The Matrix Defense


Don't tell Joe Lieberman:

Consumed with righting racial inequality and injustice, sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo became yesterday the latest young defendant to use the film The Matrix as part of an insanity defense to explain killings that seem to have no clear explanation.

The 1999 film has been used, with some success, in at least three other murder cases in which young defendants attempted to justify their crimes with allusions to the movie's philosophy that the world people live in is only a dream sequence controlled by a computer. Violence is condoned as a way to get out of the fake, oppressive world of The Matrix….

"The outside force has arrived, free yourself of the Matrix 'control,'" Malvo wrote on one drawing that depicted him handcuffed with the word Bondage on his chest. "Free first your mind. Trust me!! The body will follow."

NEXT: Smart Guns, Dumb Law

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  1. Huh–of course it could equally be said in the drawing that he’s using the Funkadelic defense.

    Well, he might have misheard the cleaned up “booty” version.

  2. At least he didn’t try the Chewbacca defence….

    “Ladies and gentlemen of the supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider: (pulling down a diagram) this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk, but Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now, think about that. That does not make sense!


    If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests.”

  3. Completely off topic, but I have to vent in public here.

    Who is responsible for the cover of the Jan 04 print edition!?? Have you no respect for the countless nightmares I will have now?

    I get two friggin’ copies of the print edition each month, and I will have them both facing down on the coffee table to spare my sanity. Thanks bunches.

  4. How about the Gollum defense?

    “Your honorses… The dirty thieves stole the Precious! We just took what’s ourses after dirty master lied to us! Yes, he lied to us! We didn’t kill them, She did, yes, yes, She did!”

  5. Seriously, the belief that the world is populated by automatons, or that they aren’t “real people” like you, is what psychologists call “derealization.” It’s pretty common among sociopaths. “It’s OK to torture and kill people, because they aren’t really real like me.”

    That’s a pretty good argument for putting the guy where he can’t do any more harm.

  6. Like 6′ under the ground?

  7. The only real people are Hit & Run posters.

  8. They ought to call this one the “stupidity” defense. If you’re goofy enough to think that movie means anything except you’ve just wasted 90 minutes of your life watching it, you just might be too stupid to be sane.

  9. It’s too bad this didn’t happen earlier. Maybe Lieberman could have intervened and spared us the Matrix sequels.

  10. Someone on the jury should say that’s true, we are the computers, and then punch him through a wall.

  11. If we are not real, then the execution isn’t real either, so why fight it?

  12. Make him watch the third Matrix…then execute him.

  13. Cruel and unusual, LB.

  14. There’s no need to execute him. Force him to watch the third Matrix movie over and over and over and eventually he’ll commit suicide.

  15. Kevin Carson says that “derealization” is pretty common among sociopaths. What’s sobering to me is that it is also common among military forces. Wars aren’t possible unless one side or both engage in active “derealization” where the other side is concerned. I think it absolutely is a form of insanity — deliberately induced by persons in authority for “the good of society” in the case of war.

    I don’t think that this insanity is a proper defense against conviction and punishment for murder. But if it is, then can there be such a thing as a “war crime,” I wonder?

  16. Anybody who can sit through an entire dose of Keanu Reaves’ “acting” is certainly certifiable, in my book. To the hospital with you all.

  17. I think your average soldier in combat has more than a heightened sense of reality about the enemy, because, believe it or not, James, the enemy is REALLY trying to kill him.

  18. Malvo Sketches Depicted ‘jihad’. Check out a couple. Here’s Saddam Hussein! The Prophet and the Messenger. What the hell is this? “Islamic Counterattack Force”

    What is it with wackjobs blaming their crimes on the Matrix? Did anyone claim Star Wars made them do it?

  19. Merritt-

    As for your comment on making war, the one that sends me up the wall even more is the notion that prosperous, trading, democratic- loosely defined – states never go to war. The whole notion of the lexis and the olive branch. Great Britain and Germany were top trading partners with each other prior to WWI. Their lever of trading partner status would be akin to todays between the US and Canada.

    2nd is the notion that somehow we’ll all be better citizens if we do a mandatory tour of national service.

  20. Aren’t these people paying attention? The movie plainly says that the way out of the Matrix isn’t violence… it’s drugs.

  21. Lethal injection?

  22. Maybe someone should ask Malvo if he’s managed to get to the “real world”, or to demonstrate the physics defying abilities he has acquired after realizing this world is just a simulation? His answers may be entertaining.

    What this tells me is that the case against Malvo is so strong that he’s grasping at straws for a defense. Unless you kill someone in defending yourself or another innocent person, I really don’t think the “why” of your actions is in any way important and should not affect the verdict.

  23. Linden: those sketches are wacked!

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