i really don't believe this. These people have fallen to evil. Anybody with the slightest love of God would find it impossible to commit such acts.
     
  25. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #25
    I think this stems from denial, that someone could actually do this deed, and not be unbalanced.

    Still, he is now remaining silent, and has asked for an attorney.

    The acts of a rational person.
     

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