L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 234, August 17, 2003

THE DAN WEINER DELIVERY

The Conviction of Christine Wilhelm
by Todd Andrew Barnett
libertarianman@comcast.net

Special to TLE

The verdict is in: Christine Wilhelm, the mother who confessed to killing her four-year-old son Luke and attempted murder of her five-year-old son Peter in a bathtub in their home, has been found guilty of second degree murder. Whether or not one concurs with the jury's decision, he cannot deny that the jury made a valid choice, due to the overwhelming evidence lined up against this woman. Ergo, it's fair to say that the jury not only made the smartest choice, but also the right choice.

Perhaps one should notice that the jury made its decision a day after it wasn't able to come to a decision. On Tuesday, July 9th, after nearly 10 hours of deliberation, the jury initially couldn't reach a verdict. At 10 a.m. County Court Judge Patrick McGrath read the charges to them and, according to the July 9th article of the Troy Record, "instructed them on the option of finding the diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic not responsible by reason of mental defect or disease."

Her psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Price, in case anyone hadn't noticed, tried to pin her actions on paranoia schizophrenia. Worse yet, he tried to pin the cause of her "mental illness" on "illegally-dumped toxic metals." It is doubtful that anyone truly bought that story. There has never been any documented evidence of toxic materials causing mental illness. Nevertheless, it's fair to ask the following question: From where did he ever base this preposterous conclusion? Junk science studies? The Environmental Protection Agency? Radical environmentalist organizations like Greenpeace?

Then Dr. Park Dietz, the famous psychiatrist who once examined convicted murderers like Susan Smith and Andrea Yates, produced a 10-hour videotaped interview with Wilhelm and testified in court that Wilhelm was capable of distinguishing right from wrong. Then he changed his tune when he said that he couldn't ascertain "whether the defendant knew the difference between right and wrong at the time of the killing."

Moreover, what of her son Peter who was nearly drowned by her but luckily escaped? The boy even testified before the court that his mother, point of fact, tried to harm him in the bathtub. "Mom tried to drown me with her hands on my waist because she had a sickness and she didn't take her medicine," he said. "She put a leash around my legs, and I took it off." As soon as he removed the leash, he "got out of the tub" and then "put my hands on the side of the tub and lifted myself up." He also said that he regurgitated after getting out of the tub, headed into the living room, and watched a movie.

But didn't he also say that he heard his mother telling Luke in the tub that she wouldn't drown him? Yes, that was said in the trial. Didn't he also say that she "was lying?" Yes, he certainly did.

Didn't Wilhelm confess to the court that she killed Luke and tried to kill Peter? Yes, she most certainly did. Didn't she also admit that she plotted to murder Luke and Peter, just for the sake of "saving" them from her husband Kenneth and a Satanic cult (of whom he is an alleged member) who were "going to torture her children" and "make them ritual human sacrifices?"

Dr. Pankaj Mehta, another psychiatrist speaking on behalf of the defense, testified that he believed that she was plagued with paranoia schizophrenia. "She showed very little emotion," he stated. "She appeared to be of average intellect, and had no insight into her condition. She didn't think anything was wrong, just that others did."

Wilhelm's social worker Kathleen McGarry doesn't seem to agree with that assertion. She told the court that Wilhelm admitted to her that she knew that her actions were wrong and that she tried to revive Luke, but instead put him back in the tub and killed him. So much for the psychiatric claim that her "mental illness" made her do it.

The problem here is that psychiatrists like Price, Dietz, and Mehta are medical agents of the government, simply because they profit from huge tax subsidies which have been a long part of the establishment. Taxpayers, whether or not they are aware of it, are forced to finance these services via the state. When psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and psychologists lobby for mental health parity, they act as special interest groups just so that the government can act in their favor. When this happens, it's every man for himself. There's no question about it — the tax-funded mental health system is merely welfare for the mental health experts, namely shrinks and therapists.

Another problem is the claim that "mental illness" is the culprit behind evil crimes. This is a secular way of saying, "The Devil made me do it." These so-called experts, who are more or less (for lack of a better word) quacks, are basing their observations merely on behavior and speech and not on "illness." If Wilhelm actually has "paranoia schizophrenia" as her psychiatrists claim, why wasn't this detected when she was born? Why didn't her physicians find this when she was a child? The answer is — she never had it at any time in her life, and she doesn't have it now.

And if "mental illnesses" compel individuals to behave in an aberrant fashion, then why don't neurologists detect them? If these "illnesses" are brain disorders as we are suppose to believe, then why is it that said "illnesses" have never been discovered and documented by experienced pathologists when they perform routine autopsies?

There's a more pressing point that needs to be addressed: if such "illnesses" exist, then it is the responsibility of neurologists and neurosurgeons — not shrinks and therapists — to diagnose and treat these disorders. After all, they are said to be brain diseases. But considering neurology deals directly with the brain, it would make more sense to transfer these services out of the hands of a government physician in a white lab coat to a physician working in private practice — that is, one who cannot be compelled to incarcerate ("commit") you at any given notice.

The problem is that society has bought into the social engineering claptrap that the human mind can be literally diseased. However, the crux of the problem is that the "mind" is not a real, physical organ. It is merely metaphorical and imaginary. The "mind," as defined by Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, is "the element or complex of elements in an individual that feels, perceives, thinks, wills, and especially reasons." But the "mind" is not a tangible, living thing. The "mind" is truthfully a verb, not a noun. It's something you do, not something you have. Where do you think the idiomatic expressions "mind your manners" and "mind your own business" come from?

Thomas Szasz, who is highly regarded as the libertarian psychiatrist debunking many of the myths of mental illness as approved by modern psychiatry, has pointed out that no pathologist has ever seen a "mind" with his own eyes, let alone seen "mental illnesses" like bi-polar manic-depressive disorder and schizophrenia during autopsies on cadavers. Therefore, the claims that these "illnesses" truly exist should be disregarded as they are based on junk science, not on proven medical science. Szasz did note that many psychiatrists spoke of mental illness in decades past, but these judgments were entirely fantastical. They were never meant to be taken literally.

The problem, Szasz admits, is that today's shrinks and therapists, in the name of mental health, are excusing and condoning crimes of murder by asserting that criminals can't help themselves when they commit these atrocities. When they discard the possibility that their "patients" are simply evil by maintaining that "mental illness" compels them to commit these crimes, they strip away common sense and justice. However, when they employ the mental health laws to imprison ("hospitalize") and coercively drug law-abiding individuals because of their highly unorthodox behavior, they dehumanize them with the power of the state. (As Szasz says, "coerced treatment" is not true treatment but rather assault.)

Perhaps we should be reminded that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, in an effort to neutralize and control ideological insurgents, utilized state-mandated psychiatry against them for the crime of political heresy. Rebels were captured and held against their will in mental wards, as they were diagnosed with "mental illnesses." This was all done "for their own good." The common premise was that if one witnessed the malevolence of the state and decried it, he was a "sick" individual.

If we are to have any semblance of rationality and sanity in this nation, it is in our best interests to abolish the role of the state in mental health care and dismantle the barbaric practice of incarcerating innocent people who are not a threat to themselves. While we're at it, let's cease the practice of absolving murderers because of their alleged "mental illnesses."


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