“Look there, Sancho Panza, my friend, and see those thirty or so wild giants, with whom I intend to do battle and kill each and all of them, so with their stolen booty we can begin to enrich ourselves. This is noble, righteous warfare, for it is wonderfully useful to God to have such an evil race wiped from the face of the earth.”
“What giants?” asked Sancho Panza.
“The ones you can see over there,” answered his master, “with the huge arms, some of which are very nearly two leagues long.”
“Now look, your grace,” said Sancho, “what you see over there aren’t giants, but windmills, and what seems to be arms are just their sails, that go around in the wind and turn the millstone.”
―Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote
If you thought that men imagining themselves to be noble warriors attacking monsters–which were really massive inanimate objects–with swords and delusions only happened in your high school literature class, you haven’t been to Portland.
Earlier this month, Konrad Alden Bass, 31, went on a crusade in the middle of a southwest Portland intersection. His rampage included stabbing a BMW–driven by a mother and her 16-year-old daughter–with a sword and causing $4,000 in damage.
He was dressed as an elf at the time.
Portland Man Attacks BMW With Sword While Dressed as Elf
Konrad Alden Bass–6’4″ and thin with long hair–climbed onto a BMW, stabbed it with sword, and slashed the tires. He surrendered to police when they arrived. Despite admitting that he suffered from bipolar disorder and had been on mind-altering drugs at the time, Bass refused to plead guilty, so the case went to trial by jury.
Bass had been abused as a child and suffers from bipolar disorder. He ended up in psych wards due to his inability to lead a normal life. Bass admitted to being off his prescribed medications the night before the incident and taking a lot of drugs with friends earlier.
He wound up–believing he was the emperor of the world–leaping onto a dragon-monster and stabbing it…but in reality was stabbing a BMW.
The court wrestled with the decision of whether Bass’s wild actions were caused by mental illness or drugs, and ultimately indicted him for first-degree criminal mischief. The question remains if courts are truly an adequate place to make judgments on mental illness instead of just conscious criminal activity.
News Source: The Oregonian