I’m not in the business of defending murderers (I leave that to defense attorneys), and I’m not going to defend the American soldier who recently went on a killing rampage in Afghanistan. But if I was his mother, or wife, and I heard people calling for the death penalty for my son, I think I’d go crazy. What if I thought my son should never have been allowed to return to duty, after suffering a brain injury in Iraq in 2010, where he served two times before? The army cleared him to go back, but what if I sensed something was wrong?
After reading about and seeing documentaries on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), I would not be surprised if the soldier was one of its victims and should never have been permitted to go to another war zone.
He committed a horrific act, but it’s possible he needs a lifetime of therapy, not a life prison sentence. Or the death sentence. My uncle returned from the Pacific Theatre in World War 11 and led a tortured life because he was never properly diagnosed with PTSD. They called it “shell shock” then, but even shock therapy later in his life never set my uncle right.
My heart goes out to the innocent victims of the soldier’s act, but it also goes out to the soldier and his family. I am not prepared to make a judgment before hearing all the facts about him. Psychological disease can be far more insidious and incurable than cancer.