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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Hollywood Homicide

Wish that title was about a movie.

But this one's about a murder that took place on Halloween eve in Hollywood, FL.

I've covered lots of homicides as a reporter, and I've seen some pretty terrible crime scenes.

This story, though? One of the worst, for no other reason than the brutality.

You can check it out here.

Since the article first posted, yesterday, I've been bombarded by email with the inevitable questions: "Should the son (the killer in this case) be executed?" "Do you think he was (legally) insane?" "Doesn't this prove that some people should be hospitalized and not imprisoned?" "Is this guy evil, or what?" "Is this guy, crazy, or what?"

Those were just a few of the questions I received. But only the last two on that short list grabbed my attention.

Since I'll be covering this story as the case against the killer proceeds, I can't and won't offer any opinions about it. But even if I could, I don't believe I know how to answer the latter two questions.

My answer in the form of a question might be: Is it possible that they're both right? I know "crazy" is not a medical term. But on the assumption that the reader who emailed me meant "mentally ill" instead of "crazy," isn't it possible that while the act itself and the results are bad/evil, the killer is mentally ill?

Just asking, 'cause I've covered homicides where long after the fact, when I was able to offer an opinion, I expressed concern that the killer was downright evil. Others I wondered if the killer was mentally ill. And still others didn't seem to fit solely in either category. Maybe because the other circumstances encompassed a little of both characteristics.

Anyway, follow me, please, at

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  • The longer I live the more I realize that there is no such thing as evil.

    There is working as intended and broken. The guy that did this is broken and so is the system that should have made sure that he was in a place where he couldn't hurt someone.

    By Blogger Wavemancali, at 4:04 PM  

  • I have one question: Why was he still living in the house? He was obviously dangerous long before this final incident occurred. He wasn't med-compliant, he should have been hospitalized permanently a long time ago.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:07 PM  

  • I shy away from the word, "evil" because it means different things to different people depending on their religious beliefs.

    To one person, "evil" could mean someone who lacks compassion and commits horribly selfish, violent acts.

    To another, "evil" could mean someone whose actions are controlled by an external demonic force.

    When people use the word it's hard to know where they are coming from.

    What does "evil" mean to you?


    By Blogger mental mosaic, at 4:30 PM  

  • Dang, glad I found you again! Have to re-blogrolll you. Post more! Want to know how the Burnettes are doing!

    By Anonymous og, at 9:04 AM  

  • It's really a question of the son's side since he might be mentally ill or just triggered by his emotions as a result of the murder.

    By Anonymous Competitive Advantage, at 11:10 PM  

  • Such a scary incident. Murder is always a mistake - one should never do anything one cannot talk about after dinner.

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