In a Civilized Country

Anders Behring Breivik as we have all heard killed 77 people in Norway last Summer. He has been undergoing psychiatric evaluation. The two psychiatrists who examined him have found him to have paranoid schizophrenic psychosis. But several forensic psychiatrists disagree believing that he suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder. They question the diagnosis of mental illness, some pointing out that he was capable to plan an elaborate scheme to carry out his crime. They believe him to be competent to stand trial. As it would in the U.S. the distinction matters because if he is mentally ill, he would go to a psychiatric facility. If he does have a narcissistic personality disorder he would be able to stand trial and end up in prison.
It’s reassuring in a world where so many principles are found wanting to know that taking away the freedom of a known murderer is not being done without a great deal of thoughtful argument.