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Luka Magnotta has been accused of cannibalism after discussion of this has been floating around for days.
I have not watched the notorious video, nor am I going to.
qatzelok, ant6n, Bill Binns, and 6 others are discussing. Toggle Comments
Yes, clearly a sick man. He may want to look up the name of Dr. Turcotte’s lawyer.
The two cases have almost nothing in common.
@Kate – Maybe, but how could Magnotta’s behavior not be descrinbed as crazy? Cannibalism? Are there any sane cannibals? If he’s crazy than nothing he did is his fault right? I’m sure the fact that he tried to escape will complicate matters but is there really much of a chance he will not use the insanity defence?
@Bill: As I see it, the question is not only to judge whether the person is crazy, but also to evaluate the chances he will kill again.
@Anto – I hope so but I wonder what an acceptable number is. I mean, someone who has already commited murder once must be many times more likely to do it again than a random person out of the popluation. Personally, if someone needs to take a pill everyday to keep from turning into a murdering psychopath, I’m not comfortable letting him out.
At least the mafia only cannibalizes the public purse. At least the mafia don’t cut off body parts…. oh wait. Yes they do. I just know there’s a positive comparison with institutional corruption in here somewhere… ie. why this is news.
@qatzelok it’s news because if someone kills his own kids and is tried for it, it’s a public event and human nature means we will take interest in it, from all kinds of angles – how justice deals with it, how the medico-legal world deals with it, how the public handles it.
As I heard the story today it crossed my mind that Turcotte’s likely being kept inside at least as much to protect him from the public as to protect the public from him.
@bill binns I’ve thought about this a bit, but be warned, I have neither formal legal nor psychological training:
Earlier on this blog I compared Turcotte to Vince Li, the man who went berserk on a long-haul bus and killed and partly ate Tim McLean, who was a total stranger to him. Li was, by any metric I’d recognize, insane: witnesses agreed there hadn’t been any communication between Li and McLean before the attack. What happened there totally boiled up out of a deeply diseased psyche. I do not think most people would want to see Li punished for being a “bad man” but I think we can reasonably feel we want to see him treated for being a deeply sick one, and kept away from people as long as there’s any doubt he could snap again. For life if necessary.
Turcotte is a different situation and a different kind of crazy. I had mixed feelings about this case because from time to time we see similar cases in the news, in which a messy breakup leads someone to attack their own kids as a way of hurting their partner. The Li case had no logic. The Turcotte case had a horrible logic: whatever else happens, Guy Turcotte has succeeded in damaging his ex-wife Isabelle Gaston permanently.
But we have to use our imagination here even if it’s only to admit we can’t stretch our imaginations to encompass the psychosis that possessed Vince Li on the bus, or the deep hysteria that must have possessed Guy Turcotte. You go around in a circle here: maybe Guy Turcotte wasn’t Li-crazy, but just try to imagine the anger and disturbance that would cause a man to kill his own kids and you back into a different zone most people would call “crazy” too.
We could debate over and over how much of an action is consciously willed (i.e., not crazy?) vs. how much is done in a kind of sleepwalking, compelled state by the perpetrator, but we will never know for sure.
Magnotta is a different case yet again. We’ve seen that he’s deeply narcissistic and disturbed and has been for a long time. Is he a “bad man” – and does that question mean anything? Even if we say he’s “bad” and not “insane” what does that mean? Surely someone who can do what he’s alleged to have done is tantamount to crazy, whatever actually went on in his head at the time.
I think what I’m trying to say is that we can’t know what goes on in another’s head, but while there are crimes with reasons we can see – revenge, gain, killing from anger and so on – and which, as a society, it actually may help to punish – crimes like the killings of Jun Lin and Tim McLean are so much the culmination of an insane logic inside their perpetrators’ heads that they are, by any standard, the acts of insane people, and clearly not acts carried out by someone in their right mind. Past a point we can’t get hung up on guessing how they felt at the time or what internal justifications they were making for the actions. We can only go by what they did (or are alleged to have done).
Now, you could make a radical case that such people are so broken and potentially so dangerous, and keeping them alive so expensive, that as a society we can’t afford to keep them alive and they should be put down like mad dogs. I don’t think I’d want to live in that society, but I see that it’s a logical argument. Executing people as revenge or punishment is quite different, but in all these cases you’re deleting a human being, and I think it’s worth going to some considerable trouble not to do this.
Sane people don’t murder each other. It definitely takes a moment of insanity (momentary or a year of instability) to kill another human. So I don’t understand any insanity plea – none of them are acting sane. I don’t understand the law.
All these people need medication. I don’t believe in capital punishment, but I’m not against having them medicated for the rest of their lives – and using incarceration to enforce that.
The man is getting exactly what he wants: a ton of publicity. His trial is going to be a three ring circus and he’ll savor every moment of it. He can’t not do otherwise.
Soldiers kill people. Some police sometimes kill people.
Drivers kill thousands of Canadians each year. Each death is important to the family, and if we actually HEARD about these deaths, we might change our behavior. What are we supposed to learn from the Magnotta trial? That feminine euroqueens are potential cannibals? Or is this story pulp trash to prevent the working class from discussing anything remotely serious?
An individual acting with premeditation, intention and malice to kill someone for some twisted motive is not the equivalent of a careless, distracted, possibly drug-addled, possibly physically-impaired motorist who adds to the carnage on the roads, though the result is just as tragic and absurd. Soldiers and police at least kill at least ostensibly under the mandate of a state, for the sake
I was mostly responding to this idea that “sane people don’t hurt each other”. Either they do, or there are a lot of insane people.
…for the sake of a cause or to defend the public. Extreme behavior, whether virtuous or loathsome, is by definition anomalous and attracts human curiosity. There is no shame in wanting to know more or eanting to make some sense of some unusual, disturbing event. I’d say this is serious and the attention the crime is getting is logical. Qatzelok, did you actally read what Kate wrote?
Let’s ignore the real problems around us and gawk at “the bearded lady” for a while.
@ Robert H, defending this story as “news,” nonetheless concludes: “though the result is just as tragic and absurd (car accident, psycho drag queen attack). Soldiers and police at least kill at least ostensibly under the mandate of a state”
Yes, and drivers are also killing “for the state,” or at least, “for the economy.” And this makes it alright? This is why we should concentrate on circus freaks? To take our minds off the much larger damage that we cause by being normal?
I think many people are too quick to dismiss murder, even mass murder, as ‘insane’.
Immoral, evil, misguided — but not insane.
Was Anders Breivik insane? He killed dozens of people because he disliked the way his fellow countrymen accepted immigrants. He knew mass murder was immoral and deliberately picked his act to cause harm and spur revolution.
In my opinion Li was legitimately psychotic, and like many Quebecers I think Turcotte’s sentence was inadequate, especially given Cathie Gauthier performed almost identical actions and was found guilty.
Something that happens every day is not news.
(And in your case, I’m sorry if someone you love was badly hurt or killed in a car crash.)
We don’t report on car crashes — much — because they are commonplace. They happen every day, and so cease to be news. While they are, individually, tragic, hearing about them every day creates a sense of fatigue in the public.
Unless there is something unusual about a crash, we tend not to cover them (and even then not always. There’s a case stemming from last summer involving a supposedly drunk driver and young women who were badly hurt that did not get much coverage).
The Bianca Leduc case has received a lot of coverage, and the act itself has had a lot of investigation: One young man’s incredibly stupid mistake in getting behind the wheel of a vehicle he could not control, racing through residential streets and killing a young girl. Then the ridiculous legal attempts to deny responsibility for his actions?
It reeks of the problems our modern society faces in terms of blaming someone else, or wanting someone else to pick up the tab. Where is the self-respect?
So how to deal with this every day problem.
The solution is to look at the root causes of crashes. Individual acts of irresponsibility? Poor design on roadways? Deliberate actions? But that’s not something that can be covered on a daily basis — that’s a magazine article.
Here are three I’ve contributed to in the past year or so.
@qatzelok – What does this car free utopia you fantasize about look like? Are we all growing turnips in our back yard and seldom travelling more than a few miles from the spot where we were born? Are we riding horses? Are trains ok? Planes? Ambulances? I’m genuinely curious. I have met people who are against cars for enviromental reasons but you seem to go beyond that. Even if we had electric cars and some form of clean electricity gereration, we would still have car accidents and we would still have a lot of sapce given over to roads and parking.
I think it should be possible to envision a society without the need for individual car ownership. So no turnips required, we don’t need to ride horses, trains are ok, planes possibly, ambulances as well. And electric cars do not solve many of the efficiency issues related to individual car ownership; and assuming clean electricity as a techno fix is not very realistic in the near to medium future.
@ Kevin: “We don’t report on car crashes — much — because they are commonplace.”
That’s exactly my point. Killing people with blunt instruments is what normal people do in our consumer-mad society. Why does this incident make the news? To make our industrial “normal” seem less toxic? It’s very toxic. I’m not fooled by these foolish tabloid red herrings.
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