Monday, March 30, 2015

Andreas Lubitz - Murderous Monster or What? My Thoughts.

Could a 27-year-old co-pilot, as is widely reported, have purposely crashed the Germanwings jetliner killing himself and 149 innocent people?  It’s almost incomprehensible.  And, if that is actually what occurred, what would motivate a person to do such a thing?  Or, how would we classify him:  clinically depressed, suicidal, a psychopath, a mass murderer, or a depraved monster?

With some degree of certainty, it could be said that someone, or probably several people and /or medical professionals knew that Andreas Lubitz should not be flying a commercial aircraft; but they failed to report their concerns to the appropriate authorities.  In the litigious world we live in, most people keep their suspicions to themselves.  Medical professionals are usually required by law or ethical standards to report someone who they consider might be dangerous to themselves or others; but such judgements are subjective in the extreme and open to considerable second guessing.

I’m not a psychologist, but I do have an opinion as to what could have motivated Lubitz.  I do not consider him to be a psychopath in the sense of a Ted Bundy.  I do not consider him to be a mass murderer like Adam Lanza.

What then?  There are instances, of course generally not of this magnitude, where people commit suicide and in the process kill others.  It is not necessarily unheard of for a suicidal individual to purposely turn his vehicle and drive head-on into an oncoming car – often killing the other car’s occupants.  What is their reasoning?  Well, it could be a spur-of-the-moment decision.  It could be because the opportunity incidentally presented itself.  It even could be planned to simulate an actual accident and to conceal the true motivation – sometimes for the purposes of protecting their family from any resulting shame, sometimes to garner public sympathy, or sometimes for the money that might go to their family in the way of insurance, employment benefits, etc.

Is it not conceivable that Lubitz committed suicide with the thought that he might generate public sympathy, or even be considered a hero – the courageous pilot at the controls when the plane crashed for undetermined reasons?

Some would say that Lubitz knew all about ‘black box recorders’ and their capabilities and that he would be ultimately found out.  Maybe, we give him too much credit.  Maybe, he thought that an airliner crashing into a mountain at 500 MPH would leave little evidence behind.  Is not that possible?

There will be a lengthy investigation and a probable cause determined; but what was in the mind of Lubitz will never be established.  His family will receive his insurance and other benefits.  Security measures will be tightened.

Will or can these new security measures prevent future comparable incidents?  Doubtful.  They say that two people in the cabin at all times will prevent a similar occurrence.  I don’t think so.

More careful vetting of pilot personnel, on a continuing basis, is the better solution; but even that is not foolproof, or may not even be practical – not to mention a possibly perceived budget-buster for the airlines.

Flying is not without risk.  However, you’re more likely to be killed by an impaired or mentally unstable driver of an oncoming car - while on your way to do a little shopping.

True Nelson
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