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Missing the point

I do not intend to argue, just to clear up misinterpretations.

First and foremost, I did not say that Bales had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as there are no reports nor diagnoses shown yet. I merely said that his attorney, John Henry Browne, has said that he believes that Bales had this condition, or was under the influence of medication like “aspirin.” What I am pointing out (as you missed the point here) is that John Henry Browne has a history with this type of case. He represented Benjamin Ng in 1983, who was responsible for the Wah Mee massacre, and was spared of the death sentence by proclaiming head injury. Browne also represented Martin Pang in 1995, an arsonist who killed four firefighters by a set fire, who was spared the death sentence. Browne is a lawyer whose experience speaks to how he capably defend criminals. With Bales, Browne claims he has PTSD.

I intended to make it crystal clear for readers when I enumerated the killings. When Bales kills, more than once, more than twice, more than 16 times, that number attests to Bales’s bloodlust, determination, and mens rea (“guilty mind”).

But nowhere did I make the association of PTSD with being drunk, nor having headaches. There are actual reports of Bales’s alcohol abuse following the day of his crime, in The Miami Herald, The News Tribune, and BBC News, Bales “has been drinking alcohol the evening before the attack.” So I was pointing to the news’ naïve subliminal interpretation of the crime scene.

PTSD is a serious problem. But Bales does not have this problem.

You made an argument about American exceptionalism — you should write an article about it — but I speak to our crimes and disrespect in Afghanistan.

“Retribution? I call 10 murders of American soldiers retribution.” Retribution is not revenge. Your thinking is dangerous. Our wrongdoings should not be balanced with Afghanistan’s wrongdoings; they should be balanced with our redemptive acts. Retribution is apologizing even when the other person, Karzai, does not.

Andy Liang ’14