Monday, May 5, 2008


Alright, this story about the Austrian guy who kept his daughter in a cellar for 23 years is starting to get my goat. I mean, a totally unimaginably sucky tragedy. The kind of thing it's actually hard to wrap your head around, like death, or the Bush administration. Cheap liberal pot-shots aside, the way this story is being told is not OK.

So the guy's lawyer is essentially claiming insanity. Naturally. What would you do if you were this guy's lawyer? Clearly he slipped, fell, and imprisoned his daughter for nearly all of her natural life. Could happen to anyone.

But the whole sneering tone of the article as it discusses that defense, amid details about baby remains in furnaces and previous rape convictions (not to mention gratuitous use of German), is messed up. I guess I'm sensitive to the way people cover a mental illness defense. Here is a man who clearly made a choice, and who is morally culpable for that choice, no matter what was going on internally. At the same time, that shouldn't undercut the fact that mental illness is real, and that it does affect people's actions and choices negatively. Bah, the whole thing just seems to undermine the idea that mental illness is a real thing. But maybe it's just my hyper-critical view of the rhetoric.


rjamm said...

I miss your blog. Post some more, eh?

Steven said...

Yeah, the public demands blogging!