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 Post subject: Mental insanity?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 12:51 am 
An interesting point was brought up a few days ago in my Political Science class in a discussion involving the death penalty. A person in favor of the death penalty believed that any person who committed a murder of any sort (barring that of self defense, which is not technically a murder anyway) was to be considered mentally insane. I know that people who have intricately planned out murders far in advance so as not to be captured are for the most part VERY intelligent, but does this sort of morbid intelligence cause them to be mentally insane?


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 Post subject: Re: Mental insanity?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 2:43 am 
Moonlight_Gypsy wrote:
...A person in favor of the death penalty believed that any person who committed a murder of any sort (barring that of self defense, which is not technically a murder anyway) was to be considered mentally insane.


A person in favor of killing people who kill people, because people who kill people are insane?
Now, thats just insane.

Sanity and intelligence are two very different things.


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 Post subject: Re: Mental insanity?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 11:33 am 
Pronto wrote:
Sanity and intelligence are two very different things.


Ye gods - I agree with Pronto on something!

And even more to the point - sanity and the legal definition thereof can be two very different things, as well.

-John


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 11:58 am 
I'm not actually clear on what insanity is, really.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 12:16 pm 
[quote="sun tzu"]I'm not actually clear on what insanity [i]is[/i], really.[/quote]

Why, the loss of sanity, of course!

Typically, from what I've gathered from watching the profession, it tends to mean "someone who feels badly enough to want a second opinion on the contents of their head". Alternate definitions (daffynitions?) include "Not me!", "Not us!", and variations on the theme.

Perhaps a bit more practically, someone incapable of functioning in society due to a psychological matter is a traditional definition, challenged both by social libertarians who point out that society isn't always sane as well as by psychopharmacologists, who point out that many psychological complaints are physically modifiable via various medications, therapies, etcetera, the more expensive the better.

My (mis)understanding of textbooks seems to indicate that the truely sane mind contains no psychoses, phobia, neuroses, etcetra. Considering that those professionals who treat such problems continually come up with new and more bizarre variants of such, I rather doubt that anyone can be considered 'truly sane' via that definition.

Instead, personally, I sidestep the issue. Is the person functional, or not? Can they get a reasonable job done, including the various tasks involved in living, or not? If they cannot due primarily to psychological reasons, they may be insane. The rest of us are (by this scale) 'functional'.

Then again, I do tend to be pessimistic and cynical. *shrug* YMMV

-John


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 1:51 pm 
Quote:
Perhaps a bit more practically, someone incapable of functioning in society due to a psychological matter is a traditional definition

Hum...By that definition, people under the Stalin who wouldn't have accepted all the propaganda would be insane.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 2:09 pm 
Nice selective quote.

Did you happen to keep reading?

-John


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 2:31 pm 
Discarnate wrote:
Nice selective quote.

Did you happen to keep reading?

-John

Yes I did. I just thought it warranted this example.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 3:15 pm 
There is actually no such thing as sanity.
Ergo, no insanity, either.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 4:32 pm 
The General wrote:
There is actually no such thing as sanity.
Ergo, no insanity, either.


Quote:
sanity
n : normal or sound powers of mind [syn: saneness] [ant: insanity]

normal
    adj
      1: conforming with or constituting a norm or standard or level or type or social norm; not abnormal; "serve wine at normal room temperature"; "normal diplomatic relations"; "normal working hours"; "normal word order"; "normal curiosity"; "the normal course of events" [ant: abnormal]
      2: in accordance with scientific laws [ant: paranormal]
      3: being approximately average or within certain limits in e.g. intelligence and development; "a perfectly normal child"; "of normal intelligence"; "the most normal person I've ever met" [ant: abnormal]
      4: forming a right angle
    n : something regarded as a normative example; "the convention of not naming the main character"; "violence is the rule not the exception"; "his formula for impressing visitors" [syn: convention, pattern, rule, formula]

Sanity does indeed exist, smartass, by the technical definition of insanity (having to do with being inside 2 or 3 standard deviations of the average, I think). :)


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 Post subject: Re: Mental insanity?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 4:42 pm 
Pronto wrote:
Moonlight_Gypsy wrote:
...A person in favor of the death penalty believed that any person who committed a murder of any sort (barring that of self defense, which is not technically a murder anyway) was to be considered mentally insane.


A person in favor of killing people who kill people, because people who kill people are insane?
Now, thats just insane.

Well, the way I see it is that the death penalty is not murder - it occurs because of a murder. There's quite a significant difference. Ergo, the killers of killers are at a different level of sanity, I guess you could say, considering they feel it their necessary duty to put people to justice. That's not to say that I am necessarily in favor of the death penalty, but it is certainly a lot more understandable than the original murder.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 4:59 pm 
It's not quite the same as the "criminals are insane" view, but I am familiar with the "moral education" theory of punishment.

In 'The Moral Education Theory of Punishment,' Jean Hampton wrote:
Punishments are like electrified fences. At the very least they teach a person, via pain, that there is a "barrier" to the action she wants to do, and so, at the very least, they aim to deter. But because punishment "fences" are marking moral boundaries, the pain which these "fences" administer (or threaten to administer) conveys a larger message to beings who are able to reflect on the reasons for these barriers' existence: they convey that there is a barrier to these actions because they are morally wrong. Thus, according to the moral education theory, punishment is not intended as a way of conditioning a human being to do what society wants her to do (in the way that an animal is conditioned by an electrified fence to stay within a pasture); rather, the theory maintains that punishment is intended as a way of teaching the wrongdoer that the action she did (or wants to do) is forbidden because it is morally wrong and should not be done for that reason. The theory also regards that lesson as public, and thus as directed to the rest of society. When the state makes criminal law and its enforcement practices known, it conveys an educative message not only to the convicted criminal but also to anyone else in the society who might be tempted to do what she did.


She acknowledges her view is not perfect, by the by...

Jean Hampton wrote:
Much more work needs to be done before anyone is in a position to embrace the view wholeheartedly, hence I won't even attempt to argue in any detailed way here that it is superior to the three traditional views.


The three traditional views being deterrence, retributivist, and rehabilitation views.

Now, once in a lecture on this, the subject of the death penalty was discussed. Half-jokingly I suggested that the death penalty could be seen as "Maximum Education."

Along the same lines, within the view that criminals are somehow "insane," perhaps the death penalty can be viewed as being "Drastic rebalancing."

NOTE: Views expressed within this post are not necessarily those of the author's.


Last edited by Gerald on Mon Mar 29, 2004 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mental insanity?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 5:03 pm 
Moonlight_Gypsy wrote:
Well, the way I see it is that the death penalty is not murder - it occurs because of a murder.


Ah, there's the rub. Sometimes capital punishment is murder.

The US state of Texas, for one example, has murdered at least 10 innocent people, by mistake. (Go DNA analysis!) If you accept death as a punishment, or as a deterent, you have to accept the certainty that you are participating in the murder of some innocent people.


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 Post subject: Re: Mental insanity?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 6:57 pm 
Discarnate wrote:
Ye gods - I agree with Pronto on something!
-John


I doubt it. You probably just misunderstood what I was saying. :firedevil:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 2:41 am 
Raif wrote:
Sanity does indeed exist, smartass, by the technical definition of insanity (having to do with being inside 2 or 3 standard deviations of the average, I think).


For epistimologys sake, insane should only be used in clasification of a defendant in criminal trial. It is not a word that is very useful in psycology, it is mainly a word of criminal justice. As of this standard, it is a word meaning one 'is up the legal standard of mental deviation', and defines nothing at all. So please dont use it outside a court circumstance.

Pronto wrote:
Ah, there's the rub. Sometimes capital punishment is murder.

The US state of Texas, for one example, has murdered at least 10 innocent people, by mistake. (Go DNA analysis!) If you accept death as a punishment, or as a deterent, you have to accept the certainty that you are participating in the murder of some innocent people.


I'd hardly call it murder. The state probably didn't care enough about the person to premeditate murder. They just did a poor job establishing culpability and gulit, and ensured the death of some poor sod. Terrible event but hardly murder, just error that will happen in justice systems as long as it is run by fallable creatures like us humans.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 2:55 am 
There are two things a sane person (unless sheltered beyond belief) knows about a murder.

1: It destroys another human life.
2: It's very illegal and carries strict penalties.

Now, if #1, in a general sense, is the primary cause of the murder, that person ought also to be legally insane. However, if #1, in a specific sense (ie: assassination), is the primary cause of the murder, that person is not insane, with one exception. If the person did not know it was a crime, not through sheer ignorance, but through utter delusion, the person is clearly not sane. The same goes for if the cause of the murder was independent of #1 (eg: to scare someone, to prove a point).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:13 am 
Once again, you've made an argument so convoluted that my simple self can't follow it.
It really seems like you are saying something like "If the murder is the cause of the murder then the murderer isn't a murderer..."
Wanna try again, in english?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 11:24 am 
If someone kills someone because e likes to kill people, generic, e's clearly criminally insane.

If someone's mind is so clouded, not by passion, but in and of itself, that e doesn't realize what e's doing, or e thinks e's doing something else, e's clearly criminally insane - this is the present definition. This is true no matter what the cause is.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 1:11 pm 
So if I want you dead because you annoy me, then that automatically makes me insane?

Is that like defining poverty to be "below the nth percentile of people regardless of actual income vs. living wage," or defining a living wage to be "more than you have because you can't afford rent after paying food for your eighteen kids?"

Dunno, L5N. If it came down to calling you insane or me, my money wouldn't have been on the latter.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 1:18 pm 
:rofl:
Nerd, you must live in a very oddly colored world.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 3:08 pm 
Pi wrote:
So if I want you dead because you annoy me, then that automatically makes me insane?


That's the exact opposite of what I said. If you want me dead because I am alive, not alive and me, just alive, then you're insane. Targeting a specific individual is a sane motivation as long as you're sane enough to know that you're killing another human being in cold blood.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 3:25 pm 
8O

:?

Okay. Let me see if I got what you're saying, L5N...

A murder is done out of isanity if
1. The murder is done for the sake of murder.
2. The murder is done without the understanding it is murder.

If yes, then, what happens if the murder is committed, with the knowledge that the act is murder, and for a specific reason, but the reason is born from a delusion. Say, the murderer is hallucinating.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 3:40 pm 
If the reason is justifiable, the act falls into the second category - the person didn't realize that it was criminal murder. If the reason is not justifiable, the person is insane, but knew that what e was doing was a crime. Therefore, the entire sentence is warranted.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 4:57 pm 
level5nerd wrote:
If the reason is justifiable, the act falls into the second category - the person didn't realize that it was criminal murder. If the reason is not justifiable, the person is insane, but knew that what e was doing was a crime. Therefore, the entire sentence is warranted.


:rofl:

I have to admit, if anyone is capable of recognizing gibbering insanity, it would be Nerd. :)
Are you this incoherent in RL?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:27 pm 
Darjeeling wrote:

Pronto wrote:
Ah, there's the rub. Sometimes capital punishment is murder.

The US state of Texas, for one example, has murdered at least 10 innocent people, by mistake. (Go DNA analysis!) If you accept death as a punishment, or as a deterent, you have to accept the certainty that you are participating in the murder of some innocent people.


I'd hardly call it murder. The state probably didn't care enough about the person to premeditate murder. They just did a poor job establishing culpability and gulit, and ensured the death of some poor sod. Terrible event but hardly murder, just error that will happen in justice systems as long as it is run by fallable creatures like us humans.


It's a good thing you don't get to define murder then. Thats exactly what it is. "...the illegal killing of a person"

Unless you think it's legal to accidently kill a person? Opps, sorry. You could be next.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:32 pm 
I say that if it can be proven that an executee was innocent, the prosecutors ought to be brought up on manslaughter charges.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:51 pm 
Yeah, like thats gonna happen.
Further, if it's your state ('state' as in 'THE state') thats doing the wrongful executions, aren't you at least partially responsible?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 12:19 am 
level5nerd wrote:
I say that if it can be proven that an executee was innocent, the prosecutors ought to be brought up on manslaughter charges.


Okay. But when are executees ever put to death when they cannot be proven guilty - or at least in the instance that the prosecutors do not have a VERY valid reason? It seems a bit irrational to execute a person because of your belief in their guilt - that is to say, people are not executed if their prosecutors know or have the slightest inkling that they're innocent.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 2:44 pm 
Does it really matter whether a person is sane or not? Death is death and murder is murder. Just because a woman claims to have heard her God tell her to murder her kids doesn't make her insane. I think that it's just an excuse. What about the gal who ran over her husband in a parking lot...repeatedly? crime of passion? Nah, just murder...and the fact that someone else was getting the sex she wanted, imo.

*mutters* Insanity pleas, gimme a break. Sometimes and eye for an eye is needed. Kill not lest ye suffer the death sentence!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 5:22 pm 
Thats great, kreely, and if you were perfect in your ability to read a persons guilt, I'd load the pistol for you.

Unfortunately, I'm better at determining guilty or innocence than you are and I'm not good enough.

I search my soul every time I give testimony that may result in someone going to jail. I couldn't do this job if I had to risk contributing to the unjust killing of an innocent person.

One innocent person executed by your state and you are a murder. I think warehousing 99 evil motherfsckers isn't too much to do to prevent the murder of one innocent person.


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