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September 17, 2013 / JayMan

The Face of Evil

So on tonight’s (9/16/13) NBC Nightly News, they featured an interview with the chief medical officer of one the D.C. hospitals that received the victims of the Navy Yard shooting. She had this to say:

Good luck with that honey.

Granted, she’s a doctor who’s just witnessed the aftermath of a horrific shooting and was looking for something to say. However, she speaks to a mentality about the nature of evil and violence that many naive people still hold, remaining confused about the reality. Try as we might, we are not going to “eradicate” evil. We may be able to reduce violence in society with the right approach (criminal justice, eugenics – and even then it would take many generations), but we will never eliminate it.

As it seems Dr. Orlowski is Polish (or married to a Pole), and is from the right generation, one would think that she may not be too many degrees removed from someone who might know a thing or two about human evil.

This reminds me of Steven Pinker’s treatment of the matter in his book The Blank Slate. He referenced a stand-up routine from Richard Pryor on the matter (from Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip):

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17 Comments

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  1. Ed the Department Head / Sep 17 2013 5:40 AM

    The woman kind of looks like Grumpy Cat.

  2. Staffan / Sep 18 2013 6:24 AM

    That comedy is pretty unpleasant to hear, but I’m betting he feels it too. Perhaps similar to how White people can feel about the legacy of colonization or the fact that people who murder just for their own amusement tend to be White.

  3. erica / Sep 18 2013 11:10 PM

    What gets me regarding the recent mass killings is that the media and this silly doctor in the video can’t seem to get a realistic grip on what’s usually clearly observable when you look at pics of most of these guys–they’re crazy, in the grips of mental illness, so much so one can see the craziness in the photos. The guy in CT? The one in AZ? The one in CO? The photos of those guys told us all we needed to know. This guy, it turns out, had been hearing voices.

    So, why is it impossible for this doctor, supposedly a person of science, for God’s sake, to speak of how we need to start treating the mentally ill DIFFERENTLY than the way we treat the non-mentally ill.? Yes, we need to address the issue of civil rights versus sickness, sickness that threatens the public as well as the afflicted.

    The other question that should be raised by someone with a mic is why the mentally ill today aren’t stopped by family members before they do damage to themselves and others. Crazies have been around forever (although I’ve no idea, really, if mental illness is actually more common today than 50-100 years ago….idea for a post, Jayman?) Our failing, fractured, broken, and dysfunctional families are no longer support systems for the crazies in our families, but no one mentions this.

    Instead the silly doctor talks of evil…and truth be told, had she kept talking she was about to launch into a “And we don’t want the Evil to have guns, do we?” lecture.

    I haven’t seen one special on schiz/mental illness launched by a single network since this rash of tragedies. Not one.

    • JayMan / Sep 19 2013 4:33 PM

      @erica:

      What gets me regarding the recent mass killings is that the media and this silly doctor in the video can’t seem to get a realistic grip on what’s usually clearly observable when you look at pics of most of these guys–they’re crazy, in the grips of mental illness, so much so one can see the craziness in the photos. The guy in CT? The one in AZ? The one in CO? The photos of those guys told us all we needed to know. This guy, it turns out, had been hearing voices.

      Come on erica. You’re going to fall for that? You do realize that whenever we have one of these mass shootings, the press finds the craziest-looking photos of these guys they can. Check out these shots of Alexis:
      https://www.rebelmouse.com/PeopleChannel/howd_he_get_in-260073700.html
      http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/mental-health-security-screening-96967.html
      Just as with the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case, the media picks the images to manipulate their viewers to fall whatever narrative they’re pushing.

      I’ve seen saner looking photos of all those guys. Except Jared Loughner. That’s one visibly crazy mofo.

      So, why is it impossible for this doctor, supposedly a person of science, for God’s sake, to speak of how we need to start treating the mentally ill DIFFERENTLY than the way we treat the non-mentally ill.? Yes, we need to address the issue of civil rights versus sickness, sickness that threatens the public as well as the afflicted.

      That is definitely a serious issue for society to confront. I can’t tell you that I have a solution for that. It’s worth noting that the vast majority of people who are “mentally ill” aren’t dangerous, so it’s not as easy as it seems.

  4. Staffan / Sep 20 2013 6:10 AM

    Erica,

    We let people with psychiatric conditions own guns here in Sweden too, even fully automatic ones, but it’s not a big issue since there are no shootings of this kind. Maybe there is something about America – all those lawsuits (the majority of the world’s lawyers catering to 5 percent of its population), all the wars you engage in, the only country in the civilized world that uses the death penalty, the culture wars debate climate etc. There seems to be a lot of anger.

  5. erica / Sep 20 2013 9:20 AM

    Jayman,

    The CO killer, James Holmes? You don’t think you could have picked him out in a crowded room as a weirdo waiting to explode? Adam Lanza, who stood on corners of streets in a small town, staring at strangers, those huge eyes blankly fixed out of hat colorless, gaunt face? You, Jayman, couldn’t have seen his insanity? You disappoint me. In the old days families kept their crazy relatives in the basement or at least in the house where they were monitored 24-7. They KNEW they were crazy. Today we have mothers the likes of Adam Lanza’s mother who couldn’t accept that her “parenting skills” couldn’t humanize him, make him normal, and a father who washed his hands of his responsibility of taking care of his crazed son so that he himself could live a new life, and we have laws that make it impossible to treat these crazies until they have gone off on people. Yeah, you can usually tell by looking at them, Jayman, but everyone turns away, shrugs, and says, “Nothing to do or see here–I can’t do a damned thing about it anyway.”

  6. erica / Sep 20 2013 9:34 AM

    Staffen,

    We live in a country that’s heterogeneous in the extreme and one extaordinarily larger than yours. We can dump a few million of them in your country, if you like. Of course, as I understand it, your police don’t even go into certain Muslim neighborhoods in Sweden so dangerous are they. Ignoring doesn’t work. Welcome to our world. Your usual Swedish calm is about to be rocked. how will you respond?

    • Staffan / Sep 20 2013 2:41 PM

      We can adjust for population size you’ll find that America has a disproportionate number of mass shooters. According to Wikipedia, Sweden has had 5 mass murderers who claimed 30 victims. That’s going back to the 1800s. This would correspond to 160 mass murderers claiming 960 victims in America. According to USA Today, FBI records show 186 mass killings claiming 934 victims – since 2006. So that’s a pretty big difference.

      Not sure how you figure Muslim immigration in Europe relates to the American culture of violence. It’s just two separate problems. I wish we could solve both.

    • JayMan / Sep 20 2013 3:26 PM

      @Staffan:

      Well, you don’t have Scotch-Irish, Cavaliers, and the descendants of those who “tamed” the Wild West, not to mention a whole host of other more aggressive, clannish populations in your midst in Sweden, at least you didn’t until recently. 😉

  7. erica / Sep 20 2013 1:02 PM

    It isn’t as though there weren’t (ahem, this is sooo NOT a strong enough phrase), “warning signs” of the crazy and truth be told, his family knew he “wasn’t right” years ago.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/us/signs-of-trouble-on-navy-yard-gunmans-path-to-tragedy.html?_r=0

  8. erica / Sep 20 2013 2:20 PM

    During my usual morning scanning, ran across this article by Charles Krauthammer, conservative political commentator and former practicing psychiatrist. This part is esp. relevant to my comments above:

    “Had this happened 35 years ago in Boston, Alexis would have been brought to me as the psychiatrist on duty at the ER of the Massachusetts General Hospital. Were he as agitated and distressed as in the police report, I probably would have administered an immediate dose of Haldol, the most powerful fast-acting antipsychotic of the time.

    “This would generally relieve the hallucinations and delusions, a blessing not only in itself, but also for the lucidity it brings on that would allow him to give us important diagnostic details — psychiatric history, family history, social history, medical history, etc. If I thought he could be sufficiently cared for by family or friends to help him receive regular oral medication, therapy, and follow-up, I would have discharged him. Otherwise, I’d have admitted him. And if he refused, I’d have ordered a 14-day involuntary commitment.”

    The ridiculous passivity and often downright pandering idiocy of the scientific-academic axis, gone just as PC as the looniest on the political spectrum, frowns upon us calling behavior and the people who exhibit that behavior what they are, whether “crazy” or “dangerous” or “perverted,” whatever.

    While the pols have left the society reeling, they’ve only managed to do so with the complicit silence or the sometimes outright fraud of the scientific community, lest we forget guys like Gould and his apologists.

    Link to entire column: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/359006/real-navy-yard-scandal-charles-krauthammer

  9. Staffan / Sep 20 2013 2:59 PM

    A similar comparison can be made with serial killers. They are also 5 in Sweden – 4 of which killed twice and just barely qualify – dating back to the early 1800s which again corresponds to 160 American serial killers. Slate magazine has an estimate of around 500. Similar stats for regular homicide too.

    • erica / Sep 20 2013 4:16 PM

      And what say you about our having to accommodate such biological heterogeneity? What of our huge land mass, dwarfing yours, relevant to this topic in that that it enables a guy like this latest delusional poor soul to be anonymous, to travel from state to state, to travel over 2/3rd of this huge country so that his movements, his behavior, is not easily tracked in the early stages of his sickness? Have you not thought of the homogeneous nature of Swedes? Are you actually interested in HBD? You seem not to be or else I’d have thought you would have proferred more insightful comments in that first post.

      I think your mention of the “culture wars” in relation to the mass shooters is a silly one. These are mentally ill people who are cut off from family. A more appropriate observation of American life from one not all that familiar with it would be to note the break down of the family, which is, ironically, primarily an offshoot of the progressive ideas you seem to espouse. A family close to these individuals and a legal system that would have forced them into observational care at the first hint of their delusions, would have mitigated the damage they caused.

      You’ve about 180K sq miles of land contrasted with our 3.8 Million. Your pop. is one tenth of ours. Hard to be anonymous in such a small land as yours.

      Then again, we do know the Swede temperament is not at all like that which founded America nor like the that of our Framers and those who led our Western expansion. You’re not an adventurous, innovative, creative sort, true. That might explain as much as you as our past explains about us. Like I said, consider your homogeneity. It has its up side and its down side just as our heterogeneity has begun to show its downside to us. (well, it hasn’t really shown itself to those in our land who call themselves “progressives” as they wish to import by the millions the poor and low IQ sorts.)

      Another point to consider: rural versus urban living, but alas, another time for that.

      BTW, I laughed at your smug indirect assertion that a nation that has no death penalty is somehow superior and more biologically fit. We hardly arrive at the decision to kill a person the way the Arab world arrives at such conclusions. It’s a sign of biological fitness that we seek the truth of a person’s innocence or guilt with one test after another, then put away those who are unsalvageable as human beings in order to save innocents.

      Tell me, should another European threat to your existence occur, what will you and your countrymen do? Claim neutrality and let others fight the battle around you, saving your passive asses?

  10. erica / Sep 20 2013 4:18 PM

    Whoops, didn’t edit. Our pop. is approx. 30 times yours.

  11. Staffan / Sep 21 2013 11:14 AM

    “And what say you about our having to accommodate such biological heterogeneity? What of our huge land mass, dwarfing yours, relevant to this topic in that that it enables a guy like this latest delusional poor soul to be anonymous, to travel from state to state, to travel over 2/3rd of this huge country so that his movements, his behavior, is not easily tracked in the early stages of his sickness? Have you not thought of the homogeneous nature of Swedes? Are you actually interested in HBD? You seem not to be or else I’d have thought you would have proferred more insightful comments in that first post.”

    True he can move around but you can easily move around the EU as well. And yes, Sweden is more homogeneous, which is a cultural difference – being my point. And yes, I’m very interested in HBD. I don’t see how it relates to my comments here.

    “I think your mention of the “culture wars” in relation to the mass shooters is a silly one. These are mentally ill people who are cut off from family. A more appropriate observation of American life from one not all that familiar with it would be to note the break down of the family, which is, ironically, primarily an offshoot of the progressive ideas you seem to espouse. A family close to these individuals and a legal system that would have forced them into observational care at the first hint of their delusions, would have mitigated the damage they caused.”

    They are affected by people around them just like everybody else. Like I said before, we have plenty of gun owners with psychiatric conditions – and yet no shooting sprees.

    “You’ve about 180K sq miles of land contrasted with our 3.8 Million. Your pop. is one tenth of ours. Hard to be anonymous in such a small land as yours.”

    Look up the population density on Wikipedia.

    “Then again, we do know the Swede temperament is not at all like that which founded America nor like the that of our Framers and those who led our Western expansion. You’re not an adventurous, innovative, creative sort, true. That might explain as much as you as our past explains about us. Like I said, consider your homogeneity. It has its up side and its down side just as our heterogeneity has begun to show its downside to us. (well, it hasn’t really shown itself to those in our land who call themselves “progressives” as they wish to import by the millions the poor and low IQ sorts.)”

    And heterogenity is part of American culture, leading to conflicts and anger. As for Swedes not being creative, again consult Wikipedia. Swedes invented the zipper, the spanner, the pacemaker, the gamma knife, Losec, GPS, sperical bearings, the modern way of making paper, and so on. And we are only 10 million. But what this have to do with violence and the American culture? That was the issue here.

    Another point to consider: rural versus urban living, but alas, another time for that.

    “BTW, I laughed at your smug indirect assertion that a nation that has no death penalty is somehow superior and more biologically fit. We hardly arrive at the decision to kill a person the way the Arab world arrives at such conclusions. It’s a sign of biological fitness that we seek the truth of a person’s innocence or guilt with one test after another, then put away those who are unsalvageable as human beings in order to save innocents.”

    I haven’t discussed anything in terms of biological fitness. Yes, you’re more civilized than the Arab world. But again, this is off topic.

    “Tell me, should another European threat to your existence occur, what will you and your countrymen do? Claim neutrality and let others fight the battle around you, saving your passive asses?”

    Again off topic but we have been in many wars so you can read for yourself. As for my initial comment regarding the fact that Americans seem to have a lot of anger, I don’t think you’ve contradicted that, but instead offered a little more of that anger in your comment here.

    • erica / Sep 21 2013 10:54 PM

      Angry, not so much, Staffan, just disgusted, purely disgusted
      with the silliness that comes from places like Sweden and Norway regarding nature v nurture.

  12. Staffan / Sep 22 2013 6:18 AM

    You and me both. I have to live here you know. I’m the only person I know that voted for the anti-immigration party; only working class do that. And the immigrants, presumably non-Muslims who are getting concerned about the future.

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