Are muderers evil or ill?

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  • A man who murdered his ex-girlfriend and her new partner outside the Matalan store where they worked has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 23 years.

    With the news today that this murderer has been put in jail, it does beg the question whether they are ill or evil.

    Saunders planned this murder. He researching how to kill on the internet, so it wasn't a spur of the moment thing. But, clearly there have been issues in his life, the last message to his dad shows that. But if he has come from a disruptive background, is that an excuses for his actions?

    As he told the police, "I'm sorry, you know sometimes, you just snap."

    Most people who "snap" don't go out and kill their ex girlfriends. Do murderers have an illness which is undiagnosed by current medicine, or, are they are simply evil, pathetic creatures?

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  • Most likely ill but until we are able to say that definitively and can come up with a reliable cure then we've no option other than the current custodial sentences. However we need to be focusing a lot of resource on serious mental illness which is probably behind many serious crimes and terrorist incidences. Perhaps one day we will be able to spot the signs of mental illness early and tackle it before the killing starts. At the moment that kind of thinking is dismissed as being soft since we are in an era where rational thought is unfashionable whereas populist policy, even if totally ineffective, is all the rage.

  • I think those who do murders have a disorder similar to autism. I am not saying it is autism, but murderers seem to be unaware of the implications of their actions and seem to be "detached" in some form.

    Did you ever see the Tom Cruise film "Minority Report" LW? Can't say it was a brilliant film, but they had a method of dealing with murder before it ever happened...

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  • One question that never seems to get asked enough in these cases is ' Did the offender know that what they were doing was wrong.' It's surprising how many people are sane enough to cover up their crimes because they know they will be punished but claim they were mentally ill at the time they carried them out.

    There are numerous cases of murder and other offences where, in my opinion, the murderer is simply and evil person. But, as with society generally nowadays, everyone wants to claim it wasn't really their fault or to claim that they are somebody else's victim in order to excuse their offences against another person. From ' He comes from a broken home.' to ' He's been radicalised.' and ' She fell pregnant.' as if pregnancy and radicalisation were acts of God and the 'victim' had no real responsibility for it.

    I know the world's not entirely black and white but there are far too many shades of grey nowadays. It's time we all went to Specsavers, got our sight back and put the responsibility for wrongdoing back where it belongs.

  • I don't know if you saw that programme about the SAS on tv a few months ago where the SAS soldiers admitted they were psychopaths.

    They know exactly what they are doing, as they themselves said, you have to have a certain mentality to slit someone's throat and feel no emotion or empathy. And they have an intelligence far higher than most people. But they still have a mental "illness"...
    I think you can be both "mad" and "sane" at the same time and as you say, things are not black and white.

    I find it more comfortable to think of murderers as ill, so that (hopefully) science will one day be able to "cure" them. If they are simply evil, that is a scary prospect.

    The most obvious example, of course, are the killers of Jamie Bulger who themselves were children.... Their actions were premeditated. They tried to kidnap another child and when they did get their victim, they didn't just kill the toddler, but tortured him too.

    Are we really comfortable to say that small children are evil? I would prefer the ill option, but I fear I may be wrong.

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