The radio news this morning was reporting that in the days before his attack the Tuscon child-killer researched, on his computer I presume, the laws regarding capital punishment. If this is accurate, then using the traditional method of determining insanity, which I don't know if the courts still do, he is clearly not insane as the only reason to look up the laws would be that he knew full well that what he was doing was against the law. The only sticky point might be that there's a difference between knowing that an action is against the law and knowing that it is wrong.
A disturbing trend I've noticed, that I think is a sign of the general narcissism of the culture, is the number of people who agree that an action would be wrong if done by another but feel that in their own, special case the same action is perfectly justified. What I'm trying to get at is that a disturbing, though I don't know how large, portion of the population doesn't
have a sense that their behavior is wrong and may well then qualify as insane under the traditional rule and, while I don't know where the line should be drawn, I also don't believe that the protection of an insanity plea should be granted to such people.
Since He-who-doesn't-need-to-see-his-name-in-print-anymore-than-it-already-is didn't enter an insanity plea the whole thing may be moot. Then again, entering a plea of not guilty when a couple dozen people saw
gun down a bunch of innocent bystanders doesn't sound real sane either. Or rather, it sounds like "playing the game" and, no matter how disturbing his expression may be, I believe that truly insane people can't
play the game since they don't know there is a game to play.