There is such a thing as mental illness and the court recognizes that. Clayton Osbon, the JetBlue pilot who freaked out during flight, was ruled not guilty by reason of insanity. Now he will have to put together his life.
Tufts University psychiatrist Nassir Ghaemi captured the suffering of the mentally ill in his book "First Rate Madness." That pain is two-fold. It comes from both the inner turmoil and also the shame of behaving erratically. Those afflicted with mental illness aren't insulated by the power of position. According to Ghaemi, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Jack Kennedy had a tough time with their demons.
But from that suffering, argues Ghaemi, can come gifts such as resilience, creativity, compassion, and persistence. Time will tell if Osbon can transform his disease into a platform for leadership as Lincoln, Churchill, and Kennedy had done.