On Friday morning, at Marin General Hospital just outside San Francisco, serial killer Richard Ramirez passed away. He was 53.
Known also as “The Night Stalker,” Ramirez was recognizable for his sinister stare and Satanic imagery, but it was his brutal rapes and murders that will be his legacy. In 1984, and through the spring and summer months of 1985, he committed various “home invasion” style break-ins, ferociously stabbing his victims, raping and torturing them, and occasionally mutilating their bodies. One woman’s neck was cut so badly that she was nearly decapitated. Another’s eyes were gouged out.
I spoke to a friend about Ramirez’s death upon hearing the news and he remarked to me that this would, “close a dark chapter” in the life of the victim’s families. But I’m not so sure about that. Their loved ones are still dead; murdered in unspeakable ways. Even if Ramirez had lived on, and eventually been executed, would this have brought any real peace?
I am not a philosophy major, and I can’t swear to ever fully reading Plato’s Republic, but I don’t know precisely if justice can truly be served in cases like this. Revenge, perhaps. But unlike, say, stolen money or property, the murdered family members and friends can never be replaced.
What do you think? If your loved one was murdered, could justice ever be done? Can the “dark chapter” of Richard Ramirez ever truly be closed?