One of the main arguments against Atif Rafay and Sebastian Burns by the Washington appeal courts centers on the demeanor of Sebastian Burns while he is supposedly confessing to the RCMP gangsters. He doesn’t appear to be fearful or distressed; therefore his lawyers must be wrong about him being coerced through fear into making the confessions. I have already made the argument that you can’t judge a book by its cover, i.e. you can’t know what is inside a person’s head by the way she or he behaves on the surface. You can only guess. For that reason alone, the arguments against the appeal are worse than suspect, they are invalid. They are a legal disgrace.
Another argument against the two teens (as they were at the time) is their inappropriate behavior in general after the killings of the Rafay family. Rather than a legal argument, it was the perception of their behavior in the media at the memorial for Rafay’s family. It appeared infantile at best. Nor were they models of decorum–neighbors found them “obnoxious”–when they moved into a shared residence with friends in West Vancouver. But here is a quote that I found upon rereading Victor Frankl’s great work, “Man’s search For Meaning”.
ABNORMAL REACTIONS TO AN ABNORMAL SITUATION IS NORMAL BEHAVIOR.
Frankl was referring to the behavior of oppressed people in concentration camps who are in the category of wrongly convicted persons. They did things they never would have done had they not been starving to death and constantly beaten. They were not bad people but people in dire circumstances. I think people might also give Atif and Sebastian the benefit of the doubt when it comes to surface behavior. They had witnessed the aftermath of a bloodbath which would be bad enough if they didn’t know the victims. This was, however, the family of Atif Rafay! Their abnormal behavior, under the circumstances, is completely understandable.
It irks me when I hear people talk about their behavior as the clinching argument for their guilt. Anything but! If they had been purely calculating, they never would have behaved in that way. That is why, on The Confession Tapes, I described them as “two goofballs in a state of shock”. How do any of us act in violent and completely abnormal situations? Why do soldiers suffer from PTSD? Does anyone really know what a soldier goes through after enduring sights that the rest of us never have to see, like bodies blown to pieces in a marketplace? What would YOU do if you came upon your family bludgeoned to death? You don’t know until it happens and God forbid it ever does.