9/11 made me do it
Religion & Liberty Online

9/11 made me do it

Jason Battista, 28, is citing stress from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in a bid for less prison time, the second time the argument has been used by a bank robber. Battista is expected to be sentenced for robbing 15 banks in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. He was “impacted deeply” by the terror attacks, said his attorney, Stephen Seeger. “He was unable to function properly because of what he saw,” Seeger said. “The drug use seemed to spiral out of control after 9-11. He wasn’t the same individual.” Last year Pamela Kaichen, known as the “Blond Bandit,” received a reduced sentence after arguing she had a mental condition that developed from volunteering at ground zero in New York following the attacks. “It’s clear this defendant was acting under significant mental disabilities triggered by her horrendous experience at ground zero,” U.S. District Judge Ellen Bree Burns said at the time.

In our culture of blame it seems that nothing is one’s own fault. If one adopts the “unconstrained vision” of the human person described by Thomas Sowell, one would conclude that since the human person is basically good at the core the only viable explanation for Battista’s and Kaichen’s behavior is that fact that some outside influence operated against their “good nature” to cause them to rob banks.

However, the “constrained vision,” which operates under the assumption the people have inherent moral limitations and do bad things, would throw the 9/11 argument out of court because it is irrelevant. Battista and Kaichen, as stressed as they may have been, still had a choice. And what they did choose, says a biblical anthropology, was to embrace sin. Judge Burns, that is not 9/11’s fault.

Anthony Bradley

Anthony B. Bradley, Ph.D., is distinguished research fellow at the Acton Institute and author of The Political Economy of Liberation: Thomas Sowell and James Cone on the Black Experience.