a bird and a bottle

Not sure what to say
April 16, 2007, 6:29 pm
Filed under: news

VT ribbon

I wasn’t going to post on the tragic events at VT today, because I don’t have anything to add. But I think it’s worth saying that all of our thoughts should be and are with the students, faculty, and staff of VT and their families.


4 Comments so far
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I’m still not entirely sure what the fuck exactly happened, and more importantly why… but I suppose I’m not alone in that.

On another note, I think your coverage of the Duke, Imus, and Kathy Sierra affairs is the best I’ve seen so far, no sarcasm intended.

Comment by Alon Levy

i don’t know why it happened, but i certainly know how – GUNS. earlier this year Virginia denied a resolution that would have permitted students and faculty (with permits) to carry handguns on Virginian campuses. Now, certain parties are suggesting that those who vetoed the bill are partly responsible for yesterday’s defenseless victims… which is (needless to say) beyond absurd. it’s bowling for columbine allllll over again, and it wouldn’t have been possible without charlton heston’s favorite toy.

Comment by d

d – you’re clearly on to something.
Alon – eh, I just figured all that stuff was covered SO thoroughly alllll over the place. Who needs to see more of it here?

Comment by bean

Day Two brings to light some facts about the shooter: A quiet loner who spoke angry words about “debauchery” and “charlatans,” submitted disturbing papers to class, and was referred to the school counseling center and treated for depression.

The “quiet loner” is certainly no surprise; it fits the profile of a stereotypic random shooter. The history of depression is interesting but misleading. Let me explain:

It is often said that aggression and depression are two sides of the same coin. When aggression is turned inward and has no other means of escape or expression, it results in depression. In other words, depression has a component of suppressed anger and rage. Extreme anger would cycle into depression but, in this case, depression would not be considered the primary Axis I disorder; it would be secondary. Acts of rage or suicidal ideation do not occur during depressive lows; subjects are usually too immobilized by depression to act. Violent behaviors occur, not at the bottom, but during the upswing when the subject cycles towards a more normal mood. In this case, depression would be considered a “feature” of a primary disorder. If not depression, what would be the most likely primary disorder driving this behavior?

Bipolar, personality, and schizophrenic disorders have been mentioned. Bipolar I and II disorders have features of depression and hypermanic/hypomanic states, but rarely would these result in violence towards others. The expansive moods of Bipolar I and II lack the rage component. Schizophrenic disorders are driven by delusions or hallucinations, sometimes violent, but lacking the component of rage. Assuming the Vtech shooter visited the counseling center, it may be inferred (but not necessarily) that signs and symptoms of a bipolar or schizophrenic disorder were not observed.

That leaves the personality disorders as remaining candidates. Features of grandiosity, all-or-nothing thinking, depression, rage following abandonment, and a tendency to lash out characterize some of these disorders. These would be a reasonable guess.

A closing thought on the use of anti-depressants: These treat merely a symptom, not the primary disorder itself. Consider the controversy surrounding Prozac and other anti-depressants: once the depressed mood lifts, the subject is less immobilized and more likely to act aggressively. Food for thought.

Comment by Swampcracker

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