As someone who has been bullied at varying intensities for much of his life (and the effects are still most certainly present), I am absolutely no stranger to the concept of vengeance, to feeling powerful urges of wreaking violent hell against those who wrong others. The carnal desire for catharsis through sharing pain with those who cause it can be almost overpowering.
But humans are not only physical beings; we are also moral ones. This entails not just trying to settle scores and grudges in “eye for an eye” fashion, but most of all, establishing a general structure of applying and enforcing a communal sense of right and wrong to encourage well-being and discourage harm. True justice is never about simply hurting those who’ve hurt you; that’s mere vengeance, which serves only to make you feel better. But if you want to actually live up to true humane morals, you need to rise above such primal temptations and become better than those who do harm to others.
The reason I elaborate this preamble is essentially to lay out my reasoning for saying that whatever may have happened to her daughter, this mother still had no right to commit such an unspeakably evil act upon her daughter’s abuser, no matter how much of a vile thug he may have been:
A Spanish mother has taken revenge on the man who raped her 13-year-old daughter at knifepoint by dousing him in petrol and setting him alight. He died of his injuries in hospital on Friday.
Antonio Cosme Velasco Soriano, 69, had been sent to jail for nine years in 1998, but was let out on a three-day pass and returned to his home town of Benejúzar, 30 miles south of Alicante, on the Costa Blanca.
While there, he passed his victim's mother in the street and allegedly taunted her about the attack. He is said to have called out "How's your daughter?", before heading into a crowded bar.
Shortly after, the woman walked into the bar, poured a bottle of petrol over Soriano and lit a match. She watched as the flames engulfed him, before walking out.
The woman fled to Alicante, where she was arrested the same evening. When she appeared in court the next day in the town of Orihuela, she was cheered and clapped by a crowd, who shouted "Bravo!" and "Well done!"
Soriano suffered 60 per cent burns in the attack on June 13 and was airlifted to a specialist unit. He survived for 11 days before succumbing to his injuries.
According to eyewitnesses cited in the report, the mother was perfectly calm and measured in her demeanor as she simply walked in, set the guy alight, and then walked out without a word or backwards glance. The judge has ordered her to undergo psychiatric testing while in prison, and it’s noted that she apparently has no memory of the event. I would certainly argue that anyone capable of simply walking up to someone and burning them alive in such a purely cold-blooded manner definitely has some psychological issues at the very least, which would at least help explain what happened.
Soriano was a monster. There’s no denying that. Anyone who’s willing to abuse an innocent child in such a manner, and then show not only a lack of remorse, but even pride and arrogance about it, is deserving of absolutely no pity from anybody. But as vile as he was, he was human, and in this society, everyone is meant to be treated equally under the law, regardless of who they are or what they’ve done. I’ll even stand my ground in saying that Osama bin Laden himself should have been captured alive and put through trial before being eventually sentenced. What the mother did is pure, lowly vengeance. In fact, in killing the man – and especially in such a gruesome manner – she has effectively sunk to an even lower level than he had when he raped her daughter.
Uzza asks how one would rule were they in the jury deciding on the mother’s fate. I say lock her up for the legally appropriate length of time. (Or, if found mentally unstable, possibly commit her to a more fitting punitive establishment.) Give her the fair and legal treatment that she so righteously* denied her victim.
Finally, before anyone asks what I would do in the mother’s place (as if that had any bearing on what one should do according to what’s morally right and wrong), I cannot answer with any certainty, and nor can anyone who hasn’t actually been in such a situation. But to take a guess, I would imagine I’d almost certainly try to jump the fucker and make him bleed a bit. But never to kill him. And especially not in such an atrocious manner.
(Sidenote: The article dates from 2005, and a quick Google search failed to turn any results more recent than 2009, none of which contained any newer developments. But I thought it was relevant to comment on anyways.)
(via Uzza's Notes)