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Nobody’s At Fault

In 1980 a Boston court acquitted Michael Tindall of flying illegal drugs into the United States. Tindall’s attorneys argued that he was a victim of “action addict syndrome,” an emotional disorder that makes a person crave dangerous, thrilling situations. Tindall was not a drug dealer, merely a thrill seeker.

An Oregon man who tried to kill his ex-wife was acquitted on the grounds that he suffered from “depression-suicide syndrome,” whose victims deliberately commit poorly planned crimes with the unconscious goal of being caught or killed. He didn’t really want to shoot his wife; he wanted the police to shoot him.

Then there’s the famous “Twinkie syndrome.” Attorneys for Dan White, who murdered San Francisco mayor George Moscone, blamed the crime on emotional stress linked to White’s junk food binges. White was acquitted of murder and convicted on a lesser charge of manslaughter.

Nowadays, nobody’s at fault for anything. We are a nation of victims.

Louis Lotz, Sioux City, Iowa, Leadership, Winter Quarter, 1992, p. 57