Photo from AmazonAt first blush, the idea that rapper T.I.'s conviction on a weapons possession charge was caused by his depression sounds like an easy out.
Hey, buddy, I'm depressed and I don't have so much as a parking ticket.
But T.I.'s description to Larry King of the residual fears of holding his dying best friend in his arms in the wake of a gun battle describes the irrational nature of the depressed.
His friend died at the end of a gun. He carried a gun -- albeit illegally -- to remain safe, to quell an omnipresent fear.
If depression is the diagnosis, fear is the chief symptom.
Fear that has at times made it hard to get in a car because of the possibility that maybe, possibly, some time there will be a driver who veers into our lane and smashes into our car.
Fear that's made me hesitant to allow my daughter to take a trip to the city with her grandparents because maybe, possibly, some time they'll be separated and she'll be gone.
When depression takes control, reason is the victim. By its definition, fear is as often a result of the imagined as it is of real danger.
It's irrational, and so are the mechanisms used to control it.
The brain is aware that the proportion of car accidents to the number of trips in a car is decidedly low, but the body's response to the fear of accidents is to decrease the number of trips.
The brain is aware that child abduction is extremely rare, but the body's response is to keep the child home.
T.I.'s depression isn't an excuse for his crime, but the crime is certainly a symptom.