Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween and responsibility

The movie, not the day. I was reading Wikipedia ( perhaps my first mistake ) when I came across this little bit about the second Halloween movie:

On December 7, 1982, Richard Delmer Boyer of El Monte, California, murdered Francis and Eileen Harbitz, an elderly couple in Fullerton, California, leading to the trial People v. Boyer (1989). The couple were stabbed a total of 43 times by Boyer. According to the trial transcript, Boyer's defense was that he suffered from hallucinations in the Harbitz residence brought on by "the movie Halloween II, which defendant had seen under the influence of PCP, marijuana, and alcohol." The film was played for the jury, and a psychopharmacologist "pointed out various similarities between its scenes and the visions defendant described."[46]

Now I'm no expert on PCP or the wacky weed, and I've never seen the movie. So what I'm about to say may not hold water. But it's my expert opinion that the PCP and the marijuana caused the hallucinations, not the movie, which may have provided them some structure. His defense is somewhat equivalent to answering a charge of vehicular manslaughter with the "defense" that you were drunk when you hit the pedestrian, so it's not your fault.

Why bother writing about this? I'm reading a fine little book, which I'll bore you with later, about improving your interactions with others. The author makes the point that, among criminals, almost none admit to having done anything wrong. This is of course a more universal human response. Something to do with pride, no?

So next time you're about to criticize someone, or when someone criticizes you, think about Mr. Boyer and see if you're not about to get into his boat. Better to hold your tounge, I think.


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