Tried for something that wasn't your fault?

The Insanity Defense

It is a legitimate excuse to blame your actions on psychological effects, and not yourself. For example, you could be a dilutional person. If you are convicted for murder, you can use the insanity defense, where as you say this wasn’t my fault and I am, or was not honest with myself for what I did. It’s not always the case and most likely hard to get away with something you have done. You will not serve jail time depending on your claims, although you might be sentence to an asylum. In the case of John Hinckley, he was suffering a mental illness that believed in order to win the heart of an actress of Jodie Foster to Reagan was by killing him based on a movie, John believed that this was the only way. But who are we to blame? Sure, one might argue that the events for John was completely his fault for targeting someone with very high power. Others may argue because of the effects of this was because of a diagnosed mental illness he grew up with which his parents knew about. See who’s fault it is now?

“John Hinckley Jr. was 25 years old when he quickly emptied a six-shot, .22-caliber revolver to try to win the affection of Jodie Foster by assassinating President Ronald Reagan. He had become obsessed with the actress after seeing her portray a teenage prostitute in Taxi Driver, in which Robert De Niro's deranged character, Travis Bickle, plots to kill a presidential candidate.”

His intentions were indeed wrong, but he never would have done this because his reasoning was because he wanted to impress someone he cared about even if it meant his life. He truly believed this was the only way as he said so himself when sending letters to Jodie. “Jodie, I would abandon this idea of getting Reagan in a second if I could only win your heart and live out the rest of my life with you, whether it be in total obscurity or whatever.

     I will admit to you that the reason I'm going ahead with this attempt now is because I just cannot wait any longer to impress you.  I've got to do something now to make you understand, in no uncertain terms, that I am doing all of this for your sake!  By sacrificing my freedom and possibly my life, I hope to change your mind about me.”

Readers, you may be asking yourself, “Ok, so what? What does this have to do with science?” This man is confused, how do you pled not guilty after trying to murder the president of the united states? The answer is not so easy to explain, but if you compare it to a different case, you might see why. A 40 year old teacher had a mental illness because of a tumor he had in his brain. This tumor caused him to have sexual urges around small children, in this case, he was a pedophile. Once his tumor was removed, he had no such desires and could continue teaching without being a child predator (without the kidnapping). Now who's he to blame? The tumor or the man?

In society, these are real life cases that are really hard to point out. But because of his psychological condition, maybe the man did have urges before, but kept it in a controlled and professional manner that it was harmless, much like trying to conceal an erection when giving a speech in front of an audience. This is a valid reason to why a person like himself should’t be tried, if ever so. The doctors couldn’t even tell exactly why these urges ended once the tumor was removed. This is like trying to prove how kids develop autism, even though there are no evidence to how it is lead. See the similarities? The insanity defense is a valid excuse to use if someone is unable to stand trial because of something they probably had no control over, and some people might need a psychiatrist in court to prove whether or not they should or should not be guilty.


  1. "The Trial of John Hinckley." The Trial of John Hinckley. Famous American Trials. Web. 06 June 2016. <>.

  2. "Doctors Say Pedophile Lost Urge after Brain Tumor Removed." USA TODAY. USA TODAY, 2003. Web. 06 June 2016. <>.

  3. The Insanity Defense. Psychology Today. N.p., 16 Aug. 2012. Web. 06 June 2016. <>.

Winter, Michael. "John Hinckley: The Man Who Shot Brady, Reagan." USA Today. Gannett, 2014. Web. 06 June 2016. <>.