It used to be, way back in the day, that the measure of a man or a woman was the level of self control they exerted over their baser nature. That self-control was taught, often brutally, by life, parents, nature and circumstance. Bad character wasn’t some scary creature in a B movie, it was those parts of a person’s soul that had been given over to the dark. Good character is that part of a person given over to the light. Dark meaning sin and light meaning godliness and righteousness. (Not self-righteousness, two different things.)
Yesterday I heard from Brian Williams on NBC that a new “disorder” had been “discovered”, IED, or Intermittent Explosive Disorder, the condition that makes it impossible for one to control their temper.
WHAT??????????? These are the times I’d long to use an expletive, but in the interest of showing restraint I won’t. But, WHAT???? Suddenly that fool who gets ticked on the beltway and rams the person in front gets morally let off because he has a condition that made it impossible to control his temper? Used to be that kind of “condition” got you locked up and a months worth of electro-shock therapy to boot.
Brian Nieman on WMAL rattled off some specious argument that if it’s a disorder and the person gets locked up but gets help, either way the person is off the street and they didn’t get off. Wrong, Mr. Nieman, wrong. It matters one heck of a lot HOW the person is charged and if they are held responsible for their actions morally. It matters how they are treated, what gets treated and what punishment they get. Fundamentally it is the sin of anger, which is a heart/soul ailment for which there is only one cure. That cure is repentance, there is no other way. That’s about as much “disorder” I’m willing to concede. It is morally two very different things, if, say, a man murders his wife in a fit of rage, and we find him guilty of murder rather than innocent by reason of a disorder. Guilt connotates responsibility. Innocent, even by reason of insanity, connotates a lack of responsibility. If a man has this disorder then perhaps, since he isn’t responsible for controlling his temper, he shouldn’t be allowed to date, marry or have children. Further, he shouldn’t be allowed to drive, vote, have conversations in public, visit family. He should be locked away forever in solitary since by virtue of this “disorder” he may someday go postal and murder, sorry, kill innocent people.
I love America, mostly. But this part I hate. Despise wouldn’t be to strong a word. I despise our steadily increasing insistence that we are not responsible for our actions. I guarantee you that 99.999% of those people who will say they have IED would maintain their tempers when confronted by someone bigger and armed. That miniscule minority really do have a problem that requires them to be locked up. The rest need to learn some self control and others respect. We are not all victims. Even when we are we don’t get to act with abandon.