Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
This story is sensational on its face but it also leads to some unsettling questions about the state of our online discourse, that of our politics, and the words we use to describe certain behaviors both socially and legally.
Anthony Comello is a 25 year-old Staten Island resident who managed to walk up to the underboss of New York’s notorious Gambino crime family last March and shoot him ten times for reasons that were in no way related to organized crime. Instead:
“[Comello] has claimed to his lawyer that he killed Francesco (Franky Boy) Cali because the mob boss was part of “the deep state,” a member of a liberal cabal working to undermine President Trump.”
Comello’s attorney is attempting to have his client declared not guilty by reason of insanity, arguing that his immersion in the online conspiracy theories of “QAnon” rendered him mentally unwell. And here’s the sticky part: If the stories spun by QAnon were instead missives about forging the next Islamic caliphate in blood and bullets, those who absorbed and acted upon those decrees would be considered “radicalized,” which is not a legal defense for committing murder.
So Comello’s attorney has instead fashioned a defense for his client out of the reality that our nation still debates whether far-right conservatism might be a breeding ground for violence. He is able to do this in no small part because so many pressed-suit and articulate members of the administration, Congress, and media outlets subscribe to and perpetuate the exact same views that led Comello to assassinate “Franky Boy.”
We struggle to accept this, because when we do we would be terrified to consider how many of our leaders could be considered legally insane.