Sunday, February 01, 2004

Just Another Social Situation

Datum: European man eats another European man at the deceased's own request. The judge rules that no murder is involved. This from the BBC:

In March 2001, Bernd-Jurgen Brandes, 43, answered an advert Mr Meiwes had posted on the internet for a well-built male who was prepared to be slaughtered and then consumed. They met, and Mr Meiwes allegedly took Mr Brandes back to his home in Rotenburg, where the victim agreed to the removal of his penis, which Mr Meiwes then flambéed and served up to eat together. Mr Brandes was then killed, cut up, and put in the freezer. ...

The defence, for its part, argued that Mr Meiwes was guilty of nothing more than "killing by request" - an offence which carries a maximum sentence of five years incarceration. ... The prosecution has conceded that Mr Brandes was an apparently willing victim. But they insisted he was not of a sound mind when he accepted the offer, and moreover, they alleged, Mr Meiwes was aware of this. Mr Brandes' boyfriend told the court that Mr Brandes, with whom he said he enjoyed a normal sex life, had no apparent desire to die.

Brandes was sentenced to manslaughter and ordered to serve an 8 1/2 year sentence. He will probably be released before he is 50. In the future,  those planning similar forays were advised to "draw up a contract before the act takes place". The South African Mail and Guardian provides further details:

Justifying his verdict, Judge Mütze on Friday described how 42-year-old Meiwes had experienced cannibal feelings as a young boy, after his father and two brothers walked out on the family home. He had also fantasised about eating Sandy, the blond boy hero of the Sixties TV series Flipper.

"The famous lust for murder was not there. The killing was very unpleasant for Meiwes," the judge said. "There were no base motives." He added: "These were two psychologically sick people who found each other. A door has been opened into a world which we immediately want to shut, a grey zone where people gather on the internet to live out their fantasies."

Sixty years ago, the spokesmen of the Third Reich considered the Americans to be a soft, degenerate and ignorant people addicted to bestial jazz music, standing stupidly in the path of history; a path that was to lead through unknown little towns in Central Europe with names like Belsen, Auschwitz and Dachau. Today a new path beckons, and it begins in quiet courtrooms and newsdesks in which the concept of crime has been extinguished. And what of Meiwes?

And, since the quarrel
Will bear no colour for the thing he is,
Fashion it thus; that what he is, augmented,
Would run to these and these extremities:
And therefore think him as a serpent's egg
Which, hatch'd, would, as his kind, grow mischievous.