18 April 2006

Miffed, Moussaoui 'mentally ill'

Ok, dudes.  sigh.  Let me vent here.

The BBC is covering the Moussaoui trial.  The aspect I want to focus on for a minute here, is the use of the idea of Mental Illness, the associations and connotations to the further perpetuation of stigma, and the defense's strategy.  "Defence lawyers are trying to persuade jurors to spare his life because there is evidence he is mentally ill."

First of all, I have mental illnesses and brain disorders.  However, I am responsible for all my actions, thoughts, and attitudes.  Society and certain individuals may influence my perceptions, but when it comes down to brass tacks, I blame no one else for any of my faults.

I am responsible for the consequences of my behavior.  This includes not only overt acts of commission, but also the consequences of non-behavior (omission).  For instance, if I realized that I couldn't keep a previous engagement, and didn't notify the person, then I acted irresponsibly by not picking up the friggen phone.

I understand that sometimes we are under the influence of chemical reactions, medications, etc.  However, we are not absolved of our responsibilities at such times.  I don't say, "well ya know, I couldn't help myself because I was impulsive due to mania, so I shouldn't be held accountable for..." the bills I ran up, or the case of STDs that I got, or whatever...

Those are minor things compared to what Moussaoui's defense team admits he's done.  They are not pleading that he didn't do those acts of atrocity.  What they are doing, is they are saying that he should not be held accountable for his behavior.

It angers me that the concept of being mentally ill should be invoked to excuse some one of something they are responsible for.  I am not to blame for having Bipolar, but I do take responsibility for my actions.  This holds true even when I am in the throes of acute mania.

Mental Illness, folks who deal with mental illness, and those who are mentally ill deal with negative assumptions from others on a regular basis.  Every time we as a group take steps forward on busting stigma, there is something which serves to be a reinforcer of incorrect assumptions.  He didn't do this because he was paranoid schizophrenic.  He didn't do itbecause he is mentally ill.  He did it because he didn't choose not to do it.

If I did something that I planned, after having reviewed the possible consequences, knowing what was probable to occur...I don't get to say, well, mentally ill.  That's my ticket.  Nope.  That is not my get out of jail free card.


  1. Don't forget, his daddy was a mean ole' alcoholic.



  2. as a Mom to bipolar children, I applaude you!

  3. As long as you make sense to yourself and don't harm anyone, who gives a hoot in hell what some shrink says?

  4. sazzylilsmartazzTuesday, 02 May, 2006

    For someone who claims to be mentally ill, you certainly sound more logical than most "sane" people I know.

  5. princesssauroraTuesday, 02 May, 2006

    Unbelievable isn't it.  Your post is wonderfully intelligent and totally sane.

    be well,

  6. Great post.  Agreed, you shouldn't be able to use a health tag to 'get out of jail free'.  

  7. Very very true.. great entry!

  8. AMEN!   -  Barbara

  9. Debra~Well written entry and I couldn't agree more! I write about the subject of mental ilnness frequently and do what I can to inform and fight stigma! Hope you will come visit! Blessings, SassyDeb ;-)



Thanks for taking the time and effort to let your thoughts be known!