Is it easier to forgive someone if they’re nuts? I suspect it is. I think the (self-identified) Joker, who killed 12 and wounded 58 is nuts. Insane. Just like Brevik who killed many in Norway. Indeed one wonders if the Denver crime is a copy-cat crime. For today is the anniversary of the Norway disaster and one wonders if the Denver killer had initially planned to carry out his killing on this very date, but changed his mind to coincide with the opening of the Batman film.
Insanity does not generally result in violence. But for paranoid schizophrenics, it can. Therapists have been killed by them.
But my question remains: Is it easier to forgive someone if they’re nuts?
This question reminds me of the zen story of the empty boat. How, in a fog, a small boat is smashed by another boat. The one in the small boat curses the big boat for crashing into him … till he realizes the boat is empty.
Now actually I learned about this vignette via Thomas Merton’s translation of Chuang Tzu – in a story which has another point to it entirely. Which would merit another post. (For it bears on us becoming empty ourselves.) But I digress…
When it comes to forgiveness, we have to start somewhere. Madness is a good place to start. That doesn’t mean the criminally insane should be let loose, of course. But can we soften our hearts toward them? Even in the face of the destruction they have caused. Can we look at society’s failure to diagnose and treat the mentally ill, instead of just turning on them? This bears on universal health care. Not just guns.