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Questions for critical thinking

Posted by Potzreebee on July 27, 2005 at 08:55:22

In Reply to: Elizabeth Smart's alleged kidnapper found mentally incompetent posted by Exer Out/Freedom In on July 26, 2005 at 22:02:38:

How much legal responsibility should a mentally ill person have for his actions?

What is the legal definition of mental illness? Is an abusive alternative religious belief system included in the definition, or must a person be so disorganized in their perceptions of reality that they can't formulate a coherent explanation for their behavior? Where do legal authorities draw the line between someone who sincerely believes wrong behavior is righteous behavior in God's eyes and someone who can't explain the difference between right and wrong behavior?

Other, related questions: Is a person under the influence of a mind controlling cult in some way mentally impaired? Is mind control like an addictive disease? If so, should we expect alcoholics have to take responsibility for a poor decision made under the influence? What about cult members who make poor decisions under the influence of mind control?