Anarchy vs. Insanity
An anarchist is defined
in the Century dictionary as “one who seeks to overturn by violence
all constituted forms and institutions of society and government,
all law and order, and all rights of property, with no purpose of
establishing any other system of order in the place of that destroyed.”
Insanity has been briefly defined
as “a disease of the brain with psychic manifestations.[”]
If these definitions be reasonbaly
[sic] accurate, Czolgosz, who attempted the assassination
of President McKinley, is an anarchist, and is not insane. It is
a difficult matter, however, to place the individual in his proper
He may be a pure criminal, born of
criminal parentage and brought up in criminal surroundings, and
manifesting his propensities by petty criminal acts, which stamp
him early in life as a criminal.
On the other hand, he may be born
with a bad heredity behind him, with criminal or disease tendencies,
growing among better environment than his ancestors, yet in his
development circumstances or disease may interrupt his growth, and
he become a crank, an ambitious paranoiac, unrecognized until a
criminal act stops his career.
A third class are those who are self-constituted
reformers, or belong to a class of governmental or social rebellionists.
They are easily swayed by argument, emotion or impulse, being ready
to seek notoriety even when they know that in consequence of their
act they may be deprived of life or the rights of citizenship. They
are deficient in many ways, physically, intellectually and morally,
yet have reason and judgment, and are capable of determining right
Who shall decide their classification?
Who is  responsible for their
growth? And who shall determine their end?
It hardly seems probable that trial
or punishment of Czolgosz will be delayed. The deed was premeditated,
planned by a body of anarchists, perpetrated, and witnessed by responsible
parties. A question of insanity could not be raised with safety,
and would not be entertained by any jury. The fury and indignation
of the people of the United States demand the protection of its
president, as well as the disorganization of bodies thought to be
The case against the assassin seems
clear, the presumption is strong that he is sane, and justice demands
that he should be punished and that the instigators who prompted
the crime and who promote doctrines that appeal to and dominate
weak natures should be rigidly suppressed, not only to protect our
government officials, but to protect those of ill-balanced brain
from passing the border line of sanity.
The trial, conviction and execution
of Guiteau, which occupied the courts of justice for months, will
not bear repetition. It will be remembered that a large number of
medical experts testified that Guiteau was sane, and responsible.
The real point in issue, however, was, whether or not there existed
a form of insanity known as “moral insanity.” This was the rock
upon which many of the experts split. As might have been expected,
the jury, confused by the mass of testimony, convicted the murderer.
The autopsy demonstrated beyond a question of doubt that the brain
of the assassin was grossly defective, as well as grossly diseased.
The cases of Guiteau and Czolgosz
are not similar in detail, and the question of insanity should not
enter into the question of punishment.