Jurors find school shooter "not guilty by reason of insanity" - are we quickly forgetting the lessons we should have learned from Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris at Columbine High School?
(Posted by Bryana Joy on October 08, 2011)
Eastwood has a history of mental illness and run-ins with the law. His peculiar behaviors were noted by his father and others who knew him, and his rambling journals refer to “mutants and transformers” who were “taking over his body.” The prosecution, however, has argued that he was fully aware of what he was doing and intended the attack deliberately. It has been speculated that Eastwood, who attended the Deer Creek Middle School in the 1990s and was bullied by classmates, planned the assault as an act of revenge. Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Jensen said that during two hours of videotaped questioning with investigators, Eastwood repeatedly said he that knew what he did was wrong, and that he had hatred and anger.
“It’s complicated because what jurors are going to have to decide is whether Eastwood knew the difference between right and wrong at the time of the shooting,” Lopez said on Wednesday as she covered the story live in front of the Jefferson County Justice Center.
But I’m not so sure that it is all that complicated.
Call me crazy, but it seems to me that whether or not the suspect knew right from wrong is largely irrelevant. Eastwood clearly meant to commit a crime and, were it not for the brave intervention of the mathematics teacher who tackled him, would probably have ended up murdering children. Did he “know” that his object was criminal and wrong? How can that matter at all?
Let us suppose, for the purpose of making the case clearer, that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris didn’t “know” that their killing spree at Columbine High School in 1999 was criminal and wrong, but had persuaded themselves that what they were planning to do was just and justifiable. What does that change for the dead victims and their bereaved families?
Bruco Eastwood’s case is a happy one because in the same county where Klebold and Harris massacred 13 people 12 years ago, he was spared, through no act of his own, from bringing the blood of his would-be victims down upon his misguided head. However, this lucky outcome in no way mitigates the seriousness of his intentions.
According to the Huffington Post, Jurors on Wednesday found Eastwood not guilty by reason of insanity on all but one charge: possession of a weapon on school grounds. District Attorney Scott Storey said he will remain at the state hospital for an indeterminate time until he is deemed legally sane and released. His case will be reviewed every six months. Storey added that the average stay in the state hospital for homicide cases is 7 1/2 years and that, in Eastwood's case, it could be less.
Two things to mull over (that have me confused!):
-Why on earth should insanity render a person suddenly “not guilty” of something they indisputably did?
-Who thinks it a good idea for this guy to be back out on the street in seven years or less?