Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy

(1) Curtis Reeves and the Popcorn Shooting
Curtis Reeves

Many of us have been known to throw popcorn.

It could be that Chad Oulson, out with his wife at the movies in sunny Wesley Chapel, Florida, after texting the babysitter, really did throw popcorn at an irate 71-year-old retired police officer. The retired cop, Curtis Reeves, shot and killed him.

The two men had an altercation about noise in the theater and the illegality of texting just moments before Lone Survivor was about to begin. Lone Survivor is a film about the Navy Seals. Shots rang out. Violence in vivo.

The victim happened to be a former U.S. Naval officer who served his country from 1990 to 1997. The perpetrator, a retired captain of the police. Two veteran officers facing off, only one carrying a .380 automatic pistol.

Blood gushing from his mouth,Oulson cried, "I can't believe I got shot!"

Incredible. It could have been a mint or a peanut butter cup, just a theory, not popcorn, because Richard Escobar, the defense attorney, insists a heavy projectile hit Reeves in the forehead, triggering his reach for the trigger. Not one to be disobeyed, Reeves popped off that .380 pistol, and dutifully shot Oulson in the chest, ending the argument.

It is a story worthy of The Onion. Ridiculous. How could such a thing really happen?

Police records praise Reeves for his work ethic and leadership. One evaluation from 1979, however, indicates a show of temper when dealing with supervisors. This is all we need for a quick and dirty assessment and diagnosis, keep in mind, purely conjecture.  Reeves had a critical father, worked hard to please him, but displaced his own anger upon other authority figures, even as an adult. The choice of career is not unusual for those born to such family dynamics.

The psychiatric diagnosis is likely to be Intermittent Explosive Disorder, 312.34 (F63.81), based upon the history. But we need much more information to make this call.

The criteria for Intermittent Explosive Disorder (for full details, read the DSM-5):
A. Recurrent behavioral outbursts representing a failure to control aggressive impulses
B. The magnitude of aggressiveness expressed is grossly out of proportion to the provocation or to any precipitating psychosocial stressors.
C. The recurrent aggressive outbursts are not premeditated.
D. The recurrent aggressive outbursts cause either marked distress in the individual or impairment in occupational or interpersonal functioning, or are associated with financial or legal consequences.
E. Chronological age is at least 6 years
F. The recurrent aggressive outbursts are not better explained by another mental disorder, a psychotic disorder, antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and are not attributable to another medical condition or the effects of a substance.

Mrs. Oulson, now a widow and single mother, instinctively tried to block the bullet intended for her husband with her hand, but the bullet went right through that. She wanted Oulson to stop arguing with Reeves. She could probably sense something going on behind the glare, real trouble.

Reeves has neighbors who had no idea. Perhaps they never saw him angry:
"I just can't imagine," said Elnora Brown. "I can't imagine what happened that he would do that." Brown has been a family friend of Reeves for the past 45 years. She described him as a good Christian man and a loving grandfather. "I thought it just can't be. He's just not that kind of person," Brown said.
The sentiment echoed down the Brooksville street where Reeves and his family has lived for years. "Curtis is a good guy. He's always been very nice to my wife, myself, "said Reeves's next door neighbor Bill Costas. "Personally, I'm very shocked."
"You just never know what's going to happen anymore. The world is getting more and more evil." said neighbor Joann Spence.  Read more: http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/wesley-chapel-movie-theater-shooting-suspected-gunman-curtis-reeves-jr-makes-first-appearance#ixzz2qPR1gCAW
You never know. Watch the video of Circuit Judge Lynn Tepper patiently hearing out the defense. She isn't buying Escobar's claims that this is not murder in the second degree. Escobar tells the judge that Reeves is a model citizen who regularly attends bible study, who has been married forty-one years, who has raised two fine children, one a police officer. Reeves is a grandfather. He has arthritis. A regular guy. He retired way back in 1993, after 27 years of service.

It isn't clear if he's still working security at Busch Gardens. Likelihood is that now he'll be let go.

Retired, yet still carrying a .380 pistol. And a toddler has no father.

Remember James Holmes, the man with schizophrenia who dressed up as The Joker and killed a dozen people, injured seventy, in a Colorado movie theater? We doubt Curtis Reeves suffered such psychosis. All we know is that he didn't like being thwarted. And he didn't like that Oulson scoffed at the rules, at authority. 

There were twenty-five other people in the theater. He could have moved.

(I'd love to know the punishment in that house if Little Curtis accidentally on purpose spilled popcorn or had a popcorn fight with a sibling.) 

(2) A 12-year-old Shoots Two Other Middle School Children, One in the Face

In other news, a student opened fire this morning at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell, New Mexico, critically wounding a 14-year-old boy, his intended victim. He put a 13-year old girl in the hospital, too, in serious condition, a bullet to the shoulder. A student witnessed it. Odiee Carranza described the shooter as a "smart kid and a nice kid."

A sociopath, probably, a child with Antisocial Personality Disorder, we might think, initially. (Search APD here on the blog, we've talked about it before). But no, he was likely depressed, and turned his rage outward. There's some discussion (Robin Meade, HLN Morning Express) that he had been bullied. The most interesting part of the story is that a social studies teacher, John Masterson, talked him down, walked into the barrel of the gun and talked until the boy put the shotgun down. He's a boy, after all.

Oh, just one more story. It has been a busy day in January.

(3) William Golladay is Fed Up with People Who Abuse the Express Checkout Line
William Golladay

In yet another southern town, Punta Gorda, Florida, William Golladay, a 77-year-old grocery checker, fed up with people who check more than fifteen items in the Express Lane, finally let loose. He unleashed his rage by yelling at, then hitting a 65 year-old man in a motorized cart. Not finished, he pushed an empty metal cart at the object of his wrath. (FD says the seventies are tough for men).

The victim isn't denying his guilt for going over fifteen items; he had twenty. He noticed the employee counting before the altercation began. 

Enough stories, the lessons are obvious.
(a) if someone tells you to quit texting, maybe quit texting.
(b) best not to mess with 14-year-olds who may be nice but have access to guns, 
and finally,
(c) never, ever go over 15 items at the Express Lane. 

How I wish this were funny.



Matthew at Counseling Career Guide said...

What you wrote here stayed with me: "This is all we need for a quick and dirty assessment and diagnosis, keep in mind, purely conjecture." That is so very true---very often, we get what seems like an important piece of information, form our opinion, and then any information that comes after that is "extra." There's obviously a lot more to the first case that needs to be detailed, but that psychological principle can be seen over and over again.

That second story is so incredibly sad---I didn't really read it.

therapydoc said...

Thanks Matt. Obviously this profession is important. I like that your website encourages people to join the cloth.

Matthew at Counseling Career Guide said...

Thank you for saying so! I hope it helps somebody, somewhere, at some point! By the way, any luck getting my site onto your blogroll?

therapydoc said...

I tried, put it in 2 places, Counseling Career Guide and Counseling Careers, but Blogger is giving me a hard time. Maybe it works on your browser, but the links that they did allow are in code. Check it out.

Matthew said...

That's so strange! Maybe because I've used WordPress for the site, there's a conversion/translation problem? Oh well. Thank you for trying!

therapydoc said...

I'll try something else

Mound Builder said...

Yesterday morning I was leaving my house, in the dark, to go to work. I was backing out of my driveway and waiting for a car to pass when I realized it had stopped, blocking me in my driveway, and that suddenly there was a person running toward my car, toward the driver's side. I couldn't see who it was. I was scared at this point and wondering what to do since I couldn't back the car up and I couldn't get out quickly, either. Suddenly I could see that it was a woman, probably from India, and I wondered if she was hurt or in some other kind of trouble. I unrolled the window and she told me she was a teacher, looking for the neighborhood school. I had her follow me in her car to lead her to the school. At least one of my friends thinks it was a risky thing for me to have done. As I thought of it later, I realized that the woman was taking a risk, too. This is the kind of situation that can lead to tragedy these days, where someone reacts angrily/fearfully and happens to have a gun close at hand.

You said that FD says the 70s are hard on men. I've wondered for quite a few years if getting older is hard in some specific ways on men. I think most men, even small ones, are physically stronger than women. Yet older men may find themselves no longer as strong, no longer feel as capable of physically defending themselves, and therefore may feel a lot more vulnerable in the world than they are accustomed to or comfortable with; women feel that all their lives, I think.

therapydoc said...

Brilliant comment. I felt panic as soon as you wrote, "locking me in the driveway" wonder what I would have done. We're going to have to do more research about the elderly and feelings, but it is hard. I can see how psychological research into your question would be seriously vetted by an IRB, as it should, but would pass because the benefits of the study outweigh the risks.

therapydoc said...

Matt, check out the side bar on Mental Health Career Blogs. You inspired it :)

Better Things-- Seeing Ghosts