Andrew Gilbertson was accused of robbing a bank in San Luis Obispo, California, but when he went to trial, instead of sitting quietly or testifying in his own defense, he decided to do something else, he decided to eat feces and he says the Virgin Mary told him to do it.
Now yes, this is clearly a basis for an insanity plea, but Gilbertson was nuts from the get-go, he reportedly went into the bank, wearing a hat and a pink child’s backpack, that he also says the Virgin Mary told him to wear. Lawyers in the courtroom report seeing Gilbertson hitting himself in the head to stop the voices.
I’m not saying that there’s nothing wrong with this guy, clearly there is, but again, we have the religion delusion playing it’s part in a dangerous mental illness. Sure, Gilbertson is going to get the help he needs, but how many people never do because they engage in the one overt delusion that still has widespread social acceptance in our society, talking to imaginary friends in the sky?
But you know what? It didn’t work and he was found guilty of bank robbery and is now awaiting sentencing. According to the prosecutor, it wasn’t the Virgin Mary that was driving him to a life of crime, it was his desire for methamphetamines. “He testified that he really, really likes methamphetamine,” said the district attorney. And Gilbertson is hardly a choir boy, he’s got a long rap sheet including sexual battery, aggravated battery, failure to register as a sex offender and car theft.
So now that leaves us with a quandary. Did he really believe the Virgin Mary told him to do it, or was he trying to get sympathy in the courtroom by pretending? Either way, this is an issue. Either he is crazy and really talks to religious delusions or he’s not crazy and is trying to use the social predilection for religious delusions to get off. Either way, it’s another case where religion plays a part in the harm of society and thus earns a spot on Horror Show Sunday.