Saturday, July 20, 2013

One Year Later: The Joker's Insanity Plea Has Been Accepted

One year now after the horrific Aurora, CO theater massacre, which left 12 dead and dozens brutally maimed, James Eagen Holmes has had his "insanity" plea accepted by the judge and will face the consequences. How salient is this plea and what consequences might he face?  Readers will recall that a year ago I put up three blog posts, starting with one  entitled 'Deconstructing the Psycho' , wherein I examined in detail the probable basis for Holmes' derangement.

Holmes is definitely (ok, let's say instead with 90% probability) not schizophrenic - since his behaviors don't fit that cluster of traits as defined and explicated in the DSM-III and IV. To recall for readers, The DSM-III, IV (Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders) provides a classification of personality disorders and identifies 'clusters' within which specific disorders can occur. These include:

(A) Schizotypal, paranoid and schizoid personality disorders ('odd, eccentric' cluster)

(B) Borderline, narcissistic, histrionic and anti-social personality disorders ('dramatic, emotional, erratic')

(C) Submerged: Avoidant, dependent, obsessive-compulsive, passive aggressive personality disorders('anxious, fearful')

Each Cluster has discrete tendencies within itself:

(A) -> withdraw (no wants from others)
(B) -> exploit (want from others without seeing or responding to what others want from them)

(C) -> comply (want from others, but yields only to others' wants to avoid conflict)

As I showed in my several prior blogs, beginning with Deconstruction of a Psycho Holmes' profile and attributes (as we have assimilated them from sundry reports) fit in with the tendencies in the last (C) ensemble and hence fit the profile of a submerged personality, not a schizophrenic. Also, I have had the experience of observing paranoid schizophrenics at the Black Rock (Barbados) Mental Health Sanatorium in the 70s, and NONE of them demonstrated any capacity for mega-violence of the form James Eagan Holmes manifested via his aggressive pseudo-ego, the Joker.

Let's also bear in mind another critical aspect as the trial unfolds: A person cannot be tried for a crime unless he is competent to stand trial. To be competent, he must be oriented as to time and place, comprehend the charges against him, appreciate his legal peril, recall the events that caused him to be charged, and be able to communicate with and assist their attorneys to defend him.

That standard has obviously been met, which is to say that the current manifestation of Holmes is indeed sane and competent to stand trial since he has exhibited that he understands the charges against him and the consequences. What is at issue then, is his state of mind when he donned the Joker outfit and took out his psychotic persona on dozens of hapless movie goers (including Caleb Medley, now still recovering from his head wounds, but facing a long, slow and painful rehab as well as speech therapy.)

When exactly did Holmes' sane persona emerge? Very soon after his apprehension and being put in the dock. As I noted when the first images became available, this legal bondage : had torpedoed the 'Joker' (the aggressive pseudo-ago) and thereby rendered it impotent and inactive. What we are seeing is the first emergence of Holmes' authentic self and the expected SHOCK because frankly, HE doesn't know what the hell happened! After all, it was the pseudo ego 'Joker' that did the deed, then vacated or was vacated. Now, the authentic or previously submerged ego is left to wonder what the hell is going on

So, what will in effect stand trial is the authentic ego, for the crimes of the earlier pseudo-ego which was given the name "the Joker".  So no wonder he had that vacant, million light years distant stare on his face. As I also added (in the same blog):

His self has been dissociated, and the guilty perp -ego is now gone, fled the coop as it were, to leave the authentic 'James Holmes' ego and self to bear the cost

In other words, to spell it out, Holmes as his authentic (earlier submerged) self, truly couldn't recall the incident or what he did. He couldn't because a distinct, different ego (self) perpetrated it. This aggressive pseudo ego masterminded all the planning, as well as assembly of weapons, costume and the execution, while Holmes' submerged self was unavailable and 'out for the count'. (Or at the very most watching passively like a paralyzed bystander.)

The problem facing Holmes's defense is that they must convince the jury that he's innocent by virtue of insanity by sowing reasonable doubt. That means, convincing most of the jurors that the Holmes that committed the grisly deed in Aurora a year ago is not the same as the version of Holmes sitting before them. This is a tall order, perhaps too tall, as the natural tendency will be for people not to make the cognitive disassociation. They only way that might be salvaged is if a tape is available actually showing the deranged "Joker" in action that night a year ago-  so that jurors can compare it to the (apparently) rational and sane person sitting before them.

So far as anyone is aware, no such tape exists - anywhere- so that the probability is that Holmes' will be faced with a guilty verdict. I still maintain that the main error made by the prosecution was in not accepting Holmes' attorneys initial plea deal (which would have sent him away for life) but instead going for capital murder and the death penalty. In other words, going for all the marbles.  One juror who doesn't believe in the death penalty could therefore screw up this strategy. We will see.

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