To plea or not to plea insane?

I bit a man’s penis off! If that's not madness, what is?

In Summary

• Madness, after all, is the sufferer’s unintentional disruption of society’s norms

A file photo of a patient sleeping on the floor outside wards at Mathari Hospital in Nairobi
A file photo of a patient sleeping on the floor outside wards at Mathari Hospital in Nairobi
Image: FILE

The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced I’m a little nuts. I can use that as a defence for biting Chris’ manhood off. There’s just one problem, though.

If you are found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity, there’s a good chance you can end up in a mental hospital. That’s what happened to Lorena.

They sent her to a mental hospital for evaluation for 45 days and only released her after establishing that she was not a danger to herself or others. So even if I could get away with something similar, where would they send me? Mathari Hospital?

I honestly believe that 45 days in there would make me go mad, for real. Seeds of madness can be planted in anyone’s garden and you (reading this) wouldn’t survive a month in a mental hospital, either.

It wouldn’t be without its funny moments, though. You can’t tell if those patients are really batsh*t crazy or just have a crazy sense of humour. I remember this funny story from the 90s. President Moi went for a tour of Mathari Hospital. It went well, incident-free, but one particular patient captured his attention longer than most.

Moi spoke to the young man at length before leaving. Everyone was curious about what they were speaking about and, after the President left, the patient was asked about their conversation. He happily shared:

“I thought I wasn’t well but that mzee who was just here is truly in a terrible, delusional state,” he told his captive audience. “He thinks he’s the President of Kenya! Can you believe it? Poor man! I tried so hard not to laugh.”

And who can forget all the stories of a sane person locked up in an asylum and screams, “I’m not crazy!” and then everyone starts chanting, “I’m not crazy!” “I’m not crazy!” “I’m not crazy!”

Dr Philip G Zimbardo once gave a talk on how normal people go mad. He gave the example of how, if you were going deaf, you would react if you walked into a room full of people having a conversation. You have no idea that your hearing is impaired. You just see people’s lips moving but you can’t hear them.

You’ll probably ask why they are whispering. They respond that they are not whispering and you get angry and ask why they are lying. You get into a confrontation and they think, gee, this guy is really crazy. Then you start to believe that maybe you are crazy.

Madness, after all, is the sufferer’s unintentional disruption of society’s norms, of reasonable and normal actions. I did something that society would equate as ‘crazy’. I bit a man’s penis off! Was it reasonable? Was it a normal action? No. If that’s not madness, what is?

Yes, I could probably get away with saying I was nuts. But it’s not an option. The bottom line is, jail is probably better than a mental hospital. Especially the ones we have here. Save for a president swinging by to visit, there’s zero appeal. And none have in recent years.

There is no way I will use the insanity plea because I’m not going to risk going nuts for real. And don’t start with the “If I go nuts, how will I know I’m nuts, I’ll be nuts after all” crap.

I have to think this through. I wish I would be left alone. The nurses are still fussing over me and making sure I’m comfortable after the to and fro with the rolling hospital bed when my boss suddenly interrupts.

“Can I have a word alone with her?” he asks them.

Hallelujah. Is he telepathic or what?