February 19, 2010

The Rage Of The Average Joe

irs building.JPG
all of this has happened before and it will happen again

"Obviously his methods were wrong, but you can see how a person can feel so excluded..."

"Of course he shouldn't have killed anyone, but you can understand the frustration of a guy who does the right thing, but still gets the shaft, meanwhile these other guys get everything handed to them..."
"You know, he does have one legitimate point..."

"All I'm saying is his explanation makes total sense..."

"Look, I don't condone what he did, but I can understand..."

etc.


II.

Of course his explanation makes sense.   What did you expect?  Numerology?  Bible codes?  He's not insane.   The man could just as well have railed about blacks or illegal immigrants.  It would still all make sense, it would all be internally consistent, and it would all be wrong.

Look up there.  See those quotes, those justifications?  Those are what people said-- after George Sodini shot up an aerobics studio.  They're the same hedges despite completely different events.  That's because the content is a red herring.

If he had blamed the RAND Corporation and the reverse vampires, would you have listened?  But since "IRS" seems plausible you overlook the paranoia.   

What people want is to take his possibly legitimate frustration, and extend it to his actions.  "Since he was so frustrated, he eventually snapped."  The note tells you why he was frustrated, but it does not tell you why he killed anyone.  If you want to use it for the former, go ahead. But the note is as informative as Mercury in Libra for the latter.

III.


"But the note says the IRS made him do it."

Funny: Sodini's note said he did it because he was about to lose his job, but still it's blamed on a lack of sex.  You know why?  Because no one cares why Sodini did it, they just want to talk about their own gripes.  "Women are bitches." "Men are misogynists."

In this case, people are going to use it as "see how the government drives people crazy?" and simultaneously by others to as  "these anti-government nuts are crazy."

In other words, if you're reading it, it's for you.


IV.

"Was he a right wing nut?  I heard he was a socialist nut?"

It's natural to look at this from your own perspective ("he has a point about the rich" etc) but this isn't a manifesto, it's a suicide note. The information of suicide notes are not reliable.

And it's a suicide note, not a homicide note, because it is about his life/death.  Everyone else doesn't matter.
 
The reason why he's so hard to pin down as right wing or left wing (or patsy) is that it's not important to him, writing the note.  The purpose of the note isn't to convey information, it is to convey mood, and the seemingly random and contradictory positions he takes on issues is all in an attempt to win you, the reader, over to his side. He knows for sure he is angry, he knows for sure he feels wronged, but he can't logically and realistically link the real world events to his level of anger.  So he confuses you with words while blanketing you with mood.  You have no idea what he's talking about, but you definitely sympathize with the frustration.  Boom-- he got you.

If you simply look at it as a "type", then he's a mass murderer, akin to a guy in a tower with a rifle.  So the form of the note will be impotence, paranoia, displacement, a feeling of rejection/invalidation, and, of course, narcissism. I'll make the simple observation that as obsessed with rules as he was, he didn't think and didn't like that they necessarily applied to him. 

The reason this is important-- that you should focus on the form of the note and not the content-- is that it speaks to "treatment" and prevention. If you had granted every single one of his wishes, he would still not have been satisfied, he would not have been happy.   As bankrupt as he was, he still had a plane, a house to set on fire, a car... note also he didn't seem to care about his family he left behind. The problem isn't what happened to him in his life, it's how he viewed his life and its expectations.

I'm not saying he would inevitably found a reason to explode, or that rage against the IRS was not a factor.   He may not have someday flown his plane into an old high school bully or a cheating wife-- or maybe he would have-- but it's wrong to think of this as an ordinary man crushed under the weight of regulation. 

This was a keg of rum rolling around a smoldering ship.  Maybe he blows up, maybe he doesn't.  Either way, abandon ship.

V.

Commonly heard after an event like this: "he was so nice, I can't believe it he did this."

"We didn't know that he had frustrations and troubles," said Pam Parker, who had known Stack and his wife, Sheryl, for several years and last spoke to him a few weeks ago.

"He always was very easygoing," Parker told the Austin American-Statesman. "He was just a pleasant friendly guy."


You're surprised because you think you knew him because of the duration of your exposure to his body and the sounds his mouth made; but they don't put themselves into their relationships, they put themselves into appearances.  The rest is just going through the motions.


VI.

Why hasn't this happened before? Or: why isn't this being called terrorism?

Because the  media says it's okay to shoot women, but not okay to don suicide vest. 

We have already accepted-- not acceptable, accepted-- methods of American violence, and the media has a backstory for all of them, right or wrong:  The 70s was serial killers-- "caused" by childhood sexual abuse.  In the 90s we had school shooters, "caused" by bullying.  We have one for random violence against attractive women: loser loner, caused by (either) no sex or .  So we can all be horrified, but not surprised.

Now we have a template for a new kind of violence: anti-government Average Joe.

Unfortunately, the creation of this template-- the repeated discussion amongst pundits that "we don't condone but..." and then a dramatization on CSI or in a movie, means that Average Joe mass murder is going to be inevitably part of our culture.

But none of these templates are true, in the sense that there's no causality.  They are merely post hoc descriptive.  And since dead men tell no tales, you can pretty much describe one any way you want, for your own purposes. 

If Joe Stack had reflected on that, he would never have hit the ignition.

---

http://twitter.com/thelastpsych








Comments

Anti-government/society avg... (Below threshold)

February 19, 2010 7:29 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Anti-government/society avg joe has been around awhile now. Oklahoma city bombings and such.

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The excuse-making and "it's... (Below threshold)

February 19, 2010 7:40 PM | Posted by Chiara: | Reply

The excuse-making and "it's understandable" comments are also being spewed for Amy Fisher, the academic who shot her colleagues. Because, you know, the Pressures Of Academia Are So Hard that they can sympathize. Sick, sick, sick.

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Amy BISHOP -- haha, I think... (Below threshold)

February 19, 2010 8:04 PM | Posted by Chiara: | Reply

Amy BISHOP -- haha, I think it's now clear from which decade I hail ;)

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As soon as I saw this news ... (Below threshold)

February 19, 2010 8:47 PM | Posted by Bryan: | Reply

As soon as I saw this news story, I was thinking... This guy is somehow a narcissist and I wonder what the doc is going to say.

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Clearly the IRS are pure ev... (Below threshold)

February 19, 2010 8:58 PM | Posted by Chad: | Reply

Clearly the IRS are pure evil. Just ask me, and I'll reference all the evidence that Ron Paul has gathered for me ;)

BUT... Who the hell thinks flying a plane into one of their buildings is going to make a difference? The ONLY way we can make a difference is to do what is right, not what is wrong. Vote for who you want into office, NOT who *might* win and be the lesser of 2 evils. Stand up for your rights in court; when you are accused of a crime you didn't commit (such as speeding) plead not guilty and show the corrupt court system you aren't ok with their corrupt system.

I think instead of looking at life the way Joe did, in that the only way to make a difference is by doing something, one thing, huge, start by making the changes you want to see in the world by DOING THE THINGS YOU WANT TO SEE DONE IN THE WORLD. Ghandi said it well, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." If Joe wants change, he should have done something about it. Killing people is not doing something about it. Leaving your family behind to [fill in the blank] is not doing something about it.

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That guy's note was pure "t... (Below threshold)

February 19, 2010 9:31 PM | Posted by EH: | Reply

That guy's note was pure "tl;dr." I didn't get but a few sentences into it before I figured out it would be "I'm broken and I'm gonna make as big a deal as I can about it." Everything else was just fluff.

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"start by making the change... (Below threshold)

February 19, 2010 10:07 PM | Posted, in reply to Chad's comment, by Jbow: | Reply

"start by making the changes you want to see in the world by DOING THE THINGS YOU WANT TO SEE DONE IN THE WORLD."

1. He claims he's tried to make changes but to no avail. But lets even assume that's BS...

2. Here we are talking about this guy, and the IRS. Mission accomplished by him.

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That happened right by my h... (Below threshold)

February 19, 2010 10:48 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

That happened right by my house. Creepy.

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Now we have a t... (Below threshold)

February 19, 2010 11:24 PM | Posted by Anonymous Anarchist: | Reply

Now we have a template for a new kind of violence: anti-government Average Joe.

Unfortunately, the creation of this template-- the repeated discussion amongst pundits that "we don't condone but..." and then a dramatization on CSI or in a movie, means that Average Joe mass murder is going to be inevitably part of our culture.

The difference in this case is that unlike random strangers, random teenagers, or random women, no one will miss random bureaucrats.

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I wonder if he was taking a... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 12:48 AM | Posted by Rosiecee: | Reply

I wonder if he was taking an antidepressant. It is a possibility. The news reports tonight say his personality changed drastically in the last several weeks - enough that it scared his wife and she was staying at a hotel.

His band friends said he was apolitical and never mentioned the govt. They said he was a lot of fun and played a mean bass guitar by ear. Still, the sudden personality change points to something unusual.

In his rantings he said that he was keeping a 'journal' as 'therapy'. That sounds like a suggestion from a doctor. He also said he hated drug companies and insurance companies. Perhaps he was in withdrawal from an SSRI or SNRI. We will probably never know, though, because he is dead and pharma owns the press now. The press doesn't like it, of course, but it is the only way they can survive - if they can survive. They aren't looking for a depression med in this case because the ads for depression meds are what keeps the media alive.

Charles Whitman of the Texas towers shooting had a brain tumor and the Oklahoma bomber was hospitalized after he failed the Green Berets and he tried to commit suicide after his hospitalization - in his grandfather's living room. No one seemed interested in what meds he took at the hospital and how he wandered the U.S. injesting meth.

I really think the experts need to look at the physiological aspects of the brain more and spend less time analyzing the psychological aspects. The McDonald's shooter in the 1980's had a toxic level of cadmium in his brain. He had been a welder. The docs said the level was so high that they didn't know why he was still alive but it turned out that he had just left the hospital the night before - where they had tried to patch him up.

The majority of the school shootings took place during the 21st century. In fact, the school shooting in Finland last year -their Ministry just released the report today that the shooter was on an SSRI antidepressant. 10 died in that school shooting. The one in Germany two years ago - 16 died there. The German shooter was on a med for depression too. At the University of Northern Illinois in 2008, the shooter was in a three week withdrawal from Prozac. The Red Lake, MN shooter in 2005 was on a triple dose of Prozac according to media reports.

Read all of these cases and 3,646 more at: www.SSRIstories.com

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With all due respect to the... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 4:13 AM | Posted by whatever: | Reply

With all due respect to the psychiatric profession, my first thought when I hear such stories is "wow, so what med was he taking?"

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No one seemed interested... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 10:29 AM | Posted, in reply to Rosiecee's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

No one seemed interested in what meds he took at the hospital and how he wandered the U.S. injesting meth

How is this NOT another post hoc assumption of causation? "He was on PILLS! I blame the zoloft! I blame that he was neurochemically dependent on them!"

We should be asking questions that seek a larger picture. The templates and explanations we're attributing to violence are false ones. I think a first step to treatment is asking why our society "accepts" these things in the first place, or else "average joe's," explanation might be attributed to "antidepressants" versus history of childhood sexual abuse. What's the difference?

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Question: Are psychos born... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 10:55 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Confused: | Reply

Question: Are psychos born psychos? Regardless of environment or medicine, will psychos eventually manifest their mental disturbances and become actively psycho i.e. murder, violent acts etc. ? Is intervention possible in these cases.

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You've gone from Lexus ads ... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 11:55 AM | Posted by RRR: | Reply

You've gone from Lexus ads to AFLAC and Sprint ads. You're just not aspirational anymore.

The thing that struck me about this guy's rant is that he made himself a martyr. He talks about how he lost a decade of earnings for "that act of patriotism." Which he defined as interpreting the tax code in a way that reduced his liabilities. He wasn't your typical Wesley Snipes right-wing nut job who claims that Arizona wasn't a state when the income tax was passed, or something. He was okay with the tax code, except the way it negatively affected him.

Does it piss me off that I my stocks get triple-taxed because I hold them through my LLC? Yes. Is it unfair? Absolutely. But there are reasons that make this the most rational decision. This kamikaze must have also had a reason to remain an engineer, despite the tax implications. So why is he upset at the IRS? He could have avoided this part of the tax code by moving abroad or getting another job. Or just put up with it like every other engineer. But you see, that would require sacrifice on HIS part. And he's special, so he doesn't need to sacrifice.

Trust me, I don't love the IRS. But this moron didn't run for congress to abolish the IRS or change the tax code. He attacked the peons who just went to work each day, sat at desks pushing papers, and made an honest living. He was like the 9/11 hijackers who picked the most defenseless targets.

He was a coward, not a martyr.

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Maybe it had nothing to do ... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 12:04 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by RRR: | Reply

Maybe it had nothing to do with the IRS or medications or being touched at the Chuck-E-Cheese prize counter.

Maybe this guy just had an obsessive personality. I've seen a fair number of whackjobs over the years and I always watch for the loaded gun, not what makes them pull the trigger. Some people, for whatever reason, are antisocial and can't get along with others. Their fuse is only so long and eventually it will get used up. They snap. I'm only surprised that this guy and George Sodini took so long. A long latency period, so to speak.

They convince themselves that they're victims of something extraordinary. Then it's something totally normal, like a layoff or the requirement to pay taxes, that sets them off. THEY can't be laid off or owe taxes! Then they focus a lifetime of anger on the most recent target of obsession.

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rosiecee - It's just as lik... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 12:46 PM | Posted, in reply to Rosiecee's comment, by brainchild: | Reply

rosiecee - It's just as likely that he just started therapy or was finally confronted with having an NDP or simply not being who he claimed to and pretended to be - his image of himself was threatened so he started to act out. The nice, super cool bass playing pilot engineer guy image started to unravel or be threatened for some reason. THEN his wife got freaked out and left, and this precipitated the need for a grandiose act of destruction (all the while blaming everyone else, of course, and conveniently making sure that his wife didn't get the house). If his wife hadn't moved out, maybe he would have simply committed a murder/suicide or murder instead.

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@brainchild, yeah, there ar... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 2:09 PM | Posted by Meat Robot: | Reply

@brainchild, yeah, there are clearly a lot of details we're not privy to yet and may never be.

I see a guy like this and wonder whether there was any therapeutic involvement at all, and if there was, whether he kept playing Joe Cool with the therapist, as a defence against some sort of huge, narcissistic injury.

These are the guys who make the hair on the back of my neck stand up during a suicide assessment. So smooth. So laid back. You have no idea what's seething in that cauldron.

@Rosiecee: are you suggesting that perhaps he was somewhat akathisic due to SSRI's at the end?

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"@Rosiecee: are you suggest... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 2:24 PM | Posted by Rosiecee: | Reply

"@Rosiecee: are you suggesting that perhaps he was somewhat akathisic due to SSRI's at the end?"

No, I am not saying that he had akathisia. I am saying that he exhibited the intense rage that is common with SSRIs when that person goes manic or psychotic on the drugs.

The Physicians Desk Reference states that SSRI antidepressants and all antidepressants can cause mania, psychosis, abnormal thinking, paranoia, hostility, etc. These side effects can also appear during withdrawal. Also, these adverse reactions are not listed as Rare but are listed as either Frequent or Infrequent.

Go to www.SSRIstories.com where there are over 3,600 cases, with the full media article available, involving bizarre murders, suicides, school shootings/incidents [54 of these] and murder-suicides - all of which involve SSRI antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc, . The media article usually tells which SSRI antidepressant the perpetrator was taking or had been using.

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Here is another case where ... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 2:30 PM | Posted by Rosiecee: | Reply

Here is another case where a man crashed his plane in a suicide. Note that he was on antidepressants. Coincidentally, his suicide note was also six pages long. Those on antidepressants who kill themselves tend to leave long suicide notes [part of the mania] - the record being a woman who left a three-month long suicide note to her sister on her computer.

http://www.ssristories.com/show.php?item=1327

Paragraph 8 reads: "In the note, Nawrocki, who was taking antidepressants, wrote he was stupid and was tired of being sick and fat," Grim said."

"The crash spread burning wreckage across the main runway only minutes after the last Delta flight arrived, said air traffic manager Burt Willis. No flights were delayed Monday because another runway was available."


ERAU INSTRUCTOR LEFT SUICIDE NOTE
Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL)
September 9, 1998
Author: Brendan Smith
Staff Writer
Estimated printed pages: 3


After drinking with friends and writing a six-page suicide note, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University flight instructor Michael Nawrocki crashed a stolen plane Sunday night at Daytona Beach International Airport, authorities said.

When an air traffic controller told Nawrocki he was flying high on his approach, Nawrocki radioed back: "This will be my final landing."
Nawrocki's death in the fiery crash of a twin-engine Piper Seminole at 11:22 p.m. Sunday was ruled a suicide Tuesday after an investigation by airport police, a sheriff's investigator and the Medical Examiner's Office.

The plane, valued at $297,000, was owned by Embry-Riddle where Nawrocki accompanied students on training flights. Nawrocki didn't log the plane out or obtain permission from Embry-Riddle for the flight.

This pilot climbed the fence and went straight to the aircraft and took it out," said airport Police Chief Bob Grim. "There's a question about his ability to even be (flying) the plane."

Nawrocki, 26, may have been intoxicated during his 18-minute flight before crashing in a sharp descent on the west end of the main runway. Friends told a sheriff's investigator they had to pull Nawrocki out of a bar Sunday night because he was drunk, Grim said.

Nawrocki was an Embry-Riddle graduate employed as a flight instructor since March 1997. His roommate found Nawrocki's suicide note Monday in his Daytona Beach apartment, Grim said.

In the note, Nawrocki, who was taking antidepressants, wrote he was stupid and was tired of being sick and fat," Grim said.

The crash spread burning wreckage across the main runway only minutes after the last Delta flight arrived, said air traffic manager Burt Willis. No flights were delayed Monday because another runway was available.

The National Transportation Safety Board also is investigating the crash but probably won't release its findings for six months.

Nawrocki climbed a fence at Embry-Riddle to obtain unauthorized access to a Piper Seminole parked on the school's flight ramp next to the airport, said Embry-Riddle spokeswoman Lisa Ledewitz.

Access to the school's planes is restricted after 10:30 p.m. so Nawrocki's key wouldn't open the gate since he didn't have clearance, Ledewitz said. However, the plane does not require a key to start.

Nawrocki had no previous reports of unauthorized flights or other disciplinary problems. The university doesn't plan to make any changes in security of its airplanes, which are parked outdoors on the flight ramp, Ledewitz said.

"He scaled the fence," Ledewitz said. "If someone is determined to get through and steal a plane, then they can do it."

After clearing the flight with the tower, Nawrocki flew east and then north along the coastline for about 10 miles before returning to the airport, said Willis. Nawrocki never indicated any mechanical problems with the aircraft before the crash.

Sebastian Kalicinski, Nawrocki's roommate, said Nawrocki came home about 10 p.m. Sunday and then left at 10:35 p.m., saying he was going for a walk. Nawrocki didn't seem distraught about anything, Kalicinski said Tuesday.

"He was probably one of the nicest guys you could meet, very, very giving," said Kalicinski, 25. "He always was able to reach out a hand to anyone who needed help."

Kalicinski learned of the plane crash Monday morning in a phone call from a school official before he found the suicide note in Nawrocki's room.

Counseling is available on campus for students or fellow employees upset by Nawrocki's death. A memorial service has been scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Thursday on campus with the location to be announced, Ledewitz said.

Nawrocki, who was from Smithtown, N.Y., was single and had no family locally. His mother and brother in New York were notified of his death Monday.
Caption:
1 COLOR PHOTO
Caption:
Michael Nawrocki, 26, may have been intoxicated during his 18-minute flight before crashing.
Edition: NO STAR
Section: News-Journal; FRONT
Page: 01A
Index Terms: ERAU, INSTRUCTOR, AVIATION, SUICIDE
Dateline: DAYTONA BEACH
Copyright, 1998, The News-Journal Corporation
Record Number: 9809090291

OpenURL Article Bookmark (right click, and copy the link location):
ERAU INSTRUCTOR LEFT SUICIDE NOTE

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Agreed, it's pretty hard to... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 4:17 PM | Posted, in reply to Meat Robot's comment, by brainchild: | Reply

Agreed, it's pretty hard to know exactly what was going on and what exactly triggered his actions (apart from a narcissistic wounding). People with NPD can be pretty good at fooling therapists and seducing them - particularly ones that aren't psychiatrists or clinical psychologists (and there are a lot of therapists out there who are neither). NPD is all about manipulation and getting affirmation for the persona - and no doubt he was genuine depressed about his life and image coming apart.

As for the SSRI or anti-depressant angle, that's really a bit of a chicken/egg thing too and NDP is just as reasonable a cause for a personality change as taking an anti-depressant (particularly since it doesn't sound like his outward persona had actually gone from "normal" to depressed. Clearly a person has already been diagnosed as being depressed or mentally ill enough to be put on medication by someone (who knows if it was a qualified mental health professional) if they're on medication. It's possible that the medication contributed but it's also possible that it didn't - hard to know really and certainly not proof that the SSRI or anti-depressant was the cause.

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Kind of interesting how man... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 4:27 PM | Posted by brainchild: | Reply

Kind of interesting how many people want to give mass killers excuses though, rather than recognizing grandiose and narcissistic behavior for what it is. (Not to discount that SSRIs, particularly when mis-prescribed, may well not be helpful.)

It's a bit like how some people have glommed onto the idea of addiction or depression as being purely biological and so somehow separate from the person or personal identity (and without psychosocial aspects). I'm by no means denying the biology of depression or addiction but if it's part of your brain chemistry it's also part of you (or me). We can change this and who we are through changing neurobiology (via medication, surgery or therapy) but neither is a more real or truer version of who we are (even though one may feel better and we may prefer how we look to others). There's a level of mental illness where obviously we're no longer responsible for our actions and I do think our neurobiology can limit our choices but it seems a bit of a slippery slope to deny all responsibility for our actions and who we are and who we become.

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NPD does not cause a sudden... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 5:21 PM | Posted by Rosiecee: | Reply

NPD does not cause a sudden change in personality. It may cause a gradual change. Any time there is a sudden change in personality a person needs to look at what drugs are being taken.

Most people aren't aware of the damage being done by the antidepressants, especially the new more powerful serotonergic antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, etc.

The reason people aren't aware is because they have been manipulated by the courts, the attorneys, the pharmaceutical industry, etc.

Here is an example of the kind of episodes that have taken place which cause people to doubt the "dark" side of these drugs.

http://ssristories.com/show.php?item=2937

Peter R. Breggin, M.D. was the expert witness for the plaintiffs in the Joseph Wesbecker trial [while on Prozac, Wesbecker killed 8 people and seriously wounded 12 people at the Standard Gravure plant in Louisville, KY in 1989], As the expert witness, Dr. Breggin was allowed ‘discovery’, which meant that he was permitted to search through Eli Lilly’s data on their clinical trials of Prozac.

Paul Smith of Dallas, Texas was the attorney for the plaintiffs. He had agreed to “fix” the trial in Lilly’s favor before the trial began [pages 250 to 257 of “Medication Madness” by Peter R. Breggin, M.D.]

Page 252 of the book “Medication Madness” by Peter R. Breggin, M.D. reads: “Before I got on the stand, attorney Paul Smith had told me in a shouting match not to dare bring up one particular smoking gun. From my Freedom of Information Act inquiries to the FDA, I had found that initial drafts of the Prozac label had listed “depression” and “abnormal thoughts” as two of the three most commonly reported adverse reactions to the drug. In these drafts, the company in effect admitted that it own principal investigators – the scientists conducting the clinical trials- were reporting that their patients frequently became more depressed on Prozac. Combined with an increase in “abnormal thoughts” this indicated that the drug was making many people worse and even potentially dangerous. I then discovered that shortly before the label was made official, “abnormal thoughts” was dropped from the list of the top three adverse effects and replaced with the more innocuous “abnormal dreams.” Then, on the last day before the label was officially approved, an FDA official scratched out “depression” from its prominent place in the label. Depression as a serious adverse effect of Prozac went from being “frequent” to being nonexistent. The company, in combination with the FDA, had expurgated some of the most damning information from the label shortly before its publication. Attorney Paul Smith outright refused to let me testify about this.

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Rosiecee - "NPD does not ca... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 5:54 PM | Posted, in reply to Rosiecee's comment, by brainchild: | Reply

Rosiecee - "NPD does not cause a sudden change in personality. It may cause a gradual change. Any time there is a sudden change in personality a person needs to look at what drugs are being taken."

I don't think you understand. Someone who has a NPD doesn't suddenly change when their grandiose false persona is challenged, they fly into a narcissistic rage. This will look like a personality change to the people around them who are used to interacting with the persona but it's not (since the persona was always fake and there was no genuine personality. Also, when someone has a psychotic break they act very differently than people around them are used to. Neither of these require drug use to be triggered. Certainly looking at any new medications is warranted but so are looking at environmental factors - particularly when discussing NPD.

I get it that your personal narrative is around the dangers of SSRIs and they do seem to be dangerous and/or detrimental for some people and may well trigger suicide. However, killing other people is a very different matter than killing oneself and simply projecting your beliefs about SSRIs onto every person who kills other people is making their actions all about you. (Which is pretty much what Alone's getting at about media coverage and discussions about mass killings.) Deciding that one's own life isn't worth living is one thing, deciding other people should die because your life isn't worth living is on a whole other level and that's what's being discussed here (along with why people make excuses for killers). On some level you seem to be saying that killing other people is excusable and not the height of pathological narcissism.

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How good are you at picking... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 7:13 PM | Posted by Pat McGroin: | Reply

How good are you at picking the Psycho? Take the free Psycho Quiz below to see how you do;

Click Here to Take The Psychos Quiz


Pat

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Now that's funny.... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 7:23 PM | Posted, in reply to Pat McGroin's comment, by SRW: | Reply

Now that's funny.

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"On some level you seem to ... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 8:15 PM | Posted by Rosiecee: | Reply

"On some level you seem to be saying that killing other people is excusable and not the height of pathological narcissism."

This is not what I am saying at all. I am saying that people need to be warned about the dangers of antidepressants so they don't get killed. SSRI Stories is all about the people who were killed. It has nothing to do with the perps.

I don't believe in pathological narcissim. I don't believe for one minute that such a disorder even exists. I guess you don't believe that SSRIs can cause people to kill. So we are even.

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"The difference in this cas... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2010 9:21 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous Anarchist's comment, by Balkey Bartokamus: | Reply

"The difference in this case is that unlike random strangers, random teenagers, or random women, no one will miss random bureaucrats."

Except for the fact that random strangers and random women have jobs as bureaucrats, whether you can attach the modifier of random to their position or not.

You are an indication of why anarchism is not popular. Your talking points don't make sense. If you want to have a serious following, make sense. Otherwise, you are soiling the anarchist brand and please stay home. Thank you.

http://balkan-anarchist.blogspot.com/

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In their own lives they are... (Below threshold)

February 21, 2010 8:31 AM | Posted, in reply to Balkey Bartokamus's comment, by Sfon: | Reply

In their own lives they are more, but to those watching the news they are hardly even two-dimensional cardboard cutouts. If they are 'the IRS' than that is perceived as different from single moms or someone's daughter/son, even if in reality many were single moms and all were someone's children.

(To clarify: Someone don't stop being someone else's child just because they reach adulthood, and to not value adults is to not value our children's future.)

The murderous twit had the nerve to complain about injustice to himself and then turn around and commit a horrible act on multiple other people, each one just as much a person as he was. But we've already seen that this is not how society sees it. They aren't counted as people, he is.

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I've seen people who were o... (Below threshold)

February 21, 2010 12:41 PM | Posted by SusanC: | Reply

I've seen people who were on SSRI's who were in a mental state that made me very concerned for their safety.

The obvious question that comes to mind is, was this a drug effect? (Perhaps something like drug addiction, where the initial effect of exposure to the drug is euphoric, but then dependence sets in and the drug-user feels really bad if they don't get their regular fix/requires increasing doses just to feel OK).

Obvious disclaimers:

a) Patients diagnosed with depression were depressed to start with, so might have been just as bad/worse without it. A couple of anecodotes aren't convincing evidence.

b) SSRI's are unlikely to be a *universal* explanation for murder. Even if there is a drug effect, some murder/sucides are going to be for unrelated reasons.

c) The bad effect I've seen in SSRI users is extreme depression, not narcissism. My expectation is that they are likely to kill themselves, but unlikely to kill others deliberately. (Though may kill others as an accidental side-effect of their own suicide, depending on method chosen)

d) One apology for SSRI's is the hyphothesis that there are some patients who would kill others, but currently are too depressed to have enough energy to carry out the murder. For this group of patients (assuming it exists) therapies that address the depression without simultaneously addressing the murderous inclinations are expected to increase the murder rate.

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And you call yourself a psy... (Below threshold)

February 21, 2010 12:58 PM | Posted by Joey Giraud: | Reply

And you call yourself a psychiatrist? Because that was one thrilling ride on the self-righteousness railroad. If I want a sermon on right and wrong I'll go to church.

Of course people understand Stack's object of anger, we share some of it. You're confusing understanding with approval, a freshman mistake. It's as if you really expect everyone to just condemn and stop there.

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I think people give excuses... (Below threshold)

February 21, 2010 1:06 PM | Posted, in reply to brainchild's comment, by Bryan: | Reply

I think people give excuses to mass killers because it's hard to imagine the situation any other way for the average person. People who lose it at random and just killing others? To quote Bill Murray, "Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!"

It's like branding products or belief in a deity, it makes sense of things that cannot be made sense of for most people. You get to choose a side. You get to have an easy position to take and it makes sense, because it's simple.

We all talk about it. You can be for it or against it, but either way you make the event/person/idea/thing more popular...

Just like Jay Z and his death of autotune shenanigans,the Columbine shooter kids, the Acura ads and now this asshole.....

Without these internalizations, the world is just a godless chaotic world filled with narcissists and other ,forgive me for this generalization, scary people who will murder almost at random.

It's an attractive idea that the world can be simplified into a bunch of us/them dichotomies, but it's wrong.

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Well broken down regarding ... (Below threshold)

February 21, 2010 1:12 PM | Posted, in reply to SusanC's comment, by brainchild: | Reply

Well broken down regarding SSRIs. They may well increase suicidal tendencies or actions in some people, I was just contending that there's a big difference between being suicidal and homicidal and that people who murder their families or an objectified group of strangers have something more going on than simply being on SSRIs. Killing other people instead of just committing suicide is sociopathic and indicates a NPD it seems to me, whether someone is on anti-depressants or not.

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@brainchild: Mostly I agree... (Below threshold)

February 21, 2010 4:08 PM | Posted by SusanC: | Reply

@brainchild: Mostly I agree, there's a difference between suicide and homicide.

But I wonder if one of the many causes of depression is repressed anger. I'm trying to think of a good example...

Suppose your patient is a high school kid who is depressed because he is being bullied at school. He expresses a consaiderable amount of anger towards his tormentors. Sometimes, kids in this situation go and shoot the bullies, but this is very rare. Suppose you treat the depression with SSRI's (rather than addressing the obvious situational factors). Does this make it slighltly more likely that patient will respond with violent action?

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Rosiecee,I've said i... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2010 1:37 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Rosiecee,
I've said it before, and now I'll say it again: the association between school shootings and SSRIs is the fact that crazy ass motherfucking teengaers end up seeing a "councilor" who ends up recommending these little psychos see a "psychiatrist" who, in turn, puts them on a SSRI for their violent, aggressive, antisocial "depressive" behaviors.

In other words, crazy people end up on SSRIs... SSRIs do not make people crazy. The first signs of craziness are a flag for being put on an SSRI, the SSRI itself is just a sign that the person taking it may in fact be a psycho.

I know this because I was a teenager once, a troubled crazy teen, and the first stop was the councilors office. I never made it past that point because I dropped out of school and society very shortly thereafter. However I am pretty sure if I kept going to the councilor more than 15 minutes x1 session I would have ended up in a psychiatrists office on prozac/whatever SSRI was around back then.

Crazy people are noticed to be crazy which makes them forced to be treated by their families. The treatment doesn't cause the craziness, the craziness results in attempts to treat it with SSRIs.

It's like saying "90% of men who shoot old ladies in the head during robberies were in a jail the year before... therefore, being in jail causes men to shoot old ladies, lol!"

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OMG BALKEY BARTAKOMUS IS TA... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2010 1:42 AM | Posted, in reply to Balkey Bartokamus's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

OMG BALKEY BARTAKOMUS IS TALKING ON THIS THREAD...

HI BALKEY!

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The problem with all the pe... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2010 1:59 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

The problem with all the people in this thread (and others) who are hypothesizing about what "causes" depression... the problem is they have never been depressed. When people have never been depressed, they assume depression is a psychological thing. Even professionals do this.

When you have depression, assuming you are not a total moron, assuming you have some capacity for insight, you very quickly realize that your depression is a brain boo-boo, it is not CAUSED by anything at all. Living with depression makes this very obvious. Much like a diabetic *knows* what it feels like to be very hypoglycemic, a depressive *knows* that his/her depression is purely a brain boo boo going on in his/her head and it has NOTHING to do with prior psychological conflicts or any other such bullshit. I have been extremely, down and out depressed when nothing at all was wrong in my life. Then this down and out depression goes away, usually when I get more light and the temp comes up, although sometimes I can be extremely depressed even in the warm/bright months. But, chemically, light and warmth makes depression less likely, for purely chemical reasons, as I am actually emotionally fond of darkness and peace/quiet.


Many psychiatrists and psychologists like the idea that depression is caused by ruminating, by being a passive sensitive prerson who turns their anger inward... but truthfully, the majority of times when a person has repeating clinical depression as a life long thing it is probably just a brain boo boo, a form of manic depression... it's just your brain, it doesn't fucking work. It comes and it goes and it does so for no rational reason.

Personally, as a depressed person, I am really fucking sick of hearing about how depression is psychological. My depression is not even 5% psychological, my depression is almost entirely physical. It is like a seizure in my head. It is like I have seizures of thought and feeling. Really. It isn't "caused" by anything. I don't expect anyone to believe what I say, but, I am going to vent anyway. As a depressed person with this physical illness that happens to affect my emotions, I find it very very very very very frustrating that many professionals think it is a psychological/coping type of thing.

If I were diabetic it would be easier, people would very clearly understand that my problems were caused by an inability to make insulin. But when you have repeating depression, even people who should know better tend to assume it must be a thinking/coping/personality/psychological thing.

My depression is a disease, it isn't caused by anything other than depression itself.

I can't speak for everyone with depression but I would assume this was true for most people with depression and I find it hard to believe that someone can ruminate/repress/sulk their way into that awful state. Confusing cause and effect, it seems like. WHen I am not depressed, crap rolls off my back, and when it doesn't I think of SOLUTIONS for my problems. Only when I am depressed do I become like this weak wimpy ruminating, reflective, sulky, weak, down-on-myself-excessively type of person. I would assume that low grade depression is being mistaken for personality types, possibly.

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I find it hard to believ... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2010 5:41 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by fraise: | Reply

I find it hard to believe that someone can ruminate/repress/sulk their way into that awful state.

Goodness gracious. Have you ever heard of abuse? Abusive relationships can definitely encourage "rumination, repression and sulking". There are innumerable children who have no choice but to deal with abuse from their parents and/or wider families, and who grow into adults who have "psychological" reasons for depression.

As for SSRIs, I wish I didn't know this first-hand, but there are indeed school shootings that occurred where no SSRIs were involved. Check out Kip Kinkel, for a start.

As others have rightly pointed out, this is the problem with reading sites that have an agenda (referring to the SSRI site) - they're going to focus on everything that could support their agenda, and ignore or gloss over the rest. Also, to paraphrase what an earlier commenter said, people who are prescribed SSRIs are part of a population that's already at risk.

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Came for the narcissism, st... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2010 6:11 AM | Posted by Z. Constantine: | Reply

Came for the narcissism, stayed for the comments...

Have to side with Anon@February 22, 2010 1:59 AM; my experience has been that a depressive episode can end almost instantaneously, leaving the rational portion of the mind wondering exactly how the brain just righted itself and why it took three weeks to do that.

On the subject of "understanding motive" ... you don't make a name for yourself as a talking head (or head-shrinker) on TV by claiming that you have no idea what was going on, right?

A certain degree of condescending paternalist pablum is to be expected - it's safe to say that anyone discussing the case on a TV broadcast has a book to sell and all of five minutes' reading on the case at hand behind their theories and remarks.

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"The problem with all the p... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2010 6:50 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"The problem with all the people in this thread (and others) who are hypothesizing about what "causes" depression... the problem is they have never been depressed."

I myself am severely depressed. I have not smiled in years, and often it is so bad it causes physical pain/sickness. And that is ON meds, off meds I am rationally suicidal as it is even worse by far. I know what causes it, but might not be able to overcome it myself as competent help has proven impossible to find. Actually, the wonders of psychiatry is part of the reason it got to such an extreme. Putting me on psychological pain killers as a child so that I could take my parent's abuse (sexual, physical, emotional, and neglect) and bottle pain up to unnatural levels. I'll probably need to be on them forever now, mission accomplished as this is how psychiatry makes its money. That does not change the fact that I am responsible for getting better, or that I have failed if I do not.

I have known a few others like you, however they are always full of crap. They are screwed up with real problems but either don't want to or are not intelligent enough to cut through the crap they are fed. Lured in by the idea that they are simply broken for purely physical reasons and thus have no responsibility to do anything but feel like unlucky victims, they are reliable sources of income to the profession that seems to prey on sick people more than help.

"Goodness gracious. Have you ever heard of abuse?"
But-but-but how dare you suggest how someone lives their life can have anything to do with me, I mean them! A doctor told me I was innocent and in return all I need to do is keep paying him forever. Bawwwwwww...

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"Have to side with Anon@Feb... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2010 7:22 AM | Posted, in reply to Z. Constantine's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"Have to side with Anon@February 22, 2010 1:59 AM; my experience has been that a depressive episode can end almost instantaneously, leaving the rational portion of the mind wondering exactly how the brain just righted itself and why it took three weeks to do that."

In general, people have no idea why they do what they do, much less why the feel how they do. Mad at someone? Don't bother to figure out why, just pick a convenient reason. Don't confront them about it either, unless you are ready to explode. Simply talking to them about it to find out you or they simply misunderstood something, man that is rude you know? (sarcasm on all but the first sentence)

That being the case, it is no wonder people are easily mystified by such things. Often the reasons can be very deep, but that does not mean they are not there.

I am not saying nobody is ever depressed for reasons that are largely physiological, but that anon is so extreme that one would have to be way off their rocker to agree.

(quoting Anon@February 22, 2010 1:59 AM)
"Confusing cause and effect, it seems like. WHen I am not depressed, crap rolls off my back, and when it doesn't I think of SOLUTIONS for my problems."
A side effect of emotional painkillers, dependence on not getting upset. Non-depressed people don't have stuff roll off their back, they have all sorts of problems trying to deal because life often sucks. It is supposed to suck, and suck so much that sanity at times seems a luxury. The world is not full of problems just because people are jerks.

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Third post by the self-righ... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2010 8:00 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Third post by the self-righteous anon who criticized the 'it is a brain boo-boo' people. (Second message a reply to Z. Constantine, first directly above it.) After posting last time, one more thing to say occurred to me, and it ties in directly to how my last post ended.

Imagine someone choking horribly on something. Maybe having water poured down their throat, though a liquid does not sound like it would create enough blood, as they should be getting torn up by it somewhat. Choking so horribly that some amount of insanity is inevitable, even if just a tablespoon of denial and begging of something they've never seen evidence of.

So you have this slightly bloody, neurotic person gagging sickeningly as they flail about on the ground.

That thing is life, and that person is everyone on earth. This condition only stops when the thing, life, is removed or suspended.

If you cannot see how that thing can break a person then there is something seriously wrong with you, not counting the depression. Of course without that thing we've have so source of strength, no reason to think, nothing to be proud of.

Somewhat unrelated to my point, but related to what I just said...
How tough yet soft our skin is, ever been in awe at how lucky we are to have it? Ever wondered what life would be life without it? Well, some people don't have to wonder, and it is only because of the suffering and failure of countless living things that the average person's body has that strength. So, though life is horrible, that is not a completely bad thing. If you have never taken the time to be in awe of such wondrous gifts, then no wonder you don't understand life well enough to know why you have problems.

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Last, you are in fact not a... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2010 10:50 AM | Posted by Per Jørgensen: | Reply

Last, you are in fact not alone: http://www.slate.com/id/2245337/

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I believe that Joseph Stark... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2010 11:13 AM | Posted by Rosiecee: | Reply

I believe that Joseph Stark was somewhat more paranoid than the average person. I believe that the problem with paranoia and antidepressants is huge. Actually, I read one time [and this book sort of reiterates it] that humans have a natural tendency toward paranoia. Any student of history can see this - think the paranoia of "the stranger" in our midst in regard to immigration, tribal battles, etc. The Holocaust is an example of paranoia running rampant and this happened in one of the most cultured and advanced countries in the world - home to Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.

Here is the book:
----------------------------
Understanding paranoia : a guide for professionals, families, and ... - Google Books Result

Martin Kantor - 2004 - Psychology - 252 pages Antidepressants alone are generally contraindicated for treating paranoia, while mood stabilizing or antianxiety medication alone, and even mood stabilizing ... books.google.com/books?isbn=0275981525...

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"Friase" mentions the Kip K... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2010 11:20 AM | Posted by Rosiecee: | Reply

"Friase" mentions the Kip Kinkle case. Kip Kinkle was a Prozac withdrawal tragedy from early 1998 and is listed on SSRI Stories: Here is the way it reads [in part]

Paragraph 13 reads: "Kinkel began taking the antidepressant drug Prozac in 1997, but earlier court exchanges have indicated he stopped taking it before the shootings."

Many people have reported to the International Coalition for Drug Awareness and the Prozac Survivor's Support Group that they had both an immediate withdrawal syndrome and then a delayed withdrawal syndrome. They report that the delayed withdrawal syndrome was at its worst between 3 and 9 months after discontinuing the antidepressant. Symptoms of antidepressant induced mania could persist for up to a year after discontinuation of antidepressants.

http://www.cnn.com/US/9911/05/oregon.school.shooting.02/

Oregon school shooter showed signs of mental disease

A neurologist's testimony about Kinkel's mental state made the teen sit up and listen for the first time in three days of proceedings

Sentencing hearing continues for Kip Kinkel
November 5, 1999
Web posted at: 11:37 a.m. EDT (1537 GMT)

EUGENE, Oregon (CNN) -- A sentencing hearing continues Friday for Kip Kinkel, the Oregon teen-ager who pleaded guilty to murdering his parents and a subsequent high school shooting rampage that left two students dead

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"Read all of these cases an... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2010 2:06 PM | Posted by spark: | Reply

"Read all of these cases and 3,646 more at: www.SSRIstories.com"

Anything you say before or after this statement is summarily dismissed.

--

As for this guy. He was simply tired of struggling to keep his head above water. That's it. There is no greater purpose.

He rationalized that it was the IRS he was mad at, but it was simply his perception of where he "should" be, contrasted to where he actually was. HE decided he was a failure. It wasn't his fault though, how could it be? The IRS, the big government, holding him down, that's whose to blame.

Alas, he won't be the last to execute on flawed thinking.

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The mind is a product (or e... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2010 3:18 PM | Posted by brainchild: | Reply

The mind is a product (or emergent property) of the brain, the brain can be physically changed through our thoughts (and environment, and exercise, light, sleeping patterns, diet and on it goes). It's not really a biological disease vs a psychological condition (or nature vs nurture debate) so much as it's about how both interact and how we interact with the world around us. Medications AND cognitive and interpersonal therapies can have an effect on neuroanatomy and neurochemistry, it's about figuring out which approaches work best for you and whatever the experience you're having is that you want to change and how.

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This post is garbage. I may... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2010 11:45 PM | Posted by Brian: | Reply

This post is garbage. I may be drunk, but I'm coherent enough to tell you that you didn't address a single one of Joe Stack's grievances directly. Your post boils down to: hey, this guy's wrong. But you never explain why he's wrong.

Dickweed.

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Brian, Why should he... (Below threshold)

February 23, 2010 2:03 PM | Posted, in reply to Brian's comment, by Steinhoffer: | Reply

Brian,
Why should he address a single grievance directly? Joe Stack is dead now and will no longer receive his mail personally.
If you drink less, you might have a sharper mind. And be able to read between these here lines sonny.
What the fck is a 'dickweed' ? Could I find them amid coral reefs? I need to know, I am going to Barbados tomorrow.

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I'm having a hard time jump... (Below threshold)

February 23, 2010 4:32 PM | Posted by Randy: | Reply

I'm having a hard time jumping on the NPD bandwagon for this one. Why can't it be depression? Devaluing yourself, the environment, and the future is at the core of that construct; you can't just point a finger at the 'narcissistic' act of harming others and shout, "not depression! NEENER NEENER!" Not in so many words, of course, but by focusing entirely on his selfishness and supporting your own pet theory about how narcissism is the greatest evil in the world that's exactly how it sounds.

Despite that, you always make an impassioned and informed argument that ties narcissism to most any personal, relational, or social ill. You've got it down to a fine art, TLP. But at some point I have to throw up my hands and say, "what's the point?" Seriously, what's the point? Looking out for Numero Uno is practically the only constant in terms of human personality traits. Do you really expect us to overcome this species-defining behavior and live in some selfless paradise of human goodness where healthy people value only the happiness of others and depressed people devalue only themselves?

Narcissism-as-evil starts to look a lot more mundane when viewed as a character trait that we ALL share. When you cherry pick the criminals or celebrity scandals (or whatever) and summarize the person's life decisions as "narcissism" it reads to me as just so much self-righteous wanking. Yay, you found a narcissist. One among 6 billion narcissists. Congratulations. Now you have something to feel superior about...

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Randy - "Why can't it be de... (Below threshold)

February 23, 2010 6:22 PM | Posted, in reply to Randy's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Randy - "Why can't it be depression? Devaluing yourself, the environment, and the future is at the core of that construct; you can't just point a finger at the 'narcissistic' act of harming others and shout, "not depression! NEENER NEENER!"

Sure it can be depression...as well as narcissistic personality disorder. People with NPD get depressed. It's the setting out to kill other people and grandiose claims to be doing it for heroic reasons that indicates there was a NPD at play.

Not everyone has a narcissistic personality disorder or is grandiose, or kills people when things don't go their way. I suspect you simply may not understand what a NPD is if you believe everyone has one and don't understand why they're common in celebrities and infamous criminals (particularly mass murderers).

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Steinhoffer - "Dickweeds" a... (Below threshold)

February 23, 2010 6:30 PM | Posted, in reply to Steinhoffer's comment, by brainchild: | Reply

Steinhoffer - "Dickweeds" are everywhere I'm afraid and they do tend to proliferate at vacation spots, it's the alcohol, sun, girls in bikinis effect...they'd be the loud talking ignoramuses at the bar hassling the cute women as they flee to avoid getting pricked by the dickweed ;-)

Stack's list of grievances aren't worth addressing because they're all just excuses for why Stack was a homicidal loser trying to pretend he's a hero.

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"Not everyone has a narciss... (Below threshold)

February 23, 2010 9:24 PM | Posted by Randy: | Reply

"Not everyone has a narcissistic personality disorder or is grandiose, or kills people when things don't go their way. I suspect you simply may not understand what a NPD is if you believe everyone has one and don't understand why they're common in celebrities and infamous criminals (particularly mass murderers)."

I'm familiar enough with NPD and the other Axis II disorders (excepting MR, the only thing worth salvaging on the whole Axis) enough to know that they're some of the least supported and most controversial diagnoses in the field. They're weak enough that I'd be worried about the integrity or intelligence of someone who used them routinely to even describe, much less explain, behavior.

It's not that I don't think this man (and other extreme folks including criminals and many celebrities) can be described by some personality disorder or other. I just think it's irrelevant, especially when an Axis I diagnosis provides a better fit. TLP can scoff at the media "creating" these cookie-cutter killing mindsets all he wants, but you and he are doing much the same thing by laying it at the doorstep of personality, and with about the same amount of empirical support.

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Honestly I still blame cult... (Below threshold)

February 24, 2010 8:17 AM | Posted by caeia : | Reply

Honestly I still blame culture for these kinds of tragedies. Our culture celebrates the narsicist. We encourge people to seek their "passion" -- which IMO encourages people to think much more selfishly about their desires. How many "passionate" singers are there who cannot carry a tune, how many wannabe authors are there?

Self-Esteem movements as well feed into this -- if you're taught over and over that you're wonderful, that you will be successful, then you tend to believe that you can do anything reguardless of actual talent or work invested. The problem is that it just ain't so. Not everyone has the ability to play pro sports, to be a popstar, or anything else. Besides which, even if you have talent, if you don't spend a lot of time working at it, you'll never get there anyway.

The last thought I'd leave with you is that our culture not only promotes instant gratification and gradious dreams with nothing behind them, but it devalues people in so many ways. The body counts of movies and TV are fairly high, sex is seen as mostly physical gratification, and as far as marriage goes the vow should be changed to "until something better comes along" becuase there isn't even an expectation that you'd work through the bad times. In other words, our culture seems to say "people are only valuable insofar as they help you. Other than that, they're in the way.


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Randy - My point was that y... (Below threshold)

February 24, 2010 8:30 PM | Posted, in reply to Randy's comment, by brainchild: | Reply

Randy - My point was that you were creating a false dichotomy by (seemingly) proposing that it had to be narcissism or depression. The question is that all kinds of people can and do get depressed, very few act out grandiose revenge murder/suicides.

Randy - "Looking out for Numero Uno is practically the only constant in terms of human personality traits. Do you really expect us to overcome this species-defining behavior and live in some selfless paradise of human goodness where healthy people value only the happiness of others and depressed people devalue only themselves?"

I think you misunderstand Darwin's survival of the fittest in your it's-either-me-or-you paradigm. We're social animals, part of looking out for ourselves is about being part of the group. It's not selfless to be prosocial, it's simply inclusive and recognizing interdependence. Healthy people value both themselves and others. It's not an either/or proposition, it is possible to love oneself and love others.

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Randy, what is the failure ... (Below threshold)

February 25, 2010 2:41 AM | Posted by Meat Robot: | Reply

Randy, what is the failure of empirical evidence you refer to? Please point me to studies which demonstrate that NPD, or personality diorders broadly, are a non-valid construct.

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"Randy - My point was that ... (Below threshold)

February 25, 2010 10:36 AM | Posted by Randy: | Reply

"Randy - My point was that you were creating a false dichotomy by (seemingly) proposing that it had to be narcissism or depression. The question is that all kinds of people can and do get depressed, very few act out grandiose revenge murder/suicides."

I'll take this opportunity to respond to you and Meat Robot at the same time.

Point taken, Brainchild. Absolutely they could be comorbid. Quite a lot of other disorders seem to overlap with NPD--If anything, it would be fairly rare to run into a client that presented with no other comorbid Dx! It's a situation that strikes directly at the construct validity of the disorder. Another is that it seems pretty damned culturally specific. NPD or anything like it isn't even in the ICD-10, primarily because of concerns about it's validity.

But let's assume that NPD is a valid construct and has mountains of support that stretch much further back than, uh, the 1980s. How does this impact treatment in a practical way that any other series of personality oddities (whether they warrant a classification or not) would not? Sure, you address them when they seem to be causing distress, or making treatment difficult, or instigating whatever the primary complaint is, but you would do the same with any other habit, tic, or quirk.

This doesn't even really touch on the _problems_ concerning labeling people with a personality disorder and what that does to their chances of seeking and finding appropriate help. A lot of practitioners might be willing to take a client that presents with depression, suicidal ideation, and delusions of persecution, but there'd be a lot more reservation (and referrals!) when you slap a NPD diagnosis onto that. It shouldn't happen, but we both know it does.

Am I really the only one here who has serious reservations about the validity and utility of personality disorders in general and NPD in particular? Especially when I see them harped on so religiously here... It's depressing, when the actual real-world result of most personality disorder diagnoses is essentially a throwing up of one's hands, a sign of defeat, and a statement that whatever is wrong with this client is so deeply ingrained into WHO SHE IS that nothing will change it. It's hard to believe that this approach doesn't cause more harm than it's worth.

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Meat Robot: It's ... (Below threshold)

February 25, 2010 10:52 AM | Posted, in reply to Meat Robot's comment, by Randy: | Reply

Meat Robot:

It's common knowledge that gets taught to practically every Psych 101 student in the country. Personality Disorders are fuzzy around the edges and overlap with lots of other disorders; quite frankly they're poorly defined. It would be a better trick to produce a single reputable article concerning NPD that didn't refer to the dearth of evidence concerning the very viability of NPD and it's worthiness of being included in the DSM at all.

But for a good overview, try the January 2001 issue of the Journal of Mental Health Counseling. A lit review by Rivas touches on many of the concerns I have.

But this is really common knowledge, and it sparks a reaction in people who are big fans of personality disorders. They don't need ME questioning the validity of their pet disorders when the rest of the field has been doing it since their inception.

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Randy - Agreed that persona... (Below threshold)

February 25, 2010 11:37 AM | Posted, in reply to Randy's comment, by brainchild: | Reply

Randy - Agreed that personality disorders are constructs, but so is depression in some ways. So are "healthy" and "normal". Since there are no purely biological tests for mental illness and, even if there were, it wouldn't negate the psychosocial aspects of mental illness or personality disorders (for a variety of reasons). That said, we have the constructs so we can discuss behavior and personality.

You seem to be more concerned about labeling and the stigma of NPD really. The problem with that is that NPD gets its bad reputation because of the behavior that's associated with it and just how destructive it is to others (how antisocial it is and how "evil" NPDs can appear because of the lack of empathy). This doesn't mean that we can't be compassionate towards people with NPD, it's not like it's actually fun to have a NPD. My experience with people with NPD is that they quite literally don't function the way the rest of us do regarding empathy and that there's probably an underlying neurobiological difference at work. I don't think pretending everyone has a NPD or that the behavior that defines NPD doesn't add up to a personality disorder doesn't exist does anything to help people who are suffering from a NPD and creating suffering around them because they don't know how or can't function in an empathetic or prosocial way.

The other associated issue is that our culture promotes narcissism and sees a lack of empathy as being strong or powerful. We're busy creating a social context that justifies dysfunctional behavior.

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If y'all don't believe that... (Below threshold)

February 25, 2010 11:44 AM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

If y'all don't believe that antidepressants can cause aggressive thinking in soem people - I believe it is a subset, amybe genetics/liver metabolism or something - then start chatting this topic up, innocuously, in social circles. When you hear the people you know tell you that they tried Prozac or Zoloft, and how it made them think about killing temselves or someone else, it will get very challenging to dismiss the concept by declaring that the person was alawys crazy.

A family friend, a teen with a messed up family, whom I knew for at least a couple years at the time of this anecdote, got dx "bipolar," and rx ssri. she amde a suicide attempt. Her and friends googles the drug name and "suicide," and put it all together. The kid, on her own, quit the meds. She has been doing fine - holding a steady job, etc. Her life is great, but at least she has not shot up our local school.

A 40-year-old family member admitted a similar story when I broght the topic up incidentially in a conversation. She took ssri meds, got homicidal, attacked spouse, quit meds, and has returned to baseline, no physically attaching anyone for years before or after.

Additionally, there are frighteningly high rates of suicidality side effects in the studies where SSRI drugs are used for non-psychaitric conditions - such as Chantix for smoking. That really cancels the "they were crazy anyway" argument.

For me, this stuff and more is plenty of evidence to be healthily suspicious.

In my opinon, a SSRI trial in a pt. would involve close monitoring for the first 3 months to survey for aggressive self- or -other-harm impulses and urges. As soon as that appeared, D/C the SSRI.

If three months goes by, maybe that would be the green-light time to lighten up on the monitoring.

Add to that possible treatment protocol: withdrawal monitoring. Some of these anecdotes are in the withdrawal phase. for some true-believers that SSRIs work for depression and any other complaint, this "proves" it is not the SSRI: hey, they weren't taking it - yes, but their brain was desperately trying to recalibrate synapses and neurortansmitter levels.

Monitor for maybe two months post-withdrawal for SI/HI.

Or, you can keep accepting the Zoloft sticky-pads, and blame the SI/HI problems on the crazy person.

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Are you seriously building ... (Below threshold)

February 25, 2010 1:52 PM | Posted by Meat Robot: | Reply

Are you seriously building the non-existence of personality disorders on a freshman psychology course and 9 year old review paper?

I certainly agree that personality disorders are fuzzy at the edges. *Every* concept is fuzzy at its edges. Is a rotten tree that falls over a creek a bridge? Well, how about if I pushed it over the creek to cross?

It may surprise you to know that personality research, including personality disorder research, is alive and well. I've never met anybody in the field who doubts that personality disorders represent a natural kind. The debates come in over defining what traits to include, and what to exclude. So, yes, the current DSM-IV categorical system is problematic, even highly problematic, but that speaks to the DSM and categorical definition, not to the existence or non-existence of characterologically disordered individuals.

DSM-V may take a crack at a more dimensional system of personality assessment and do away with categorical nomenclature. Does this mean narcissists will suddenly cease to be? Oh how I wish!

Finally, I'm not sure why you need to inject a "this is all common knowledge" tone into your comments. It makes them reek of smug superiority. More with the substance and less with the style, please.

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medsvstherapy - I'm not dis... (Below threshold)

February 25, 2010 7:22 PM | Posted, in reply to medsvstherapy's comment, by brainchild: | Reply

medsvstherapy - I'm not discounting that SSRIs may have all kinds of dangerous side effects or be prescribed to the wrong people. Hell, they may be particularly bad for people with NPD! They're pretty obviously over-prescribed and I know people who've had both bad and good experiences with them. However, there still seems to be a fundamental personality difference between those who commit suicide and those who commit murder/suicides. The main point is that you can't peg all murder suicides on SSRIs since not everyone who commits them is on an SSRI and it seems likely that there's also a NPD at work (or some kind of personality disorder or condition, PTSD for instance, though that doesn't apply in this case). The copycat nature of so many attention seeking public murder/suicides also tends to indicate something else that contributes.

My take is that we don't really know enough about SSRIs and there's a lot of bad science around them. I'd love to read Alone's thoughts on SSRIs.

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Just wondering if you have ... (Below threshold)

February 27, 2010 10:28 AM | Posted by Perry: | Reply

Just wondering if you have comments on Edward Shorter's piece in today's Wall St. Journal.
"Why Psychiatry Needs Therapy"

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704188104575083700227601116.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_lifestyle

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I'm not certain Mr. Sodini ... (Below threshold)

February 28, 2010 11:16 PM | Posted by Bane Aizas: | Reply

I'm not certain Mr. Sodini was entirely free of pathologies. First, there's the repetition of numbers and dates in his (b)log, and the litany of recurring phrases which might not be a matter of "convincing himself," as you've suggested, but also because the repetition is a compulsion.

Second, there's his strange need to show every object in his home (including unappetizing clutter in his basement) in a video intended to compel women to contact him, and the mention in another video of having to bury grim feelings by performing menial tasks that don't matter (and the fact he hasn't the objectivity to understand he's making unsettling confessions of deep unhappiness to women he wants to date).

Third, there's his constant use of "she" rather than "you" to refer to his prospective candidates, which is evident in both videos. This is could be the effect of brutal shyness, perhaps brought on by the brother of whom he complains, establishing social patterns: his conspicuous insularity and by the dynamic of bullying and belittling which he then carries with him in school and later life, avoiding direct forms of address because he expects the worst. But it could also be a mild form of Aspergers. What normal person addresses people in third person?

I would argue there are anthropological reasons for rage that go beyond narcissism. People who would have had reasonably healthy lives are broken down by actual narcissists and have trouble adapting after. It's easy to suggest that Columbine is the result of sociopathic loners, but they wouldn't have felt compelled to act out violently if they hadn't been systematically humiliated by other kids in their school. We're taught to respond to humiliation with aggression because, in the States, this is viewed as a rite of passage to manhood.

In an interview on PBS, the director of Syriana said that, in his survey of suicide bombers, the thing that distinguished them from others was some form of brutal humiliation just before they began planning acts of suicide and murder. You practically say this in your blog entry, and your words are close to those of Elliot Leyton.

It seems to me that one way to help prevent violence is to recognize bullying and targeting as a primary cause. Instead of making the targets of bullying into outcasts because of the link to later violence, perhaps the focus should be the people who target them in the first place. Sadists tend to choose circumstances that play to their advantage, but in ways that won't lead to discovery. Whereas desperate and misplaced retribution killings like Sodini's are public rituals intended to punish those who negated him (even though, like serial killers, mass killers always choose the wrong target).

It isn't a question of whether a potential killer deserves special treatment. It's a question of whether we can prevent events from ever reaching that stage by stopping people, harmless or otherwise, from being targeted. We can all agree that racial prejudice should not be tolerated in its least humane forms. Just so, bullying is an act of prejudice against the weak. Therefore it should be banned from schools just as racial prejudice has been, with violators subject to prosecution depending on the severity and nature of their acts.

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Hi Balkey Bartokamus.... (Below threshold)

March 25, 2010 3:02 PM | Posted, in reply to Balkey Bartokamus's comment, by Alan Jaksic: | Reply

Hi Balkey Bartokamus.

I'd like to thank you for leaving a link to my blog on this page. From your comment, you seem very concerned about Anarchism as a "brand" and how it can be defiled - or as you put it, "soiled" - by some. So I hope to see comments by you under my blog posts in the near future!

Regards!

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Alan Jaksic - I haven't che... (Below threshold)

March 25, 2010 7:36 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Alan Jaksic - I haven't checked out your blog yet so I have no idea what your personal take on Anarchism is. However, viewing Anarchism as a "brand" is pretty problematic, as is the idea of it being "soiled". Though I've noticed that these days quite a few of the people who most loudly proclaim themselves to be Anarchists are simply adopting a hollow image and a particular fashion uniform, and repeating the words and thoughts of certain Anarchists (or people who claim to be spokespeople for the Anarchist brand) as the voice of authority. Hell, some of the biggest narcissists I've run into are self-proclaimed anarchists! (Inflated hollow self image, consider themselves superior to others, sense of disproportionate entitlement, attention seeking, etc.) I know some quite genuine activists who are practical anarchists but most of the kids running around in AnarchyTM costumes are usually just providing the excuse the cops need (if they're not cops in the first place). It all seems kind of antithetical to anarchism to me.

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Alan - Checked out your blo... (Below threshold)

March 25, 2010 8:01 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Alan - Checked out your blog and you don't seem to be using Anarchism as a brand/identity in the way I've been seeing it used in North America.

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Thanks for visiting my blog... (Below threshold)

March 26, 2010 6:48 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Alan Jaksic: | Reply

Thanks for visiting my blog, and I'm glad you think so about it.

For me, Anarchism is an ideology that offers an alternative to the modern-day state, its borders that divide people and its religion - a.k.a. nationalism - that causes so much resentment between different communities. That is what I find so inspiring about Anarchist ideology, because where I'm from, the former Yugoslavia as you've noticed, there have been a number of wars within the last 20 years sparked by nationalist leaders bent on creating states for "their" people, regardless of what other people think - usually at their expense. That's why my blog is called the "Balkan Anarchist" blog, because I'm from the Balkans - i.e. south-eastern Europe - and I believe in the Anarchistic principles of anti-statism, anti-borders and anti-nationalism.

So feel free to leave a comment or two under any of my articles on my blog!

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There are scores of Joe Sta... (Below threshold)

March 28, 2010 5:05 PM | Posted by Aridzonan: | Reply

There are scores of Joe Stacks out there. Their medicated and have nothing left to lose. If these real "Lone Nutters" go off it will be the ultimate in asymmetric warfare and may God Help Us All. I find it ironic that FedGov.Inc's (Big Pharma Div) made billions medicating everyone they could and now it appears they may have sewn the seeds of their own destruction via these trampled individuals who will never see justice for the crimes committed against them by the Pin Stripped Bandits on Wall Street.

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Wishing you the best... (Below threshold)

July 1, 2011 4:44 AM | Posted by Tory Burch Flip Flops: | Reply


Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.


Tory Burch Flip Flops

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@February 22, 2010 1:59 AM ... (Below threshold)

July 10, 2011 3:43 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

@February 22, 2010 1:59 AM | Posted by Anonymous

Are you trolling? My experience has been the exact opposite namely it seems to ebb and flow in exact proportion to how my life is going at a particular moment. This is not something psychiatric intervention can help with and psychological therapy only marginally so.

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Just as relevant with LAPD ... (Below threshold)

February 11, 2013 9:01 AM | Posted by Narcissus Thespiae: | Reply

Just as relevant with LAPD and Christopher Dorner today...

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Also, I think that if Dorne... (Below threshold)

February 11, 2013 11:41 AM | Posted by Narcissus Thespiae: | Reply

Also, I think that if Dorner was following some Kierkegaardian notion that his God willed him to carry this out, then like Abraham, Dorner would not bother explaining himself as no explanation would suffice. He would simply obey and trust the outcome to the God who ordered him to do so.

Even if one claimed that God also said write a rambling memoir first, we would know that this is not then a knight of faith in a quandary, but simply despair. An attempt to be a knight of infinite resignation. The American version of lighting yourself on fire in a Tunisian square in order that your life might "spark" the change.

Am I reading TLP right in that ultimately its not even despair of the shooter/bomber/sniper's stated conditions/reasons (though I would agree that LAPD probably did much worse than Dorner discloses) but more of a sickness unto death. He despaired of himself relating to himself leading to narcissistic injury/rage.

Which is what we actually feel and sympathize with. That's the part we get and then willingly seem to follow the medias cues for HOW to discuss this since they are just like us.

But that raises this question, "And since dead men tell no tales, you can pretty much describe one any way you want, for your own purposes."

Wouldn't that be apart of the leap of faith? Even Alone will die one day and others will tell the tale of why he authored this blog and the way in which he did so.

Dorner seems to want to have his narrative out there before LAPD eventually puts him down. He knows competing narratives are already waiting in the wings for presentation. So he commits himself to a course of action. Resigns to the outcome of what that will mean for his continued existence and acts. Possibly believing that against all odds and evidence to the contrary he will be vindicated. Could he not have found that very advice here in these articles?

Under the care of this blog, how might one distinguish that from any other course of action. Especially given this blogs demand that we choose. Quit being spectators asking for power and change but instead committed folk who act.

Genuine question.

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How many calories do you th... (Below threshold)

February 17, 2013 2:19 PM | Posted by Me: | Reply

How many calories do you think that burns?

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(Elliot Rodger)... (Below threshold)

May 25, 2014 9:07 PM | Posted by anonymous: | Reply

(Elliot Rodger)

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*********bump*******... (Below threshold)

May 25, 2014 9:48 PM | Posted by Susan: | Reply

*********bump*******

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