The Barbarity of a nation without Capital Punishment

Vincent Li, psychotic killer

Vincent Li, psychotic killer

You have a vicious, unprovoked, random murder, with 36 eyewitnesses. You have desecration of the body, including canibalism. You have a murderer who declares himself guilty, and asks to be killed. You have a young man’s life snuffed out for no reason, and a grieving group of family and friends forced to live with the grisly details of the crime repeated over and over in public, until their dying day.

The conventional wisdom platitudes are wrong. Without the death penalty in a case like this, we become an uncivilized nation. Without punishment for inhuman behavior, and justice for victims of murder, we lose what elevates us above the vicious randomness of the animal kingdom.

The barbarity of a nation without capital punishment should be apparent to all.

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54 Comments

Filed under No Capital Punishment

54 responses to “The Barbarity of a nation without Capital Punishment

  1. It was a horrific crime. I can’t imagine what it must have been like. As well, we’re utterly confident that we have the right guy.

    How does killing him make it any better?

    You’re arguing that, in order to be civilized, we have to execute him? How do you get from A to B on that one? How is putting a person to death a mark of cultural strength?

    If our society is strong enough, it should be able to bear this without additional death. It’s only in weak societies that we need to use the death penalty to maintain cultural norms. Everyone else manages things without stooping to that level.

  2. Killing the perpetrator doesn’t “make it better”. That’s a common left-wing canard. What it does is, it adds a measure of justice and order to a world of chaos. That’s what civilization is all about – lifting us up from animal status, rejecting the randomness and chaos of the jungle.

    I’ll ask you: how does it make us better to reward the murderer with continued life? How can we pretend to be a civilized society if we value the life of a murderer greater than the life of an innocent victim?

    (Your final paragraph is nonsense. If I follow your logic, then I must assume that our cultural norms include random slaughters on Greyhound buses.)

  3. If killing this lunatic doesn’t make our society better, why would you advocate it? Of course we have justice and order regardless. This man was arrested, taken in to custody and will face a trial and punishment. What is chaotic about that?

    How are we “lifting ourselves out of the jungle” if we simply apply the law of the jungle and live by “an eye for an eye”? How is that civilized? You’re advocating *exactly* the most primitive mode of punishment.

    And we’re not valuing the life of the murderer over the murdered. We’re simply stating that we aren’t in the jungle anymore, we aren’t stone-aged barbarians, we’re not living hand-to-mouth. We’re stating that we are civilized, we are better than the barbarians, even when they come in to our midst.

    The point is that our cultural norms do not include beheading. This man has broken the rules of our society by doing what he did. However, we are stable and confident enough in our society that we don’t need to enforce our rules by killing people.

    Leave killing to the weak. We’re stronger than those who need to kill.

  4. Thank you Greg, you’ve exposed your bias beautifully. “An Eye for an Eye” is the basis of civilized Western jurisprudence, derived from biblical – not jungle – values.

    The law of the jungle states: you take the life of my son, I take the life of you and your entire clan; or, if I am weak, I cower and pay you tribute. The law of civilization states: you kill my son, your clan is safe; but you cannot keep your own life, even if I am weak. That is justice, eye-for-an-eye style.

  5. TnT

    Here we go with the biblical references. I don’t believe in the bible. And you are not going to make me.

    I agree with Greg. Killing someone for this crime serves no purpose whatsoever. If we did bring in capital punishment, where do we draw the line in determining how sure we are in who committed the crime? Clearly, we’re sure in this case. But once you allow capital punishment in justice, what happens when the line gets crossed with killing an innocent man? There has been a number of cases recently showing someone who apparently we thought was the murderer, wasn’t, one almost hanged as a teenager.

    So, who answers for -that- crime if we murder an innocent man for committing a crime he didn’t commit?

    What I would agree with, is ensuring sentencing fits the crime.

  6. My bias is a preference for civilization and calm, rational reactions to the unexpected. The only sense in which “an eye for an eye” is a part of our justice system is, as TnT points out, that a punishment should fit a crime. Our courts do not literally allow “eye for an eye”: the beating of an assaulter; the raping of a rapist; the killing of a killer. This we call “civilization”.

    It would not mean that we are better as a society. You’ve yet to demonstrate that in any way.

    Primitive societies have no choice. If there’s a lunatic in your midst, you don’t have the time or the resources to allow him to continue to live. You have to kill him for the very practical reason that he’s a threat to everyone and no one has the time to control him. In the same sense, if I were standing behind this lunatic while he was attacking the innocent, sleeping victim, and all I had was a hammer and an angle at the back of his skull, the “death penalty” would also be appropriate.

    A modern society does not need the death penalty. A modern society can do better. Once subdued, we can keep him from being a threat. We have no need to lower ourselves to ancient codes of conduct meant for more primitive times. Such a descent to barbarism would harm us more that it would harm him.

  7. I remember going down this road before with you, Greg – but biblical language and storytelling must be studied in context, and cannot always be taken explicitly literally. “Eye for an Eye” does not, in practicality or intention, require an eye for an eye. It is a call for proportionality in justice – small penalty for a small crime, serious penalty for a serious crime. That is the building block of modern jurisprudence and civilized society.

    As for your retort, “a modern society can do better,” – that’s just an empty platitudinous opinion. Very weak. But at least we know where we stand: you believe that keeping psychopathic killers alive is civilized; I believe that keeping them alive is barbaric.

    And now, I go on vacation! Lake Huron, here I come.

  8. Allison

    It’s not the death penalty or no punishment whatsoever. In fact, living will most likely be a bigger punishment than death could ever be for the killer, especially when he is begging to die.

  9. Allison, even if you believe that life in prison is a bigger punishment than death (certainly a debateable assertion), it’s beside the point. Justice holds that he who took the life of young Tim McLean should no longer be entitled to a life of his own.

  10. Whoever argued that the murderer is entitled to live? Not me.

    That’s a separate argument regarding mental capacity, intent, motive, awareness, value of human life, certainty of guilt and a host of other factors. It’s not the argument that I’m making.

    I’m arguing that we (our system of justice) shouldn’t kill him because *we* would be worse for doing it. Bloodlust never made anything better. It would only be making our hands dirty to commit another killing.

    It’s not that he’s entitled to live. It’s that we make ourselves worse for killing him.

  11. Your argument is purely academic, purely opinion. Why would we make ourselves worse? In my opinion, we would make ourselves better. So that’s where we disagree. Until I see evidence to the contrary, that opinion will not change. And your use of irrelevant loaded perjoratives like “bloodlust” only make me firmer in my convictions.

  12. You ask: why would it make us worse?

    We both agreed that killing is a bad thing. It does bad things to the mind of the killer. That’s what PTSD is all about. That’s why people need mental help when they come home from war.

    Even when you feel morally justified in doing it – as you would if you were standing behind this lunatic, driving a hammer in to his skull, blotting out his life to prevent him from taking the life of an innocent – the act of killing him, that dull thud of metal meeting flesh and skull, would still affect *you*. It would change the way you treat other living beings. It would change you forever from what you were in to a different type of person who had taken a life.

    *That* is the danger of capital punishment. It’s not what it does to the guilty. It’s what it does to the punisher.

    Do you really want to live in a society where people are comfortable with taking lives? Do you really want to afford those looking for a self-righteous excuse for violence a chance to exercise their desires, even vicariously through the hangman?

    That’s why I used the term “bloodlust”. The one thing we do know is that it gets easier every time.

  13. “Killing” is not necessarily a bad thing. Those who save lives by “killing” – i.e. a police officer in a crisis – often feel pride in accomplishment rather than PTSD. “Killing” does not necessarily change the way you are as a human being – that’s extremely simple-minded. (When the New York Times tried to link returning Iraq veterans to murder in America, they inadvertently exposed a truth they didn’t intend to – that murder rates are much lower among returning vets than they are amongst the civilian population of the same demographic.)

    “It gets easier every time” – says who? You are so full of nonsense leftist platitudes, it’s scary.

  14. TnT

    oh dear. Here comes the ‘leftist’ bashing again. When in doubt, bash the left.

    Flaggman perhaps you should talk to a few people who have had to kill in duty. Not many I have known, actually a few family members, will agree with your ‘pride of accomplishment’. No, they wish they didn’t have to do it. I can’t believe you would assume such authority on that subject. Have you felt that ‘pride of accomplishment’?

    I suggest thinking about this a little further, before thowing out ‘simple minded, and nonsense leftist platitudes’.

    As Greg has pointed out, society has advanced to the point where killing, shouldn’t be necessary. It serves no purpose, and quoting biblical references to it as ‘justice’ only serves those who believe in that.

    I’m still interested in what happens when an innocent man is murdered, after we were ‘sure’ he was guilty. Who pays the price for that?

  15. Let’s give life in prison to PETA.

  16. Flaggman, you are too angry for your own good.

    DFFT.

  17. Robert K. Froese

    It’s difficult for me to draw any connection between the horrific event on the Greyhound bus, and the issue of crime / punishment / deterrence / retribution / right to life / crime rates / etc., because in my view there isn’t any (connection). I would ask the 7,000 individuals on Facebook agitating for reinstatement of the death penalty a couple questions namely:

    1. How much if any have any of you contributed towards providing any form of support to the mentally ill around you, and specifically towards your fellow citizens suffering from Schizophrenia?

    2. If we as a society decapitates Vincent Li, (eye for an eye – tooth for tooth), for this horrible act, how will that have any effect on the next schizophrenic who might hear similar voices reverberating within his / her own cerebral chambers?

    I will acknowledge that terminating the life of the perpetrator in this instance, would ensure that this same individual would never again be subjected to such voices; but it’s not that simple. In order to justify the economic viability of capital punishment, society would have to eliminate the right of appeal, and do a summary execution. That has all kinds of ramifications affecting society as a whole, and for the information of all 7,000 Facebook proponents of the death penalty, Canadians love their Charter of Rights.

    It’s clear that Vincent Li, was a very sick man. It’s also clear that this incident is so bizarre, and out of statistical norm, that to use this incident as a case in point to be used in support of legislative changes (crime and punishment) is as bizarre as is the incident itself. As a society, we can draw a lesson from this diabolical manifestation of mental illness, namely:

    1. Allocate more resources towards identification, care and treatment of the mentally ill

    2. A better educated public is more likely to lend its support to the above.

    The foregoing would save money, improve the lot of affected individuals, and reduce the risk to the public at large. There is no redress we can offer to the bereaved McLean family, their son is gone, and I cannot speak for them, but if there is anything positive that can come out of this tragedy, it has to be a renewed commitment on the part of all of us, to pay some attention to those of us that are afflicted with this terrible illness.

  18. Robert K. Froese

    I have a throw knife in my dresser drawer. It’s heavy, with a six inch long blade, and a metal handle, sharpened on both sides tapered to a central point on both sides. It’s a lethal weapon.

    I disarmed a paranaoid schizophrenic who was wearing this knife on his belt. I asked him “the purpose of this knife”, and the answer I got was that he was being chased by hell’s angels, and needed the knife for his protection. He was completely delusional, and scared the hell out of me. I could not bear the thought of this knife becoming the instrument of death to some unsuspecting and uninvolved innocent individual,
    simply becasue some delusional sick person was hearing voices in his head, so I disarmed him.

    How did I do it?

    I offerred him some moneyh for the knife. I don’t know fo any schizophrenics who aren’t hawking for cigarettes.

    My only point; we just can’t all walk away from these affected (sick) people and then bear down on them when we get into trouble as a result.

    enuff enufffff

  19. Not a single one of you platitude-wielding lefty clones has an answer to the question: what about justice for Tim McLean?

    In the world of the left, the victim is always forgotten – a simple statistic. So much for so-called liberal compassion.

  20. Robert K. Froese

    A platitude weilding lefty clone?
    I am not so arrogant as to suggest that I can supplant, or substitute, or impose some form of retributive justice, based on my own personal sentiments, and that somehow I can provide a closure, or justice to an injustice, that will in any way address the pain of the McLean family.

    So Mr. Flaggman put your money where your mouth is, get yourself a suitable knife, and lop off the head of Vincent Weiguang Li; you must eviscerate the headless Mr. Li, bury your face in his entrails, and fill your mouth with his flesh. Then place the head on a platter and deliver it to the McLean family, together with your pronouncement of “Here is Justice for You”.

    and while you’re at it please explain to the McLean family, that justice so adminsitered, will send a signal to all the other demons, dancing in the heads of other schizophrenics at large in our society.

    “Justice for All”

  21. Catfish

    Well said, RFK. The screaming for Justice never ends, whether no matter the punishment..ask any family of a victim who has watched the execution of the murderer. Justice is not found in rage and anger.

    Now this is not to say that the victims family does not have a right to be full of rage and anger..absolutely. But the death of another individual will never ever satisfy that rage.

    Catfish

  22. Jonathan

    Death or life in prison? I’d rather be dead, and judging by Mr. Li’s muttered plea of “just kill me” in court, so would he. I say don’t do him the favor, let him rot in a metal box for the rest of his natural life, or until he finds an inventive way to commit suicide in his little bare solitary-cell.

  23. Robert K. Froese

    I am definitely odd man out on this blog, so please carry on your dialogue on justice without me, I have nothing to contribute.

    I’m guessing that Mr. Li is fully engaged with “the dance of devils” going on in his own head, and for him death means an end to the dance.

  24. You really aren’t that daft, to think that justice – or even “Eye for an Eye” – means killing the perpetrator in the same manner as the perpetrator killed the victim, are you?

    Morons.

  25. “An eye for an eye” refers to making the punishment fit the crime, as you and I well know. This is what makes your demand that murder be repaid with death all the more mysterious. If you know that “an eye for an eye” is not literal, why do you demand a death for a death?

    There is no way to achieve justice for Tim McLean. He’s dead. Horrifically, tragically dead. No one living can imagine how terrible that death was for him.

    But he’s dead. Killing Vincent Li won’t bring him back. Putting Vincent Li in jail, or even torturing him day in and day out, will not bring Tim McLean back. Nothing we can do can return Tim McLean to the just and deserved state of being alive. There can be no justice for Tim McLean.

    So where is your argument that killing Vincent Li is more just for Tim McLean than putting him in jail or in a mental institution? Tim McLean is equally unjustly deceased in all cases.

  26. “But he’s dead. Killing Vincent Li won’t bring (Tim McLean) back.” – another stupid leftist platitude. The goal isn’t to bring back the dead, idiot! That’s called voodoo, and it doesn’t work.

    But you’ve nicely exposed the sad emptiness of atheism for me. When you believe life is meaningless, you believe death is meaningless, and you end up with compassion neither for the living nor the dead.

  27. And to address your silly quibbling point about eye-for-an-eye – it doesn’t mean the retributive death has to be the same, obviously. But it does mean that murderers should be put to death. It’s called proportionality, and it’s what brings order, fairness, and civility to the world.

  28. You’re becoming rather pointlessly cruel.

    Murderers should be punished. On this we both agree.

    You try to wiggle the meaning of an “eye for an eye” to mean “death, but not necessarily the same kind of death”. This is called “special pleading”. Why, if you are devoted to this particular idea of “justice”, do you not demand that, for the sake of Tim McLean, we should repeatedly stab Vincent Li and slice off his head? Why do you only demand the death part?

    What if he had killed two people? Should we kill him, resuscitate him and kill him again? Both victims would need “justice” after all.

    As for atheism, you won’t understand its uplifting nature unless you actually attempt to understand an atheist. This is probably too frightening for most believers to attempt, which is why they continue to construct strawmen of us as people who lead pointless, unhappy or selfish lives. I understand how religion can make you feel happy and give you direction. I was there once. I have simply accepted that it is a happiness without truth and the direction it leads is not a healthy one.

  29. carbonlexicon

    “Vicious randomness of the animal kingdom”? The beauty of the animal kingdom is that it is inherently not vicious nor random. Schizophrenia, as far as I know, has never been diagnosed in an animal; animals are incapable of slaughtering a man and traumatizing others for anything more abstract than pure survival.

    The beauty of our socially-liberal state (and I am a conservative) is that we do not immediately exact our carnal revenge through the useless and cruel institution of capital punishment. It is precisely those who advocate state-endorsed murder who are the barbarians. If Mr. Li wants to die, he had options to do so. Since he took another life, he deserves to be removed from others he may harm. Killing him serves no good in understanding mental illness or the grace of humanity to heal.

    Justice…revenge…life…death. These concepts are being tried right now. To simply advocate the death penalty for Li (of course, we let Paul Bernardo and Robert Pickton escape the sentence) is to dismiss dialogue about these concepts and merely impose an American-style snub at civilisation.

  30. Robert K. Froese

    so I am not alone!
    and I am most assuredly not a moron
    and its not about right or left
    or atheism versus anything else

    flagman defeats his own argument of proportionality and his own concept of ‘eye for an eye’ justice. A bible in one hand, and a gun in the other, are not the hallmarks of a civilized society, American midwest notwithstanding

    An eye for an eye and the world goes blind (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

    So what is this about?

    A little space between the ears!

    I am truly grateful to be north of the 49th, and that historically our political establishments whether they were from the left or right, have for the most part ignored the religious leaders of the day.

    Our current PM will have to do the same if he’s is serious about hanging on to his office.

  31. Ashlee

    I believe Mr. Li should be put on death row. Why let someone be in jail for 5 years with a free place to live and free food? He should get the death penalty so others will see this is NO JOKE. The Canadian system is STUPID. People are murdering people after people and only getting put in jail for 5 years. What kind of system is that? If you murder someone, you should be murdered yourself. If i had it my way the “murderes” would get killed the way they killed the innocent. I have never in my entire life heard of such a horrific tragic murder. This sickens me, my family and friends who KNEW Tim. He was the sweetest kindest man I knew. He will be deeply missed. There wont be a day that goes by that we all wont think of him.

  32. Robert K. Froese

    sickens us all

    deathrow process costs taxpayers a lot more money than it does to keep him imprisoned for life
    Even in USA which has the highest per capita prisoner population in the entire world, it takes 15 years for a typical death sentance to be carried out; that is not justice.

    furthermore, somebody who is so mentally degranged is not going to be either aware or influenced by any precedent of any kind.

    the most effective prevention of a re-occurance of such unprovoked killings is for society to get a better pulse on day to day behaviour of such individuals.

    frankly, i have a hard time believing that Mr. Li did not send out some signals with respect to his potential for violence. just a guess on my part, but its likely that people close to him covered up for him, and / or hugely under estimated the extent of his mental disorder.

    It’s very difficult to take these people into involuntary treatment unless someone close to them is willing and able to docuement behaviour that will induce the man in black robes to issue such an order.

    the most successful prevention of such occurances is for families of afflicted individuals to work together with the professionals in an ongoing systematic and never ending regiment of monitoring and treatment of such individuals.

    The professionals can’t keep it up on their own, and families on their own can’t don’t have the tolls to do it without the help of the professionals.

    and if there isn’t any family support base, these people will fall through the cracks, and surface in ways that make us all shudder in revolt.

    This is burnout territory for caregivers

    There is no fail safe, but it can be greatly reduced by paying attention to the individuals.

    A schizophrenic hearing voices has to be taken very seriously, and we ignore them at our peril.

    A typical shizophrenic may actually feel better off his / her meds, because dellusion is often better than a miserable reality. So we treat these people, not out of some sense of altruism but to keep our streets as safe as we can.

    It’s also cheaper to treat them, and to keep them “off the streets” than the revolvign door of having the police and emergency medial services attend to them when they get into trouble.

    (well documented

    enuff enufffff

  33. God bless you, Ashlee, you are absolutely right, with one correction: capital punishment is not “murder” – it is killing (of a guilty murderer). “Murder” is the unjust killing of an innocent life. In Tim’s case, it is the most grievous of all types of murder.

    People like Mr. Froese above have no compassion, either for the living or the dead. Without justice for Tim, there is no compassion for the living or the dead.

  34. Mr. Froese is showing a great deal more compassion than you are, flaggman. He’s showing compassion for the people who, in the future, will be killed in likewise fashion should we fail to do something about men like Vincent Li.

    Vincent Li would not have been dissuaded from the horrific murder he committed if he had known Canada had the death penalty. This should be clear from the fact that he has asked to be killed. How can you possibly pretend that the death penalty is a deterrent for a guy who ASKED to be killed? Aversion therapy doesn’t work on masochists.

    Psychotic lunatics really don’t care about the death penalty. They don’t care about anything. That’s why they’re called “psychotic”.

    My heart goes out to the friends and family of Tim McLean. I’ve had friends and relatives die too and grieving is no easy business. It could only be worse when the death comes so brutally.

    Killing psychotics won’t help, though, not with the next one to come along. Figuring out how to spot these people ahead of time and stop them from going off is the key. That’s where Mr. Froese demonstrates greater compassion than you, flaggman, because he actually cares enough to find a real solution.

    And in the end, preventing the next death is all the justice we can ever do for Tim McLean.

  35. Robert K. Froese

    Thank You Greg!

    For your information:

    This has been my first experience on a blog, to date I have ignored them all.

    There is no argument I can make, or any logic I couldl present that will persuade someone wrapped up in a flag, or the pages of holy writ, to change his or her mind about much of anything.

    I cannot know what my own reaction would be if my own son would be killed and desecrated in any similar fashion (Tim McLean). I believe that each individual (if they choose to go on living), has to find some way to survive the horror of it all. The path of healing (if there can be any), will be vary based on the individual’s own background and experiences in life. Catfish said it best, these people have a right to express their despair and anger.

    What I do know with certainty; if it were my son there would be no closure for me ever. Closure and Justice are terms so broadly and carelessly used, that they have lost all meaning for me. They may have meaning in legal terms, and / or in the administration of justice.

    Flaggman believes I am a moron, and devoid of compassion. Perhaps my own childhood experience of being buried in proprietary Christian dogma, has robbed me of my ability to love.

  36. Dan

    I have read this and many articles on the events in question. I guess the issue I feel that has been raised and argued that resonates most completely with our sense of justice, outrage and fear is the idea of true justice which ought to be more about righteousness (making things right) than vengeance. In a good society we would have the ability to point to a good person or a good judge who is unimpeachable and say “what should we do?” Do we have this society or even one of these people who we can trust unequivacibly? I do not necessarily think that blood on our hands means we deteriorate as a society. There can be good actions that leave blood on one’s hands (defending the weak, resisting tyranny, martyrdom, etc.). The issue is the goodness and righteousness that we call out for at a time of moral crisis. The only righteous blood I can ever call for is my own. I will call upon myself to resist and defend with all that I have and all that I am what I know to be right and true. Not to fight and defeat another, but to stand in the gap for those who are being trampled. Does that mean that I avenge Mr. McLean’s death by calling for the death of Mr. Li? How can I call for another’s blood and who should I call out to be judge, jury and executioner?

    The cry for justice and for things to be made right is one that resounds in our society, and yet we have few (any?) sources that we can truly trust. Politicians, courts, enforcement, citizens? If we cannot trust any of these institutions for justice (righteousness), we end up clamouring out, when we see no other end, for vengeance so we do not have to engage all the injustices – how many children starved while I was writing this, how many more while you were reading? – and we may focus on one blip on the radar that offends us more than the others.

    We need righteousness but do not know where to find it. Thus we cry out for vengeance. There is peace somewhere, but it is not in this formula.

  37. Robert K. Froese

    Jack would I be correct in paraphrasing?

    It’s how we treat those around us who are unable for whatever reason to take care of themselves?

    That is basically my religion.

  38. N.

    I go with ‘the Flaggman’. Capital punishment is the statement that we make — that preserves the civility of our society..

    But, I’ll go a scary step beyond: that Mr. Li probably did society a favor in prematurely removing from it, the wishful-thinking acting out of someone who represented and applauded the wholesale taking of life — behind the veil of his earphones and not-so-private accoutrements of homicidal hatred. Why has the press withheld and/or suppressed the truth about those who call themselves juggalos. Tim M. was one. Does anyone really know the truth about Mr. Li’s PRIMARY action — the actual taking of a life not yet on trial for hatchet crimes of his own? I don’t feel sympathy for Tim M.’s fate. Should I apologize for that ‘moral shortcoming’?

  39. pfairchild

    Why should you kill a man who wants to die as punishment? Is that not defeating the purpose of death row? To convince others not to murder.
    I don’t agree that we should kill those who kill, but at the same time, should we really lock them up in a place that is nicer than many homes out there?
    I am sorry for your loss Ashlee, no one should have to go through what the friends/family of Tim are going through right now. But I don’t think just killing him will solve the problem. He won’t care that he has to die. Even if he was to go through what he did to his victim, would he even realize what was going on? Or would he just become absent of what was going on around him, as he seemed to do when he was acting out these outrageous crimes. He obviously has the ability to blank out everything/anything he wants from his mind, as he didn’t care what was happening when he was committing the crime, other then what he was actually doing.
    I am not saying that no he shouldn’t be punished, but is death really a punishment for him? Or is it the one thing that he is looking for?

  40. People, people: while it’s interesting to note that Vincent Li has asked to be killed, it is not relevant. Further, to say that he should be kept alive solely because he wants to die shows a little sadism on the part of the proponent. Justice is blind, folks!

    And why all the confusion between “killing” and murder? They’re two completely different things, people. Murder is the unjust taking of an innocent human life. Murder is certainly “killing”, but killing is certainly not always murder, and is in no way equivalent.

  41. N.

    Mr. Flagmann,

    You are correct. They are not the same thing. Even the Old Testament says, “Thou shalt not MURDER.” Even THEN, and there, the difference was understood.

    Even if/though Tim M. was not ‘an innocent’ in the moral sense, apparently at the moment of Vincent Li’s assault, he WAS (in a technical sense). Apparently, there was no mutual combat that resulted in his death. In Canada, there is no death penalty for Li’s act. In the U.S.A., the mayhem aspect makes his crime more serious, and elevates the murder of McLean to a capital offense. The SIMPLE murder of a bus driver would carry the possibility of the death penalty in the State of California, U.S.A., and in some other states. Had Tim been a pregnant female, and carrying an unborn fetus, the death penalty would carry, or LWOP (Life in Prison, without the Possibility of Parole — the alternative sentencing for each). But, without the Mayhem or pregnancy w/fetus, had Li more-simply murdered Tim M., the crime would carry NO DEATH PENALTY — UNLESS murdering someone on an interstate conveyance elevates the status of the crime.

    Does Canada have the equivalent of LWOP? Probably not for their Second Degree Murder charges.

  42. Dan wrote: “I do not necessarily think that blood on our hands means we deteriorate as a society. There can be good actions that leave blood on one’s hands (defending the weak, resisting tyranny, martyrdom, etc.).”

    There are two different statements in this quote. I agree that there can be good actions that involve killing other people. Soldiers, when they go off to war, usually believe that the killing they are doing is justified. Whether it is or not is a matter of some debate, but not this debate.

    The problem is, even when they ARE completely justified in killing, even when they FEEL completely justified in killing, it still produces shell shock or PTSD. It’s not a matter of “right and wrong”, it’s simply that taking human life changes the human who does it – and not in a good way.

    My argument is that if you compare the societies that take lives (S. Arabia, Iran, China, U.S.A.) to those who don’t, you’ll find that the ones who do are much more brutal societies for their citizens to live in.

  43. N.

    IN RESPONSE TO: Greg Gyetko’s last comment:

    I agree that ‘blood on a nation’s hands’ is not always a bad thing. Likewise, I believe that ‘blood on an individual’s hands’ is not always a bad thing.

    However, your LAST paragraph is illogical, and simplistic. In the U.S.A., for example, local governments are inconsistent in their handling of moral and legal issues and the message is seen as leniency towards crime. Gang and other organized crime, and corruption of local governments (and attitudes towards illegal aliens in our country) are good examples of ways that citizens lose respect for their governors (including ourselves as governors), because we are a government of, by and for the people. Many of us become lazy and accepting of wrongdoing and wrongdoers. It is the inconsistencies in government and in punishment that causes our disrespect for our own laws, not the punishments themselves.

    The U.S.A., and its individual States, seldom prosecute cases that carry the death penalty. The murder of ONE person is seldom prosecuted as a capital crime. The guilty murderer usually serves a limited sentence that is parolable. Some crimes carry life imprisonment WITHOUT the POSSIBILITY of parole, and is truly a life sentence. But, murder is seldom punished with the death penalty, and when so sentenced, there are years of appeal involved before a sentence can ever be carried out — or not.

    The CONSISTENCY of a unified will is what instills respect in a citizenry. It is the INconsistency of expected prosecution that makes any people angry and sometimes brutal. No COUNTRY, in and of itself, is BRUTAL. COUNTRIES ARE COMPRISED OF countrymen/women, AND GOVERNMENTS CAN BE CHANGED. It is the UNIFIED WILL OF A COUNTRY’S PEOPLE THAT MAKES it STRONG, or WEAK.

    That is why it is particularly important to know and understand the difference between MURDER and KILLING, and the difference between REVENGE, and RETRIBUTION.

    We RIGHTFULLY kill another who is in the process of murdering. Someone KILLING Mr. Li WHILE he was MURDERING another, is correct. Since nobody tried, or did, it is the duty of society to render a verdict. If the mechanism is not in place, nothing can be done about Mr. Li’s crime. That is the quandary that the people of Canada have created for themselves. So, nobody can complain, can they? He is not NECESSARILY mentally ill. Philosophically, one can consider that he STOPPED a possible future murderer — either intentionally (with preknowledge), or by the accident of finding oneself too near a perceived threat — considering Tim McLean’s OWN appetites for heinous violence. Either way, a kind of bizarre justice prevailed, there. The eating could have been a kind of bizarre cleanup — albeit highly unconventional. Enter Hannibal Lecter,

    In general, if one DEFENDS strongly, is that defense BRUTALITY? I think NOT. Perhaps ‘overkill’ is a message to those who seldom listen — society itself — which allows a certain measure of violent expression — but, not its full gamut — in the form of a Tim McLean; but NOT in the form of a Vincent Li.

    There is a difference between NECESSARY force, and NONE at all when necessary. We need to be able to trust in that. NO force, when necessary, is dangerous.

    Understanding all of this on a personal level contributes to a stronger nation.

  44. Robert K. Froese

    gobbedldy gook

  45. “gobbedldy gook” – that’s rich, coming from Mr. Platitude himself! Try reading what N. says – it makes a great deal of sense, perhaps it’s over your head.

    The accusations of violent tendencies on the part of Mr. McLean, however, are lost on me. Where’s the evidence of this, N.?

  46. Robert K. Froese

    According to Flaggman I am a moron, and devoid of compasssion; Now I am Mr. Platitude.

    platitude: Lack of originality; triteness

    Mr. N writes:

    “He is not NECESSARILY mentally ill. Philosophically, one can consider that he STOPPED a possible future murderer — either intentionally (with preknowledge), or by the accident of finding oneself too near a perceived threat — considering Tim McLean’s OWN appetites for heinous violence”

    Gobbledy gook, is much to gentle a term to describe such outrageous comments, hypothetical maybe, but philosophical is a stretch in my view.

    This blog started as a commentary on the need to obtain justice on account of the brutal murder of Tim McLean. Now according to Mr. N, its become a vindication of the killer and / or killing, justified by some extra sensory perception on the part of Mr. N, that the victim was a potential killer.

    What I read into Mr. N’s “philosophy”, is that the missing mechanism in our country is an electric chair, a gas chamber or a scaffold. Canada, in fact has a legal system, nobody is suggesting that it’s flawless.

    A further extrapolation of Mr. N’s philosophy evokes the right and / or obligation of any citizen in our society to kill anyone suspected of harbouring ill will towards his fellowman. The problem with such a philosophy is that there would be no man left standing, and no justice to administate because only Mr. N and Flaggman would be left standing. The final outcome would depend on a draw.

    y all want American Justice?
    hasn’t made it a gentler society
    and if you end up in jail, you get medicare

    you want a Theocracy?
    go to Iran

    want a gentler society?
    keep the church out of the state
    and your bigotry on the pews

    an eye for an eye?
    take back your slaves

    and if the meek shall inherit the earth
    they won’t get to keep it for long
    i.e., the good lord said to give up your arms (sermon on the mount)

    I await my next title

  47. My point is as regards societies which permit the death penalty and those which do not. I propose the theory, with substantial support, that the more killing a country does, the easier it becomes – just as it is with people.

    I’m not discussing whether or not Vincent Li deserves to live. I’ve already pointed this out. I’ve argued that’s it’s not good for US to kill him. Even if it were fully justified (how you could prove this, I don’t know, but let’s suppose) it would still be bad for US.

    The places in the world that still have the death penalty are the most brutal, oppressive places to live on this planet. Yes, the U.S.A. is the least brutal of all of them, but compared to any of its fellow developed nations, the U.S.A. is still the most brutal in terms of standard of living (infant mortality, life expectancy and various other factors).

    I don’t want my country to become more brutal. Consequently, I don’t want the death penalty. Fortunately there’s minimal support for the idea anyway, so I’m not worried.

  48. The USA is the most brutal in terms of standard of living? I don’t know whether to laugh, or cry that you actually believe that.

    That must explain why hundreds of thousands of people every year from every single other country in the world give up everything to come to America, legally or illegally, often at risk of life, limb, and fortune.

    You’re really not distinguishing yourself here…perhaps you should quit while you’re ahead, oh-so-cool-one with your UK e-mail address.

  49. Robert K. Froese

    I don’t think there is a significant difference in the standard of living between U.S.A., Canada and the U.K. if you compare overall averages of disposable income, or comsumer buying powr etc. etc.

    There is a HUGE difference between the countries in terms of how that income is distributed. I am referring to the difference between the rich and the poor. The U.S.A. being one of the wealthiest countries in the world ranks absolutely last (20th of the wealthiest 20 developed countries) in terms of the number of people living in poverty, on a per population basis. No other nation in the developed group would even come close to the U.S.A. in this important measurement of standard of living.

    Note that Greg is referring to comparisons between the developed nations, and if you compare the plight of the poor, Greg is absolutely right. For the rich the U.S.A. is a great country.

    an aside:

    One of the reasons that the auto trade pact between U.S. and Canada was so successful for Canada was the fact that American based companies benefitted enormously from the fact that their Canadian plant employees came with universal health care coverage. That more than offset any other production inefficiencies.

    That is changing “as we speak” due to the fact that the Americans are broke. Policing the world, changing regimes, hurricanes, and far too many jails are costly, and they are not funding their huge military requirements from their own tax base. Their operating deficiencies are being funded largely from the Chinese treasury (borrowed), so future generations will have to deal with the debtload.

    so why are so many immigrants heading for the U.S.? U.S. has historically fostered generous immigration policies, and deliberately turned a blind eye to the illegal immigration. Why? because the rich have benefitted enormously from the cheap labour provided by this illegal labour force that could not organize or seek legal recourse to address illegal labour practices.

    It’s only now that their economy is sliding that the American worker is becoming increasingly upset over the cheap illegal immigrant labour that is displacing their jobs (hence the fences). In reality they should be building fences to keep their factories from escaping to third world countries; which is the real reason for the loss of jobs. The other big benefit to the American economy (immigration), is the fact that these immigrants represent a younger age group, work hard, and contribute to economic growth (they are not taxing the old age security benefit programs, nor do they drain medicaid. so they are an economic plus.

    So why is the American society so violent compareid to other developed nations? More guns, but that alone doesn’t account fo the difference. The world is flooded with guns, and there is no shortage of guns in Canda or the U.K., so there must be other reasons.

    I think it has more to do with how our respectieve societies evolved. All protestation to the contrary, Americans are a militaristic nation, (note Boston Tea Party, and subsequent Civil War).

    When you have a part of the society so rich, living alongside of the very poor, there has to be conflict.

    Americans would never accept the level of taxation required to fund universal health care for example.

    Canadians and Brits, are conditioned to pawning off our collective and individual social responsibilites, on our governments, Americans assume more individual responsibility in that regard and are actually quite generaous as a nation.

    Neither one is perfect, but ours is more gentle.

  50. I was comparing the U.S. to *other developed nations*. It wasn’t a long post. Did you miss that part?

    Of course people from undeveloped countries prefer it over their homelands. But I don’t think the world’s greatest economic powerhouse should be sparring with Mozambique or Angola when it comes to health.

    Compare for yourself if you don’t believe me.
    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004393.html

  51. Robert K. Froese

    “Note that Greg is referring to comparisons between the developed nations, and if you compare the plight of the poor, Greg is absolutely right. For the rich the U.S.A. is a great country.”

    what did I miss?

    I am Canadian

    Flaggman does not represent the vast majority of Canadians.

  52. Not you, Robert. I was responding to flagmann.

    Now that he’s descended to attacking my email address, does this mean we’ve won?

  53. Robert K. Froese

    Greg, don’t confuse him with facts his mind is made up.

    It’s like wrestling with pigs. you get dirty and the pigs likes it.

  54. Sorry kids, but leftist platitudes lost their influence on me somewhere around 2nd-year undergrad. It would take far greater minds than your knucklehead tag-team to “win”.

    This comment thread has run its course.