A federal jury in Reno, Nevada, has returned a verdict of innocent in the case of a bank robbery suspect who is said to have three personalities, one of them an observer from another world. Under questioning by his attorney, Jack Paul Faulkner, 52, displayed his three personalities, Jack, Paul, and Monka. Monka told the jury: “I am the spirit who at one time was flesh who now does not reside on your planet. I am an observer only.” Faulkner maintained he “couldn’t and wouldn’t rob a bank.” — Actual newspaper clipping found in a box of my father’s things, though the name of the paper and the date of the story are now lost to time
I append the above news item for those with a casual interest in the doings of their neighbors from another world. Several questions in regard to this article, and not all of them legal ones, keep nagging at me.
Just for starters, I am puzzled as to how and why the jury (a federal jury, mind you) returned a verdict of innocent for Mr. Jack Paul “Monka” Faulkner. On the face of it, you’d think that a man possessing three personalities, or even four or five, would be every bit as capable of bank robbing as you or I. My three dozen personalities would never keep me from a life of crime if I thought I could arrange to have all of my trials held in Reno, Nevada.
Then there is the problem of “Monka,” as he sees fit to call himself. I don’t doubt that there is a Monka, or that he is from another world. Neither do I doubt that he was tried by a jury of his peers; by which I mean that any jury that could acquit Monka on the alibi he gives is definitely from another world, unquestionably a place where oysters run for President and banks leave their vaults unlocked for creatures with three or more personalities to rifle through the assets.
Why must we so frequently assume that our extraterrestrial neighbors are not only further advanced than us scientifically (that I can accept), but also infinitely kinder, more benevolent, harmless, and, if you’ll pardon the expression, more humane? In our naïve fantasies we picture them coming to Earth simply for the amusement provided by the human spectacle, or to bestow upon us a gadget that will end all war and tell us which horses are good in the fifth race at Aqueduct besides. Apart from those made-for-TV movies on the SyFy channel, the typical alien is, for most of us, a sort of intellectual Tony Robbins.
My guess is that any race of beings that can find its way to what Alfred Whitehead called a “second-rate planet with a second-rate star” is looking for some easy plunder, and what’s more has the means to get it. Their scientists, nothing but a pack of interstellar hoodlums, are sweating right now over the plans for a device that will pop open every safe deposit box in the world, while simultaneously immobilizing every teller and permitting unruly monsters with three nasty personalities to loot to their heart’s content — if they even have hearts. I’ll bet they have three apiece, the scum!
But that way lies delirium. Let us not presume the worst about Monka’s people, whatever we may think of him personally. Let us merely induce that Monka is a finger man for a small but vile band of galactic pirates, working hand-in-glove with his earthly cronies, those traitors to the human race Jack and Paul. He offered these two Benedict Arnolds a tempting reward — say, a date with a nice set of personalities or a seat on the federal bench in Reno, Nevada — and for such a trifle they sold out their fellow men and gave Monka houseroom in the body of Mr. Faulkner, the better to execute his cold-blooded schemes.
I won’t be taken in by that mushy double-talk of his. “An observer only” — hah! He was casing the joint, that’s all. Any two-bit private detective could tell you as much. And as for that other bit of baloney, the one that goes, “I am the spirit who at one time was flesh who now does not reside on your planet” — well, the jury who fell for that one ought to be strapped down under a strobe light and forced to read the collected works of Mary Baker Eddy. What does he mean, “who at one time was flesh”? If a 52-year-old man doesn’t have flesh on him he’s on the wrong side of the ground and they might as well hang him because he wouldn’t notice the difference. And if he doesn’t reside on our planet, how does he come to be in a court of law? He saw fit to hire an attorney, didn’t he? After all, Jack and Paul couldn’t and wouldn’t take that kind of initiative. That’s evidence enough for me.
The lone alternative to believing that the men and women of the jury are hallucinating is that they are shielding someone, namely Jack and Paul. They feel that their compatriots have been bedazzled by a visitor from the starry heavens, innocently beguiled into helping Monka pull off his heist. Jack and Paul thought it was all in good fun, or so this gullible jury would have us believe. Let me tell you, when personalities named Monka appear out of nowhere demanding a piece of the action, innocent men, even schizoids, don’t stick around to listen. They put their fingers in their ears and shriek until the ambulance comes.
The whole business has the air of a carnival sideshow. “Faulkner displayed his three personalities,” the item reads (my italics). Display is for kindergartners at show and tell. Or performance artists. Or strippers. It has no place in American jurisprudence. Faulkner sounds like a regular Alfred E. Neuman the way he lets Monka, not to mention Jack and Paul, play him for a fool. Such things may be a matter of course in Reno, but I, for one, am disquieted by the precedent seemingly set by this case. Let us pray that if vaudeville ever does return it confines itself to the stage and leaves the courtroom to sober people with only one personality.
Come to think of it, if multiple personalities are to be recognized in a court of law, why shouldn’t each of the body-sharing defendants be charged, tried and sentenced separately? Actually, that might work — and I could serve on three dozen juries at once!