Reposted with permission and updated from Christian Governance.
Predictably, recent headlines declared that the Colorado shooter (Batman’s Dark Knight mass murderer) and BC’s woe-begotten child abductor, Randall Hopley, are both going to be “assessed” regarding their mental state.
In Hopley’s case, the request for an assessment came from the Crown as they want to put him out of commission “indefinitely” by having him assessed as a “dangerous offender.” In BC protocols, an assessment to determine whether an individual is a dangerous offender takes 60 days. This is something that would take the average Canadian, especially the father or mother of a three-year old child about 60 seconds. However, his defence attorneys are so confused by the “complexities” of this case that they don’t think he should be termed a dangerous offender. Their reasoning? Because, although he kidnapped the youngster from his bed and held him captive for four days, he did return him alive and relatively unharmed.
What does the “rule of law” mean, in a case like this? Where does Christian compassion for both victim and perpetrator fit in? We were all praying for little Kienan Hebert while he was the hostage of Mr. Hopley. And we all cheered and breathed huge sighs of relief when he was returned unharmed to his parents. But that doesn’t erase the enormity of the crime committed by Hopley nor give any assurance that he would not do the same thing again, nor that, in other circumstances, he might not act out his social dysfunction with much more serious results.
CHP Canada maintains that the “rule of law” requires that laws apply equally to all citizens and that, under a just God, the state has a responsibility to enforce laws and apply penalties that fit the crime and promote safety for all law-abiding citizens, especially children due to their physical limitations and their social and emotional vulnerability.
The Hopley case is characterized by several other bizarre elements: CBC refers to the search-and-rescue efforts of policemen, trackers, and volunteers as the “biggest manhunt in BC history.” For all that, Mr. Hopley managed to elude discovery for four days and to then return the child to his own home (the scene of the crime) without being apprehended. From this we may conclude that there are gaps in other systems beside the court system. Also, the fact that the abduction occurred last September and the need for an “assessment” was determined today (nearly a year later) proves once again that our legal system is wretchedly inefficient, that costly and frustrating delays are hindering justice for both victims and perpetrators and that current approaches are not designed to curb crime or protect victims but to satisfy an arbitrary set of rules and maintain a malignant status quo.
In the case of the Colorado shooter, the defence is seeking a psychiatric assessment in order to have their client declared not guilty by reason of insanity. As I wrote last year, regarding the Norwegian mass murderer, Anders Breivik: Of Course He’s Insane! We do no favours to the criminally insane by withholding from them the legal consequences of their violent misdeeds. Instead of restoring calm and helping victims and perpetrators to come to terms with a tragedy and to recognize the potential of evil in a confused and tormented heart, we add to the burden by policies that seem to reward good and evil behaviour equally.
These are not isolated cases but this approach of psychiatric assessment in lieu of justice has become the typical response of defence lawyers. As I write this article, the newswires report that Trevor Kloschinsky, the man accused of killing Alberta peace officer, Rod Lazenby, will have his mental state “reviewed by a psychiatrist.”
We all remember with shock and horror the Greyhound bus murder and decapitation trial and the “supervised walks” granted to the Vince Li, the troubled man who used a butcher knife on a sleeping fellow-passenger.
The recent killing of Jun Li followed by the mutilation of his body and the mailing of his body parts assumed to be the work of big-name homosexual model Luka Magnotta has gripped the hearts of Canadians with fear: fear of similar grotesque attacks and fear that not only our justice system but our whole society is out of control.
There is a proper time for a psychiatric assessment and for efforts to help mentally ill people cope with their confusion. There is a time for reaching out in sincere compassion to those who do not seem able to accept the realities of life—the big world and their small part in it. The time for caring action, for sincere attempts to build relationship and to help troubled individuals adjust to reality is before they commit murder, mayhem, and destruction. They need to know that a loving God has created them for a purpose and has great plans for their lives. Once a murder has been committed, once a child has been kidnapped (or worse), the criminally insane perpetrator may still receive love and forgiveness but he must do it from behind bars. His confusion (sometimes brought on or exacerbated by his own actions) may be a contributing factor in his moral failure but it must never become an excuse.
In a just society, the law must stand firm without showing favouritism for the mentally ill. Insane laws create serial killers and make a mockery of justice. Let’s set a standard for the Western world. Let’s give people—both victims and perpetrators—the dignity of being responsible for their actions and the just reward of reaping the harvest of their deeds, whether good or evil. Failure to do so will condemn a generation to more confusion, more crime, and more despair. We can do better.
CHP Canada policy states that: There should be no pleas of temporary insanity. The spiritual and emotional disturbances which led an offender to commit a crime should be addressed as part of the redress or rehabilitation measures handed down at the time of sentencing.
To help CHP Canada bring sanity back to our justice system and restore respect for the rule of law, please join the Christian Heritage Party today and find out how you can make a difference with your prayers, your financial contributions, and your volunteer work at the local level. We need your help to get Canada back on track!