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
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.