Aaron Schaffhausen, the 35-year-old dad who allegedly killed his three children, ages 5 to 11, has recently changed his plea from guilty to guilty but insane. The plea change came a little over week before Schaffhausen's trial begins, and it changes everything. Instead of prosecutors having to prove that Schaffhausen killed his three kids via slitting their throats, or that he tried to set fire to their River Falls, Wisconsin home, the defense will have to prove that Schaffhausen had a mental disease or defect at the time of the alleged crime, and that he lacked the mental wherewithal to control his impulses. And yes, it also means that if Schaffhausen is found "insane", he could someday be released from whatever mental institution he's placed in. Doesn't seem like a great idea, now does it?
I don't think you need to be a mental health professional to know that there's something wrong with Aaron Schaffhausen, if he committed this crime. Very wrong. Only a crazy person would brutally and violently murder their own children and then text their ex-wife the message: "You can come home now, because I killed the kids." But still. It doesn't mean they shouldn't get an appropriate punishment for their crime if proven guilty. (Note: If you think the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for a crime this heinous, you're out of luck: There is no death penalty in Wisconsin.)
With vicious crimes seemingly on the rise, it's more than clear that there needs to be a serious shake-up in the mental health industry. But I don't think placing a person who killed their three young children in an institution falls under this umbrella. I think a person who kills their three young children should be locked up forever. Or, yes, killed.
What do you think should happen to Aaron Schaffhausen?