Remember the case in which the accused perpetrator blamed injestion of Twinkies as the reason for the crime in question? "The TWINKIES made me do it!!!!"
There was general outrage as the urban myth of the Twinkie defense began to spread. Urban myth? You betcha. Here's the real story according to Wikipedia
We can all breathe a sigh of relief that sugar and preservatives are not a clever trial lawyer's method of getting his client out of hot legal water. But other similarly bizarre excuses are starting to pop up for those who externalize their behavior that rival "The devil made me do it."
The "Ambien defense" is starting to rear its ugly head, thanks, in part, to Rep. Patrick Kennedy's nighttime excursion around Capitol Police barricades in Washington, DC. True to form, the Kennedy's dodged potential legal ramifications for their actions with clever lawyers and the novel notion that "the Ambien made him do it" as an excuse for getting behind the wheel of a 2,000 lb automobile and nearly mowing down a Capitol Police officer.
When used improperly -- as in, with other drugs or alcoholic beverages -- Ambien, as with any pill taken for sleep disorders, could have adverse affects. Hence the labels pasted all over every prescription bottle and warnings from doctors about taking Ambien or any sleeping pill at home and without interference from alcohol or other drugs. Pretty simple stuff, really.
It doesn't stop at the Patrick Kennedy joy-ride, however.Here's a story about a hideous accident in which a mother loses a limb
-- a LIMB -- because this cretin decides to take not one Ambien like a normal human being...but FIVE Ambien. Did he have a prescription? No.
Who takes five sleeping pills of ANY kind unless he has a death wish to begin with?
It is nothing but reckless and abominably stupid to begin with.
To blame the Ambien, though, would be the wrong course of action. Luckily, the court did the right thing here. But just for future reference, an Ambien defense would be akin to suing gun manufacturers because of a fatality caused by a dolt who pulls the trigger.
No one forced this clown to obtain a presciption medicine without a prescription. And no one blew five times the dosage down his throat with a straw. He did it on his own and therefore the reckless, stupid, damn near unforgivable tragedy that followed from his actions are all on him, not the Ambien.
As a mother, I see toddlers in my own household struggle to own up to their actions. Taking responsibility for one's actions is a tough lesson for a toddler to learn and a mother to teach, but more mothers should be worried about that than self-esteem, in my estimation. Kids today seem to be overflowing with self-esteem, but not a heck of a lot of humility, self-control or the ability to take responsiblity for their actions.
No doubt the Ambien defense is a clever trial lawyer's way of earning his exhorbiant hourly fee. But courts across the land should reject this legal course of action as they have the frivilous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and instead, opt for the personal responsibility lesson instead.
Let's hope the Ambien defense goes the way of the Twinkie defense -- a bad idea that was mistakenly tried one time and is nothing more than a legal urban legend. It is a shame that for that mother, now maimed for life because of another's thoughtless, careless actions, that the ramifications will be a daily reality....not an urban legend.