Monday, May 05, 2008

What I hope to be my one and only post about the sick-o who raped his daughter and imprisoned her and their children for DECADES

The man is pleading insanity. Well, yes. It is "insane" to do what he has done. But that doesn't mean it's unpunishable.

His lawyer, Attorney Rudolf Mayer said he believed 73-year-old Josef Fritzl had a mental disorder, The Associated Press reported.

Mayer said: "I believe that the trigger was a mental disorder, because I can't imagine that someone has sex with his own daughter without having a mental disorder," Mayer said in an interview broadcast late Sunday.

Since his attorney can't imagine it, it must be so.

But that’s not why I’m posting on this. One thing has been bothering me since the beginning. This man imprisoned his family and presumably no one knew of their existence in the cellar.

What would have happened had he died? He is, after all, in his 70s. Had he left papers behind instructing someone to rescue his family? Would his wife have finally gone to the cellar and, finding the strange locked door, asked someone to help her find out what was behind it? Or might she have been so afraid of his insistence that she never go there that she would have left it alone?

In other words, would Elizabeth and the children have simply starved to death, abandoned in their prison?

And if this thought occurs to me, I (having perhaps a little more imagination than Fritzl’s attorney) imagine that it had occurred to Elizabeth. And she had to live with that fear on top of all the others.

Life in that basement was a nightmare in so many more ways than one.


Bee said...

We have been getting a lot of news about this story . . . and it is like the car wreck from which you cannot avert your eyes.

As you say, working out some of the "details" of it just serves to heighten the macabre, bizarre, completely unbelievable aspects of this madness.

His act was "mad," yes; how could it be otherwise? But was he rational and cold-blooded in the execution of it? I think so.

Bitty said...

I was just listening to a discussion on one of the NPR shows yesterday about the insanity defense. I don't know if this situation is what spurred that discussion or not, but (using the wrong terminology here, I'm sure) the experts were saying that there's a big legal difference between being completely unhinged (incapable of understanding what you are doing) and doing something while insane that you nevertheless understand to be "wrong" under society's rules of right and wrong. The first is a valid legal defense. The second is not.

I think a man could not maintain this situation for 20-some years and never have an inkling that it's wrong. The very act of vigorously concealing it from everyone proves he knows it was wrong.

Bitty said...

And of course this discussion was about the U.S. legal system, and I now recall that this WAS inspired by Austrian Rapist, because the panelists kept saying that they couldn't speak to Austrian law, they could only discuss U.S. law.

Bee said...

I cannot even imagine what sort of attorney would represent him.

His actions are indefensible.