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Mental illness, murder and forgiveness.

Discussion in 'Opinions, Beliefs, & Points of View' started by Ruby, May 9, 2008.

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  1. Ruby

    Ruby Well-Known Member

    This is a question that plays on my mind a lot. I often wonder if people would be more forgiving towards a person who killed whilst suffering from a psychotic episode/some other extreme form of mental distress. Does committing such an act whilst suffering from extreme mental illness make a person more worthy of forgiveness? Or are they just as bad as every other murderer?

    I often think of the moors murderer Ian Brady when I ask myself this question.. I don't think that he's responsible for the murders he committed because he has the inability to think rationally and is clearly psychopathic.

    Edit: I mean if the murder was directly influenced by their illness. Ie if they were extremely deluded at the time of the killing.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2008
  2. sophie_b

    sophie_b Well-Known Member

    Personaly i believe for a person to be worthy of forgiveness it would depend if they had remorse for their actions, even if they were suffering from a psychotic episode. i have heard in some cases where a person has commited a crime due to a psychotic breakdown and when later told of their actions did not feel any regret or remorse toward their victims.
    however on the other hand knowing a person did not have a choice in commiting the crime due to the influence of a psychotic episode i would say they were more likely to be forgiven whether they desrve it more or not.

    just thought id give my view :biggrin:
  3. Random

    Random Well-Known Member

    Funny thing about that though is that one of the standards the legal system uses for judging whether someone is legally insane or not is whether or not they knew what they were doing was wrong.

    Now here's where it gets tricky. Because someone who has no apparent remorse obviously doesn't believe what he or she did was wrong. They may know that society considers it to be wrong. But I would think that what really matters is what they personally believe.

    Insanity is a thorny subject as it pertains to the legal system. I think the legal system ignores what I've just posted because it's inconvenient. We couldn't have a lot of murderers getting psychological treatment or confinement in a mental health facility rather than prison time. Well, technically, we could but the public wouldn't go for it.

    I think most people just believe murderers are evil and that's that. They don't care why they do it and they don't want to know.
  4. Smashed__

    Smashed__ Well-Known Member

    This is one of the hardest things for me to put a full or quick answer on.
    It would never warrent forgivness [from me] but it might get some understanding.

    I look at mental illnesses and Psychopaths.etc. on case by case. If you lump everyone together you will find yourself stepping in shit. I like to go back to manson quite often, there is no question in my mind that he is a psychopath and while some want to say "OMG he's crazy" he is also calculated, smart, and manipulative. If he was treated as anything other, he might have been sent to a hospital and possibly released later on. I see no need or reasoning for that. He will never change.

    I try to think of it this way.. If I broke down, or flew into a horrible rage and killed someone..whether knowing at the time or not.. I deserve to go to jail or be killed myself. Sure It isn't all my fault but I can't see how anyone could life with themselves if niether takes place.

    Hope I don't offend anyone, Its just how I see it and even in my head its confusing.
  5. pit

    pit Well-Known Member

    Ian is the last person in the world who deserves sympathy. He is a sexual sadist and calculating pedophilic child killer who knew exactly what he was doing at all times. He put out a book, The Gates of Janus. While his writing is intelligent, cogent, and brilliantly insightful, it's all self serving, though he is on the money when he talks about culturally accepted psychopaths versus the culturally rejected ones. If you want to know more about Ian, I definitely recommend his book.

    Wives who kill abusive husbands, children who kill abusive parents, employees who kill their prison guard-like superiors, and students who kill their tormentors all deserve my sympathy.
  6. Ruby

    Ruby Well-Known Member

    I don't have any sympathy for him, I said that he wasn't responsible for the murders he committed. If he was he wouldn't be in a high security mental institute detained under the mental health act. He's been assessed by how many forensic psychiatrists over the years who have come to the same conclusion.

    In my opinion Mrya Hindley was a lot worse than him because she knew what she was doing.

    And i've recently got his book off amazon. 'The gates of Janus', right?
  7. carol2237

    carol2237 Guest

    I would have to agree with Sophie on this one and say that it would depend on if they showed remorse. There are some cases where even that would not be enough for me though. I guess it all depends on the situation.

  8. Ruby

    Ruby Well-Known Member

    He's offered to show where one of his victims is buried. If thats not remorse then I dont know what is.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2008
  9. ggg456

    ggg456 Guest

    Yeah there's a difference like you pointed out.

    there are people out there like my aunt, which is how you describe. when i look at her i see someone who is so angry but never lets it shows and has potential of doing such harm and does do a lot of harm anyway and thinks its alright and its all normal. she can pass for normal. she is really frightening.

    as for remorse, lots of people can just lie can't they? and say sorry and not mean it? especially when it comes to personalities like my father and my aunt. i know i keep going back to them but they are just personal examples of characters i have no wish to be around because they manipulate and act so well it gets into your head.

    when it comes to forgiveness, who am i to forgive anyone? why am i so much better than those people? what's done is done, i suppose what i'm interested in is how to prevent people like brady, my father and my aunt developing and acting and hurting others.
  10. fromthatshow

    fromthatshow Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    There is not a person who would committ murder that is not suffering from extreme mental illness.

    And of course they deserve forgiveness. I never understood how a person could ever be angry with the murderers and rapists of the world. Why? They are obviously the ones in this world who are in the most pain. I'm not saying they shouldn't be locked up, but we should send them all the love in the world we have to give.
    I've been in so much pain myself that I couldn't get angry with Hitler if I saw him. I would just feel empathy. I would look at him and know how bad he is hurting, wishing I could hug him and tell him everything's ok, knowing that he would never listen, he would never go deep and acknowledge the pain he's in.

    I feel it is so backwards. We should be sending these people all our love, all our support. Because it's what they need. They lack love. I seriously can't understand how anyone could ever give these people anything but love.
  11. Ruby

    Ruby Well-Known Member

    I can't say that I agree with your post.

    If all murderers were mentally ill then how come some of them end up going to prison rather than a mental hospital? Also, it's hard to show someone love when they take away the lives of innocent people. Or, in Ian Bradys case, children. No matter how much hate he feels inside, there is no excuse for killing innocent children.
  12. fromthatshow

    fromthatshow Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    We're all innocent. Even the murderers. Saying there is no excuse is making a judgement. I know it is hard to not judge someone like that, but I think judging anyone is wrong. Again, someone that kills innocent children most definitely should be locked away in prison, but they are not any less like the rest of us. You have no idea what they have been through, and how they interpreted it. How painful must it be to be them? We all want the same things. Love, happiness. I cannot see how someone can take any action at all that they did not believe would bring them happiness at some point in the immediate or distant future. Someone who kills an innocent child must have a very messed up view of the world and themselves if this is how they think they might find those things.
    For murder, rape, whatever, there is never an excuse, but there are always reasons why someone does something like that. There are no heartless killers. People are not naturally evil, they're just hurt. And trying to externalize inner pain is never a good idea.
  13. ggg456

    ggg456 Guest

    How do you know that? Have you spoken to these people personally?

    I disagree with you that everyone wants the same things. I find that quite patronising to be honest.

    'Murderers' and 'rapists' are individual people who've done the things they've done within their own complicated circumstances, which pit pointed out.

    As for homogenising them and saying that they are the ones in the world 'in the most pain' - what, just because they externalised, rather than internalised their feelings in that way, killed, damaged someone's body and sexuality - that means that they are in 'more pain' than the people suffering the aftermath of their actions? Do you have a meter or a 'pain' meter to measure the 'pain' in which you suppose these people are in?

    From what I can remember my counsellor saying, and she used to work in a youth offenders place for her training- (and she said it was terrifying sometimes)- some (not all) men who do these things are in a cycle- much like a self-destructive cycle, they externalise their feelings to get it out- they use people as extensions of themselves. They then feel angry/bad at themselves, then use other people to get their pain out- it's a never ending cycle, with people just being objects for a period of time. Whether they themselves feel hurt and tortured, I don't know- I'd guess that because they use other people so well, they don't feel much pain themselves as all their rage is transferred on to the people they hurt.

    To say that all men or women who rape and murder are in 'more pain' than, than a person on the receiving end of their abuse- (who will see that person as someone who has ruined their life, rather than one of many objects) and might be suffering horrific traumatic symptoms from their actions is offensive.

    It is offensive because partly why some men go out and do things like this is because of their silencing and manipulative tactics, which can be emotional and very complex and insidious, and this is a complete mind-fuck for people they've hurt. The guilt is internalised by the people they've hurt- to keep them silent so they (abusers) go on and do more and more. If the people who've they hurt aren't listened to and offered support there is a risk, depending on the person, that this person could turn abusive, through externalising their feelings again by dehumanising people into mere objects to be used. That's where I agree that all people need to be heard, but I disagree with your simplistic idea that they 'need love' by people who want to turn their heads away from the ugliness and sickness of some peoples' minds.

    I'm not sure if you've met someone like my father and my aunt, but looking at them is very frightening. They haven't killed or raped anyone, but emotionally and mentally they do this all the time. And if you study them you'll lose all faith in 'love' being the answer for them because they are in a stage of their life when the patterns of thought and behaviour are ingrained and they are extremely good manipulators, although they might not intend it. And you know what's more frightening? They would never ever come under the gaze or scrutiny of mental health services. They will never get the so called 'love' that you think they should get. Why? Because their behaviour is socially accepted by many.

    I do agree with a lot of what you're saying about listening to people. My counsellor did say that some men she came in contact with were hungry for someone to listen to them. But love, hugs and a handshake won't mean a thing to some people, who will continue to hurt and maim others because of many many complex reasons, much more complicated than what you're saying, which I do agree with on some level but you're being way too simplistic.

    I don't think we're all innocent.
  14. fromthatshow

    fromthatshow Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    Well then we probably wouldn't agree on the rest.
  15. SadDude87

    SadDude87 Well-Known Member

    You could argue that all murders stem from mental health problems.
  16. fromthatshow

    fromthatshow Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    Definitely. How could you consider someone sane that could kill another person?
  17. Ruby

    Ruby Well-Known Member

    .. Maybe a forensic psychiatrist? :wink:
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