The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

What Happened to Patrick Crusius?

Posted on | August 12, 2019 | No Comments

Last week, I pointed out that:

  1. The parents of El Paso mass murderer Patrick Crusius claimed he had been “raised in a family that taught love, kindness, respect, and tolerance — rejecting all forms of racism, prejudice, hatred, and violence.”
  2. Crusius’s father John Bryan Crusius “is a licensed professional therapist . . . [who] described his therapeutic approach as holistic.”
  3. Crusius’s parents divorced when he was 14.

So, what happened? Was the boy traumatized by his parents’ divorce? Did he consciously rebel against his parents? Or was he suffering from a mental disorder? Rod Dreher speculates that Crusius might be on the autism spectrum, and compares him to another mass murderer:

Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook killer, had been diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome (meaning he was a high-functioning autist), and other psychiatric problems. He refused to accept this diagnosis, as, apparently, did his mother. He did not take the medication he was prescribed, nor did he undergo the rigorous therapy he was told to undertake. He had no friends, and in the months before the shooting, became a recluse who lived on his computer.
Let me emphasize strongly: I am not in any way saying that all people on the spectrum are at risk of becoming mass killers!

A necessary caveat, I suppose. But as I wrote at The American Spectator:

How many adolescent losers, spending hour after hour playing videogames, are potential mass murderers? The experience of social isolation, immersed in digital fantasies of make-believe violence, is not conducive to a hopeful sense of the future. No politician can be blamed for the influences that have produced a generation of psychologically damaged youth. Thirty years ago, Revenge of the Nerds was a Hollywood comedy. Now the nerds have become a terrorist threat, and it’s not the least bit funny.

Years ago, before the idea of an autism “spectrum” was popularized, we just called such people nerds or geeks or weirdos. It probably doesn’t matter what word you use to describe someone without normal social skills. The reclusive loner with no real friends and no romantic relationships may or may not be dangerous, but because they are so socially isolated, it’s possible for them to go crazy quietly, without anyone noticing. And then one day you turn on the news and there’s a reporter interviewing the neighbor who says, “He was a loner, kept to himself.”

(Hat-tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)



 

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