Fixing the Machine
The other day yet another inmate from CAMH escaped. Authorities sheepishly admitted to the general public, that this guy had killed someone with a meat cleaver a few years ago, but was pronounced not criminally responsible due to insanity. That old NCR ruling, it sure makes me feel better. That new neighbour won’t likely kill you, at least if he’s taking his meds. Don’t worry, they fixed the machine.
Medical science can be like that - they think of the human being as an article of science to tweak and to fix. I am reminded occasionally when the issue comes up in the papers about assumed consent for organ donation. That means that you won’t have to sign that part on your driver’s license. If you (almost) die, they can feel free to hoik out your spare parts to install in somebody else’s machine. Problem is, the Harvard definition for “dead” is just that, a definition created for legal purposes. If you are really dead, those organs won’t be much use to them. Still, they want your spare parts to fix the machine.
Recidivism is a hot topic, the discussion in the legal community whether someone will reoffend once paroled. Although the study of pathology has not yet discovered a ‘criminal’gene, such thinking is not far fetched. Meanwhile, a host of psychiatrists and social workers will claim to have ‘fixed’ someone who had previously committed a heinous crime. They see it as that simple, and for that reason they love the ‘not criminally responsible’ ruling because it means they can just tweak a few drugs and pronounce someone in proper chemical balance so as to be no longer dangerous.
Inquests are interesting for this reason. An inquest occurs when something horrific has happened and no one is blaming anybody exactly, but they are fact-finding nonetheless to take precautions to prevent that thing from repeating itself. There is no finding of fault officially, but it does not stop people from coming all lawyered up.
It also does not stop the kind of lunacy that even a child could see through. I remember one inquest regarding a dangerous multiple rapist and murderer who had escaped from a halfway house, stalked, raped and killed a young woman. One after the other, the team of psychiatrists who had ‘rehabilitated’ the man, got on the witness stand and pronounced, ‘Hey, it’s not my fault. Last time I checked, he was officially rehabilitated and socialized in positive ways toward women. Beats me why he killed somebody. You know, that guy we fixed him. We fixed the machine”. Of course, you might figure out that violent offenders are not stupid, even if they are nuts. They know which kind of right answers to feed social workers in order to gain the kind of freedoms that come with ‘rehabilitated’.
You get my drift. The scientific community loves to be sure of things. That includes the soft sciences like psychiatry. Still, they overlook the obvious, that the annals of crime are riddled with those who seem to have committed their crimes, very much on purpose.
There was one famous case in Canada a few years ago. Vincent Li was riding on a Greyhound bus just west of Portage la Prairie in Manitoba. During the trip, he took it upon himself, to approach fellow passenger Tim McLean. He wasn’t asking for a cigarette. He pulled out a large knife, and to the horror of fellow passengers, cut off Tim’s head. After that he proceeded to cut off and eat parts of Tim, until properly apprehended by the authorities. You might be happy to know, that Vincent Li was not criminally responsible for being nuts. They just had to find the appropriate meds to fix the machine. He was released to the general public in 2015 with a name change so that his new neighbours would be nice to him. And with a bit of luck and the proper regimen of drugs, he won’t soon cut off anybody else’s head.
But wait, there’s more. Part of the finding that Vincent Li was nuts, had to do with the fact that (like many others) he heard voices telling him to commit the crime. It is a curious phenomenon. Scientists who care about data might find it interesting that in almost all such cases, the voice leads to one thing. Destruction. Kill your parents, kill somebody, kill yourself. Now that is remarkably consistent. It might make them want to investigate a little further.
In case you were wondering, what I am getting at, is the problem of EVIL. Volitional evil. Things done on purpose. Since Cain slew his brother Abel, it has haunted mankind. That story in the Bible doesn’t talk about not criminally responsible. It says Cain slew his brother Abel because he was pissed off and jealous. No matter what people might say about the Bible that it is not proper history, and not at all scientific, it seems to have hit the nail on the head when it comes to the basic problem of evil.
The Bible also recognizes a third agent in human affairs, one whose intent is to kill, harm and destroy. He has been the enemy of God’s perfect intentions since the beginning. According to that narrative, the author of Evil has been defeated and will be dealt with in God’s own time. Meanwhile he still has opportunity to wreak havoc on earth where he may. Not a very scientific explanation, for those who like science.
Still, when somebody who hears voices from another dimension telling them to kill and destroy shows up next door, you had better hope that officials are offering up a solution more solid than claims to have fixed the machine with a drug regimen. Have they fixed the human heart? I would have to really be a man of faith to believe that story.