You know, I remember reading, a while ago, a popular book on profiling by FBI profiler John Douglas. He said that a lot of people try to pull an insanity defense, but the really insane people are pretty easy to pick out: they’re the ones who are easily caught, because they’re out of touch with reality enough not to cover their tracks.
For example they might form a corporation to protest corporations, and kill a police officer to protest police brutality, and publish manifestos confessing to their crime and explaining why they did what they did. They might push away their family and fight tooth and nail against attempts to force them to be declared insane, in the belief that they will be vindicated by the contents of a gigantic manifesto they are preparing.
That’s of course the kind of person who needs the insanity defense most, the kind of person who will refuse it unless forced into it — but the adversarial justice system we have encourages each side to care more about winning than about the truth. So prosecutors (and prosecutor-sympathetic judges) will allow a plainly crazy guy to represent himself all the way to the electric chair.
At first when I read this story I was going to react to the way they portray him as some kind of “terrorist of the left,” and I was going to speak up as one humble left-wingish type and say UM PLEASE NO MURDERING IN OUR NAME WE ARE NOT ABOUT MURDERING ANYBODY WHATSOEVER AND THAT INCLUDES POLICEMEN THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
But reading more about it, political considerations seem completely beside the point. This kid’s completely crazy. And he’s probably going to die for being crazy.