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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Loughner, and a tragic failure of the legal system (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Loughner, and a tragic failure of the legal system
AchillesHeel
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I find the idea of describing how much this disturbs me to be daunting, but that doesnt change the fact that Jared Lee Loughner has been deemed unfit to stand trial. He is being sent to a facility in Springfield where they hope to help his mental condition until he is capable of being held accountable for his crimes. This is not a joke.

Here is the write-up.

As an Arizonan I am outraged that this man is being given the option to be housed comfortably drugged far from the city and state that he attacked so long as he keeps playing stupid.

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Orincoro
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You would rather your state tried and condemned those it could not in full faith prosecute because they are mentally disturbed?

Proceeding with the trial of a mentally unfit defendant is a gross miscarriage of justice. It would make a mockery of the legal process, and, not coincidentally, it would make us murderers to kill a man who we know to be unable to defend himself.

Now, I rather trust the judgement of legal and psychiatric professionals to make these types of decisions rather than pronouncing boldly that they have perpetrated miscarriages of justice. If he is found fit, he will stand trial. Either way, you're safe. He's not going anywhere.

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The Rabbit
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It sounds to me like Loughner is in fact very seriously mentally ill. It's a tragedy on every level.

It's unfortunate that for some the need to punish Loughner is greater the need for justice.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
As an Arizonan I am outraged that this man is being given the option to be housed comfortably drugged far from the city and state that he attacked so long as he keeps playing stupid.
I take it you've never known any one with a serious mental illness. Schizophrenia is not "playing stupid". Any half competent layman can tell the difference.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
It sounds to me like Loughner is in fact very seriously mentally ill. It's a tragedy on every level.

It's unfortunate that for some the need to punish Loughner is greater the need for justice.

You're free to disagree with people, but I think this is grossly mischaracterizing their position. It seems to me that AchillesHeel feels this is not a "just" outcome.
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Rakeesh
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What do you think, Dan? Do you think he is mentally ill? If so, should he be made to stand trial in spite of his illness or if he could be made well, should he be made well that he can stand trial?

Anyway, I read AH's post as one that was rooted in, as he said, shock, hurt, outrage. I'm not sure he (AH) actually believes the man is just 'playing stupid', because if he is, it's an act that very closely according to actual experts in the field mirrors schizophrenia and has been increasing for years. Which is more likely-that he's a brilliant actor, able to deceive not only the wary, experienced experts examining him but also others who have thought, "Man, something is just *wrong* with him!" over the years.

Insofar as anyone can be looked at and said clearly, "He's mentally I'll," Loughner fits the bill, I think. It just...makes much, much more sense than an elaborate acting ploy to attempt an assassination-*itself* a sign of mental illness.

So, maybe give AH a chance to walk it back a little?

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
What do you think, Dan? Do you think he is mentally ill? If so, should he be made to stand trial in spite of his illness or if he could be made well, should he be made well that he can stand trial?

Anyway, I read AH's post as one that was rooted in, as he said, shock, hurt, outrage. I'm not sure he (AH) actually believes the man is just 'playing stupid', because if he is, it's an act that very closely according to actual experts in the field mirrors schizophrenia and has been increasing for years. Which is more likely-that he's a brilliant actor, able to deceive not only the wary, experienced experts examining him but also others who have thought, "Man, something is just *wrong* with him!" over the years.

Insofar as anyone can be looked at and said clearly, "He's mentally I'll," Loughner fits the bill, I think. It just...makes much, much more sense than an elaborate acting ploy to attempt an assassination-*itself* a sign of mental illness.

So, maybe give AH a chance to walk it back a little?

Rabbit posted twice in a row, and I intentionally chose not to address her admonishment of AH re: Loughner "faking it" because, no, I don't think he's faking it.

But just because he's not faking it, does not mean, in my opinion, that he should be considered unfit to stand trial and be put into a hospital instead of a prison.

One of my sisters has been diagnosed as schizophrenic and bipolar. She has serious problems dealing with other people and the world they live in. But that doesn't mean she should not be held accountable for her actions. She is still able to perceive when the things she is doing are harmful to others.

Loughner is almost certainly much further gone than my sister is, but that does not mean he is incapable of taking any responsibility for his actions. And, I have too much skepticism of most of the psychiatric establishment to simply trust that he is, in fact, unfit for trial.

Maybe he is. I don't know. I'm not willing to say that this decision is specifically unjust. But I definitely object to people saying that anyone who thinks this was a bad decision is more concerned with punishment than justice. I still think that is an unfair mischaracterization.

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scholarette
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Quote from slate:

"It is important to note that the incompetency finding is different than a not guilty verdict by reason of insanity. Wednesday's ruling is not a reflection of what the court thinks Loughner’s mental state was at the time of the shooting. Instead, it means that the court believes that the defendant is not mentally equipped to understand the charges against him and help his lawyer’s argue in his defense."

The guy isn't getting off. He just isn't being tried until they can get him stable. After being forced to take meds, when he is stable, then he will go to a trial and justice will be served. We are simply deferring until he can understand what is happening. I am a big believer that a fair trial is crucial for justice to be served. If the defendant can't defend himself, it is hard to feel like justice was served, even if the result is the one I want.

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Rakeesh
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Just to be clear, it's your position that to have a mental illness such as severe schizophrenia (that's not the medically accurate term, I know) shouldn't preclude someone from standing trial for a felony-particularly attempted murder or murder?

How are they to effectively assist in their own defense if they cannot be relied upon to distinguish reality from illness? How on earth are you in a position to be mistrustful of 'the psychiatric establishment'-what's your experience with this interesting and apparently homogenous group, to be first lump them together and then mistrust a given member to do their job?

'Held accountable' doesn't necessarily equal 'stand trial for one's life'. It's just:..heh. I'm sorry, but 'skeptical of the psychiatric estabkishment'. On what grounds?

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Dan_Frank
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Basically just because psychiatry is one of the softer sciences, and the anecdotal experiences I've had have never done anything to improve the impression. It's not a rule of mine or anything; I don't have it in for all psychiatrists, I just put less stock in what they have to say than many people seem to.

My sister is usually able to distinguish reality from illness to the extent necessary to understand her own actions. Again, perhaps Loughner is so incredibly disconnected he doesn't understand what's going on at all. I didn't read the original article at all, just commented on Rabbit's admonishment of the OP, so in reading Scholarette's excerpt I will categorically state that it turns out I really don't have any particular objection to this decision.

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Dan_Frank
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Look, Rakeesh, in hindsight I'm kind of regretting going into that much detail about my personal life on here. I'm tempted to edit my old posts but I don't want to disrupt the flow of the conversation. Just... I hope my previous post clarifies my position well enough. I think I'd rather not continue delving into my personal opinion of psychiatrists, though. Sorry.
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Rakeesh
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You're allowed to edit your own posts as you like Dan-you don't hafta answer to anyone else for that in any event, but if you did, that sharing something and then regretting sharing it because you felt it was too personal would be, well, a pretty good reason. Just sayin'. I don't think anyone `round here would criticize you for editing because it disrupted the flow of the conversation (and really, the discussion is under a dozen posts and a dozen hours anyway!).

But if they would...they're your words. You've got the edit button right there, and it's details about your life. You're not answerable to anyone else for that.

--------

Anyway, re: the issue at hand, "...so in reading Scholarette's excerpt I will categorically state that it turns out I really don't have any particular objection to this decision."

The thing is, and one of the reasons I was pretty incredulous towards both you and AchillesHeel (and others, I think, and I'm sure that showed through) is because the stuff scholarette posted is pretty basic stuff about our legal system and mental incompetence. To not know that, to not be aware that he's not just getting off much less to think he's just playing stupid, as AH suggested, is just poorly informed at best.

That said IANAL, but what if it turns out that he cannot be rendered competent even with compulsory medication? Should he then be tried anyway? How would that work? A trial in absentia despite the defendent being physically present? What would the impact on the verdict necessarily be, if the defendant couldn't participate in his own defense-something Americans have a right to, if I'm not mistaken?

That's what it comes down to. It's not about protecting him. It's about protecting you if you go nuts. Or, more selfishly, me. If I go nuts, many forms of mental illness not being things that can just be avoided by, y'know, exercise and diet and vaccination. Should that happen to me-and it's not impossible-will I then have what's left of my tried and then incarcerated in prison for the rest of my life, or lethally injected, or gassed, or electrocuted, or put in front of a firing squad, or whatever the method as the case may be?

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AvidReader
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There are times I might be suspicious about this decision, but it was not a defense shrink who claimed he was too crazy for trial:

quote:
Judge Burns’s ruling that Mr. Loughner was incompetent followed the recommendations of two experts, Christina Pietz, a psychologist who works for the Bureau of Prisons and was appointed by the prosecution, and Dr. Matthew Carroll, a psychiatrist in private practice in San Diego appointed by the judge.
As for the accountability, a sister of a friend of the family once attacked her father at Thanksgiving because she thought he was trying to carve a baby. Should she have gotten in trouble for saving a life, from her point of view?

Personally, I think we should bring back compulsory medication for people who've shown themselves to be a danger to others. Getting someone to the point where they just can't have these delusions would seem to nip a lot of the legal angst in the bud.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
It sounds to me like Loughner is in fact very seriously mentally ill. It's a tragedy on every level.

It's unfortunate that for some the need to punish Loughner is greater the need for justice.

You're free to disagree with people, but I think this is grossly mischaracterizing their position. It seems to me that AchillesHeel feels this is not a "just" outcome.
Dan_Frank, I read the article AH linked before I posted. Since he linked the article, I presumed he had read it as well. I wish you had done the same before you judged my response.

There are likely many people for whom the only important aspect of "justice" is that the guilty are properly punished. They are wrong. I have no qualms in saying those people value punishment more than justice.


One of the key things that distinguishes justice from vengence is the opportunity to defend ones self against the charges made. Based on the article AH linked, it's evident that Loughner is not capable of understanding the charges against him, assisting his attorney and possibly even of sitting through his own trial. It would be a gross miscarriage of justice to try him under these circumstances.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Personally, I think we should bring back compulsory medication for people who've shown themselves to be a danger to others.
What do you want to bring back? Courts can order a person to be medicated, but generally not until that person has committed a crime. Would you have laws that mandated that everyone diagnosed with a mental illness be forcibly medicated?
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AchillesHeel
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He had enough presence of mind to aim and pull the trigger on a little girl, I have no sympathy for such a person. To assume that I have never known someone with a mental disability is a bit silly and certainly hasty, in fact I have spent much of my personal and social life involved with special needs people. Loughner is not an invalid, he most certianly is unbalanced and has delusions of granduer but I dont understand what makes him less fit to stand trial than other mass murderers and serial killers.
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scholarette
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Achilles- Not necessarily this guy, but hypothetical- if I had a trial, but didn't invite the accused, but did assign someone to defend his interests, would you consider that a fair trial?
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Ace of Spades
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How much presence of mind does it take to pull a trigger?
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Rakeesh
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AchillesHeel,

quote:
He had enough presence of mind to aim and pull the trigger on a little girl, I have no sympathy for such a person. To assume that I have never known someone with a mental disability is a bit silly and certainly hasty, in fact I have spent much of my personal and social life involved with special needs people. Loughner is not an invalid, he most certianly is unbalanced and has delusions of granduer but I dont understand what makes him less fit to stand trial than other mass murderers and serial killers.
It doesn't matter who he pulled the trigger on for the purposes of this conversation. It makes the crime more upsetting of course, but that's simply not relevant. He doesn't get less mentally ill because he attacked a child. Some might say that makes him more mentally ill overall, but as to your specific statement, 'presence of mind', that's not the standard used to determine fitness to stand trial.

Loughner isn't an invalid-who has said otherwise?-but one thing that makes him, currently, unfit to stand trial? The fact that medical experts have said he's unfit to stand trial. Angry citizens from the Internet don't get to weigh in on that process. Their time to weigh in is before the specific crime, in the overall process. In determining how we handle all such cases. Not to get really angry about one particular case and say, "No, this is too outrageous, he pulled the trigger on a little girl, he's no sicker than others."

AchillesHeel, you're simply not qualified to have an informed opinion on whether he's fit. I'm not either, but at least I know it. I know you're upset, and I understand why-it was an awful crime-but when you say you don't understand, you're right. That's alright too though, it's a really complicated issue, we're laymen.

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The Rabbit
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Achilles, Mental disability and mental illness are not synonymous. The fact that you equate the two indicates a lack of experience with the latter. Spending time with people who have down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, severe learning disabilities or generally low intelligence will not do anything to help you understand people with schizophrenia.

"Playing Stupid" would not ever be mistaken for Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a disease that normally manifests itself in early adulthood. People with schizophrenia can have very high intelligence but the disease interferes with their ability to think rationally and to distinguish between real and imaginary experiences. People with schizophrenia frequently hear voices and see hallucinations which they can not distinguish from reality. They can be incapable of normal emotional responses, unable to follow a line of reasoning.

Two of my childhood friends developed schizophrenia in their mid-twenties. They were both brilliant, talented, kind, caring and wonderful young men. The disease changed all of that. One of them has been in prison for bank robbery. Before he got the disease, he would have been the very last person on earth to commit such a crime. It's hard to even think of these friends without crying. I mourn for them more than I mourn for those who have died.

Of all the tragedies (and there have been many) that have befallen myself, my friends and acquaintances, this is the very worst. I know people whose children were raped and murder, who have died of cancer at a young age, who have been killed in car accidents, who've suffered traumatic brain injury, who've been sexually and/or physically abused and who've been permanently maimed. I would choose any one of those over severe Schizophrenia. I can't imagine that anyone who has seen first hand what Schizophrenia does to a human being, would not feel compassion for someone who had this disease.

I'm not saying that Loughner should not be tried for his crimes, eventually. One can feel compassion for a person and still believe they should be held accountable for their crimes. But compassion is incompatible with the outrage you expressed over his trial being delayed until he is mentally capable of defending himself

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AchillesHeel
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I never claimed to be a proffesional, and really Rabbit its immature to keep insisting your opinion of my life through a smattering of posts is absolute fact and judging me by it.

Right now in Arizona, mentally and physically ill people who depend on the state are being cut off. The Arizona State Hospital which is just down the street from my store no longer has a juvenile ward, meaning that young people who are unwell are sent to juvenile detention instead where they are insufficiantly monitered let alone cared for. Convicted criminals who pose no physical threat live in the bug infested tent city, and are not provided with ample medical attention. Public schools are sending children home with shopping lists for the parents who already have little money to spare, so the school can still afford some teachers. Joe Arpaio... where to start. My point is this, Loughner is kindling compared to so many of these wildfires in waiting. Its just alot easier to be angry at someone who without question deserves persecution.

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The Rabbit
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AchillesHeel,

quote:
My point is this, Loughner is kindling compared to so many of these wildfires in waiting. Its just alot easier to be angry at someone who without question deserves persecution.
If Loughner deserved persecution (or even prosecution), without question, we wouldn't be having this discussion. He unquestionably committed a horrific crime. It seems extremely likely that he committed that crime because he has a horrifying illness that's destroying his mind. That's tragic not just for the victims of his crime, but for him and his family as well.

If it isn't obvious, Schizophrenia is a disease I have very strong feelings about. Based on my experience, its one of the most horrible things that can happen to an individual and their family.

I really can't imagine that anyone who had seen first hand what this disease does to people, would not feel some compassion for Loughner, unless they were a sociopath.

Would you prefer I think of you as a sociopath than to presume you don't fully understand what Schizophrenia does to people.

[ May 26, 2011, 02:37 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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Rakeesh
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AchillesHeel,

But it's not without question. That he deserves persecution in particular, when I think the word you meant to use was 'prosecution'. If he's mentally ill, he cannot stand trial until he is mentally competent to do so. That's just the law. That's what we've decided he, and you and I should it happen to us, deserve. We don't get to get angry when a crime happens and say, "Psh, well I'm unhappy now, screw it!" That's not how the system works. It doesn't matter who's living in what tent city or what they did.

That doesn't give carte blance to say about this particular case, "Bring him back, he's 'playing stupid', he should stand trial, outrage!"

You didn't claim to be a professional, it's true. What you did claim, though, was that actual professionals including those working for the state were being taken in by a guy just 'playing stupid'. I know you're angry, and by the tone of your rhetoric it's probably about a bit more than just this particular case. If you'd like to talk about that, well, we do that on HR too.

If not, though...I'm sorry. You just don't have much of a leg to stand on. 'Without question', indeed.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Its just alot easier to be angry at someone who without question deserves persecution.
If he 'without question' deserves persecution, then why stop at medical review to see if he is competent to hold trial? Why not skip the trial anyway? After all, it's equally as unimportant to this sentiment.

Which should help you understand how ridiculous your sentiment is.

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The Rabbit
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Achilles,

Think of someone you know and care about. Preferrably someone in their teens or early twenties. Someone who is bright and talented and fun to be with and kind and brimming with potential. Now imagine that this person develops a disease that destroys everything you like about the person. They start babbling about strange conspiracies and talking to people who aren't there. They have wild emotional outbursts. They get thrown out of school. They can't complete simple tasks, hold a job, or maintain a relationship. They stop bathing and hoarding garbage. Being with them causes you to feel panicky. You try to persuade them to get help, but it just makes them angry and violent. That's what schizophrenia can do to a person.

Now imagine that this same person, who was once your bright, talented, fun friend brimming with potential, picks up a gun and starts shooting people? Would you not you not grieve for him?

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Rakeesh
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I think you meant, "They stop bathing and start hoarding garbage," unless we're all supposed to be hoarding garbage in which case...man, maybe I can make it to the curb in time!
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The Rabbit
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Yes, It should say "start hoarding garbage".
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Destineer
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quote:

Would you prefer I think of you as a sociopath than to presume you don't fully understand what Schizophrenia does to people.

Or alternatively, you could assume that maybe AH doesn't carefully check over the wording of every post to make sure he's said "mentally ill" instead of "mentally disabled."
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:

Would you prefer I think of you as a sociopath than to presume you don't fully understand what Schizophrenia does to people.

Or alternatively, you could assume that maybe AH doesn't carefully check over the wording of every post to make sure he's said "mentally ill" instead of "mentally disabled."
Another option would be not to leap from AH's position of feeling its unjust Loughner isn't standing trial to believing AH has no compassion for Loughner to believing AH must be a sociopath. Both of those logical steps seem...debatable.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:

Would you prefer I think of you as a sociopath than to presume you don't fully understand what Schizophrenia does to people.

Or alternatively, you could assume that maybe AH doesn't carefully check over the wording of every post to make sure he's said "mentally ill" instead of "mentally disabled."
First off, he also used the term "special needs", which is not a term I've ever heard applied to people with serious mental illness, so I'm reasonably confident it wasn't just a poor choice of words on this part.

Second, if has in fact spent a good deal of his personal and social life interacting with people who suffer from schizophrenia and still has so little compassion for someone with this disease -- I think sociopath would be the right term.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Another option would be not to leap from AH's position of "feeling its unjust Loughner isn't standing trial" to "not feeling some compassion for Loughner" to "must be a sociopath."
That's a gross misstatement of what's gone on here.


AH did not say he felt it was unjust that Loughner's trial is being delayed. He said

quote:
I am outraged that this man is being given the option to be housed comfortably drugged far from the city and state that he attacked so long as he keeps playing stupid.
The jump from that to lack of compassion is very small indeed.

I have also not said that AH is a sociopath. I've said I doubt he has had much personal experience with people who are severely mentally ill because otherwise his response would be sociopathic.

In other words, I think he's much more likely have limited personal experience with schizophrenia than that he has a serious deficiency in his ability to empathize with others. I don't think he's a sociopath.

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SenojRetep
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Even with AH's outraged tone, I feel the jump from AH's expressions of outrage over Loughner's treatment to the idea that AH feels no compassion for him is unjustified. I also think the assertion that anyone feeling no compassion for Loughner must, of necessity, be a sociopath is unjustifiable. I recognize you don't believe AH is a sociopath, you just feel he's misinformed. My problem is that you see no way for an informed person to hold AH's views without being a sociopath.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:
Even with AH's outraged tone, I feel the jump from AH's expressions of outrage over Loughner's treatment to the idea that AH feels no compassion for him is unjustified.

Well, he does write, "I have no sympathy for such a person", so it isn't too much of a stretch.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Another option would be not to leap from AH's position of feeling its unjust Loughner isn't standing trial to believing AH has no compassion for Loughner to believing AH must be a sociopath. Both of those logical steps seem...debatable.
The one isn't a logical step so much as it is reading what is written. The other is a pretty strange leap, I agree.

Anyway, as for me, I don't believe that-once a step back has been taken-I don't think it's happened yet-AH will stand by statements such as 'no sympathy' and 'playing stupid' and 'without question deserves persecution'. *shrug* I could be wrong. Perhaps he (she? I'm sorry, I can't remember) has calmly thought this through and those are the positions he's reached after careful consideration in which case, of course, I strongly disagree. But what appears to be going on is that someone is angry and upset at the possibility of nobody being punished in response to a terrible, devastating attack particularly in light of all sorts of other injustices that go on as a matter of course. That makes sense to me, even if the conclusion it (apparently) leads to re: this piece of current events doesn't.

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Raymond Arnold
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My issue is not with the truth-value of Rabbit's statement (I don't think it's quite accurate, but close enough that I won't quibble). I just think that invoking the word sociopath when discussing the motivations of someone you're arguing with is a bad rhetoric technique. It's rarely going to make someone go "gee, I'm not a sociopath, ergo I must be misinformed!" Instead, getting compared to a sociopath just makes people angry and less likely to listen.
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Rakeesh
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Yup, that's also very true. I suspect it comes from similar places-underlying upset, that is.
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BlackBlade
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Raymond:
quote:
Instead, getting compared to a sociopath just makes people angry and less likely to listen.
Unless it's true. [Wink]
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:

Second, if has in fact spent a good deal of his personal and social life interacting with people who suffer from schizophrenia and still has so little compassion for someone with this disease -- I think sociopath would be the right term.

A lack of empathy, or more properly, an unwillingness to show empathy in this case, is not grounds for this assessment. You simply don't know enough about the person you're talking to, to say such a thing.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Raymond:
quote:
Instead, getting compared to a sociopath just makes people angry and less likely to listen.
Unless it's true. [Wink]
Especially if it's true.
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The Rabbit
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Having looked at the definition of "sociopath", I agree its over the top hyperbole.

I do how ever stand by the assessment that anyone who truly understands what schizophrenia does to a person and yet does not feel a great deal of sympathy for Loughner is seriously lacking in human empathy. Or at least, any one who has had the kind of experience with a mentally ill person that I have had and does not feel a great deal of sympathy for anyone suffering from this condition, is seriously lacking in human empathy.

I don't believe Achilles is seriously lacking in human empathy, which is why I presume he hasn't had the kind of experience I've had with any one who has a serious mental illness.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Raymond:
quote:
Instead, getting compared to a sociopath just makes people angry and less likely to listen.
Unless it's true. [Wink]
Especially if it's true.
Wait, a bonafide sociopath would get upset if you called him/her one? That doesn't jibe with my understanding of sociopaths.

By definition, (according to American Psychiatric Association) a sociopath demonstrates "...a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood."

So if you were a sociopath, and I called you one, your diregard for me would inhibit you from feeling offence.

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Geraine
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Just because he is not mentally able to be put on trial now does not mean that down the road he won't be able to.

Take the guy in the Elizabeth Smart trial. He didn't stand trial for YEARS due to his mental illness, but he got better, stood trial, and just yesterday was sentenced.

Justice can still be carried out. Even if he does not get better, he won't be let out any time soon, if ever.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Wait, a bonafide sociopath would get upset if you called him/her one? That doesn't jibe with my understanding of sociopaths.

By definition, (according to American Psychiatric Association) a sociopath demonstrates "...a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood."

So if you were a sociopath, and I called you one, your diregard for me would inhibit you from feeling offence.

Uh, no. sociopaths are frequently irritable and impulsive, and can easily take offense to being called a sociopath — they may be one, but that doesn't mean they'll know they're one, or respond to the accusation as something other than an insult.

People have this image of sociopaths as being a bunch of robotic Dexters. In reality, they're often messy, fidgety, moody, can't keep their jobs, and are often in debt.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
So if you were a sociopath, and I called you one, your diregard for me would inhibit you from feeling offence.

I don't think this necessarily follows. It is a pattern of disregard for the rights of others, not a blanket disregard for what others do.

Note that the fourth criteria is "(4) irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults" which seems to imply that a sociopath may very well be overly sensitive to provocation and not the reverse.

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Samprimary
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quote:
which seems to imply that a sociopath may very well be overly sensitive to provocation and not the reverse.
which is true. overall they have very poor inhibatory controls. another hallmark of their irritability and aggressiveness — and kind of a sign that you're dealing with APD — is that their patterns of irritability begin and end with their own conflict, and after they've flown off the handle they'll go back almost exactly to the way they were before, acting like nothing's wrong or nothing out of the ordinary occured.
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BlackBlade
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Ah, I see. Very well, the joke was not funny in light of the facts.

edit: As an aside, I've never seen Dexter.

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The Rabbit
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The more I read about sociopathy, the more I realize how badly I chose the wrong word. I'm not sure what the right term is for some one who is lacking in normal empathy, but sociopathy isn't it.
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Ron Lambert
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Suppose someone there at Gabrielle Gifford's public meeting had been armed, and when Jared Loughner had begun shooting people, he himself had been shot dead. Would anyone on earth have said that that shooting of Loughner was not just? Would anyone have said "Loughner was mentally ill, therefore no one should have shot back at him?"

Some people might be willing to forgive him. Very well, Christians know a lot about forgiveness, especially divine forgiveness. But though forgiven, the consequences of one's evil acts remain. The violation of the victim's rights is just as important as any rights the one who commits criminal acts may have. Forgive Loughner if there was an extenuating circumstance to his criminality. But something will still be owed to the victims.

I remember the case of a man who was an assassin, who assassinated the governor of a state. (I think it was Idaho.) While in prison, he experienced what seems to be a genuine conversion. Good for him. But he remained in prison, and he did not think this was unjust. He regarded encouraging his fellow inmates to find repentance and turn back to God to be his new lifework.

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Rakeesh
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The stories and questions you raise simply don't relate. None would've complained if he were killed to stop his violence (at least, none reasonable and serious) because none grant the rights of the mentally I'll extend to not being stopped with violence from *shooting people*.

As for the assassin, you don't mention if he was mentally ill, deemed mentally ill, or if his conversion was his only recovery. And even then, very few would consider his remaining in prison unjust either. It's not analagous. It isnt necessarily a fact that a victim's right is the lifetime incarceration of someone who attacked them due to illness.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
. In reality, they're often messy, fidgety, moody, can't keep their jobs, and are often in debt.

As a messy, moody individual who finds it hard to face his day job, I take great offense at your characterization. Now, if I were in debt, would be truly offended. [Wink]
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