Tuesday, February 8, 2005

There's this kid on trial down in South Carolina for (allegedly) killing his grandparents with a shotgun and then burning their house down. The facts aren't really in dispute; instead, the kid claims that the Zoloft he was taking made him do it. Just for that, I hope they nail the little bastard to the wall — not only for the murders but, more to the point, for refusing to take responsibility for his actions, shifting the blame to the pill like he's some sort of automaton.

The defense claims the kid was suffering from restlessness, some condition technically called "akathisia," and that he heard voices — or more precisely, his voice — telling him to kill his grandparents. The prosecution notes that the grandparents disciplined the kid for fighting on the school bus, and they contend that the kid shot his grandparents because he was pissed off. I don't disagree with either argument, and I wouldn't be surprised if the kid really was suffering side effects from the Zoloft. Thing is, once you've passed the gorilla and chimp stage of our evolution, you can no longer just do whatever the voices in your head tell you to do. I mean, we've all fantasized about killing people before, and most of us either buy Grand Theft Auto or we join the army where you get medals for that kind of thing. I, personally, write stories, burning literary effigies of those I hope God strikes down sooner rather than later.

Point is, you don't actually follow through with your deepest, darkest impulses, no matter how restless you are, because, aside from the Golden Rule, we just can't have a society where everyone's killing everyone else over every little thing. I believe that this kid, despite whatever the psychologists (who I'm sure have been generously paid by the defense) say, shot his grandparents because he was angry and he thought he'd never be called to account for what he did. The drugs might have made it easier for him to ignore whatever shreds of conscience the kid has, but if you're going to blame the drugs, then you might as well say that if the shotgun weren't present, he wouldn't have murdered his grandparents. Or if his grandparents were elsewhere he wouldn't have murdered them. We have to deal with the circumstances we're given, and this kid just didn't want to bother. Instead of getting rid of the drugs, he got rid of the grandparents... and then blamed the drugs, which just makes me sick.