Chopping heads off: not just for Muslim extremists anymore

HumanistDad provided a link to a story I’d actually forgotten about from last year – the unfortunate decapitation of a passenger on a Greyhound Bus by another passenger. Turns out God told him to do it.

The man who beheaded a passenger on a Greyhound bus was a victim himself, tormented by the voice of God telling him to do it, a forensic psychiatrist told a second-degree murder trial yesterday.

The voice told Vince Li to use an assumed name and get on the bus travelling from Edmonton to Thunder Bay, Ont., last July, Dr. Stanley Yaren said on the first day of Li’s trial.

Li chose to sit next to Tim McLean because McLean made a “friendly gesture” to him, Yaren said.

From friendly gesture to thinking the man was an evil influence that had to be killed, and killed with enough fervor to keep him from rising again. That’s what Li says God told him to do.

The psychiatrist involved has said Li is suffering from schizophrenia and Li’s pleading not guilty by reason of. Didn’t know what he was doing, etc. I think he does know what he was doing, and that was listening to a voice in his head tell him to kill someone. He chose to listen. He let it influence his behaviour when he could have tried to ignore it. Then again, could he have ignored it?

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be schizophrenic, how insidious these visions and voices must be for why it feels so true. Movies like A Beautiful Mind or Fight Club or Secret Window can’t do it justice by any stretch. It’s phenomenal that the mind’s inventions can have that big an impact on a person’s life, to a point where they can’t differentiate between what’s real and what’s imagined. I guess a lot of it must have to do with the fact that even what’s “real” in the world is seen/heard/smelled/rationalized via the complex machinations of the human brain just like illusions and hallucinations are.

Exactly where does reality end and insanity begin?

edit March 5, 2009

Well, it’s official – is reporting on the results of the case and Vince Li has been found “not criminally responsible” for his heinous act. I wonder how the family of the victim feels about that…

About 1minionsopinion

Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
This entry was posted in In the Media and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.