The moral universe that can declare Andrea Yates “not guilty by reason of insanity” no longer deserves to be called moral at all. Justice holds that there is right that should be rewarded and encouraged and wrong that should be restrained and punished. This has nothing to do with vengeance, but it has everything to do with justice. Punish her lightly if the insanity is deemed a mitigating circumstance, but do not say that she is not guilty. As it stands she could be released if she is no longer deemed a threat.
What is wrong is wrong, whether the perpetrator understands the concept of wrong or not. Placing the phrase “not guilty” next to the name Andrea Yates is an outrage. She committed heinous crimes: she drowned her five children one by one. They struggled against her. She covered their dead bodies with a sheet. No one doubts that she did this.
The whole nation should be outraged that she has been declared not guilty. The fact that there has not been a public outcry shows that we no longer understand the concepts of good and evil, true and false, right and wrong, just and unjust. And if we understand them, we do not value them enough to act on them, to stand for them, or to object when they are violated.
The justice system has surrendered personal responsibility along with the concepts of virtue and character. These have been replaced by a denial of what it means to be human in the assertion that people are not responsible for what they do.
In the immoral world that we live in, it feels to me as though what I am saying in this post is harsh. But I am not being harsh. I am simply calling for justice.
If we are going to be a just society, we must promote good behavior and restrain evil behavior. If we are going to be a just society, we must punish those who do evil. If we are going to do justice, it does not matter whether or not a criminal is insane. What matters is whether or not a crime was committed. If the crime was committed, we should pursue justice.
When a crime is committed, it is unjust to declare the criminal—who clearly committed the crime beyond any reasonable doubt—not guilty. Calling Andrea Yates “not guilty” does not make her not guilty, it only makes our justice system unjust.
Whether the justice system in the USA acts like it or not, right is right and wrong is wrong—even if those who commit crimes don’t realize it. Justice demands that crimes be punished. When crimes are not punished, injustice is done. But as David Wells says in God and the Wasteland, there is a final line of resistance to all that is evil in the world, and one day he will execute justice. Let us flee to his mercy, which is only to be found in Christ, and let us pray for the souls of those involved in this tragic denial of justice.