Drenched In Gasoline

In an attempt to account for a recent act of metaphorical arson, I have been researching applicable criminal defenses that may mentally acquit me of guilt.

First, I looked to the temporary insanity plea. This is a defense by the accused that he/she was briefly insane at the time the crime was committed and therefore was incapable of knowing the nature of his/her alleged act. One difficulty with a temporary insanity defense is the problem of proof, since any examination by psychiatrists has to be after the fact, so the only evidence must be the conduct of the accused immediately before or after the crime. Before acts of incendiarism I am often drinking, and afterwards eventually crying. By my own admission, this is more emotional instability than temporary insanity.

However, some states no longer make a distinction between a temporary insanity plea and an insanity plea. A person may make a plea of not guilty by means of insanity or diminished capacity, and then use evidence that the altered mental state was one of a temporary nature during sentencing. (Diminished capacity, also know as diminished responsibility, is an abnormality of the mind – a disorder resulting from a condition of arrested or retarded development, any inherent causes, disease, or injury.) Because the only diseases and disorders I have are made-up and self-diagnosed, general insanity and diminished capacity do not seem befitting to my situation.

Another defense used in criminal trials is intoxication. (Note that intoxication in itself does not constitute diminished responsibility. If the defendant is intoxicated, the jury must consider whether his/her responsibility would still have been impaired had he/she been sober. For example, if a man kills his wife while suffering from depression combined with the effects of alcohol, the jury must decide whether it was depression or intoxication that was the substantial cause of the man’s state of mind.)

As I am confident that I do not suffer from depression (with the exception of the days following heartbreak or the anticipation of LOST ending), I consider the likeliness that intoxication reared its ugly head and annihilated my acumen.

Yet intoxication as a defense is only feasible if the consumption was involuntary, e.g., if the defendant had consumed punch at a party that, unbeknownst to him/her, was spiked with gin. As much as I want to apply involuntary intoxication to the amount of shots that appear before me at my neighborhood bar, the tribunal in my mind does not concur.

So this brings me to the defense of provocation. In criminal law provocation is a possible defense alleging a sudden or temporary loss of control as a response to another’s influential conduct. I have been feeling rebelliously confused lately, and I am certain that this tumult is not unjustified. That is to say, I did not confuse myself, but I did allow myself to become confused.

After acknowledging the circumstances along with the behavior of those directly and indirectly involved, I am often an arsonist stimulated; provoked. Unfortunately, I seem to walk around drenched in gasoline, and I gravitate towards the people who spark.

One Response to “Drenched In Gasoline”

  1. Playing Pool (The Definition of Insane) | Keep My Words Says:

    [...] insane,” he said.  “Isn’t that the definition of insane?  When you do the same thing over and over [...]

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