Monday, September 24, 2007

More on Andrea Yates

This post originally appeared on another blogsite which has since disappeared:

I read with dismay many of the comments and posts people have made concerning Andrea Yates' recent verdict. I am dismayed because most of them perfectly illustrate what I have been saying for years now: the majority of the American public has no idea what "mental illness" is and they have neither compassion nor understanding for the victims of such disorders; since they do not understand it, they simply find it "hard to believe." But I submit that they are willfully choosing not to understand it: that they think that by holding the victims of mental illness responsible for becoming ill, that will somehow shame or scare others into "getting better" when, in fact, it only perpetuates the cycle of the mentally ill refusing to seek treatment.

I'll give you the rundown - using specific, real-life examples as illustrations - and then I'm going to rant and accuse a little. And I'm sorry if you happen to have an opposing view, because that makes you wrong; and regardless of what the hippies and the Clinton administration tell you, it is not your "right" to be wrong and the rest of us don't have to just accept that as "whom you are." It simply makes you wrong. To wit, you may choose to believe that the sun orbits the moon or that the proper name for "lasagna" is "pizza," but the rest of us don't have to just "accept" that this is your right to feel that way and treat you accordingly; the rest of us have every right - in fact, a civil and social duty! - to tell you that you are wrong, regardless of what you "feel." Especially when you keep getting us kicked out of restaurants for throwing a tantrum everytime your "pizza" doesn't have enough noodles.

And to get a job, hippy!

Andrea Yates was/is insane. She was unable to differentiate between reality and the delusions from which she was suffering and, in this fashion, was unable to determine that her actions while she was committing them were wrong. Not to mention that most people who suffer from mental illness either do not believe they so or are in Denial of the fact.

And while it's easy to say that "one can argue that any violent criminal is insane when he is committing his crimes," that simply isn't true.

Charles Ng, for example, was not at all insane - but he was acting-out. Ng derived satisfaction from harming others, and whether or not having such fantasies is indicative of insanity is really a question for the doctors and philosophers, but the bottom-line is that he was well-aware that acting on these impulses was wrong, yet he did just that. He knew that he was wrong to do what he did, but he did it anyway: he plotted, he planned, he covered-up his crimes. There is no doubt that Charles Ng and his associate were fully sane at the time they committed their crimes. And thus, they deserve to be punished for them.

Susan Smith was fully sane when she committed her crimes. She knew that what she was doing was wrong and she knew the consequences of her actions; she planned, she plotted, and she covered-up her crime. She was completely aware of what she was doing and what she had done the entire time.

In both cases above, while the actions of those people were definitely Sociopathic, the people themselves were not (well, a case for Susan Smith could be argued). By definition, lying to get a job promotion because you know that another candidate is far more qualified and deserving of that position, is a Sociopathic action, but that does not make you a Sociopath (it does make you a liar though, and all Sociopaths are). Impassionately watching someone suffer and/or die and refusing to help them does not necessarily make you a Sociopath; intentionally inflicting pain and suffering on someone without care or feeling makes one a Sociopath. Ergo, hitmen who have no concern for the people they kill are Sociopaths, but someone who watches a person get mugged, beaten, and possibly killed without interfering is probably just an asshole. If that witness felt no remorse, pity, or sympathy for the victim, then that indicates Sociopathy.

Andrea Yates, with or without her established history of mental illness, could not differentiate between right and wrong when it came to her crimes; she was unable to comprehend the consequences of her actions due to her diminished capacity. She was hearing voices (psychotic) - voices she believed were instructing her to kill her children to save them from eternal damnation. Regardless of the fact that she may have been considering doing this prior to actually doing it, she was incapable of knowing that it was the wrong thing to do! Had she been fully capable of comprehending this, she might have attempted to drown one child - or even actually drowned one or two - before reality set in and she thought to herself, "My God! What have I done? What am I doing?!"

This reality never set in for Ms. Yates because her reality was that God told her to drown her children to save them from eternal damnation.

And she cannot be punished for that!

If a policeman stumbled upon an independent movie-shoot where they were filming a very realistic murder scene, but he saw no cameras and did not realize the "reality" of the situation, he cannot be held responsible for reacting to the scenario as though it were an actual crime in progress! To his mind - and according to the situation, itself - he was doing what he thought he was supposed to do!

No one can be held responsible for the actions of a psychotic mind; it is a diseased mind. No one can be held accountable for someone being stricken with cancer; cancer is a non-discriminatory disease which strikes without consultation. Disease and illness rarely double-check with society, the victim, the doctors, or the victims' family to see if maybe now is a good time or if the victim is really deserving of being ill. And while the doctors in charge of these victims should be questioned for their lack of foresight, if it turns out that they handled the patient as well as should be expected under the circumstances, then no one is to be blamed!

This country is adamant that someone be held accountable whenever anything goes wrong - and that someone be punished. Someone runs off the road and gets a ticket for "failure to maintain control of vehicle"; someone stubs their toe on the sidewalk and sues the city for negligence; someone gets lost in the middle of literally nowhere and sues the cellular phone company for not having a communications tower on Antarctica! And this allows the rest of American society to distance themselves from the situation and feel safe that they would NEVER do that and that would NEVER happen to them. It allows American society to fool ourselves into thinking that we can control everything ("you make your own fate," "this happened to you because you let it/you wanted it to") or get "justice" for the things we cannot. It's a societal control issue.

Yes, these children died, and yes, that's tragic, but it would be no less tragic had they died due to a tornado or any other freak accident. Andrea Yates was/is mentally ill - and not in the way a crackhead is when he carjacks you.

Get that?

This country is all too willing to say that dopefiends can't "help" themselves, that fat people just can't say no to those 3402397409724 boxes of Twinkies - these poor people are sick! - they can't control themselves and should be coddled. But someone who can't tell reality from fantasy just needs to "get over it," "deal with it," "should have taken her medication," and so on. Then when you say, "Well, that doper should have never started doing drugs in the first place!" or "Well, she knew she was 450973205975 pounds, so she's the one that decided to go off her diet," that's somehow insensitive!!!

It's ridiculous and stupid.

This popular mode of "thinking" is the real insanity... but not legal insanity, because anyone who thinks like that HAS TO KNOW they are WRONG.

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