Nineteen year old boy kills and tortures at least 15 Laysan albatrosses in Hawaii, wrecks a conservation study. Put him in jail? Yes, please!

My answer is “YES!”. An albatross is a sentient creature, if it could “choose” to remain alive or be killed it would take the former, it feels pain, and NYU student Christian Gutierrez, 19, inflicted a lot of pain on those birds living on Oahu:

[Prosecutor] Futa said she is asking for the maximum penalty for Gutierrez because of the cruel nature of the crime against the defenseless albatrosses, who are “peaceful and trusting birds and do not recognize predators.” 

Laysan albatrosses are federally and internationally protected seabirds. The adult birds are as large as a human toddler and can live for more than 60 years. They nest on the ground and remain on their nests to protect their eggs and chicks no matter what approaches them.

Investigators say the birds were bludgeoned or hacked to death with a bat, and a machete, and shot with a pellet gun. Some of their eggs were thrown out of the nests or crushed where they were incubating.

“Not satisfied with killing the birds or destroying their nests and eggs, the human predators continued the desecration by cutting off the albatrosses’ legs on which they wore identification bands, thereby destroying the ability of the colony’s caretakers to accurately quantify the loss and identify the individual birds killed,” Futa wrote in her sentencing recommendation.

They were also nesting, and so chicks could have been left motherless.

There’s also the damage to a scientific experiment:

Lindsay Young, executive director of Pacific Rim Conservation. Young is expected to explain how the killings have ruined one of the best long-term databases on albatrosses anywhere in the world.  She will also speak about her personal loss as a researcher who has worked closely with the albatrosses for 14 years and knows each bird as an individual.

Young has said she wants Gutierrez imprisoned and required to pay a portion of the $200,000 she estimates her organization has lost in grants and future research because of the deaths of 10 percent of the Kaena Point albatross breeding population. The birds now missing and dead had been under observation in various long-term scientific studies.

The Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) is the world’s longest-living bird in the wild (at least acccording to the data we have): one gave birth at age 63 in 2014.  The species is classified as “vulnerable.”

Guitterz has pleaded “no contest”, which shows that his professed remorse is bogus. He should have pleaded guilty. Guiterrez’s attorney wants no jail time, and for his client’s record to eventually be wiped clean.

I’m not having it. I’m tired of people getting off for torturing or killing animals that can think and feel, like cats being shot with arrows. Let them go to jail. Why? Because although they couldn’t have done otherwise, their incarceration serves as a strong deterrent to others who torture and kill animals, something that’s far too frequent. And I’m not convinced that Guiterrez wouldn’t do it again. But deterrence is the main value of prison here, and if he goes to jail, it should be publicized as widely as possible.

We’ll know by tomorrow what kind of sentence Gutierrez got. If you want to see the kind of damage he and his fellow thugs did, go here.


A Laysan albatross in Hawaii



  1. Nicholas K.
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I read this earlier today. Sickening.

    I say throw the book at him.

  2. alexandra Moffat
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    They are psychopaths and should be locked up for a very long time. yes, he, they, would no doubt do something similar again, but with more stealth and more agony caused to innocents. What a horror….

  3. rickflick
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Am I wrong for wanting Gutierrez to suffer? At least that’s my gut feeling. The answer, however, is a dispassionate assessment to determine what the optimal punishment should be to deter him and others.

  4. J Cook
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    What possibly could motivate this cretin? Throw away the key to his cage!

  5. Barry Lyons
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Yes. Jail. Exactly.

    • somer
      Posted July 6, 2017 at 5:52 am | Permalink

      An animal inspector with the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on the radio a few years ago was talking about how often youth admitting to have done the most horrific things to animals get off scott free because the judge is concerned that a criminal record will blight their lives. Just because the torture is done to animals. The perpetrators should be jailed as an example and deterrent to future crime by themselves and others.

  6. Lorinnor
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I’d keep him caged for as long as the law allows. His deeds were premeditated and at their very core, excessively cruel… at 19 he is old enough to tell a wrong this obvious from right. If he has a desire to hurt sentient creatures this badly, put him where he cannot, for as long as is possible.
    He made himself a threat. Let him be treated as one.

  7. Joseph Stans
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Tie him out in the sun on an ant hill and come back when there is nothing but bones.

    This time it was an albatross, next it will be somebody children or a whole village. There are some crimes so heinous that they warrant isolation of the organism for an extended period – like maybe a century.

    • Posted July 6, 2017 at 5:27 am | Permalink

      It worries me that you have torture fantasies much like the perpetrator does.

      • Posted July 6, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        Except that fantasies are thoughts, and thoughts are not illegal. Actions, on the other hand, are another thing altogether.

        The 19 year old didn’t just think. He acted, and then he acted again, and again, and again, and again, and….

        And when that wasn’t enough, he posted the pictures to Facebook, and then posted more, and more, and…

        He went so far as to appear to repeatedly challenge the system to capture and punish him.

        It is imperative that he be studied, to find out what was going on in his thoughts, leading up to his actual deeds and behaviors. Thoughts, alone, without follow through, are nothing more than safety outlets.

        • Wunold
          Posted July 7, 2017 at 1:04 am | Permalink

          I don’t have any violent fantasies about Gutierrez and I’m also worried about Joseph’s.

          Fantasies can become acts and Joseph did act by making them public, so others may be influenced by them.

          Besides refraining from horrible acts, I think we also have a responsibility not to promote horrible fantasies about real people, especially in an already heated atmosphere. The one cheering “Burn the witch!” is responsible for her death as well as the one holding the torch.

          I agree that Gutierrez should be studied to know what made him act like he did.

          • Posted July 8, 2017 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

            To be clear, the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment provides for freedom of speech, but not if that speech is blatantly dangerous, such as the example you provide. The gray zone requires case by case evaluation in court.

            What you are suggesting, apart from that, is the work of “thought police.” That is very dangerous in a free society. I hope other readers will weigh in on this, as there are quite a few better than myself at explaining why.

            • Wunold
              Posted July 9, 2017 at 2:58 am | Permalink

              As far as I understand it as a Non-American, the First Amendment doesn’t protect one from criticism or concern, which is all stooshie and I expressed.

              Please elaborate on the part of my post where you think I suggested a “thought police”.

              I would also like to know the difference you apparently see between “burn the witch”, “tie him out in the sun on an ant hill and come back when there is nothing but bones”, and calling for isolation for “maybe a century”.

              • Posted July 10, 2017 at 2:20 am | Permalink

                Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t bring me right to those various phrases and I haven’t the time to search for each.

                In short, however, “burn the witch” is usually stated by someone on site and directed at a mob, as a direct order for the mob to attack someone designated as an outsider.

                In contrast, the “anthill” comment was written as a wish, not an order, shared with an audience no one would expect to carry out such a plan.

                If you are unable to appreciate the distinction, then I am, indeed, sorry.

              • Wunold
                Posted July 12, 2017 at 1:04 am | Permalink

                You don’t have to search for others’ phrases, just explain in your own words how you think the First Amendment applies to our discussion.

                I concur that on-site calls for violence have a greater impact in most cases, but that doesn’t put such expressions on the net in a vacuum. People’s beliefs strengthen when they are repeated or affirmed, and you can’t choose your audience if you post on the open internet.

                Also, people usually don’t discard their convictions when they leave their computer. So their beliefs may become actions in “real life”™, if only by further spreading these beliefs, voting for parties that (claim to) share them, or looking away – or even worse, gaping – when someone is punished who “deserves” it. And that worries me.

                Please explain the difference you see between “wishing” and calling for action. In my eyes both can incite actions, precisely because language is imprecise. That said, Joseph’s wording isn’t even worded as a harmless wish. It can be easily read as a serious statement what should be done with people like Gutierrez. At least it sets an atmosphere of vengeful retribution I find misled and barbaric. And that worries me.

                Last, but not least, please answer my former question where you think I suggested a “thought police”.

        • Posted July 7, 2017 at 3:08 am | Permalink

          ” … It is imperative that he be studied … ”

          I completely agree with that.

  8. Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Safety is another reason incarceration might be warranted. Torturing and killing non-human animals is often a precursor to violence against humans. Not that torturing and killing other animals isn’t horrible enough.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Yes. This horrible and sickening act labels him pretty convincingly as a psychopath. He will do something like this again. A psychological assessment and preventive detention are required.

      • Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Preventive detention?!? I do not like where this is going.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

          In NZ that means living in his own home with a garden on prison grounds and having the supervision of a guard outside. It’s not what it would mean in the dreadful US system. (Not that our system doesn’t need improvements too. I want a system more like Norway. )

          • Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

            Wait, so in NZ you have preventive detention? You put people in jail for crimes they have not committed?

            Stunned, I am. Srsly.

            Unless we are talking about different things. In which case I am confused rather than stunned.

            • Posted July 5, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

              I’m guessing “preventative detention” is just a semantic trick to make “detention” appear less punitive. They’re saying, “we’re not *punishing* you, were just making sure you don’t do it again.” But it is a sentence for a crime committed. I’m pretty sure they don’t lock up people who have not been convicted of a crime.

              • Posted July 5, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

                Thanks. So what happens when the person’s sentence is up? Do they get to go free or are they kept in prison because they might offend again? If that’s true it is truly frightening (not to mention un-constitutional here in the U.S.)*.

                I suspect Heather is referring to involuntary commitment, usually for psychiatric reasons and which is sometimes done for fear of harm the person can do to themselves or others. But it can also be imposed on people who cannot care for themselves and not because of any crime they might commit. This is not the same thing as holding someone in prison for a crime they haven’t committed as both the process and the implementation are very different.

                But Heather can straighten me out when she has the chance.

                *It is something that has been proposed in the U.S. for violent sexual predators and has even been carved out in (I think) in some places. No less frightening and I am not sure if it has been tested in the courts. I dunno. I can do the googles late to find out.

            • Posted July 5, 2017 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

              What paco said.

              In that sense, most imprisonment is preventative. It’s meant to change your behavior and hopefully prevent you from doing the same thing, or something similar, again.

              • Posted July 5, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

                Yes, I agree. You could say holding someone charged with a crime (whether on bail or not) is “preventive detention” too, but that’s missing my point. I thought Heather was saying NZ could hold someone in prison for a crime they have not been convicted of or charged with or even have committed because the crime has not yet even happened.

                I suspect I got her meaning wrong.

              • Craw
                Posted July 5, 2017 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

                No you did not mistake her meaning. By preventive she means anticipatory. “I think he will commit a crime so I want him locked up.” Before the crime is committed.

                That requires considerable ability to predict I would say. Has anyone seen data on predicting people’s behavior? My own view is that people that good at predicting the future should make a killing at the track, and I wonder why they never do.

              • Posted July 5, 2017 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

                Heather made her comment in the context of discussing someone who had already committed a jailable offense. Most incarceration is, in part, “anticipatory” incarceration. We anticipate that someone who has done something once is much more likely to do it again than someone who’s never done it.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted July 5, 2017 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

                I don’t think people should go to prison before they commit a crime.

                Even if we advance enough in physics that we can predict that, I wouldn’t think that should happen. I think we should intervene to get them the help they need to stop them going down that path.

                I think you’re just determined to put the worst possible spin on my words.

              • Brujo Feo
                Posted July 5, 2017 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

                I saw that movie! Even read the short story it was based on. Like half of the decent science-fiction movies we’ve seen, it was by Philip K. Dick: “Minority Report.”

              • Craw
                Posted July 5, 2017 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

                Are you addressing me Heather? You clarified that yes preventive detention is anticipatory. You also said it was called for in this case, so I think I am taking you at your word. You have now amended/ clarified to mean you do not actually support “precrime” detention, which I am glad to hear, and also accept.

              • Craw
                Posted July 5, 2017 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

                No Beef. In preventive detention you are not held for a past crime. One might be accused, acquitted, profiled and then detained on the basis of the evaluation not the crime one was acquitted of. So they are not the same thing at all.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted July 5, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

              They commit a crime and go to jail. Once their sentence is up (which would always be decades longer in the US system – I think our longest ever sentence is 25 years) if there is compelling evidence that the person will commit a crime again they are kept in. It is extremely rare and there is a very high bar for it to happen, as there should be. There is no way this kid would actually get preventative detention in NZ – he wouldn’t fit the criteria. However, I wouldn’t mind betting that he would meet them in the future. His actions have psychopath written all over them imo. I think he should be watched very closely in the future.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted July 5, 2017 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

                The ones I can remember so far are all sexual predators, but I know there are serious violent offenders/murderers on it too.

                One was a guy with AIDS who kept going around infecting other people. He didn’t have the mental capacity to understand that he was putting people in danger by having unprotected sex. I won’t go into the details of why he thought he didn’t infect others.

                Another had imprisoned a series of girls in a remote location and constantly raped and mentally tortured them. I think there was physical abuse too, but I can’t remember for sure. He went to prison, and contacted his victims from prison. On release he immediately did the same thing again. The next time he went to prison the same thing happened. He is known colloquially as The Beast of Blenheim. You can google more about him.

                There are too may people on preventive detention in NZ at the moment imo (c. 250 I think) – it’s become more common recently. It’s not permanent though. Several have come off it and others are on parole.

      • Craw
        Posted July 5, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        How can they BOTH be required? Your idea of an assessment does not allow for even the logical possibility of a finding he is not dangerous.

  9. Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I wonder whether this Gutierrez organism is a Roman Catholic. Roman Catholics are taught that humans are the only animals with “souls,” and that this alleged distinction confers upon humans the right to do as they please with other, allegedly “soulless” animals, regarded by many as Cartesian automata free for sadistic tinkering.

    Whatever his reasoning, I think Gutierrez has earned himself a place as an experimental subject in a medical laboratory. Nonhuman animals are imperfect lab models, and while his cerebral humanity seems cast into doubt, he looks better than any chimp as a candidate for experimentation in, oh, say, prosthetic limbs — a course via which such a creature as he might actually prove useful.

    I add here that my tongue is shoved only very slightly into my cheek. But hey, if indeed any animal can be said to be “soulless,” Gutierrez has certainly demonstrated himself to be such a life-form.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      — Catholic Catechism Part 3, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 7, “Respect for the Integrity of Creation”

      (Oddly, discussed under the commandment “Thou Shalt not Steal”)

      “2416 Animals are God’s creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory.197 Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals.

      2417 God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image.198 Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives.

      2418 It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly.”

      • Diane G.
        Posted July 6, 2017 at 4:15 am | Permalink

        The Catholic church has a notorious history of looking the other way when it comes to bullfighting.

  10. busterggi
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Lock him up NOW.

    He’ll only move on to killing humans eventually.

    • jeffery
      Posted July 5, 2017 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      The recognized “triad” of the budding serial killer: bedwetting, firestarting, and animal abuse. It would be interesting to know if he’s exhibited any of these other behaviors….

  11. Brujo Feo
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    “Guitterz has pleaded ‘no contest’, which shows that his professed remorse is bogus. He should have pleaded guilty.”

    Actually at least here in CA (and I expect that it’s the same everywhere in the U.S.), the function of the “nolo contendere” plea is that it can’t be used as proof of civil liability. So this could conceivably be a requirement for coverage under, for example, a homeowner’s umbrella policy. Not that liability looks to be a major issue, should Pacific Rim Conservation (or anyone else) have to sue him. (If, for example, for whatever reason the judge doesn’t make an adequate restitution order as part of the criminal proceedings.)

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted July 5, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Surely he can’t get an insurance policy to pay any damages that might eventually be sought against him?

      • Brujo Feo
        Posted July 5, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        Well, one might think not–the often cited proposition is that you can’t buy insurance against wilful acts. But without knowing more of the facts of the case, I’d hesitate to say that no lawyer could conceive of an argument for coverage.

  12. Veroxitatis
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Whether or not he is jailed he should certainly be sent down from NYU. A place of learning is no place for a person such as this.

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted July 5, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Even if he is not sent down it is hard to believe that he wont be such a pariah there that it would be untenable for him to remain.

      • Posted July 5, 2017 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        New York City’s a big place and NYU is a big school. I think he could remain if he wanted to.

  13. Dave137
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Someone should saw his legs off, sans anesthesia.

  14. Pliny the in Between
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    This is not intended as snark (how many snarky comments start that way, I wonder…) – how do people rationalize jail or worse punishment with a belief in the absence of free will?

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Deterrence is still rational under a deterministic world-picture.

      • rickflick
        Posted July 5, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        You could be trying to justify retribution. Are we trying to get even or deter future acts? Or a little of both?

    • GBJames
      Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Really PtiB?

      This has beed discussed often. Absence of free will doesn’t mean social consequences have no value.

      • Pliny the in Between
        Posted July 5, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Yes really. I don’t disagree with the having consequences part. It’s the punishment aspect that seems counter to a deterministic view. With free will you might rationalize punishing aberrant behavior but with determinism isn’t it more programming than behavior? So while separating someone from society may be necessary, shouldn’t it be in a place different from our current penal system?

        • GBJames
          Posted July 5, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

          Deterrence is deterrence. Is this a linguistic dispute about whether “punishment” is vengeful?

        • Posted July 5, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          without discussing the merits of the US penal system, punishment is necessary even in a deterministic world. You make a rule and people say “what’s to stop me from breaking that rule?’ So you say “if you break the rule, we will do this bad thing to you”.

          If they then break the rule, you have to carry out the threat, otherwise their deterministic selves will note that the threat is empty and will continue breaking the rules. Not only that, but other people’s deterministic selves will do the same and pretty soon you have lawlessness.

    • Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Punishment is a legitimate reason to put people in prison, even in a deterministic world. The trick is to (quite literally) make the punishment fit the crime.


    • rickflick
      Posted July 5, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      I think people on the internet feel freer to freely express their emotional reactions. There is a certain anonymity…distance from the direct interaction. “Throw away the key!” really means, “Give me time to calm down, then I’ll give you my rational answer”.

    • Posted July 5, 2017 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure if the OP was edited after this comment was made, but your question was answered in the body of the post above:

      “Let them go to jail. Why? Because although they couldn’t have done otherwise, their incarceration serves as a strong deterrent to others who torture and kill animals, something that’s far too frequent. And I’m not convinced that Guiterrez wouldn’t do it again. But deterrence is the main value of prison here, and if he goes to jail, it should be publicized as widely as possible.”

      • Pliny the in Between
        Posted July 5, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        The lack of deterrent effect is often used in arguing against the death penalty.

        • Craw
          Posted July 5, 2017 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          Yes. I wonder what direct evidence we have punishing this fellow will have an effect on crimes against albatrosses. My guess is — none at all. None except our general belief in the efficacy of punishment. And the arguments for a long, harsh, sentence all seem to assume that *harsher punishments deter more*. There’s an antimony here, as you hint.

        • Posted July 5, 2017 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          I agree that it’s inconsistent to cite jail as an effective deterrent but dismiss capital punishment as an ineffective deterrent.

          But that’s all in the context of using person A’s punishment as a deterrent for person B. Person A’s punishment may very well deter person A from committing the crime again.

          • Posted July 6, 2017 at 4:48 am | Permalink

            The difference is that capital punishment has been SHOWN not to be an effective deterrent, while regular punishment has.

        • Posted July 6, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

          Some evidence I’ve read about suggests that the death penalty is an antideterrent, which would make it even more horrendous.

    • Dave137
      Posted July 6, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      One could say that the assigning of punishment also derives from an absence of free will.

  15. Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    As for Pliny above, in a hungry world there may be some humans who do not deserve to consume resuorces, free will or no. Too many humans, not enough brains.

    • Brujo Feo
      Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Agreed on principle, although I do not mean to voice support for the death penalty. But we didn’t rid the world of smallpox because it was bad and needed to be punished, or even as a deterrent to ebola (or whatever). We rid the world of smallpox because it was smallpox.

  16. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    In addition to whatever corporal punishment is meted out, I say that for life garnish his wages in whatever job he takes for scientific research.

    My biggest anxiety is over what future crimes he may commit. He has the heart of a predator.

    • Veroxitatis
      Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Surely no part of the USA has retained “corporal punishment”?

      • Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        Well, in a sense, execution is a kind of corporal punishment.

    • darrelle
      Posted July 6, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      That’s slandering predators!

      I understand (I think) what you meant by predator in this context. Just wanted to emphasize that this person seems to be seriously outside of the norm.

  17. Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    I am outraged by this cruel act, and my desire for retribution is strong. But perhaps a long term of community service for animal welfare would be more socially productive. Nonetheless, if they throw the book at him, I will feel some satisfaction. I can’t help it, of course.

    • darrelle
      Posted July 6, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Ideally what should be done is he should be evaluated to find out what his malfunctions are and then he should be fixed (cured?) and then allowed to continue his life. Unfortunately that is currently science fiction. We don’t know how to do that with any reliability at all.

  18. ploubere
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Are humans the only animals that torture and kill for pleasure? I know there are horrific stories of animals doing in other animals, such as sea otters raping baby seals to death, is that the same thing?

    • Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Orcas are known to kill other animals apparently just because they can – some claim they are practicing their hunting skills or teaching the young how to kill, but that’s nothing more than rationalizations as, to my knowledge, no Orca has explained his or herself.

      Chimpanzees kill rivals, wage war and commit violent “crime” against other chimps. Lions kill their rivals and their offspring. My cat brings me bleeding terrified mice that he plays with until they are dead (unless I am quick enough to rescue them).

      These and the Orca behavior have been explained as aspects of their respective evolutionary, biological and ecological niches. But as I see no reason to think that we are any different to other animals in most regards* I don’t see any reason to suppose some of these animal behaviors reflect the same cruelty and indifference to suffering humans are so good at.

      *obviously there ARE differences, just not very many in kind and most of those are differences in -essentially- magnitude.

      • Zach
        Posted July 5, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        …I don’t see any reason to suppose some of these animal behaviors reflect the same cruelty and indifference to suffering humans are so good at.

        I don’t see why not.

        I’m without my copy of The Better Angels of Our Nature at the moment, so I’m going off of memory, but if I recall, Steven Pinker devotes a significant section (~10 pages) in it to sadism.

        The sadistic impulse stands out among other types of violence for its wantonness. It’s not tactically necessary when competing for mates or resources in the way that, say, the impulse for aggression is. Herbivores can certainly be aggressive (picture rams butting heads), but it’s rare to see them engage in sadistic behavior.

        Rather, sadism appears to lie in the psychological provinces of predation, and stems from a macabre fascination with the physical vulnerabilities of bodies. While this normally goes hand in hand with a simple killing instinct for food, it’s not all that hard to see how it might become separate at some point. The necessity of hurting other animals involves a “pleasure” in hurting other animals, and that “pleasure” can become reason enough on its own. You might call it “fun.” *shudder*

        You mentioned chimpanzees, and what they do to other chimps. Well, they do worse to monkeys that they catch—like pinning them down and digging flesh out of their backs while they’re still alive and screaming. Why do they do this? The chimps, if they could talk, might reply, why not? Either way, the psychology of sadism is probably prevalent throughout the predatory half of the mammalian world. It’s not unique to us. We just augment it with technology.

        • Posted July 5, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

          I recently read an article that described a hunt for Narwhals by a pod of Orcas in the far Canadian North. The pod -thought to be about a dozen adults and juveniles (no babies)- cornered more than four dozen Narwhal in a small bay. To feed the pod they would have needed two or three Narwhal at most. They killed almost all of them. Most of the Narwhal were killed after the Orcas had fed. They left the carcasses uneaten.

          This sounds like what humans do; cruelty and violence for the sake of cruelty and violence.

          • Zach
            Posted July 5, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

            When I first read your comment the line break made me see “four Narwhal” and I thought, that’s not so bad. Reading it a second time I noticed the “dozen” and thought, good God…

            And, as if to prove my own point about the appeal of the macabre to predatory mammals, I then thought, What does a dozen Orcas slaughtering four times as many Narwhal even look like?

            Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t watch a video of it. But still, I had to wonder.

  19. Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    It was a terrible and sickening thing to do and I agree that he deserves punishment.

    On another note, a few examples of creatures who are sentient and creature who are not would help me understand what sentient means.

    • Diane G.
      Posted July 6, 2017 at 4:22 am | Permalink

      “On another note, a few examples of creatures who are sentient and creature who are not would help me understand what sentient means.”

      I agree that that’s a knotty concept with very murky boundaries.

  20. tubby
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m also of the mind that cruelty towards and the torturing of animals, especially those that are trusting of humans, is a precursor to violence against people and Gutierrez should be locked up. Being 19, I also see no reason for his record to be wiped at any point in the future. He is an adult, not a minor, and he butchered animals, not shoplifted.

  21. Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    You asked, so my $0.02;

    He should be sentenced to the maximum time in jail, but suspended, and forced to make full restitution. I feel his sentence should be suspended because although he deserves to have the felony conviction on his record, prison would ruin him for life. Nineteen is too young for that kind of penalty for this crime.


  22. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    This was a horrific crime. I share my fellow commenters’ outrage at it. But most of the suggestions for punishment here are emotional calls for pure retribution.

    In the OP, Jerry mentions “deterrence.” Such deterrence is a legitimate penological goal — both the specific deterrence of the defendant from offending again, and the general deterrence of others from committing similar crimes. Other legitimate penological goals include “incapacitation” — keeping society safe by removing an offender for a set period of time — and rehabilitation of the offender, among others.

    Were I the sentencing judge in this case, I would want to have a pre-sentencing investigation report done of the defendant (which is standard practice in most jurisdictions, especially for first-time and youthful offenders). In a case like this, the report should include a psyche evaluation and a full social history of the defendant. Whatever sentence is ultimately imposed, it should advance legitimate penological interests, as born out by available empirical studies.

    In all criminal cases, I believe the least harsh sentence consistent with legitimate penological goals is appropriate. That does not mean that sentences should not be harsh in appropriate cases (much less that they should constitute a mere slap on the wrist). It means only that sentences should be no more harsh than society has a just basis to impose based on its legitimate interests.

  23. Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Anyone who *tortures* any living creature deserves jail time. There is no excuse for the behavior, or allowing it to go unpunished.

    • Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Please define torture in this context. Be careful to ensure that your definition encompasses what this POS did and when domestic animals are slaughtered for food or wild ones are hunted or fished.

      I’d like to see that definition.

      • BJ
        Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        “Be careful to ensure that your definition encompasses what this POS did and when domestic animals are slaughtered for food or wild ones are hunted or fished.”

        The animal farming industry has taken strides over the decades to continually reduce the stress of the slaughter process on animals. For the purposes of defining “torture,” I would say torture is the *purposeful* use of methods to cause suffering in a sentient being. Even if you do consider the slaughter of animals for food horrific and deeply stressful to the animal, those aspects are not purposefully included for the purpose of making the animal suffer. This man did what he did for the express purpose of making the animals suffer. It was the purpose of his actions that makes it torture, in my mind.

        • Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          Purposeful? So any pain an animal is feeling while it is being slaughtered or while bleeding out from the gunshot wounds caused by a hunter or while trapped in a fish net is accidental? Beside the point? Irrelevant?

          Sentient? So are animals who don’t meet your definition of sentience (whatever that is) ok to torture?

          I know what you’re saying, BJ, but it gets slippery.

          • BJ
            Posted July 5, 2017 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

            I understand what you’re saying, but it doesn’t seem slippery to me. If you slaughter an animal for food, you should not (and will not) be prosecuted unless you are also purposely treating them with cruelty (and we do have laws addressing this. I basically agree with how those laws as they stand define this); if you slaughter an animal with the purpose of making it suffer, then it’s animal cruelty/torture and can be prosecuted because what you did was purposeful torture without any other reason or motivation.

            If you want to argue about the definition of sentience, that’s OK, but it wasn’t really the point of my reply. Though, for what it’s worth, I would define it as applying to any animal that has what we consider a developed brain (e.g. nothing like worms, which have simple ganglia, or insects/spiders, since they have absurdly simple brains and also I will not let them roam my house as if they can just strut around arrogantly without punishment. Insects and spiders do NOT have a free pass to just walk on by with their smug looks and stupid faces. This is MY house. Ahem).

            • Posted July 5, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

              Yes. We can define laws to fit our notions of what is justifiable or not and that includes the torture of animals. What this fool did would fit almost anyone’s definition of torture and it fits the legal definition too.

              I think these things are sometimes difficult to define, though, and one must always keep in mind that definitions are slippery and always contingent.

              Look, for example, at the calls here for retribution against this man; some say because he is 19 and therefore an “adult”, prison is warranted. No matter the circumstances, who this man is (I mean his past history, crime or violence, not his class or place in society) or what prison does to a man, he is 19 and therefore an adult. So, throw away the key.

              But in this calculation, why 19? Why not 16? 21? In the U.S. most people are considered adult for legal purposes when they turn 18. When one is 17 years, 11 months old one is not an adult but the moment they turn 18 they are. I see calls here for this man’s life to be thrown away (that’s what prison does) because he is 19. That’s the problem with definitions; they are definite (to some degree) in world that is very indefinite. Or at least one that is indifferent to our definitions.

              I know nothing of this case except what’s been reported here and in the linked article. If a judge finds that this man does deserve to spend time in jail, what will you think that judge based his/her decision upon? I certainly hope it’s not because he is 19.

              Sorry BJ, that went afield. And I don’t want to go back and re-write to make it clearer….. I guess I’m saying that some measure of mercy for the merciless is an acknowledgment that we always need to be very careful about who we throw away and why.

              • Diane G.
                Posted July 6, 2017 at 4:31 am | Permalink

                You’re absolutely right about the arbitrariness of presuming to draw a clear line between juvenile and adult, esp. as we have data that indicate that mature judgment actually obtains much later than we have traditionally believed. (A quick result from Google, though probably not the best: ).

                And add to that individual variation…

      • Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        What we do to factory farm animals also fits my definition of torture. There are laws in place to deal with *this* act of cruelty. But not being a vegan, my answer will not satisfy you.

        • Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

          Ok, so when an animal is slaughtered in a “factory farm” it is torture but when it’s slaughtered on a non-factory farm it isn’t? How do you distinguish the two?

          And what about those wild animals hunted or fished?

          BTW, I am not a vegan.

          • Mark R.
            Posted July 5, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            I’d say that the slaughtering of the animal isn’t torture. As others have noted, there has been work done to alleviate the stress of the slaughtering process. To me the torturing is simply the way they’re forced to live- tiny pens, covered in shit, not able to do anything but eat tainted food, sleep and shit until death.

            I’m lucky enough to live in an area where a lot of my neighbors raise grass-fed beef on acreage. Only a few cows on 5 or 10 acres. The cows live a cow’s life without fear, stress or struggle. When they are slaughtered, it is done by a hired professional and the cow is unaware. I’m not a vegan or vegetarian either, but I do feel a lot better about eating meat that I know was treated humanely.

            • Posted July 5, 2017 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

              They do live a cow’s life. A very short one to be sure, but that is the way they should be raised.

              What do you think of wild animals (including fish) taken for food or otherwise used? Does what they go through amount to torture?

              • Mark R.
                Posted July 6, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

                I wouldn’t consider hunting or fishing a form of torture. I think of torture as a pre-meditated act, planned to take time, measuring the pain. (I’m talking more about Gutierrez’s case here, not penned animals.)

                The average hunter / fisher doesn’t want the animals they harvest to suffer.

          • Posted July 5, 2017 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

            I believe in what the animal activist Cleveland Amory said long ago (paraphrasing)- ‘We can’t promise every animal a good life, but at the very least, we should be able to offer a humane death.’

            And I believe the same for humans. Death by torture is worse than death.

            Like it or not, humans are at the top of food chain. So a question for you- why aren’t *you* a vegan?

            • mikeyc
              Posted July 5, 2017 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

              I’m not a vegan or even a vegetarian because I like to eat dead animals (occasionally certain living ones too). Tasty. Some are more so than others and even then I only eat a small subset of their bits. I’ve never eaten much meat but not for any squishy reasons, mostly because I like to eat plants more. Still, back in the day when I did a lot of spearfishing and marine invertebrate collecting I used to say; “There are only two kinds of life in the sea, edible and non-edible”.

  24. Les Faby
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    There is an above-average chance he would hurt people, if he thought he could do it without consequence.
    Keep him away from people until you are sure he is rehabilitated, within the limits of the law.
    Frankly, I am not enjoying the vengeful fantasies in some of the posts. In real life, don’t become what you hate.

    • Zach
      Posted July 5, 2017 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

      Frankly, I am not enjoying the vengeful fantasies in some of the posts.

      Me neither. One of the reasons I like this blog and its comments is that they don’t usually involve the cathartic venting of reactive emotions—something far too prevalent in other domains of the internet.

    • Diane G.
      Posted July 6, 2017 at 4:33 am | Permalink

      + 2

  25. Kevin
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Society would be better off studying the conditions for what motivated him. Was he abused? Is he a sociopath?

    Detaining him should be a research opportunity for people who want to prevent these events from occurring in the future.

  26. BJ
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    He should absolutely be sent to jail. Not only did he break laws for which you can be sent to jail, but he carried out actions that were intended to inflict suffering upon sentient beings. Further, I’m sick of people being let off the hook for animal cruelty simply because we don’t consider animals in any way important.

  27. Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Most commenters above put the stress on the victims’ suffering, and their case would be as strong if the victims were pests or domestic animals. I’d wish to stress on the albatross’ endangered status. I see little hope for preserving endangered species if humans decimating their last small populations are allowed to get away lightly. So I think Gutierez should get the maximum sentence to serve as a deterring example. I’d advocate for this even if he were a hungry poor man hunting for food; but the case is simpler, because nothing mitigates his atrocity – he killed for fun.

    • Veroxitatis
      Posted July 5, 2017 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Good point. Sentencing in the UK for taking bird’s eggs will take account of the rarity of the bird or the rarity of its appearance in the UK. Custodial sentences have been given in Scotland for removing Osprey eggs from the nest. Of course vandalism is not the issue in such cases. These often are highly profitable crimes.

    • somer
      Posted July 6, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      Also animal cruelty offenses are so rarey punished that a line needs to be taken – yes a psychiatric assessment should obviously be done but for the vast majority of us we have a sense of right and wrong from a fairly young age. There was nothing complex about this crime – there were no social justice issues or harm done by the albatross to the offender. Somewhere the line needs to be drawn and people need to see that there are consequences for certain actions.

  28. C. Morano
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    A vicious sub-human. Investigate his family and stop them from breeding.

    • Posted July 5, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      I think you’ve gotten lost on your travels through the Internet and took a wrong turn somewhere. This is probably not the website you were looking for. Unless that’s supposed to be funny, in which case…maybe stop trying to be funny.

  29. rom
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I can’t help but juxtapose a no free will measured (penal) response with throw him in jail response.

    The chances are this young man is need of some intelligent psychiatric help. If he is a psychopath (and I would bet that would be a likely diagnosis) then he should be assessed as to the likelihood of re-offense and be addressed as such.

  30. GBJames
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink


    I would want to say “19 year old man”, not “19 year old boy”.

    • Wunold
      Posted July 6, 2017 at 12:48 am | Permalink

      How about “19 year old male“? It would leave the evaluation of the perpetrator’s maturity to the psychologists.

      • GBJames
        Posted July 6, 2017 at 6:46 am | Permalink

        It matters primarily for legal reasons. Children are treated differently by the courts.

        Youth is often used as an excuse by young adults engaged misconduct. I prefer to give such folk the respect of adulthood, and demand responsible behavior in exchange.

        • Wunold
          Posted July 7, 2017 at 12:30 am | Permalink

          Yes, but not every teenager is equally mature. That’s why I would leave this assessment so the experts, especially if I don’t know the person in question personally.

          As a foreigner, I wonder what the legal regulations for maturity are in Oahu.

  31. Susan D.
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Psychopaths can’t be fixed. Putting him in jail will not fix him but will satisfy society’s need for justice to be seen to be done. By all means, jail him for the maximum time allowed. Then when he comes out, he has to wear an electronic device, that reports his location, FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE, so that we will know where he was when other acts of this type are committed. He has forfeited all rights to total freedom and for taking life, he should pay for the rest of his.

    • Posted July 5, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      This comment (among others here) is reason enough to be glad that it is judges, constrained as they are by law and reason, and not mobs who get to decide punishment.

    • Posted July 5, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      “Psychopaths can’t be fixed.” Can you provide some evidence for this assertion? Because much of the recent literature on this subject is at odds with your belief.

      • Posted July 5, 2017 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        Have never read of sadists or torturers, being remorseful or being “fixed.” Perhaps you might point to that recent literature on that.

        • Wunold
          Posted July 6, 2017 at 1:15 am | Permalink

          I would like to see evidence for both Susan’s and pacopicopiedra’s claims.

          • Diane G.
            Posted July 6, 2017 at 4:40 am | Permalink

            There were some inklings of apparent change for the better in some of the cases discussed in this article:


            • Posted July 6, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

              That Atlantic article is pretty good. Here’s a quick review of a relatively new treatment approach from a couple of years ago. I don’t have time to search the Psychiatry literature right now, but there are some promising new behavioral approaches.


              • Posted July 6, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

                Forgive me for asking without reading the articles, but does the treatment create any sense of emphathy in psychopaths? That seems to be key. If a psychopath could feel at least a reflection of the pain and suffering he or she tortured another sentient being with, that torture wouldn’t have happened, or so the theory goes.

              • Diane G.
                Posted July 10, 2017 at 3:56 am | Permalink

                “…does the treatment create any sense of emphathy in psychopaths?”

                No, in the Atlantic article it’s mostly about rewarding positive behavior and ignoring the negative, in a very structured environment. It seems to rely on the trait of psychopathy that involves looking out for their own interests above all else, and conditioning them to see that positive behavior brings more rewards than negative.

              • Posted July 11, 2017 at 2:04 am | Permalink

                Shades of “A Clockwork Orange”… That’s rather scary.

              • Diane G.
                Posted July 11, 2017 at 3:28 am | Permalink

                I agree! But the whole fact of psychopathy is scary, let alone the situation of having a psychopathic kid. I think you’d…”enjoy” may not be the right world, but at least find intriguing, possibly riveting, the article.

              • Posted July 11, 2017 at 5:00 am | Permalink

                Yes. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Posted July 6, 2017 at 4:42 am | Permalink

      Psychopathy is a far more complex problem than just someone who is incurably evil.

      About 1%-3% of the population are psychopathic or sociopathic (depending on gender and how you define it).

      There also appears to be a higher proportion of psychopaths/sociopaths in positions of power in business and politics.

      Also, how people are handled/treated and how far they “succeed” in life as a psychopath/sociopath depends very much on income.

      ” … He has forfeited all rights to total freedom and for taking life, he should pay for the rest of his … ”

      There are very few crimes for which I personally would call for that punishment. Murder would be one, but we could have a massive debate about whether the killing of animals is equivalent to killing humans.

      Intervention is certainly required. Particularly in the case of children who harm animals.

      p.s. I highly recommend the book “The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry” by Jon Ronson. You may recall a TED talk by him on the same topic.

  32. Eric Grobler
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Any support for sterilization? I am an evil Eugenicist with regards to psychopaths.

  33. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Yes in jail he should go, the wretched sociopath, but he needs to be analyzed. This person seems like he’d do the same to humans given the chance as well.

    In Canada he’d have is record wiped clean if under 18 and no one would know his name. I read a very sad story this weekend about a 16 year old girl who was stalked by her ex boyfriend. He murdered her by stabbing her 10 times in her bedroom. Her parents found her dead body when they came home. His sentence is pending but because he is a young offender he will have this crime wiped from his record, no one will know who he is and the press won’t be able to release his name. A maximum sentence would be 10 years in jail. Hes clearly dangerous but will be out again to torment other women.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 5, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Oh I spoke too soon! He was tried as an adult so we now know his name and the parents of the murdered teen can say it!

    • somer
      Posted July 6, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      thats ridiculous – he’s still very much old enough that he should know the evil of his crime. Im not suggesting really long sentences but rather the wiping of his record – the community has a right to know what he did and he should pay the consequences of such murder.

  34. nicky
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    There is no clear motive other than ‘fun’. I think he absolutely needs a psychological assessment.
    I don’t know if ‘jail’ is the best, or even a good option. If he is not your typical psychopath (which would imply institutionalising), a long period of community service, tagged and all, and preferably in conservation, might be more appropriate? Having to work in conservation might give an idea about the enormity of his crime.

    • Posted July 5, 2017 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      Our American system is not particularly good when it comes to imprisonment or mental health treatment. And under current leadership look for the increase of private prisons on one hand and cuts in funding for the mentally ill on the other.

      • nicky
        Posted July 6, 2017 at 6:57 am | Permalink

        That is sad indeed.

    • nicky
      Posted July 6, 2017 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      I see that Darwinwins at 17 basically had the same idea (minus the psychological assessment). Sorry.

  35. Benjay
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for not posting the carnage. He would be a man in Canada, in a legal sense.

  36. Benjay
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    A real boy learns his lesson as a boy. Some real (tom)boy should have kicked this bastards ass already. Broke his collarbone. Punched his Father? I don’t know

    Little Jenny punched a boy in the face for pinching her butt. She done right by him. Broke his nose. Bravo. Her Mom was called to the office, to speak to…the punch.
    School is broken. You assholes need to fix school. Can’t blame the church now, can we::
    hold your noses, pastafists…
    ‘Violence, measured, has a huge place in civic life all the way through life.’ Animals.

    Posted on November 29, 2013 I can’t remember when I started this, and it has no name, but intelligent people don’t need a title, or to be told what form it is:

    I didn’t have a thought in mind nor did my brother

    But we had an apparatus; potential energy and a yoke.

    He had wings to fly and thrust and grace

    You should have seen our father’s face.

    His face, his beak, his eyes, he knew we knew

    The four of us; father, brothers and jay

    Wished he had just flown that day

    But he didn’t

    It was a battery flew instead

    Released and killed him dead

    A sudden quick arrangement

    Of the reactive mind

    Pass it off as the indolent flamboyance of youth

    but everyone who flies or flew

    The slings and arrows

    The ages through, must pursue

    To a sacrificial renewal

    Yes. Father, now that you mention it

    The thought I had was much more innocent

    But here we are my brother and me

    Diligently practicing burnt offerings

    among the swastikas of broken black spruce trees

    Moloch is on the go, so is Pan

    Lucifer too. He’s in the shade.

    Look at the symbols old man

    What else can be said


    Belong to murder

    We were savage for the cause of novelty

    But who was wrong, I’ll never know

    The one who stood quietly by

    The shooter, or the absent one?

  37. Posted July 6, 2017 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    These perpetrators are true psychopaths. As such, they are a permanent risk to society and need to be contained for life. As long as they are under containment, THEY should be scientifically studied in every possible way to understand what makes them tick, how they can be manipulated for good or for bad, and how others like them can be identified — objectively and fairly — early on, to prevent more such evil from taking place in the world.

    The fact that, in this case, the young psychopaths happened to target scientific study subjects would make turning the psychopaths, themselves, into lifelong study subjects just a bit like true justice.

  38. Helen Hollis
    Posted July 6, 2017 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    Christians do not realize that everything they believe in can justify every thing.

  39. Posted July 6, 2017 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on aspiblog and commented:
    I am in full agreement with Professor Coyne on this one…

  40. Wunold
    Posted July 6, 2017 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    As often after such tragic events, I notice the crowds of psychologists among the commentators who can diagnose the perpetrator’s mental state from a distance with striking certainty.

    • nicky
      Posted July 6, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      I can second that. We do not know if he really is a psychopath, or had a retarded/stalled ‘ethical development’ [younger children do these things, like torturing a chameleon, burning a bee, pulling out bird’s nests, binding a can on a cat’s tail or (D*G forbid) setting a cat alight], or maybe something else altogether. We simply don’t know.
      We do not know if he is beyond redemption, hence my proposal to consider a long community service in conservation if he turns out not to be a psychopath. Who knows, he might even become a conservationist. (After all, Maajid Nawaz used to be a Muslim extremist and has now become the voice of reason in Islam)

      • Wunold
        Posted July 7, 2017 at 12:24 am | Permalink

        After all, Maajid Nawaz used to be a Muslim extremist and has now become the voice of reason in Islam

        Indeed, and as far as I know, he changed not through “death threats, suffered sleep deprivation techniques and [being] forced to listen to other prisoners being tortured” in an Egyptian jail, but because people because some of his supposed enemies (from Amnesty International) cared about him.

        Examples like these and my own determinism let me think more about fixing an perpetrator than punishing him.

        • Posted July 8, 2017 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

          I suspect there’s a deep difference, here: Majid Naawaz wasn’t a psychopath but a deluded victim of propagandistic brain washing. Majid was taught twisted reasoning. A psychopath has a developmental deformity inside his brain. It is good to ask whether the brain deformity (a reduction in the size of the hippocampus, if I recall correctly) can be induced over time, whether age matters, and whether it can be reversed or corrected over time.

          And that is why I say lock him up and study him. Start with all the basics plus a functional MRI, MRA, and so on.

          • Wunold
            Posted July 9, 2017 at 2:30 am | Permalink

            What do you base your suspicion on?

            Would you have argued for studying Naawaz when he was imprisoned? (i.e. before his change of mind)

            • Posted July 10, 2017 at 2:12 am | Permalink

              Yes, absolutely I would have argued for studying Naawaz while he was in prison. Doing so might help with understanding how good young adults are deliberately sucked into bad mind-sets. The methods used to manipulate others need to be understood, so countermeasures (i.e., critical reasoning skills) can be taught throughout grade school and beyond.

              Knowledge is power, and education is the greatest weapon against abuse of power.

              • Wunold
                Posted July 12, 2017 at 1:13 am | Permalink

                I guess most national economies can’t afford to study each and every offender. How would you choose which subjects were to study?

                You didn’t answer my question what you base your suspicion on that there is a deep difference between Nawaz’ and Gutierrez’ state of mind. I would really like to know that.

  41. Posted July 6, 2017 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    I believe that a jail sentence is definitely appropriate, given the nature of the crimes. The fact that he chose a threatened species to be the victims of his cruelty heightens the offence. There appear to be no mitigating or extenuating factors and no genuine remorse (the plea of ‘no contest’ is merely an attempt to avoid a civil suit). In answer to the “but prison would wreck his life” – no: he wrecked his own life by choosing to behave in this cruel and callous fashion.

    • Posted July 6, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      I know their parents are probably very concerned for their children and their futures. But their little darlings robbed the world and need to be held accountable. They had been on a field trip, they were aware of the importance of those precious birds. There is no excuse for their behavior, none.

  42. Posted July 6, 2017 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    Intervention of some description required.

    Apart from the obvious, cruel harm to the birds and the destruction of scientific data, children who harm animals are quite likely to go on to harm humans.

  43. David Duncan
    Posted July 6, 2017 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    “Nineteen year old boy…”

    If he’s 19 he’s not a boy, he’s a “man”.

    Throw the book at him.

  44. Posted July 6, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    This must be an unwell person. However, his actions cannot be excused due to sickness. He needs appropriate punishment and to be marked as dangerous for the rest of his life.

  45. steve oberski
    Posted July 6, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Future Drumpf appointee to head the Fish and Wildlife service.

  46. Posted July 7, 2017 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    What a pathetic bastard. I hope he has a miserable life – only 45 days in prison!

  47. Guy
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    I will be very interested to know your opinion on vegetarianism, and the difference between killing an animal for fun and killing to eat, after all in both cases you kill for your mere pleasure without any survival justification.

    I am not vegetarian but think the moral case is difficult to counter without considering that animals have no moral rights (their pain and lifes do not matter)

    • Posted July 12, 2017 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      FWIW, just recently found out that there are Vegans who *hate* Vegetarians even more than omnivores for their spinelessness.

    • Posted July 13, 2017 at 2:41 am | Permalink

      The difference between your two examples is more than obvious: In the former, pleasure is taken in the act of causing a sentient being excruciating, unimaginable pain and torture which continue as long as possible until the poor thing dies. In the latter, it is acknowledged that death is inevitable in any case and no pleasure is taken from the act of killing.
      The former might even be a psychological parallel to the act of trolling, in which the troll expects to gain pleasure from causing his or her targets to twist and turn in mental anguish while trying to defend against some ridiculous excuse for an “innocent” question.

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