Disorder in the Court, Taiwan-style

commentary posted 2016-05-11 - last updated 2016-07-02
Disorder in the Court

Cheng hopped on a MRT train...With a 30-centimeter-long fruit knife, the assailant began hacking all passengers in his path, resulting in four deaths and 24 injuries..Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) said...that there was no signs of psychiatric disorder...

Want to kill? No problem!

China Post reports:

In a surprise announcement, the Justice Ministry last night confirmed the execution of Cheng Chieh (鄭捷), the killer who committed the grisly stabbing spree on the Taipei MRT in 2014. The shooting execution, which took place only 18 days after the Supreme Court finalized his death sentence, marked one of the speediest executions of a death penalty prisoner in the history of Taiwan.

Justice Minister Luo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) reportedly signed the execution order before 5 p.m. Three shots were fired between 8:47 p.m. and 8:51 p.m. to put an end to the 23-year-old's life.

According to a Focus Taiwan report, the Supreme Court explained that: Cheng was arrested on the scene of the crime and there was strong evidence that he was of clear mind when he committed the act. Cheng was not found to have any mental disorders or loss of faculties, the court said.

The same article describes the attack: On the afternoon of May 21, 2014, Cheng launched a random knife attack on passengers on a Taipei Metro train... killing four people and injuring 22 others.

Armed with three knives, he moved from carriage to carriage, stabbing and slashing passengers along the way. Some of the passengers were napping and never knew what happened while others tried to fend him off with umbrellas.

The killing spree came to a stop only when Cheng was subdued on the platform by Metro staff and police officers after the train arrived at Jiangzicui Station.

He told investigators that he had wanted to kill people since he was an elementary student and that he was tired of living.

To Taiwan's Supreme Court, this was a clear mind of a 21-year-old youth with no psychological disorders, merely fulfilling the mentally sound childhood dream of randomly killing people.

Want to die? No problem!

A society that sees no signs of psychiatric disorder in randomly hacking strangers to death, and whose members (presumably also deemed as possessing no signs of psychiatric disorder) express relief when someone is executed, is making a clear statement on where killing fits in that society's normal psychiatric order, and surely must also see no signs of psychiatric disorder when Taiwan Suicide Prevention Center reported that suicide has become the second-biggest cause of death of youth between the ages of 15 to 24. For it is logically consistent that when youth seek escape from a society that accepts killing as a sane act to resolve life's issues, they kill themselves.

Or perhaps they may choose to imitate the acts of the 21-year-old Cheng, confident that they can depend on the state to speedily assist their suicide, and that the state won't waste time trying to prevent more acts of violence by deeply investigating the causes.