Is Human Compassion One-Sided?

Consider this situation:

A man murders an entire family - parents, kids, even the dog. He is arrested, charged and sentenced to life imprisonment with no chance of parole (I use this because the death penalty does not apply in this case).

The man becomes fatally ill while in prison. There is a cure to make him well again - but do we give him the treatment? What would your choice be?

Keep in mind, we don’t know this man’s history. We don’t know anything about his upbringing or any injustices he may have suffered in his life that led him to lash out in this grisly manner.

Many of us concede that “an eye for an eye” is the fair and rightful thing - let him die. Others feel that he should be allowed to live so that he may continue to suffer the guilt of his actions. Others still, feel that even this man, who has done so much wrong, should not be denied his life as all life is precious.

Is it possible that we feel such compassion for the victims in this situation, we forget about the “other” victim? Are we so quick to judge, that we fail to see both sides of the story?

So, what is your opinion here? What would you do? Let him die? Let him live with the hope that he will suffer more for it? Let him live because he has a right to his life, no matter what he has done?

There is an end to this, but first I would like to know everyone’s unbiased opinion.

Please, no arguments - only opinions.

Answer #1

I would contend, life is choices - he has personal responsibility - he made a horrible choice to commit multiple murders - he should serve his just, life sentence - the taxpayers should not foot the bill for any cure to prolong it.

Answer #2

there is always a chance that he didn’t do it. Our justics system is good but even that is flawed. what is he is innocent and wrongly accused. Who desides wich crimes are worth withholding meds? I think that while in prison he has to be treated fairly.

Knowing the whole story dosen’t matter. Justice is blind.

Answer #3

I would cure him.

Honestly, letting the disease take his life, would be a blessing to him. He would die and not have to spend his time in prison like he was supposed to.

Save his life, that way he still has to deal with his consequences.

Answer #4

I would have said he should get the treatment. And still do. It is a judge and sometimes a jury to decide sentences, not the public, a prison doctor and certainly not me.

I find it hard to believe, with the facts you present that he received a life sentence. I assume this occurred in Australia, do you have an insanity defense?. In the U.S. he might well have a case of incompetent counsel against the attorney for not pleading an insanity defense. This one seems to fit the bill far more than some which fly and shouldn’t.

Answer #5

my opinion is that once someone violates someone elses rights (murder), that persons rights should be forfeit- null and void. the reasons that led this person to commit such a horrible act should not come into the picture, except from a psychological study perspective- a profile- to maybe stop someone else before it is too late. I am a very compassionate man- but NO- let this guy die, and not be allowed to live on (as amblessed stated) the taxpayers bill. use the vaccine on someone else that is worthwhile and not the dregs of society.

Answer #6

seao2florida, he didn’t plead insanity - he pled guilty.

Answer #7

Letting him die would not bring back the family he killed.

The purpose of criminal justice should be rehabilitation when possible and protecing society by isolating the criminal when it isn’t. It should not get involved in revenge; this should never be the purpose.

Answer #8

And that is why I say, if this were a U.S. case, the attorney might well be out on the limb as incompetent. This is one of those that begs to the insanity defense - no guilty pleas.

Answer #9

well, I think he should have a choice. the reason he did it was to get revenge on what had happened in the past and when he was sitting on those steps. he was deeply scarred by these incidents, and was just angry. I’m not making an excuse for him; that’s the way it was. so, the choice he can make is: get the treatment and live in the cruel world, or end his suffering. it’s only fair.

Answer #10

rickd, dude… re-read my post. I was talking to amblessed. We agree (a rarity, lol), he should get the treatment.

Answer #11

“But people shouldnt be choosing who lives and who dies… “

Ty, this is the most important and concise thing said on this question…

“the taxpayers should not foot the bill for any cure to prolong it.”

amblessed, how do your reconcile your belief in Jesus, and what he taught, with this statement?

Answer #12

Before I read the end I would of said to get him the treatment. I realize that we pay for the prisoners but if there is a cure then everyone that has that disease should be cured, it doesn’t matter if they’re in prison or not.

After reading the story I can understand why he did it and even sympathize with him. If something happened to my kids I would think about doing something to the person that hurt them also.

Sometimes people are in jail and they truly are not bad people…why should their life end just because someone doesn’t want to cure them of something curable?

Answer #13

Thank you all for your input.

Here’s the rest of the story:

The man (we’ll call him Joe) had wonderful parents. His father was a strict, but successful high school teacher. One night, one of his students (16 at the time) decided to “get back” at the teacher for failing him. He threw a molotov cocktail through the living room window in the middle of the night. The parents had a downstairs bedroom and were killed fairly quickly. Joe, who was five years old at the time, jumped from a second story window, breaking both his legs and shattering his pelvis. Joe also lost his 9 year old sister and his beloved dog. The 16 year old (we’ll call him Bob) got 1 year in a youth facility.

After Joe recovered from his injuries, he was placed in foster care. As a result of his trauma, he refused tospeak and often had severe rages of anger. He was moved from one foster home to another as each foster parent became tired of him.

At the age of 18, he was admitted to a psychiatric home. He was doing well there, but when he turned 21, it was decided that we was not clinically insane, and he was released.

With no experience and no will to speak, he could not get a job. Now Joe was jobless and homeless.

One day, he sat on the ground outside of a local business. The owner of the business came out shouting at him to get away, kicking him in the ribs and threatening him. Joe got up to leave, but recognized the man as the same snickering 16 year old who sat in the court room at his parent’s murder trial.

The next day, it was in the news that Bob and his entire family were killed in their sleep.

Joe received his life sentence. While in prison, he began therapy. He starting speaking, and managed to hold a prison job. He also started praying. Every morning and night, he prayed for forgiveness, and he never missed the prison church service. He even started going to schools to talk to teens about his mistakes, in hopes that he could encourage them to find better ways to deal with anger.

At 25, his parent’s $500, 000 inheritance was unlocked and now belonged to him. Since he felt he had no use for the money, he gave it all to Bob’s parents in retribution for what he had done.

2 days later, he was hospitalized with pneumonia.

People picketed outside the prison walls demanding that Joe not be treated. He “deserved to die”.

Bob’s parents came forward, and using the money Joe had given them, paid the state to treat Joe. They paid to save his life.

Now here’s where it gets tricky…if the victims of a crime can forgive, do we have the right to stand against it?

Does knowing the whole story change your perception in the least, or is human-compassion truly one-sided?

Answer #14

Because this man’s sentence was “Life without Parole”…and because there is already a “cure” for what is ailing him…then I don’t see justice in with-holding treatment…wouldn’t that call for a sentence of “death by proxy of disease”? A sentence that doesn’t exist. This, I’m afraid would certainly be consisdered inhumane.

Ya know…given the choice of “life without parole” and a death sentence…it seems that most, if not ALL prisoners would choose “life”…so thinking that a life sentence would be the most suffering is folly. Human beings are highly adaptable. A person serving a life sentence without parole…KNOWING they are never going to be free, would simply adapt to the idea. It’s not a life long suffering…keeping them alive is not punishing them more…


Answer #15

This man had a family and a life, we dont need to know his past. Everyone has had some kind of drama in their life and try to use it to justify crime. To be realistic about the situation we give this man a free ride then we will have to give it to everyone. Yeah sure you can call me inconsiderate but we pay for this guy then we are going to pay for everyone else. If you are an adult its time to act like one and take responsibility, otherwise health care will have its limits. Take an example from the news reports around the world; “Man dies durring routine heart procedure because of cheap equipment malfunction”, “To old for a cure” and many others.

Answer #16

I’d let him choose what he whether he wanted the cure or not… Do I care what led him to commit the acts? Not really… (I dont care whether he was tortured everyday for his entire life, there is no justification) But people shouldnt be choosing who lives and who dies…

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