Sunday, August 17, 2008

Brainwashed or stupidity?

I have little sympathy for Ria Ramkissoon. She allowed her child to starve to death on the advice of the leaders of her church/cult. the she prayed over his rotting body for a week waiting for his resurrection.  Her lawyer is trying to spin the story so that Ramkisson is a victim. In this case he's using the word brainwashing to make his case. I'm calling bullshit on Ramkissoon and her lawyer Steven D. Silverman. I'd go with a stupidity defense instead.

"The members of this cult, who were more than twice her age, were calling the shots," Ramkissoon's attorney, Steven D. Silverman, said Tuesday after a court hearing. "She bought the program hook, line and sinker."

Court documents describe a group that operated secretly, dressed all in white and eschewed medical care. Antoinette, also known as Toni Sloan or Toni Ellsberry, called her followers "princes" and "princesses." And she and her followers were possessive of the children under their care...

..."It fits the profile of a classic cult in the sense that it's a personality-driven group and that Queen Antoinette is that animating personality and central defining element of the group," Ross said.

Source: The Associated Press: Family: Cult 'brainwashed' mom charged with murder

Ramkissoon is culpable. she let her child die at the hands of other people. She violated her duty of care as a mother. She may not be responsible for murder, manslaughter looks a lot better.

In a case like this, I am curious. What does the rest of the blogging world think? Should Ramkissoon be held responsible for the death of her child, and to what degree?

Related post: Religion kills


bugsoup said...

"Should Ramkissoon be held responsible for the death of her child, and to what degree?"

She should absolutely be held responsible. Unless the jury thinks the cult should be brought up on charges (something I doubt any of them would think to do), then she is the only one left. If someone dies as the result of stupid decisions, the person making the stupid decisions has to be responsible. A crime cannot happen without a criminal.

In my opinion, this plea reinforces my insistance that religion was invented as an excuse to do bad things. She is not exempt from the law because she was stupid.

Carolyn Ann said...

Absolutely responsible.

She's got an obligation to defend and care for that child, not murder it!

Her lawyer can lay some blame at the cult's doorstep, and they should be held responsible for being so irresponsible, but she is ultimately responsible for her decisions.

The cult bears some responsibility for abusing her gullibility, and they should be held accountable. Unfortunately, that's not likely to happen - they'll hide behind the banner of free expression, and it'll be just too difficult to prosecute.

I'd say that a suitable punishment would be life without parole. This is not a case where you want to put the murderer to death; that would be too quick and easy - let her conscience punish her. She can think about her dead child while she rots in a jail cell.

Just my tu'pence ha'penny's worth.
Carolyn Ann

DromedaryHump said...

I think gradual starvation would be appropriate. After all, did not God say "an eye for an eye...".

But since thyat would violate the Constution's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, a prison term of 25 years would suffice.

I wager she gets 6-8 years, and serves three-four.