by reason of insanity

Once again, I find myself thinking about the improbable notion of someone being “not guilty by reason of insanity” to a murder charge.

While I can see someone being not guilty by reason of being mentally incompetent, I cannot see a valid defence on the grounds of being “temporarily” insane. Why? Well, murder itself is insanity. So, if it is valid for someone to be not guilty by reason of insanity, then *every* murderer would be thus not guilty. For someone to kill another human being requires one of a very small set of conditions. (Yes, I’m hopelessly naive, but go with me for a moment.) Either one is defending one’s own (life, property, loved ones, etc), or one is in some fashion a soldier obeying orders, or one has lost one’s grip on reality and appropriate priorities, and kills in order to obtain something for one’s self (property, power, etc.). Yes, there are accidental killings, but that hardly qualifies as murder, IMHO.

So each time I hear that someone is attempting to get off of a murder charge on the basis if insanity, I’m inclined to agree halfway with them. They are guilty by reason of insanity. Yes, murder is insanity, and so folks that commit murder were indeed insane at the moment that they did it. They were required to suspend their normal sane reasoning processes in order to take the life of a fellow human. And, of course, that is often the case even when such acts are committed in the defence of life, liberty, property, or loved ones.

I’m also inclined to think that I’d make a pretty miserable soldier.