The Importance of Stories From Suicide Survivors

One of my favorite articles was written by Scott Anderson and published in the New York Times Magazine in 2008 called “The Urge To End It All.” It discussed, among other things, researchers who study people who attempted suicide and who have survived and several survivors themselves. In virtually every one of these cases, the people who survived were thankful. They lived to witness the positive changes in their lives. Their lives did get better.

One of the reasons why the stories are so important is because too many people don’t realize that their lives can get better. They develop a sort of tunnel vision about the course of their lives leading them to believe that it won’t improve and that suicide is the answer. Most mental health problems are highly treatable. People need to know that their problems are solvable and the stories of suicide survivors are proof of this. Counseling is a great place to start.

Recently I received another story from an individual who survived a suicide in her youth. She gave me permission to post it on my website so that other people can see that there is hope even during turbulent times. You can read that story, titled August 2016: Kathy’s Silent Cry For Help: A Painfully True Story, here. Thank you, Kathy!

Your survival stories can make a difference. 

The Most Gruesome Killer You’ve Never Heard About

I think I’ve found one of the worst killers in history.

**Trigger warning**

The following material is extremely graphic.

About the case:

“A 26-year-old Polish man killed his father by multiple puncture wounds to the chest and neck using a sharpened screwdriver. He lured his father into the cellar and, before inflicting the fatal strokes, he tried in vain to electrocute him using a stun gun. After this he hung his father by his legs in a cellar window and decapitated him using a surgical scalpel and shovel. Additionally, he made deep incisions across the popliteal fosse to bleed the corpse and collected the blood from the cervical stump vessels in a bucket.

He then took the separated head and neck upstairs to his room and scalped it through the whole night. Afterward, he threw the head into the garden. Next, using a thread he sutured together the soft tissues of the head, additionally trying to repair them with a prosthetic plastic mass. He then dried the skull using salt, thus preventing putrefaction. Subsequently, he placed the scalp-mask over his head, previously shaved and layered with stick tape. He put on his father’s clothes, hat, glasses, and scarf and left home to sit on a bench. When his grandfather came by, he started a conversation with him pretending to be the father. The grandfather did not recognize him and was sure that he was talking with his son. After a while they even had breakfast together. Finally, the grandfather, surprised by the unnatural voice of his “son” and suspicious of his interlocutor, went into the cellar where he found the body and departed for neighbor’s house to call the police. The grandson, finding that the crime had come to light, left home, taking garments his father wore on the day of his death and found a hiding place nearby. He observed the scene and investigation carried out by the police. He then sat on a bus stop bench, where he was later arrested.”

The authors were only able to find a few cases where perpetrators used the skin or organs of their victims. These included Ed Gein and Jeffrey Dahmer.

They also noted that during World War II, the Nazis skinned murdered concentration camp prisoners.

At trial, the perpetrator testified that the murder was to be “a work of art, illustrating extreme human meanness” and “an act with no holds barred.”

He had modeled his crime from a killer in the movie Seven.

He wore the scalp-mask on his head to see whether his grandfather could recognize him.

He hanged the decapitated body in a position with the lower limbs up to symbolize crucifixion on “an upturned cross” because “the head of this kind of scoundrel should not hang even on a devil’s cross.”

There was no discussion about whether or not the killer was declared legally insane.

Psychiatrists diagnosed the killer with “borderline” schizoid personality. Schizoid personality disorders are characterized by difficulty expressing emotions, detachment from social relationships and a lack of desire for intimacy.

People with schizoid personality disorders are often considered loners. They also have unusual perceptions. They might see objects or shadows that aren’t there and they are superstitious. It is similar to schizophrenia but not as severe.

This is one of the most bizarre cases I’ve ever read about. It is the stuff of horror movies.

Source: Kunz, J., & Cross, A. (2001). Victim’s scalp on the killer’s head: An unusual case of criminal postmortem mutilation. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 22 (3), 327-331.

Interested In A Career In Criminal Justice? Some Career Advice

finger printMaybe you’re one of those people who loves Law and Order or Criminal Minds or CSI, and the like. If you’re like a lot of people, you love those shows and want to know how you can get started in one of those careers.

And don’t forget the FBI. Everyone wants to work for them.

But how do you get those jobs?

The answer is, it’s not always easy and it often requires a lot of training, hard work and persistence.

Many CSI-like jobs require a degree in science. This is especially true if you want to work in a lab. If you’re taking the route of earning a college degree, you would want to focus on biochemistry or biology as your major.

Check to see if your college has a specific track for people interested in forensic science. Some schools offer programs in which you can start an undergraduate degree in biochemistry or biology and ultimately work towards a Masters degree in forensic science.

Not everyone with a CSI-type of job has a college degree. Some people start their CSI work in law enforcement and through training in the department, become crime scene technicians. They might have some college training or no college training at all.

Many people think that to work for the FBI, you need a criminology or psychology or criminal justice degree but that’s not necessarily the case. People with those types of degrees might be considered eligible to work for the FBI under the “diversified” category but they are primarily recruiting people with specific, critical skills and experience. These include: accounting, finance, computer science, foreign language, intelligence experience, law enforcement/investigative experience, military and physical science.

Applicants for the Special Agent position, generally must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in one of the aforementioned fields.

Cyber crime has more recently become a major focus of the FBI. In December 2014, the FBI was specifically recruiting “technical talent, including computer scientists, IT specialists and engineers.”

If you’re interested in working in the criminal justice system, you might consider attending the police academy. Police academies are specialized schools that certify people to become law enforcement officers. Tuition is about $5,000 and completing the program can take anywhere from six to eight months. The cost and the length of time to completion varies, depending on your location. Some police agencies require at least some college credits, as well as having completed the police academy.

If you have earned an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or criminology, this does not qualify you to become a law enforcement officer. You would still have to complete the police academy.

There are other ways to work in the criminal justice system besides being a police officer. Earning a degree in social work, for instance, can prepare you to work in the court system as a mitigation specialist, Guardian ad litem, or parole or probation officer, or as an advocate in some capacity.

There are more mentally ill people housed in jails and prisons than in psychiatric hospitals. There’s no shortage of work for social workers, and others with similar training, in the criminal justice system.

Finally, I’ve noticed that many students are so focused on working for the FBI that they overlook many other prestigious and interesting job opportunities. Working for the FBI is very rewarding but you should also consider the many other federal, state and local agencies to work for, including (but not limited to): Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Postal Inspectors Office, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and so forth.

Be open to all potential opportunities and don’t limit yourself.

Mental Health & Crime On The Net

Message Board

The message board was damaged and I have spent the day trying to fix it. I am doing my best to preserve the board. I will have it up and running as soon as possible. I appreciate your patience.

Update: I spent many hours trying to save the old board to no avail. I was sad to see all your posts go. The new board is up and running. It’s rudimentary at this time but I will continue develop it and make it better. I find great value in your discussions and hope you will re-register. Thanks so much for your patience.

Should We Execute The Mentally Ill? Scott Panetti, The Death Penalty & Mental Illness

Scott Panetti is a mentally ill, death row inmate in the state of Texas. He has long been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is scheduled to be executed on December 3, 2014. He will be the 10th and perhaps the final Texas inmate to be executed this year.

Mr. Panetti has a long history of serious mental illness. He is profoundly mentally ill and is among the sickest persons to be executed in modern times. Before killing his parents-in-law, he was hospitalized 14 times. Evidence of schizophrenia began in his teen years.

He represented himself at trial and did so while under the control of a hallucinatory figure named “Sarge.” He dressed in a purple cowboy suit and rambled incoherently throughout the trial. He attempted to subpoena hundreds of people, including the Pope and Jesus Christ. His behavior frightened the jurors.

There is no doubt that Mr. Panetti should be held accountable for murdering two people.

If you believe that it is possible for anyone to be mentally ill then there will be no doubt in your mind that Mr. Panetti is mentally ill. Long before murdering his parents-in-law he was hospitalized 14 times. First of all, if you are familiar with the American mental health system you know that it is difficult to get hospitalized even once. Many people who should be hospitalized and whose families and loved ones have tried desperately to get them hospitalized have failed to be hospitalized. A significant number of these people have gone on to murder or commit suicide, or both. When you have achieved a record of 14 hospitalizations, you can be pretty sure that you are mentally ill.

That’s the background and now here’s the question. Should we kill mentally ill people? I suppose you could correctly say there is an even more basic question, which would be, should we give the state the power to execute anyone?

And that’s when it gets complicated. That’s when we talk about the fact that we are the last large democracy in the world that executes its citizens. They don’t do it in Scotland, Ireland, England, Italy, France, Germany, etc., etc.

Those countries are our allies and friends. Many of our families have at some point emigrated from one of those countries. Many of us are very proud of our ancestry. We are Irish-Americans or Italian-Americans, etc. Those countries used to execute their citizens but now they are very much against it. They won’t even release a prisoner to the United States unless we promise not impose the death penalty.

Your relatives and countries of origin, just don’t believe in execution anymore. In fact they are very much against any execution for any reason (it may be wise not to bring up this topic at future family reunions).

It is our traditional “enemies,” those countries around the world who are our political opposites, who continue just as we do to execute its citizens.

If I were to write a thorough analysis of the death penalty, honestly it would take me thousands of pages. It is surely worth writing about but this is not the time or place. I mention the above simply to prove the point and acknowledge the fact that this is an exceedingly difficult topic.

Forget the issue of the death penalty in general.

Let’s keep it simple. Is it right, to execute a mentally ill individual?

Let’s make it even simpler. Let’s move to the lowest man-in-the-street level. Is it right to execute a man who is as nutty as a fruitcake?

Let’s also forget big but meaningful words like “schizophrenia” and “psychotic.” Let’s just talk about it from the perspective of your uncle Bob, who might sum up Mr. Panetti’s condition by simply saying “the guy ain’t all there.”

With a psychotic person, he’s just not “not all there,” he’s not there at all. Really. He is living in a fantasy world and by definition has lost the ability to know what is real and what is not real.

That’s the question. Do we kill mentally ill people? I know it begs the question, should America execute its own citizens, legally guilty of course, but still its own citizens.

We need to think about that. We need to form an opinion and voice an opinion. And that opinion had better be correct, lest you be judged.

I seem to remember reading someplace, someplace really important, advice from an appearingly, supremely knowledgeable source. It came in a list of similar declarative warnings.

It seemed more than a suggestion and more than mere advice. It was stronger than a warning and very clear.

“Thou shall not kill.’

Hey, I’m not pretending to speak for God. I’m just wondering if executing a mentally ill man falls under that admonishment.

Weekend Reads: The Best of the Web

Here is what’s happening in the world of mental health and criminal justice from around the web:Copcar

How to spot a liar: Secrets from the FBI

One of Casey Anthony’s attorney’s has written a book, says she’s basically imprisoned

LAPD Cop: There is a mental health state of emergency on Skid Row:

“I have had to arrest many mentally ill men and women who I knew and cared about after their illness drove them to harm someone. Though it was legal and in good faith, it was wrong. I put people in prison and jail who had needed help long before they committed their crimes. I could not stop them ahead of time because they did not say the magic words of “I want to kill myself” or “I want to hurt others.”

Woman accused of poisoning son with Visine drops

Oscar Pistorius was not mentally ill when he killed his girlfriend

Justin Ross Harris (and his wife) looks more and more guilty with every new detail: Today we learn he bought life insurance on his son

Conviction in the “Cannibal Cop” case is overturned. For those not familiar with the details, here is the long, detailed background about the case. It’s a great read

The Washington Post chronicles what it is like to live with someone who is actively psychotic and very sick but not “sick enough” to be committed: Behind the Yellow Door

There will now (finally) be a anti-suicide net on the Golden Gate Bridge

Very well researched piece about the surprising truth about women and violence

How our failed mental health system kills

The New York Times analyzes the mental health of zoo animals

15 Books That Have Informed My View of Criminal Justice In America

These books have informed my view of criminal justice in America. book plainm

(1) The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

(2) Deep Secrets: Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis of Connection by Niobe Way

(3) Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

(4) People of the Lie: The Hope For Healing Human Evil by M. Scott Peck

(5) The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Phillip Zimbardo

(6) Columbine: Dave Cullen

(7) Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work by Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare

(8) Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Robert D. Hare

(9) The Autobiography of an Execution by David R. Down

(10) Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E. Douglas

(11) Dangerous Instincts: Use an FBI Profiler’s Tactics to Avoid Unsafe Situations by Mary Ellen O’Toole

(12) False Justice: Eight Myths That Convict The Innocent by Jim and Nancy Petro

(13) Inside: Life Behind Bars in America by Michael Santos

(14) Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three by Mara Leveritt

(15) The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

What are some of your favorites? Do you have any books that resonate, “stay with you” or that you continually reference?

Mentally Ill People Are Dying in Prisons

Christopher Lopez
Still shot from the video of the final hours of Mr. Lopez’s life

One by one, mentally ill people are dying behind prison walls. One of the latest atrocities is the death of 35-year old Christopher Lopez, a man with schizoaffective disorder who died in the presence of Colorado Department of Corrections prison staff who were too busy laughing and making small talk to pay him any attention.

Christopher Lopez died of hyponatremia, a condition associated with dangerously low levels of sodium. It’s often thought to be caused by too much psychotropic medication. The lawsuit notes that in almost all instances, it’s a condition that’s treatable with prompt and adequate medical attention.

A six-hour video exists in which Mr. Lopez dies right before their eyes–a video that could “ultimately… pass as a documentary film on how to ignore the obvious and serious medical needs of the dying prisoner for hours until the very last breath of life leaves his body…”

The video provides “crystal clarity” of what happened in the final moments of Mr. Lopez’s life.

“We can see the defendants wheel a semiconscious Mr. Lopez down to the intake area of the prison and eventually remove him from the restraint chair. We have a ringside seat to watch Mr. Lopez suffer two grand mal seizures in front of the camera while the defendants idly stand about and discuss their views about Wal-Mart and other equally important topics, laughing and joking with one another, all the while completely ignoring the dying man in their charge. We watch as defendants leave Mr. Lopez face down, still fully restrained, on the floor of the intake cell, too weak to hold his own body upright. We see Mr. Lopez struggling to breathe for hours, and then, finally, we have an unobstructed view as Mr. Lopez takes his last breath, dying, half naked on the cold concrete floor of a prison cell– isolated and alone with no defendant caring whether he lived or died.”

The lawsuit alleges that the Colorado prison officials wanted to punish the prisoner for kicking a correctional officer and were “not interested in finding an appropriate treatment plan” for his severe mental illness.

The lawsuit notes that in the final hours of Mr. Lopez’s life, there were a minimum of 16 correctional staff members whom he encountered yet not one of them took any steps to save his life.

What many people may not realize is that this could happen to their mentally ill brother, sister, father, mother, son or daughter. Because the mental health system is in shambles, many people who would otherwise be in hospitals receiving the proper care and treatment are now in prison. Correctional staff, who receive little or no training about how to handle mentally ill people, are now in charge of their care and often view their symptoms or their unresponsiveness as behavioral problems that need to be punished, mostly with solitary confinement.

There are probably many more horror stories that we don’t hear about or that are buried within the pages of civil lawsuits. Until something is done, and we stop criminalizing mental illness, incarcerated mentally ill people will continue to suffer.

Important Facts About Mass Shooters From A Highly-Qualified, Retired FBI Profiler

Dr. Mary Ellen O’Toole, senior FBI profiler/criminal investigative analyst (ret.), Behavioral Analysis Unit, and Editor-In-Chief of the peer-reviewed journal Violence and Gender recently responded to Richard Freidman’s op-ed in the New York Times entitled “Why Can’t Doctors Identify Killers?”

She disputes his conclusion that mass shootings are not predictable.

If these crimes are not predictable, “it forces us to fall back on the “snapping theory– that someone just “snaps,” and we don’t see it coming and we can’t do anything to prevent it.”

Other important highlights from the article about mass shooters include:

Nihilistic/homicidal/suicidal ideation associated with mass murderers evolves over time, and evidence of this is reflected in their planning and preparation for the crime, their interactions with others, how they live their lives, their writings, and their behavior regarding social networking; people don’t just snap

The Association of Threat Assessment Professionals has developed standards for evaluating individuals who make or pose threats; there is the science behind threat assessment

Threat assessment science is based on the biopsychosocial model of medicine and encompasses all aspects of an individual’s life to help identify warning behaviors

If warning behaviors are overlooked or misread, it should not lead to the conclusion that they were absent or that threat assessment professionals have no knowledge, training and expertise to act on those behaviors

The majority of mass shooters are motivated by fame and infamy and when possible the shooters name should be not be used

Dr. Mary Ellen O’Toole is a highly-respected individual who has conducted a great deal of research about threat assessment.

The New York Times should consider publishing her response to Richard Freidman’s op-ed in their newspaper.

Weekend Reads

Check out these news stories I’ve been following:spiral2

A Waffle House waitress tried to have her husband killed by her lover on Memorial day while she was out on a picnic with her kids.

A bitter divorce ends in murder-suicide while the couple’s three children are in the home.

California doctor is arrested for the murder of his professor wife Dr. Doris Knapp; she was also part of a medical team that won a Nobel Prize.

The Massachusetts Parole Board approved the release of a man convicted as a juvenile of first-degree murder; first release of its kind in the state.

Man who killed a Houston postal worker, received 75-year sentence, served less than half of it and has now been released. Victim’s mother: “I would like to blow him off this earth, that’s what I’d like to do.”

Drug informant and former Cocaine Kingpin, portrayed by Johnny Depp  in the movie “Blow,” has been released from prison after 17 years.

Man who is accused of stabbing two children in a Brooklyn elevator has a long history of severe mental illness but had “fallen through the cracks.”

Seattle Pacific University shooter Aaron Ybarra has a history of being hospitalized for problems with “rage;” had tried suicide-by-cop in order to become famous; was obsessed with Columbine; went on a shooting spree to kill as many people as possible  and then kill himself.

Police kill an 18-year old mentally ill teen after family calls 911 for help. Police say she lunged at them with a knife. The family is devastated wondering why they didn’t just taze or tackle her. This is the second shooting of a mentally ill person by an officer in the San Mateo county police department.

Marissa Devault, who was convicted of killing her husband with a hammer, was sentenced to life in prison without a chance for parole.

A man claims his cat is to blame for him killing his stepfather.

The New York Times describes the horrific conditions in one southern jail: “Pictures don’t lie…I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years, and I’m pretty convinced that there is nothing out there that has been made public that is this shocking.”

All states should follow: Colorado bans long-term solitary confinement for people with serious mental illnesses.

Protect Yourself Against Psychopaths: A Unique Coaching Service

I recently had the opportunity to conduct an email interview with Louise Delahunty, PG DipCOT, founder of Psychopathy Awareness and Harm Reduction Coaching (PAHRC).  Louise is a mental health occupational therapist, coach and acupuncturist by background, trained under psychopathologist Sandra Brown M.A. in coaching survivors of psychopaths.


PAHRC works to raise awareness of the impact of partial/full blown psychopaths in the personal/ business realms in order to avert ‘inevitable harm’ or support you work through the aftermath.

What Was the Impetus For Your Business?

I think in many ways psychopathy is a subject that chooses you.

My first professional experience with a client I suspect was psychopathic was with ‘X’ who regularly featured in the local press as a WW2 hero and would actively seek this attention. Receptionists at my workplace would constantly remark how ‘lucky’ I was to be assigned this seemingly affable charmer who’d shower them with chocolates and compliments.

Yet I knew a different side to X. A lifelong gangster who at nearly 80 would charge into local pubs and attack people with his walking stick! Someone who would repeatedly say he wished the Germans had won the war (whilst courting the press, let’s remember, with an opposing persona). The last I heard of him was that he’d been arrested for an attempted rape in a residential home.

As with most mental health professionals I had had no training in detecting the signs of psychopathy…and spent hours pouring over what seemed unfathomable psychology to me. ‘How could X be so lethal, yet so adored? Who was he really?…Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde?’

Once the penny dropped that I’d encountered a probable psychopath I began to question why the vast majority of us are in the dark about psychopathy – something that affects us all in one way or another. It was as if a handful of researchers and forensics professionals had exclusive rights to discuss the subject and I grew increasingly uncomfortable that such important information was in so few hands.

But it was the impact of psychopathy on other people that really gripped me. I found I couldn’t let go of it and began to research it prolifically. I took courses in the states and met and communicated with 100’s of survivors from India to America. Their stories were strikingly similar – whether they’d been involved in a cult or loved a fraudulent person. Learning about psychopathy in the hardest way possible forces a ‘paradigm shift’ in someone – the world is not how they thought it was and never quite will be again. Survivor’s stories are appallingbut their strength is phenomenal.

Who Primarily Uses Your Services?

This will surprise people, but primarily Mental Health Professionals (MHP’s) who have been victimized by psychopaths who may also be Mental Health Professionals! They are eager to avoid a re-run or to help others who’ve had this experience.

There are many erroneous assumptions that MHP’s should ‘know better’ ‘be able to spot psychopaths’ or ‘would never be psychopathic.’ It doesn’t work like that. I’ve spoken with leading experts in the field who’ve been victimised.

For me, this speaks of the power of this type of psychopathology and the capacity of people with marked psychopathic traits to manipulate and deceive. So I’d really urge people not to assume they are ‘immune.’ There’s not a psychopath ‘behind every tree,’ but they exist in every walk of life, more often than people think.

Is Your Business Similar to What Threat or Risk Assessment Professionals Do (i.e. highlight some of the potential problem people at an organization?)

In terms of our corporate coaching, our current focus is on advising on recruitment practices to minimise the risk of a business hiring their organizational downfall – prevention is far better than cure. It is also important for organisations to be aware of control tactics exhibited by those with psychopathic traits in order to understand what is going on and plan how to deal with it more effectively.

We are currently in discussion about working with a psychologist trained to screen organisations.

If Someone Believes That They Are Working With a Psychopath, How Do You Instruct Them To Protect Themselves?

Firstly most difficult and unreasonable people are not psychopaths (for the record nor are most criminals or psychiatric patients). Psychopaths are in a league of their own and I suspect most of them would agree with me on that. I once heard psychopaths described as ‘serial soul killers’ and think this is really what we are talking about, someone who effectively ‘wipes people out’ to inflate themselves across different contexts and across their life span.

Research the subject selectively – start with Babiak and Hare’s ‘Snakes in Suits’, and the documentary ‘I am Fishead’

A psychopath’s optimal exploitation of people and organisations relies on others not seeing behind the mask, particularly those with the influence or power to do anything about it. Realising you may be dealing with a psychopath can be liberating (‘that explains it!’) and lonely at the same. Recognise those around you may stay dazzled by the psychopaths fraudulent charms. Confide only in colleagues with whom you have a long established, trusting relationship, or with people outside. Emotional support is vital – the impact is often severe.

Don’t let the psychopath know you’ve ‘seen’ them (they will see this as a threat or challenge which can activate their vengefulness). Stick to neutral conversations where possible and avoid getting defensive. Agree when you authentically can, leave a paper trail of everything and start looking for your next job unless you are very confident you can oust them (without using the ‘p’ word!) and have a lot of support. Change your passwords regularly and don’t leave your mobile lying about.

Has Anything Surprised You About Your Work Thus Far?

The surprises that fade least are these:

  •  Up to 1 in 25 lack conscience – a critical component of what, for most of us, it means to be human.
  • That most people have encountered/will encounter a full/partial psychopath yet few will realise what has happened and that it wasn’t their fault. This often reminds me of a Steve Biko quote: “The greatest tool in the hands of the oppressor… is the mind of the oppressed.”
  • That so few people can admit they were wrong about someone (this is a different thing from not realising it I think).

PAHRC’s next scheduled course ‘How Psychopaths Harm’ runs in London, July 21st. Visit to find out more.

There is a real need for this service. I would encourage you to check out PAHRC.

Have you been harmed by a psychopath?

Op-Eds Around the Net

More views of the latest mass shooting from around the net.

James Garbarino, professor of psychology at Loyola University Chicago.

What is most striking about killers is that for the most part, crazy or sane, they believe their acts of violence are justified. Rodger believed he was right to bring death to pretty women who had rejected him and all the others who he felt had treated him unjustly. In this he is like so many killers I have interviewed.

There is widespread justification for violence as a tactic in America. For example, no society that imposes the death penalty can be said to be “nonviolent” in its core beliefs.

Norm Pattis, a criminal defense and civil rights lawyer

“Elliot Rodgers looks less like a victim of mental illness than he does the Culture of Narcissism coming to its logical extreme. If all we are is the sum of our desires, then desire frustrated is the apocalypse. We should worry less about this young man’s mental illness and more about the social malaise that made him possible.”

We can point to all the warning signs we missed. But they’re yellow flags. They’re not red flags until blood is spilled,” said James Alan Fox, a criminal justice professor at Northeastern University who has written several books on mass murders.

Pia Glenn of XOJANE

In a statement to the press, family attorney Alan Shifman spoke on behalf of Elliot Rodger’s father and said of Elliot, “This CHILD was being treated by MULTIPLE professionals. The CHILD was diagnosed at an earlier age of being a highly functional Asperger’s syndrome child.”

Mr. Shifman emphasized the words I’ve put in caps, not doing a very good job of concealing his desire to infantilize and stigmatize Mr. Rodger, because a “crazy Asperger’s kid” is easier translated to “senseless killing” than a 22-year old with a deep-seated hatred of women. The problem is that when you look at the larger issues at hand, unfortunately the senselessness begins to make a little more sense.”

Jeff Yang at Quartz

Rodger grew up in the shadow of Hollywood, a place where terms like “trophy wife” and “arm candy” and “casting couch” are thrown around withglib abandon. It’s a culture that has mainstreamed the notion that women are accessories, party favors, tools for sexual release, not just behind the scenes, but in front of it, particularly within the genres most likely to shape the worldview of young males.

How many “coming of age” movies have supported the idea of loss of virginity as a rite of passage, and used lack of sexual experience as code for subnormal masculinity? How many have underscored the status divide between sexually active jocks, bros and studs and socially invalidated, sexually frustrated nerds, freaks and geeks? I’ve admittedly watched—and enjoyed—many of them myself, from vintage entries like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Revenge of the Nerds to more recent ones like American Pie and Superbad.”

Interesting Array of Opinions About Why Elliot Rodger Did It

Everyone Has an Opinion: Tracking the Responses to this Latest Mass Shooting

Maybe I am a cynic but the rhetoric about mass shootings has become predictable. Common themes to explain these massacres include: lax gun laws, mental illness, misogyny, chronic anger and rage, prescription medications, illicit substance abuse, video games, poor parenting, divorce, bullying, trauma, a mental health system in shambles, isolation and a severe lack of social skills.

The truth is always more complex than any one of these factors. In the case of Elliot Rodger, they probably all played a role, some more than others.

There is also a predictable life cycle of these mass shootings.

First comes the trickle of facts, many of which are initially wrong. Keep that in mind if you are following unfolding breaking news events.

As we speak, reporters are undoubtedly searching for former acquaintances of the shooter to interview, hoping to scoop the latest story. We can’t fault them for doing their jobs.

Next comes the parade of TV experts. It is me or do they say the same thing every time?

Then there will be at least one quasi-celebrity who will make ridiculous statements about what or who is to blame for this mass shooting. Who will it be this time?

We will assuredly hear from the NRA who will pontificate about this latest “crazy killer,” the need for “more good guys with guns” and a revamping of the mental health system (the latter of which I wholeheartedly agree). They don’t typically comment about mass shooting stories until the dust clears a bit.

Also expect to hear from those of whom are convinced of the causal link between mental illness and violence and as a rebuttal those of whom are upset about the connection being made between the two. They are now a staple of every mass shooting news cycle.

Finally, our short attention span and desensitization to violence demands that this story fade from our consciousness by the end of the week or until the next massacre occurs.

Of particular interest are the reactions of others, mostly mental health professionals. Some have balanced opinions and others not so much. I will be highlighting the latter in the coming days.

The TV experts and their opinions are often cringe-worthy. Consider the psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig who said that it was her belief that Elliot Rodger’s rage was due to “homosexual impulses.”

“When I was first listening to him, I was like, ‘Oh, he’s angry with women for rejecting him,'” Ludwig said. “Then I started to have a different idea: ‘Is this somebody who is trying to fight against his homosexual impulses?'”

It is always surprising how many TV mental health professionals are quick to offer a diagnosis of these shooters. Dr. Ludwig said that Rodger’s behaviors may indicate “early schizophrenia.”

There are only a few TV experts who I respect.

What have you heard other “experts” say on TV?

FedEx Mass Shooter Leaves Suicide Note, Insights Into Why He Did It

One of the most recent mass shootings occurred at a FedEx workplace in Kennesaw, Georgia on April 29, 2014. The shooter: 19-year-old Geddy Lee Kramer. He shot six FedEx coworkers and then killed himself. When authorities located his car, they found 55 12-gauge shotgun shells, maps and a suicide note. Clearly the massacre was premeditated.

It’s rare for a mass murderer to leave a suicide note. They are typically killed or kill themselves. They rarely leave direct communication detailing their state of mind.

His main issues seem to have been severe depression and not feeling “like a man.” He was obviously suicidal but decided to take out others with him. He didn’t care who he hurt and even says that directly in his note.

“I’m not sad or sorry for the misery I’ve caused.”

Desperate and angry people, who have nothing to lose, can be quite dangerous.

Most mass murderers do not snap. Kramer did not snap and said so in his suicide note:

“This wasn’t the result of me snapping…It was more of a several month snap. Slow and steady.”

Among the majority of mass shooters, there is a clear path to violence. One can look back, and trace the mental deterioration, the planning, the path to ending it all.

Other signs of Kramer’s preplanning included his digital journal and his gathering of various types of weapons and materials for explosives.

Another common theme among mass murderers is the desire for infamy. Kramer apparently thought the act of mass murder would bring him fame, at least to some degree. He saw that as being better than a “nobody.”

His sexual frustrations are evident in his suicide note. He seemed to have believed that he wasn’t a real “man” because he wasn’t getting “laid.”

Many researchers believe that the ingrained ideas of “boy culture” or rugged masculinity play a role in mass and school shootings. Violence is seen as being normal for most boys. Some see it as a solution to their problems.

Kramer says that he sought psychological help but how much did he try? One session? Two?

He also says that he tried “medication” but was referring to illicit drugs. The drugs probably exacerbated his psychological problems and fueled his descent into violence.

You can read the suicide letter in its entirety. It’s been transcribed below. You could see the original here. Be forewarned. It’s disturbing.

My final thoughts on paper

This wasn’t the result of me snapping. Well maybe it was. But not like “you know what ____it I’LL KILL EVERYONE. “It was more of a several month snap. Slow and steady. This was the result of my own issues; mental instability, depression, frustration, sexual isolation. I know I shouldn’t complain. I’ve got a comfortable place to sleep. Warm food. But the fact that the field of nothingness and unconsciousness awaits me if I put a 12 gauge shell in my brain is appealing. But know this, this wasn’t a result of media brainwashing and subliminal messages. This is my own doing. I’m a sociopath. I want to hurt people. Maybe a part of this is also the fact that a life lived in infamy is better than just another nobody. This is not anyone’s fault but mine. Mine. If my self-esteem was at a point other than negative and I grew a pair to actually get myself laid, maybe I’d be alive now. I’m in my happy place. I’m in my happy place. I’m in my happy place.

Notes: Final requests

I had a much more elaborate suicide note buy it was gagging to read so I made this instead.

-I want whatever is left of my body to be donated for science.

-I don’t exactly have a fortune so anything that’s left of my possessions is to go to whomever wants them.

-It should be noted that my first choice for my massacre would start with anyone who sold me drugs and a few others on my “_______ list.”

-I had a paper journal with plans, attack patterns and recipes for explosives in a digital journal on my phone with much more. I hid them both in different locations within a 35 mile radius of my home. They’re exposed to the elements so you better hurry.

-I want it to be known that I attempted to get help from not only a therapist but I’ve also medicated with several types of drugs, most of which were illegal, and attempted many times to purchase prostitutes. Both of which became impossible to obtain towards the end… What the _______?!?!

-In case anyone is curious, my mattress is soaked in urine for 2 reasons. 1 is I enjoyed indulging in a fetish of mine. 2. I’ve been awoken from countless nightmares in a pool of urine. So there.

-I had notes and reasons in my journals behind the motive for the attack. You figure it out.

I’m not sad or sorry for the misery I’ve caused.

This was not motivated by media, music, video games (both of which [are] media I guess) or any 1 person. This was personally and I guess to a small extent politically motivated.

Machete times two
Gas can
String bag

Some favorites




George Carlin
Bill Maher
Lewis Black
Bill Burr

Hobbies: video games
_______ off

Elderly Women Charged with Murdering Husband 40 Years Ago, Jack Blacks’ Bernie May Soon Be Free, Bizarre Religious Plot & More

If you follow the daily news, you’ll see that there are a lot of people involved in homicides. Check out this latest list of stories:

Elderly Woman Charged With Murdering Husband 40 Years Ago

75-year old Alice Uden of Missouri has been charged with the first-degree murder of her husband who was killed nearly 40 years ago. She allegedly shot him in the back of the head to protect her young child from being harmed. He had a long violent and abusive history, claimed her lawyers. His remains were found last year in an abandoned mine shaft on a small cattle ranch.

Convicted Killer “Bernie,” Made Famous by the Jack Black Film, Might Soon Be Released

Bernie Tiede, who shot an 81-year old wealthy widow in 1996, could be free soon. After he killed her, he stuffed her body inside the freezer in her home. If you recall he was the man portrayed by Jack Black in the movie Bernie.

His sexual abuse history apparently was part of what lead to the murder:

“According to the Texas Tribune, psychiatrists that examined Tiede learned he had been sexually abused from the age of 12 until he was 18. The suppression of this led him to be able to disassociate himself from reality, including a murder by his own hand. Living as a closeted gay man in a small East Texas town also created issues for Tiede.”

His attorney’s believe that these new revelations are enough for his life sentence to be reduced.

Rabbi Pleads Guilty to Bizarre Religious Plot

A rabbi pleaded guilty to planning to:

“…lure lure an Israeli man to his Lakewood home where he was handcuffed, blindfolded and beaten until he agreed to give his wife a “get,” a religious divorce under Orthodox Jewish law.”

His wife’s family had paid the rabbi $100,000 to secure the religious divorce. Without the “get” women are prevented from remarrying under Orthodox Jewish law.

Other News

The Boston Globe reviewed “The Psychopath Whisperer” and is not impressed.

Insane sex laws inspired by Republicans.

Watch Dan Rather’s new documentary series about the American mental health system crisis and patient dumping.

Party Monster” is out on parole after spending 17 years in prison.

“Far too many US laws violate basic principles of justice by requiring disproportionately severe punishment” according to a report released by the Human Rights Watch.

A groundbreaking report released by the National Research Council, the principal operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences, documents significant problems with U.S. incarceration rates.

Murder, Mental Health, The Death Penalty & New Video Might Have Blown Amanda Knox’s Alibi

William Bruce was a young man with schizophrenia. He was committed to a psychiatric hospital until mental health advocates helped get him released despite him being actively symptomatic and dangerous. He then killed his mother. Years later, he is in a hospital, medicated and has gained insight into his illness. He told the Wall Street Journal:

“None of this would have happened if I had been medicated.”

The gunman who killed three people and wounded four others in Arkansas had been released from a mental hospital a few days before the shooting. It’s not clear why but most likely either because he was a danger to himself or others.

Las Vegas cops held a “purity seminar” about “promiscuous” girls.

Remember the man (Byron Smith) who set a trap and executed two teen intruders? These recordings capture their horrific deaths. They are graphic. The shooter was given life in prison without parole.

Has Amanda Knox’s alibi for the night of Meredith Kercher’s murder just been blown? It might just be true, according to newly released footage.

Stephen Bright, president of the Southern Center for Human Rights, recently gave a speech at the United Nations about the death penalty and discrimination. It is worth reading in its entirety but I focused on the part about death for people with mental illnesses:

“…Of course they committed horrendous crimes, took innocent lives that left others suffering and scarred for life, and they must be isolated to protect society. But through no fault of their own, they are tormented souls suffering from devastating afflictions that leave them unable to think and reason like people who are not so afflicted. That is greater punishment that any court can impose…