September 2, 2015

A last article from Oliver Sacks: "Urge."

In the New York Review of Books. Excerpt:
Walter, previously a moderate eater, developed a ravenous appetite. “He started to gain weight,” his wife later told me, “and his pants changed three sizes in six months. His appetite was out of control. He would get up in the middle of the night and eat an entire bag of cookies, or a block of cheese with a large box of crackers.”

“I ate everything in sight,” Walter said. “If you put a car on the table, I would have eaten it.”...

Even more disquieting was the development of an insatiable sexual appetite. “He wanted to have sex all the time,” his wife said....
He's caught with child pornography and a criminal prosecution ensues: "At the end of the trial, the judge agreed that Walter could not be held accountable for having Klüver-Bucy syndrome. But he was culpable...."

13 comments:

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

The guy supposedly raged over no socks or no rye bread but there's not a word about his reaction over no nookie.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Even more disquieting was the development of an insatiable sexual appetite. “He wanted to have sex all the time,” his wife said...

This is known as puberty. It is a passing stage. Mine has been ongoing for the past 30 years, but I expect it to ease up in another 25 or so.

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gabriel said...

People popping off without having RTFA.

The surgeries damaged his brain. Medication immediately fixed it. He's no more culpable than a schizophrenic hearing voices or a DT patient crawling with 'bugs' or a Tourettes sufferer from twitching and cursing.

The sentencing was a very fair compromise.

Coupe said...

"Medication immediately fixed it."

Well, his wife may differ on that, having her birth canal abused severely...

TreeJoe said...

I think the sentencing was not commensurate with the crime, especially with consideration of the medical circumstances behind it. This wasn't JUST child porn - it was bestiality and other taboo areas explored and driven by a clear medical condition.

Did he cause harm? Yes. Did the harm, and the motive and factors behind it, show that years in prison as well as probation/home confinement would somehow prevent it from happening again or deter the behavior? Absolutely not. Was perhaps some prison time an acceptable payment for the harm he caused to society? Perhaps.

6-12 months in prison would, in my mind, be both a payment for the harm, demonstrate that child porn receives significant punishment even in the most disputed of cases, and demonstrated an understanding that this was driven by medical realities.

There are a sizable number of cases of actual statutory rape of minors by adults who received more lenient sentences.

madAsHell said...

but I expect it to ease up in another 25 or so.

Don't count on it.

jimbino said...

It seems to me that attending church and staying active in the community are worse than a prison sentence.

traditionalguy said...

Life is desire for sex and food with beauty as desert.

This guy never had an addiction that he wanted to stop. Why should he?

Gabriel said...

@tradguy:This guy never had an addiction that he wanted to stop. Why should he?

People with Tourette's just like to get away with cussing in appropriate places, I'm sure. Just like in What About Bob/.

David said...

These are no mercy crimes which are the result of no opposition laws. There had to have been a basis for an acquittal due to mental illness. The condition had a physical cause but the result was a mental condition. Or there could have been a conviction with probation. (I am assuming here no mandatory sentence, but that may be wrong.) The point is that for political and social reasons it's rare that any mercy is shown. Many lives have been severely constrained by sex offender registrations and mandatory imprisonments of persons who are unlikely to be a danger to anyone.

We can let out thugs who may assault or kill again, but you damn well better not download porn involving minors. That brings a lifetime state sponsored taint that has big consequences.

These laws should be revisited and revised, but it's not going to happen.

David said...

It is a great last article. He describes the events and lets the reader draw the conclusions. The language of outrage has been so devalued by overuse that stating facts is more eloquent.

CStanley said...

Assigning moral responsibility for acts that result from mental illness is impossibly difficult.

The court in this case showed mercy, in part because he did restrain himself from acts that would more directly cause harm to others. At the same time, he was admonished for not seeking help sooner. That part seems off to me- after all, the first time he sought help for his neurological symptoms, it resulted in these other neurological problems!

People who haven't experienced brain based problems have a glib and incorrect sense of the degree to which sufferers can "just get help."