Friday, July 20, 2012

Colorado shooting suspect, if guilty, faces only one fate ... or at least that is what should happen.

By Mike Ullery
Chief Photographer

Most everyone has, by now, heard about the tragic shootings in a Colorado movie theatre on Friday morning.

There is no doubt that this was a very tragic event. I am sure that all of us share in the sadness, sorrow and shock at the events that transpired.

This is perhaps jumping the gun, but I am already filled with apprehension as to the stories and angles that will be sought, as well as the conclusions to be drawn by members of the media and the public as the investigation into this horrible act unfolds.

Our first concern is, as it should be, for the victims and their families. News hounds are already searching for anyone who might have known someone who went to school with the cousin of one of the victims.

And then, there is — the shooting suspect.

From our perspective on this case less than 24 hours after the shootings, we have a young man in his early 20’s who, allegedly entered the theatre after first tossing either smoke or gas, then began shooting at patrons.

Police apparently apprehended the suspect outside the theatre, still in possession of one, or more weapons.

I know that everyone, myself included, would love to know the answer to one question, "Why?" We may, or may not, ever truly know the answer to that question.

Police will investigate to learn more. Psychologists will undoubtedly get a crack at the suspect. CNN probably has Dr. Gupta already preparing his dissertation into the suspect's state of mind at the time as well as his sanity. The remaining members of the media will follow every move made by the suspect. They will probably also track down his family, if they have not already done that.

None of this is new. One has only to look at other high-profile cases over the years. Lee Harvey Oswald comes to mind. It was the media's obsession with the man who killed President John F. Kennedy that put Dallas Times-Herald photographer Robert Jackson in the parking garage at Dallas Police Headquarters to document that moment when Jack Ruby killed Kennedy's assassin.

So it shall also be with the Colorado shooting suspect. His life will be put under a microscope. His family will be hounded. Everyone will want to know why he did "it." What is sad, is that even if the suspect bares his soul, certain factions of the media will not believe him and will continue to search for their own version of the truth.

When all is said and done, will any of it matter? Sure, knowing why might answer some questions. Will knowing why a young man opened fire on a theatre full of innocent people bring back those he murdered? Will it ease the pain of the wounded or lessen the pain of family members?

Does anyone care to place a bet on the phrase, "insanity plea" being thrown about as a defense attorney or public defender weighs in on this tragedy?

Whether, or not, the suspect is sane should have no bearing at all on this case. Why he chose to massacre innocent people should not matter in this case.

This will turn out to be a prime case of how screwed up our justice system is in America. Granted, everyone is innocent until proven guilty ... beyond a reasonable doubt.

What about times where someone commits a crime, or crimes, so heinous that there is but one alternative, to remove that person from our society? What about when those crimes are committed in a situation where there is absolutely no doubt as to who perpetrated the act?

There are some acts where "why" does play an important factor. There are some acts that are so heinous that "why" should be of no consequence.

If it is determined that the young man in custody for the early morning shootings in the Colorado movie theatre, is without a doubt, the man who pulled the trigger, time, after time, after time, shooting down men, women and children, in cold blood, then there is only one fate that can be handed down.

This young man should then be executed. If he is, in fact, guilty, his trial should be held quickly. Evidence should be presented. If it is determined that he did perpetrate the crime, he should be sentenced to death, the sentence to be carried out immediately.

End of story.

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