Sad that sympathy for killer makes headlines..

Huffpo headline:
** Patrick Kennedy Expresses Sympathy For Accused Gabrielle Giffords Shooter **

Why is this a headline? What’s so shocking about having sympathy for people who are mentally ill? Mental illness is only sad when it does not dirve people to violence? That makes no sense.

It is entirely possible to feel sympathy and sorrow for people who do terrible things, especially if they do it as a result of mental illness. It doesn’t mean one is glad or supportive of the violence.


Well it’s a little tougher to feel sympathy for a mentally ill person who commits mass murder. Do you have sympathy for Jeffrey Dahmer?

I think this is one of those ‘only in politics’ things. (I know Kennedy is no longer in office.) A lot of us wouldn’t think twice if we heard our neighbors say it, and I’m sure some people probably said it on this board. I think I did. But if somebody with a moderate level of name recognition says it, it becomes a headline in anticipation that somebody will be outraged. It’s pretty stupid.

Absolutely. I cannot begin to fathom the kind of torment he went through from earliest childhood, but I’m sure it was hell. A sadder life than his is hard to imagine exactly because the nature of his damage left him utterly alone in his pain: no one cared about him because he was so damaged and sick, even in childhood. So he went through life completely alienated from all humanity. I think if he and others like him could somehow connect or feel cared about, it might prevent them acting on their sick impulses. But when you are damaged and strange and confused and isolated and the feedback you get from the world is rejection and more isolation, it makes it easier for you to say “Screw it, I’ll just do these things I want to do and try to get what juice I can from it.”

This is my own thinking, it just appears self-evident to me. But before posting I decided to do a bit of google…

If you can separate yourself from the revulsion of the acts to look at what drives it and what’s under it, it’s tragic.

In fact, as horrible and unjust and painful and terrible as it was for their victims, and of course it was, at least their victims had love and connection and joy and happiness in their lives before their lives were taken from them, whereas their murderers didn’t have any. At least the victims were mourned, someone cared that they suffered…but the killers are universely despised and miserable always. So really, whose fates were more tragic?

But comparisons are pointless, of course: it’s all tragic and terrible and sad, across the board.

I think this is one of those “HuffPo linkbait” things. What time does the SuperBowl start?

But it’s not always in anticipation of outrage. Just as often, it seems, does it generate long-winded piety in certain quarters.

You make some good points. I’ve honestly never really thought about it like this. All of my sympathy in situations like Dahmer was automatically directed to the victims.

It’s not a headline, unless you include “title of an article” in that definition. Here’s the front page of the Huffington Post - it’s not on there. Here’s the front page of that particular section of the Huffington Post, where it’s not the headline, but just another article. Is your question actually “why do people write articles”?

No sympathy for Jared Loughner. He reminds me of Giuseppe Zangara. Zangara failed at his assasination (although he fatally shot the mayor of Chicago) and he had a date with Old Sparky. I wonder if Loughner’s last words will be similar to Zangara’s. :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s the headline of the article. Out of everything Kennedy said, that was what was pulled as the big deal.

Remember the two aren’t mutually exclusive, though I don’t feel any sympathy for Jeffrey Dahmer in particular, this doesn’t mean you can’t feel sympathy for a killer AND sympathy for the victims as well.

The two aren’t always mutually exclusive.


Remember* Dead Man Walking*? The nun was excoriated for daring to have any compassion for the condemned killer… very sad.

I think if we could learn to have more compassion for the damaged souls among us who act out their pain in violent and damaging ways, and showed more compassion in the way we deal with them, we’d see a lot less violence and crime overall.

But I’ve seen half a century on this earth, I’m not going to be holding my breath.

What about the Lepold and Loeeb who grew up in a wealthy household and really had nothing to complain about in life.

What about them?

Because **Stoid **thinks we should feel sympathy for all psychopathic killers simply because they had a bad childhood. Except, these didn’t have a bad childhood. They just decided to kill someone. Why should anyone feel sympathy for them?

Given that Patrick’s uncles were both killed by mentally unstable gunmen, and that his aunt Rosemary was misdiagnosed as retarded and given a lobotomy to treat what were probably manic depressive episodes, and that Patrick himself suffers from bipolar disorder and depression - I’d say he’s over-qualified to discuss the devastating impact untreaded mental disorders can have both the suffer and the victim and to advocate for better and better-supported treatment options for the mentally ill.

Where did Stoid say anything about all? And by what measure are Leopold and Loeb psychopaths?

AND I didn’t say it was about “bad childhoods” AND since when is being rich the same thing as being happy and healthy and loved and mentally stable?

In fact, Dahmer didn’t have a bad childhood either.

Well, when he wasn’t torturing small animals, of course.

badum bum!