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On the Complexity of Insanity



In "Sanity on Trial" (March 31), Thadeus Greenson presented us with an opportunity to consider the complex interdependent concepts of sanity, mental illness, drug intoxication and accountability for violent behavior. If the tragic account of an infant stabbed to death by her own father in an episode of meth psychosis can have some positive benefit, perhaps it helps us to reflect on the insidious nature of methamphetamine.

The related for-profit meth industry is especially correlated to low-income rural communities, such as Humboldt, where it has become interwoven with the for-profit marijuana industry spectrum. I hope that the NCJ will consider a future article that presents an overview of the enormous toll that methamphetamine takes on the safety and wellbeing of individuals, families, neighbors, communities and natural environment of this beautiful area.

Sherry Skillwoman, McKinleyville


The article on sanity touches a place in this life that makes us want to cringe and look the other way. But society is forced to take a stand to administer to the greater good at times when it seems that there is none, where chaos is borne of bad choices.

The quasi criminal limbo is derived of neurological histories, where the defect of reason from the disease of the mind comes to pass... in the time of lunacy.

The story twists as the prosecution argues that a man is sane. And if that man is found guilty by reason of insanity, the plot thickens, and years later at the release hearing — the prosecution must argue that he is insane.

The whole process of life as we see it is derived from the neurons of the mind in a tangle of axons and dendrites. Pod-like dendrite spines obtain messages from other cells' axons (an extended fiber that sends messages in the form of electrical impulses from the cells body) across gaps called synapses.

Dendrite is on one end of the axonal terminal — the end point of the axon — where it branches, where discharged are the electrical impulses, releasing synaptic vesicles containing neurotransmitters that carry messages to other cells' dendrites. Chemical messages carried across synapses via synaptic vesicles signal the receiving nerve cell to stop firing or to go ahead and fire. The brain is a planet consisting of vast unknown depths, with a gradual ascent to what lies on its surface of reason and feeling that can see, hear, smell, touch and taste the life it wanders into, with cortex at the surface of questions we still can't answer.

The article was well written, and psychiatrist Michael Perotti's statement, "no psychological test can predict the future," is telling.

John Griffin, McKinleyville

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