Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Why Blame It On Alcohol?
Why Blame It On Alcohol?
There is a rule in psychiatry called McNaughton rule. This rule applies to anyone who is accused of committing a crime and then claims that he was mad or insane when he did the alleged act. This rule was first introduced almost 150 years ago in England when a guy called Daniel McNaughton tried to kill the then British Prime Minister Robert Peel but instead shot dead the PM's private secretary Drummond whom he mistook for the PM. When the assassin's lawyer later claimed that he was mad and hence should not be hanged but sent to a hospital for treatment- the McNaughton rules was formed. These are a bunch of criteria which determine whether someone is really insane or just feigning insanity after the criminal act. It includes criteria like checking to see if the criminal was already undergoing treatment for his condition before the crime or if it is just a newly developed condition (thought up after the crime) to escape justice.
I am not a psychiatrist and I don’t remember much of the rules (refer to Wikipedia for full details) but suffice it to say that the rule in McNaughton helps in preventing false alibis and avoiding responsibility for crimes committed. The general public in India is very familiar with McNaughton's rules (even if they don’t know the actual name) because we are used to seeing our politicians get sick (mostly of heart disease) whenever they are accused of a crime and are about to be arrested. Almost every single politician immediately suffers from chest pain and gets admitted in hospital doesn’t he? And by the time they get discharged from treatment the initial media scrutiny goes away into yet another “breaking news" and so they are never held responsible for their actions and crimes.
Likewise there are a lot of people out there who do things knowingly and then get away easily by blaming it all on alcohol. As far as I know ethyl alcohol when ingested in large quantities degrades fine reflexes, causes loss of balance and impaired (double) vision - which is why drunk drivers cause accidents. But alcohol in no way encourages crime- crime which was not previously in the persons mind before- to say so otherwise is to lie. Alcohol provides an alibi for doing many things, things which people lack the courage to do so but always want to do. It’s like the guy who is always afraid of his wife’s stinging tongue coming home drunk to beat up his wife and then blaming it all on his drunkenness - even while secretly enjoying getting even with her abuse.
It’s like getting inside a lift and cleverly pushing all the buttons of the lift to make sure that it does not stop at any single floor and then going down on your knees in front of a girl young enough to be your daughter (daughters classmate in this case) and after forcibly lifting up her skirt and pulling down her panties indulging in cunnilingus (oral sex) with her despite her attempts to escape from your grasping hands and your probing tongue violating her body. When it is such a difficult sexual act to perform for even sober men is it scarcely believable that a drunk man could do it with ease all the while physically controlling (with brute strength) a struggling girl? And how does an intelligent man expect other intelligent people to believe that it was all done in a state of drunkenness? If alcohol had a voice of its own it would be screaming in its defense. (And as a side point I wish someone would explain to me what real purpose is solved by the police insisting on a potency test when it was not a question of erection or penetration but oral sex? I know rules are rules but do they have to be applied so blindly all the time?)
Anyway the point of this post is that when people get drunk and do certain things - they do it clearly and soberly knowing what they are doing and enjoying the act of doing. In fact they may have even planned it and fantasized about it for long and were just waiting for the right set of circumstances to do it. Blaming alcohol for their actions is like pretending to be mad after assassinating the prime minister. Doesn’t wash. There are no drunken crimes- there are only crimes. And all of these crimes are committed by cowards who use alcohol as an excuse. So the next time someone blames alcohol for their actions- it means they are not brave enough to admit that they enjoyed what they did regardless of the consequences. And not because they were drunk. So any number of apology letters blaming alcohol for causing and I quote “ a temporary lapse” is just splitting straws and throwing chaff. Even without alcohol this one was waiting to happen given the right circumstances and it finally did. Isn’t that the truth?