Armin Meiwes: Metzgermeister
At the start of his trial in December 2003, Meiwes said his motive for killing and eating his victim, Bernd Juergen Brandes, was born from a desire for this younger brother he never had – “someone to be part of me”.
Armin posted an advertisement on the Internet, looking for a willing victim. The post stated that he was “looking for a well-built 18 to 25-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed”. Bernd Jürgen Brandes responded to the advertisement. Bernd Jürgen Brandes was known for his interest in mutilation and his activity in the homosexual prostitution scene of his home city.
As is known from a videotape the two made when they met in March 2001 in Meiwes’ home, Meiwes amputated Bernd Jürgen Brandes’s penis and the two men attempted to eat the penis together before Bernd Jürgen Brandes was killed. Brandes had insisted that Meiwes attempt to bite his penis off. This did not work, so Meiwes used a knife. Brandes apparently tried to eat some of his own penis raw, but could not because it was too tough and, as he put it, “chewy”. Meiwes then sautéed the penis in a pan with salt, pepper, and garlic, but by then it was too burned to be consumed. According to journalists who saw the video (which has not been made public), Brandes may already have been too weakened from blood loss to actually eat any of his penis. Armin Meiwes read a Star Wars book for 3 hours whilst his victim was bleeding to death in the bath. Meiwes apparently gave him large quantities of alcohol and pain killers, 30 sleeping pills and a bottle of schnapps, and then killed him in a room that he had built in his house for this purpose, The Slaughter Room.
After stabbing Bernd Jürgen Brandes to death in the throat, he hung the body on a meathook and tore hunks of flesh from it; he even tried to grind the bones to use as flour. The whole scene was recorded on the 2-hour video tape. Meiwes ate the body over the next 10 months, storing body parts in his freezer under pizza boxes and consuming up to 20kg of the flesh.
The video tape makes it clear that Brandes consented to the events.
Meiwes has admitted what he has done, and expressed regret for his actions. He added he wanted to write a book of his life story with the aim of deterring anyone who wants to follow his steps. Surprisingly, a number of websites dedicated to Meiwes have appeared, with people advertising for willing victims. “They should go for treatment, so it doesn’t escalate like it did with me,” said Meiwes. He believes there are about 800 “cannibals” in Germany.
In the previous trial, prosecutors say he should have been jailed for life for murder, while his defence team maintains the death was a mercy killing as the victim was a willing participant.
If Brandes consented to all this, does that mean that there was nothing morally wrong here? If there is something wrong with it, does that mean his consent was worthless? What would this imply about the moral value of consent?
Filed under: Applied Ethics, Assisted Suicide, Ethics, Killing, Normative Ethics, Philosophy, Questions, Suicide | 4 Comments