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by reason of insanity

NBD5 News reported the July 05 Chicago story that Jeanette Sliwinski, a 23-year-old Skokie woman, apparently attempted suicide Thursday afternoon. Police said she was driving at least 70 mph and had run three red lights before she rammed her Mustang into a Honda Civic at a Skokie intersection, killing 3 Chicago musicians in the other car. Her car was found upside-down, but she only suffered minor injuries.
Yes, a woman decided to kill herself by ramming her car into another in the middle of an intersection.
That’s what I’d do, if I wanted to kill myself.
Seriously though, there were mixed reports about this story on the news and on talk radio: first stories indicated that she left her mother’s house after an argument, later reports only said that as Jeanette left her mother’s house, her mother had a feeling that something was wrong and went to follow her, finding the accident shortly afterward.
But family and friends of the musicians — Michael Dahlquist, 39, John Glick, 35, and Douglas Meis, 29, were outraged by this attempted suicide, which only killed 3 outgoing, talented musicians. No one could make sense of what happened, Dahlquist’s two older brothers could find no reason in the “selfishness” and “insanity” of Jeanette Sliwinski’s actions.
The last I heard, she couldn’t make it to court because she was still in the hospital, and bond was denied for this woman.

•••

I’ve heard of people talking about what sort of sentencing she should get, where some people are hoping for alight sentence and her attorney stated that “she’s had some mental health problems, and we’re going to be talking to those people and exploring more about that.” Tom Needham (her attorney) said his client has had a history of mental problems.,
Then I heard people say that she should be sentenced to death for her mindlessly killing 3 people in her vain attempt to unsuccessfully kill herself. But then I read that Joseph Gray, who’s friend was killed in the crash, said “Why give her that (the death penalty)? That’s a wish of hers. I think she should understand and live through life with the remorse that she has.” When listening to talk radio, you’re usually only able to listen to Republicans (wait, they call themselves conservatives, conservatives who are for the death penalty, which sounds so conservative to me...), I’m used to hearing people talk about how people should be punished with losing their lives regularly, and I heard people talk so much about the death penalty in this care as well. My question to these people is this: what good does that do? Jeanette Sliwinski doesn’t learn from her actions if she’s killed, and as a rule it costs more to kill someone with our current penal system than to incarcerate them for life. That, and those “conservatives” can explain to me how it is a wise, moral decision to kill someone for a crime committed — how is is a wise, moral decision for an individual to be an arbiter and enforcer of human death.

•••

I talked about this with my husband after we heard about this case, and I actually had to explain to my husband that someone trying to commit suicide wouldn’t want to hurt others in the process. “But,” my husband protested, “if life doesn’t mean anything to them, they wouldn’t care about the lives of others, would they?” And I said that people who didn’t see value in their own lives still understood that other people values their own lives, so they won’t want to contribute to the death of anyone who didn’t want to end their own life as well. “Besides,” I postulated, “If I committed suicide in an accident like Sliwinski’s, I wouldn’t want to be remember as the woman who killed 3 people while killing herself. If I was planning to kill myself.” I wouldn’t want to be remembered that way — that footnote would become how my existence was defined, and I wouldn’t want that.

•••

So what’s the moral to the story? Um, really watch traffic when you’re out, I guess, because there are those who still choose to live without morals, and who try to impose their philosophy on your life.

“Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.” — Voltaire, quoted in somereview.com & magazine The Week







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