My key point, Chris, is not whether or not his species's protective instincts are normally a good thing. It's that the analysis of how responsible he is for his actions and his state of mind is a critical step that should not be glossed over. You cited examples of people being externally influenced-- but many of those involve outright possession or mental control to a degree that was was not the case here. Ree made his own decisions, based on his instincts, driven by empathic influence... but his own decisions. During the incident he even verbally asserted his own rationality.
So if an irrational person asserts his rationality, that makes him rational?
And yes, "many" involve outright possession, but many more just involve exactly this kind of influence. I even explicitly stated in the text that it's analogous to Sarek's mental influence driving the E-D crew to violence in TNG: "Sarek" and Lwaxana driving the DS9 crew to inappropriately amorous behavior in "Fascination." And what about the Psi 2000 virus from "The Naked Time"/"Now"? Nobody was being mind-controlled; they simply had their judgment compromised by an external force. Yes, they made their own decisions, but they made them while non compos mentis
. And so they were forgiven.
And you're still making the totally false and unjustified assumption that those concerns would be "glossed over." The very fact that there is a hearing proves that they won't be glossed over in-universe, that the questions will be explored according to regulations and proper procedure. I, the author
, glossed over them in the text because the climax of the story had already passed and I was going for an upbeat denouement. If a mystery story ends with the culprit being caught and arrested, that doesn't mean there was no trial or that it was treated merely as a formality. It just means that the trial wasn't part of the story being told. Don't confuse narrative focus with in-universe "reality."
I don't think the degree of violation Person A commits should be judged on how well Person B managed to clean it up. The fact that Tuvok and his team had to take action to clean up the mess is what damns Ree in this case, and the fact that they succeeded does not exonerate him.
"Damns?" Good grief! How can you say you don't have it in for him when you use language like that? And you totally misread the story if you think that the only reason a major violation was averted is because of Tuvok's team destroying the evidence. That was incidental, so much so that I didn't even need to show it. The violation was minimal because the Lumbuans didn't have effective telecommunications so only a limited part of the population was aware of the event, and because those who were aware of it chose to interpret it in a way that didn't disrupt their existing assumptions, either by dismissing it as mass hysteria or by perceiving it as a spiritual visitation consistent with their existing beliefs.
And once again you're ignoring the "insanity plea" here. Nobody's denying that it was a potentially severe violation, but it's mitigated because his judgment wasn't sound.
But what happened here is quite a bombshell, and the underlying sense one gets here is that there isn't going to be any fallout from it, that all is forgiven... and that's something I've got a problem with.
Then you must have one hell of a problem with "The Naked Time" and "The Tholian Web" and "Sarek" and "Brothers" and all those dozens of other times when crewmembers have committed criminal acts and been excused because they weren't of sound mind.
Besides, what kind of "fallout" did you have in mind? Titan
's in a similar position to Voyager
when it comes to penal actions. They're months away from any Starfleet facilities. They can't put Ree off the ship and bring in a replacement doctor. They can't just stick him in the brig indefinitely, because they need their CMO. So they need to be flexible when it comes to crew discipline. Particularly given the unprecedented diversity of this crew and the unpredictable problems that could arise from it. A zero-tolerance mentality is irreconcilable with the whole philosophy of the mission.