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The 'dissociative Fugue' Defense

Jeffrey Goldberg recommends Mark Sanford consider it. As the Merck Manual explains:

Dissociative fugue involves one or more episodes of sudden, unexpected, but purposeful travel from home during which people cannot remember some or all of their past life, including who they are (their identity). These episodes are called fugues.

  • Unbearable stress or a traumatic event may trigger dissociative fugue.
  • When in a fugue, people disappear from their usual routine and may assume a new identity, forgetting all or some of their usual life.
  • Usually, doctors make the diagnosis by reviewing the history and collecting information about the circumstances before travel, the travel itself, and the establishment of an alternate life.
  • Usually, fugues last only hours or days, then resolve on their own.
  • Memory retrieval techniques, including hypnosis and drug-facilitated interviews, may be tried but may be unsuccessful.

Dissociative fugue affects about 2 of 1,000 people in the United States. It is much more common among people who have been in wars, accidents, or natural disasters.

Not sure his fight with the legislature over the stimulus qualifies, but this may still be his best bet.

--Christopher Orr