Time for change


Sleepy Hollow

Automation is a term used to describe biological functions that are beyond the control of the conscious individual. This term is normally used for necessary functions like breathing, blood flow, and digestion. While I can attempt to stop breathing, eventually a feedback mechanism will knock me unconscious and allow my automated physiology to regain control of the task.

Complex motor phenomenon like walking, talking, and *having sex with other people* is, despite the possible lack of conscious control, not automation.

Meet Jan Leudecke, a 33-year old Toronto man recently acquitted of sexually assaulting a woman while he was asleep. A sleep expert testified that he suffered from "sexsomania," a condition that engages him in sexual behaviour during sleep. Because he was sleeping, the Montreal judge decided, Leudecke did not voluntary commit the act; Leudecke didn't have sex with the woman next to him, Sleepy Leudecke did. And that's different.

But here's the best part: nakedly rolling on top of someone is a fairly simple act. Nakedly rolling on top of someone and having sex with them is a bit much. But nakedly rolling on top of someone and putting a condom on before having sex with them, well that just seems a bit ridiculous.

Either way, Leudecke should be held accountable. He's a danger to those around him not because he maliciously assaulted a sleeping woman but because he has no control over his actions. A simple example will illustrate this.

Suppose I sleepwalk into somebody's house and butcher their dog. That it was an involuntary act a) doesn't bring the dog back to life; and b) doesn't- ever- excuse the fact that it happened because of me.

Killing animals is wrong. If your mind makes you the unwilling participant of such a crime, it sucks to be you. But it sucks even more to be the one with the dead dog.



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