Sunday, April 08, 2007

While Thinking about Personal Responsibility....

An Associated Press report explains the root cause of the famous and extended dispute among the Hatfield and McCoy families: bad genes.

Specifically, something called Von Hippel-Lindau disease, which is reportedly prevalent in the McCoy gene pool, allegedly can "cause... 'fight or flight' stress hormones" that may "lead to hair-trigger rage and violent outbursts."

I wonder how often that one has been used by criminal defense attorneys? It sounds much better than the twinkie defense.


Blogger diary of a genetic defect said...

I’m interested that you are interested. Check out the facts on it. In a funny sort of way the fact that a load of people are suddenly aware of our rare disease makes the fighting worth while
I have VHL and have had both my adrenal glands removed. No rage I'm afraid. The real message here is that emotional responses that are out of proportion or unprovoked might be symptoms of a medical issue that can be fixed.
VHL does not cause rage, or even hormonal issues. It may lead to one of six different kinds of tumours, only one of which causes hormonal issues. A "pheo", a tumour of the adrenal gland, can cause surges of adrenaline, that fight-or-flight response that when you need it is great. It gives you extra speed and strength in an emergency. But injected into your body at random intervals, it can feel like a panic attack or palpitations. Very rarely is it interpreted as rage.
Might it have been a factor in the feud? Possibly. But don't forget that the Hatfields do not get pheos and they participated just as wholeheartedly in the feuding. There's a very strong component of culture and environment operating here in addition to the undiagnosed medical issue.

11:06 AM  
Blogger MCO said...

I certainly meant no disrespect for those who suffer from this disease. My only criticism was intended to be directed toward those who seem to see it as an ultimate explanation for the longstanding feud. As you correctly state, numerous factors have contributed to the family war.

3:22 PM  

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