Tuesday, March 31, 2009

1 Mind Ministries Brings Brainwashing, Cults to Headlines

The discovery of the corpse of a year-old infant, stuffed in a suitcase filled with mothballs and stored behind an elderly Philadelphia man's home uncovered the bizarre beliefs of a cult known as "1 Mind Ministries." Now, the mother of the infant has been sentenced to a 20-year suspended sentence and ordered into counseling. She agreed to plead guilty only if prosecutors allowed her plea to be withdrawn once the child is resurrected.

22-year old Trinidad native, Ria Ramkissoon, put her family "behind her" when she became involved with the 1 Mind Ministries cult, her mother told reporters. The religious cell consisted of at least four other people who will also stand trial for the child's death.
Ramkissoon will testify against the former cult members, one of whom is free on his own recognizance.

In a mind-boggling illustration of what passes for American "justice," the judge assured the woman her plea could be withdrawn if the child came back to life. A court psychiatrist found her mentally competent to stand trial, as well as criminally responsible, because she knows right from wrong. I am not sure if he does, though - I'm not convinced he was familiar with the case.

See, Ms. Ramkissoon and her cult starved her child to death when the 1-year old "refused" to say "Amen" following a meal. Believing the child would be resurrected, the corpse was left to decompose in the cult's apartment. Later, the cult packed the body in a suitcase with mothballs and relocated to Philadelphia. There, they befriended an elderly man and stored the suitcase behind his home. Police found the grisly scene a year after the baby's death. If words like "insane," "delusional," or "crazy" come to mind, I concur. A court psychiatrist did not.

We've been over this one before, guys: mentally incompetent people are incapable of Evil, because Evil presupposes a choice. The American legal system dismisses both the label, Evil, as having religious connotations, and the concept as being separate from knowing "right from wrong." It's one of the greatest failings of a judicial system just chockful o' Fail. Of course, just refusing to use the word, "Evil," does not mean the concept is not in play; if Ms. Ramkissoon's actions are not considered "Evil," then why would she be facing punishment? It's simply a convoluted mess of semantics many of us find intellectually insulting.

Even more insulting is the prosecutors' admission that the finding of competency was "surprising"... but they were still going to punish her to the fullest extent of the law. Because that is exactly what people like poor Ms. Ramkissoon deserve for getting sick!

Next up for Baltimore prosecutors? Those fucking cancer patients. Enough with the lying around and hurting shit! Everybody's got problems, for fuck's sake.

Ramkissoon's guilty plea actually means she will come out better than if she had pursued an insanity defense, which could have hospitalized her indefinitely; according to her deal, she will have spent a year in jail and will serve another five on probation. However, she will also be forced to undergo treatment meant to deprogram her. Technically, Ms. Ramkissoon may make a full recovery and actually have a chance at pursuing a normal life; an insanity defense risked her permanent incarceration in a "hospital for the criminally insane" - yet another legal semantic (a hospital in which one is permanently incarcerated - get it? Me either).

Mental illness and emotional maladjustments are not necessarily evidence of weak minds or any other physical/chemical shortcoming, nor can the state be considered a "choice." In computing terms, it's referred to as GIGO: "Garbage In, Garbage Out" - that means that if the information is processed incorrectly to begin with, there is no chance for a correct outcome. Asking mentally ill [and] emotionally unfit persons to make moral decisions is akin to asking a paraplegic to run a foot race.

How can a woman who spent a year with her infant's corpse in a suitcase filled with mothballs and fabric softener, waiting for it to rise from the dead, who agrees to plead guilty only if she can withdraw that plea once her child does return from the grave, be considered to know "right" from "wrong"? What is that even supposed to mean? To such a diseased mind, these are clearly pointless labels, no more relevant than knowing right from left, or red from blue.

Our hearts go out to all of the victims here, including both families and Ms. Ramkissoon, herself. It is an egregious failing of the American judicial system that requires her and her attorney to play such legal games in order to get her the help she needs - the help a society as "advanced" as we claim to be should be able to provide her - but The Weirding applauds her lawyer's efforts (make a note of it - we are not in the habit of applauding lawyers). Hopefully, Ms. Ramkissoon will recover... though part of me hopes she never does; the thought of her suffering for the rest of her life under the weight of knowing she killed her own child while delusional is just heartbreaking.

© C Harris Lynn, 2009

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