Horrible murder of New Hampshire mother in her home

James N. writes:

Have you heard about this horrific small-town murder? Four white teen dopers went to a house on a lonely dirt road to kill anyone inside and steal the contents. Apparently, they chose the house by its location, rather than by its occupants. The husband was out of town, they butchered the mother in her bed and nearly killed the 11 year old daughter. She is in Children’s Hospital Boston and expected to survive. It’s surprising since about 75 percent of similarly situated homeowners in NH are armed, but this victim, sadly, was not.

The ringleader was a known troublemaker, school dropout, swastika on his forehead a la Manson. The parents of his acolytes were worried but felt, “What can we do?” Nobody even thought of an intervention to remove the obviously dangerous (young) man from society before he did something like this.

Awful. I don’t know if white kids did stuff like this 50 years ago.

Here is a story on the initial police response to the girls’s call for help and the investigation. Here is story on the father of one of the suspects.

James N. continues:

The Mont Vernon murder case does not meet the NH statutory criteria for capital punishment. If the killers had raped the girl’s mother before butchering her with a machete, they would be eligible for hanging. If the mother had been a police officer, ditto. If the perps had committed a Federal drug crime at the murder scene, sure. And if they had been paid to do it, instead of doing it for fun, they could be executed.

Many comments in the papers decry this state of affairs. But the comments reveal something deeper, something we have lost at the level of public policy. That is, if you kill the mother and then try to kill a helpless little girl, WE SHOULD NOT SUFFER YOU TO LIVE. Executing these men may serve no immediate utilitarian purpose (I actually believe there is a utilitarian justification, as well, but never mind about that for now). Executing them, and quickly, is a sign of a healthy society. Every minute that we allow them to consume oxygen, never mind to bulk up in the NH State Prison gym while eating 4000 calories a day and enjoying cable television is a rebuke to ourselves as decent people.

The blood of this innocent woman cries out to us from the ground. Her daughter should not have to live in the same world as these four men. The voice of the common people, the voice of common sense, even of instinct, knows this perfectly well.

Why doesn’t the Legislature? Why don’t the courts? That they do not know this is a symptom of something that is very seriously wrong.

LA replies:

Capital punishment is an indispensable foundation of a moral and civilized society. A society without capital punishment for such crimes may be civilized and good in various ways, but at its core it is nihilistic.

David B. writes:

I just saw the entry about the New Hampshire home invasion murder. James N. writes, “Awful. I don’t know if white kids did this 50 years ago.” My own memory (I was born in 1950) is that this was not common 50 years ago in rural America.

It was in 1959 that the murder of the Clutter family in rural Kansas took place and was a big national story precisely because it was unusual. The crime was the subject of Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood.” The two killers were career criminals who had been in and out of prison. One of them heard from a cellmate (who had worked on the Clutter farm) farm) that Herb Clutter had a safe with a lot of money. Actually, he did not, as he paid by check.

In the 1959 Kansas murders, the killers were hoping for a financial payoff. This latest horror story seems to be just another depravity in which robbery was not the motive. Unlike certain others we have discussed at VFR, it is getting national attention.

Paul G. writes:

I’m in town for the weekend (in southern NH, where I grew up). I was talking with my mother, who works with a women from Mt. Vernon, a town of just a few hundred folks. Her friend’s sons were staying with one of their friends, just a few houses down from the murder, and apparently she was still somewhat hysterical and rambling when she recounted the facts to my mother. (One of the facts that, at the time, wasn’t in the press: the only reason the cops think the daughter survived was that she’d taken several years of karate and wouldn’t stop kicking the murderers, who chopped off her foot in retaliation, but were sufficiently deterred from killing her.) After describing her friend’s words, my mother said something truly shocking. Reflecting on these indescribably horrible acts, and how terrible it is that such a crime happened in NH (where things like this rarely happen), she said, “What a shame.”

My mother is a political (and sometimes-social) liberal, and I sadly recognized in her senseless words the liberal pattern of looking at evil acts as “tragedies” instead of immoral acts, because the moral equivalence at the heart of liberalism doesn’t allow someone to make a value judgment on an event like that. I could barely contain my incredulity and anger—about the moral vacuity of liberalism in general, but also about my mother’s response. I answered her, “No, mom. The one thing this is not is a shame. It’s an evil act, and the killers deserve to be killed. Anyone who commits first degree murder forfeits their right to live.” She nodded wearily in agreement—not able, I think, to deny the moral truth of my statement in the light of such a wicked act.

John Hagan writes:

That was the first murder in Mont Vernon, New Hampshire in over forty years. Violent crime against strangers is still a rarity in NH. What is troubling is that NH has a convoluted death penalty that only allows for its use under certain circumstances. There is no provision for the death penalty when murder is involved in the commission of a burglary, which is absurd.

Until conservatives recapture the political apparatus of the state, stricter criminal laws will not be enacted. As a matter of fact the NH Democratic party have been working to weaken our truth in sentencing laws, with the result being that violent criminals will have the ability to access more lenient parole procedures.

October 9

Markus writes:

The only good thing about this VFR entry is the comments the story has generated from you and your readers. I particluarly liked this by James N:

“Executing [the killers], and quickly, is a sign of a healthy society. Every minute that we allow them to consume oxygen, never mind to bulk up in the NH State Prison gym while eating 4000 calories a day and enjoying cable television is a rebuke to ourselves as decent people. The blood of this innocent woman cries out to us from the ground. Her daughter should not have to live in the same world as these four men.”


I remember having a conversation at work one day with a U.S. expatriate living in Canada—super smart guy, but also a leftie (one of those types with the usual hangups, having come from the quite-conservative state of Indiana). We were talking about capital punishment, and how barbaric it is that the U.S. has it, and I said (I paraphrase): “Oh puh-leeze, I wish we still had it in Canada. Worse thing we ever did was get rid of it. Wish we were more like you Americans.”

He seemed a bit stunned to discover that I was more than a Mulroney conservative, which I guess he’d always taken me for. More even than a neocon (which for Canada is as right wing as a liberal can fathom). He was game, though, and started going into statistics about how the death penalty hasn’t served as a deterrent, especially in conservative states like Texas (home to the awful G.W. Bush, in his formulation).

Rather than going into statistics with him (you know, the National Review, technocratic method of persuasion), I blew up his assumptions. I told him I couldn’t care less if it deters someone else from committing murder or not. It’s not about deterrence. It’s about punishment. A person who commits murder forfeits his right to live.

He was stunned, but a strange kind of smile came across his face—and he chuckled as he said something like, “Hey man, you’re alright.” The conversation didn’t go much further, but I believe he respected the fact that I wasn’t playing by his rules. We will lose if we make it about proceduralism and deterrence, and racial parity, etc. When it comes to these kinds of issues, we can’t allow liberals and lefties to dictate to us what our first principles will be. Like James N. said, the utilitarian case for the death penalty exists, but it is at best secondary, and possibly tertiary. The real issue is punishment of the perpetrator. Second, satisfaction of the victim and family. And if the victim/family are liberal or mushy-headed “Christians,” tough. Society as a whole shouldn’t have to share oxygen with those who commit murder.

LA replies:

Yes. It’s very simple. There are people who shouldn’t be alive on this earth, period.

James N. writes:

This awful murder has stimulated some discussion of a new capital murder statute for New Hampshire.

Two comments on the issue that were published in the paper this morning are worthy of further discussion.

The first, by a private citizen (name withheld by me):

“The death penalty is useful only if the state can not protect society from one convicted of wrongful death. The death penalty is a vindictive act and has no place in a civilized society.” [LA replies: Liberals have a completely different notion from me of what constitutes civilization.]

The second, by State Senate Minority Leader Peter Bragdon (R-Milford): “He said, “people are simply horrified over this case, but I’m not sure how we craft a bill to address situations like this, and still remain focused on using it narrowly.”

My comments:

For name withheld: “Vindictive” is defined as “showing a strong unreasoning desire for revenge.” What is unreasoning about killing the men who butchered a little girl’s mother in front of her, and then maimed her for life in a vain attempt to kill her? Every normal person, every person who should have the right to vote in what you call a “civilized society,” has an entirely normal, in fact laudable, wish for these men to be killed. How do you suppose societies come to be “civilized” in the first place? And “convicted of wrongful death”? Actually, when these men are convicted, they will be convicted of first-degree murder, a charge considerably narrower and more specific than “causing wrongful death.”

For Senator Bragdon (Moral Idiot-Milford): “I’m not sure how we craft a bill … ” Resign. Today.

“To remain focused on using it narrowly” How narrowly do you want to focus, Senator Bragdon? Do you think it is moral to spare the lives of the men who did this? Under what code of morality are you functioning?

Sometimes it takes events like this to shock us out of our complacency. I had not realized that we we living together in society with people, people who vote, people who make the laws, who do not act out of any shred of moral decency. What can go wrong with a man (using the term loosely) to make him unable to perceive, in an instant, in an augenblick, that justice not only permits but requires the death of these men?

It is reasonable to believe that when the men who did this are released into the general population at the New Hampshire State Prison, justice will be done. How remarkable that a group of violent felons can see what our lawmakers and judges cannot.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 08, 2009 10:50 PM | Send

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