Friday, September 28, 2012

Season of Suicides: Of Phoenix, Fox and Paradoxes

On September 27, 2001, the Zug massacre "happened." In Zug, Switzerland, Friedrich Leibacher shot 18 citizens, killing 14 and then took his own life. Eleven years later, during the same week, things didn't look much better on the evening news.

James Holmes.
James Holmes.

The live Fox News broadcast of the suicidal end of a car chase on September 28, 2012, perhaps was to be expected. In an autumn of atrocities following a summer of the gun, should we have seen this coming?

TVNewser carried the beginning of this news at 3:48 PM, with these words:
A man committed suicide live on Fox News a few minutes ago. FNC had been carrying a car chase in the Phoenix area and when the suspect pulled over, he ran down a dirt road, then stopped, put a gun to his head, and fell to the ground. No other national networks were carrying the chase.

Wall-to-wall coverage of car chases in California, for years, with some mainstreaming of them nationally, has always toyed with the possible tragic end of the scenarios. Car chases are a result of the copycat effect, and the danger is that televised suicide copycats could follow too.

The last two days have been especially violent, bizarre, and suicidal/parasuicidal.

On September 27, 2012, at the Stillwater (Oklahoma) Junior High School, there was the suicide of Cade Poulos, who had dressed like Two Face/Harvey Dent from The Dark Knight and the Batman comics. 

Then in the afternoon, at 4:35 PM Thursday, at Accent Signage Systems in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota, an employee who was fired a few hours earlier, killed 5 [revised] people and then took his own life.
July 2012 photo shows Andrew Engeldinger. Photo: Bill Klotz.

Andrew J. Engeldinger ( = Warrior Angel Striker), 36, killed the company’s owner Reuven Rahamim, Accent’s Director of Operations John Souter, production manager Eric Rivers, and two others whose identities have not been released. Three others were hospitalized, two critically. (Update on September 29th: Death toll has risen to six; one other individual was identified, Keith Basinski, a UPS driver.)
The company is revolutionary, and the founder Reuven Rahamim (above) actually was profiled as the "Mad Scientist of Signs."

Earlier on Thursday September 27, 2012, a tragedy visited New Fairfield, Connecticut: 
A small Connecticut town was sent reeling in grief and confusion Friday after a popular fifth-grade teacher shot and killed a knife-wielding prowler in a black ski mask, only to discover it was his 15-year-old son.
No immediate charges were brought against the father, Jeffrey Giuliano, in the slaying of his son, Tyler, who was gunned down in his aunt’s driveway next door to his own home around 1 a.m. Thursday.
“It’s something out of a Hollywood script,” said John Hodge, the first selectman, or top elected official, in the town of nearly 14,000 people about 50 miles from New York city. He said he couldn’t recall another killing in his eight years on the job. (See rest of article here.)
Thursday's and Friday's incidents followed the bizarre falling (suicidal) death of Sons of Anarchy star Johnny Lewis:
Johnny Lewis' gruesome demise left many questions unanswered when the Sons of Anarchy star plummeted to his death Wednesday after allegedly killing his 81-year-old landlady.
But as more information continues to surface about Lewis—his criminal past, his custody battle over his young daughter—one particular revelation sheds an intriguing light on the troubled star: his deep ties to Scientology.
A Church of Scientology source exclusively tells E! News that the actor's father, Michael Lewis, was a high-level Scientologist and that the star was "born into the church."
Johnny Lewis, July 2010. Photo: Jerry Avenaim.

Jonathan Kendrick "Johnny" Lewis (October 29, 1983 – September 26, 2012), also credited as Johnny K. Lewis, was an American actor, best known for playing Kip "Half-Sack" Epps in the first two seasons of the FX original series Sons of Anarchy. Lewis also appeared in supporting roles in the films Underclassman, Alien vs. Predator: Requiem and The Runaways. Lewis jumped from a roof into the driveway at a home in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, California.

We began in Phoenix (and are reminded of the "flashlight bombs" in May in Phoenix too); we shall end in Phoenix, with a developing news story:
Most of the people who saw a masked teenager wearing a sheet and armed with a grenade launcher told authorities they assumed the weapon was a fake as he pointed it at passing cars in northwest Phoenix, according to 911 calls released Thursday [September 27, 2012].
All of the callers calmly told 911 operators that a "small man" or a "kid" was pointing what looked like a bazooka, torpedo, rocket launcher, grenade launcher or a "long gun with a point at the end" at passing cars on July 28.
"I assume it's a fake. I hope so," one man told a 911 operator. "I think you guys should check it out."
"I don't know if it's real or not, but it's kind of bizarre," another male caller said. "He's wearing a dress with a torpedo on his shoulder and pointing it left and right."
"He had it pointed at me," another man said. "I got kind of freaked out."
A Phoenix man has been accused of filming his 16-year-old nephew to see how fast police would react to a mock terrorist act.
Michael D. Turley, 39, was arrested Monday [September 24, 2012], nearly two months after the bizarre film was posted to Google Inc.'s YouTube site.
In the film, the narrator whom police identified as Turley, said he wanted to see how long it took authorities to respond. The introduction to the video mentions the July 20 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., that killed 12.
"Given this event, I wanted to run a little test here in Phoenix, Arizona," Turley said on the film in a disguised voice. "I want to find out how safe I really am, and I want to know the response time of the Phoenix police department."
The police response took just over three minutes from the first call, and a helicopter and SWAT team was dispatched as backup, according to Phoenix police spokesman James Holmes.
The YouTube clip showed the teen marching back and forth at an intersection with the camouflage-colored rocket-propelled grenade launcher on his shoulder. He was wearing a light-blue bedsheet and black head covering with black pants and black sneakers. The 911 callers' descriptions varied, with some saying it was a shawl, gown or dress.
"It looks like there's another kid with him videotaping him," one man told the operator. "They probably think it's funny. It's not really funny."
The first officer found Turley and the teen standing in Turley's driveway. The officer calmly told the boy to put down the weapon and Turley to put down the camera. Holmes said Turley told the officer they were just filming a movie, and the officer took down their names and left. (See rest of article, here).

Colorado = red. Aurora = dawn. Suspect shooter James Eagan (= fiery) Holmes.
Arizona = arid zone, small oak. Phoenix = fire bird. Police spokesman James Holmes.

The Phoenix has long been presented as a symbol of rebirth, immortality, and renewal. Is it also a symbol of the copycat effect, repeating patterns, and behavior contagion?
It has a 500 to 1000 year life-cycle, near the end of which it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young Phoenix or Phoenix egg arises, reborn anew to live again.... The Phoenix's ability to be reborn from its own ashes implies that it is immortal, though in some stories the new Phoenix is merely the offspring of the older one....In the course of the colonization of Northern America a number of cities have received the name of Phoenix or have been associated with its symbolism. Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, was so named as it was built on the ruins of the Hohokam civilization that had existed on the site centuries before. The Phoenix became the official symbol of Atlanta, Georgia in 1888 because it was "reborn" from the ashes after it was burned down in the American Civil War. ~ Wikipedia

Two other cities that use the Phoenix as their symbol: Detroit, Michigan and Portland, Maine (where I have lived since 1983).

Locations associated with the "Phoenix" symbolism are said to have had "new dawns" (auroras) occur after terrible fires destroyed large parts of their cities.

Thanks DJ, SM, MB, AWG, AM, CS, and others.


Ann said...

I had heard about the Minneapolis shooting and the Sons of Anarchy suicide. Him I don't care about, as he killed the landlady's cat also.

But all this is giving me a sick feeling. Do you ever get the feeling, Dr. Coleman, that all these events are going well beyond The Copycat Effect, that we have entered a whole new ballgame of uncharted territory?

What bothers me most is how easily these people put guns to their heads and shoot themselves, like as if it meant nothing to them. It's one thing perhaps killing others, but seems it's way too personal to just go and kill oneself. Something is going on and I don't understand this phenomenon. All these things we are seeing today have simply NEVER happened in past decades.

Xenkenito said...

I get the same sick/eerie feeling Ann. I think violence is nothing new. But the cases where young kids go on random shooting sprees and suicidal rampages is something strange and new, and for me it is very disturbing. I would attribute it to the increase in pharma-drugged youth. Which in turn is a result of pseudo-science(psychiatry) becoming accepted as true science. As R.D. Laing points out :

"Laing maintained that schizophrenia was "a theory not a fact"; he believed the models of genetically inherited schizophrenia being promoted by biologically based psychiatry were not accepted by leading medical geneticists.[14] He rejected the "medical model of mental illness"; according to Laing diagnosis of mental illness did not follow a traditional medical model; and this led him to question the use of medication such as antipsychotics by psychiatry. His attitude to recreational drugs was quite different; privately, he advocated an anarchy of experience.[15]"

Ann said...

@Xenkenito -

I agree with you about the pharma-drugged youth, but this is not the only aspect of what we are seeing today. That violence is nothing new doesn't explain the phenomena of grown people dressing up as superheroes or their villains and going on rampages. It also doesn't explain why others just go on rampages, like an attack on a fast-food restaurant.

It seems to me an additional layer has been added on. Elements that more often than not include synchromystical links and lexilinks. It's most baffling. In this bizarre story about the masked teenager wearing a sheet and armed with a grenade launcher, and his crazy father who put him up to it, we have a police spokesman named JAMES HOLMES, for pete's sake! Given today's milieu, a sight like that running down a street, I'm surprised that kid wasn't killed by SWAT.

I read R.D. Laing long ago, and others who wrote along those lines, like Frederick Perls. Don't remember much of it though, only that it was interesting. I don't know that Laing's ideas would have any value with today's out-of-control 'youths' who think nothing of killing.

No -- something else is going on. There are ideas floating around. Crazy ideas, yet one wonders.

Dr. Coleman - someone pointed out the Phoenix carjacker was driving a RED car. That whole incident looked staged to me, including Sam Sheppard's 'hysteria' and the phoniness in his voice. Was there a subliminal implanted with the man's sport shirt that seemed to show '01' on the back (though sometimes it looked like '81'). With all the images of violence we see daily on the news, looking at that 'uncensored suicide' didn't even raise an eyebrow, even if it were real.

Loren Coleman said...

Thank you, Ann, for the "honorary Ph. D."

I am not "Dr. Coleman."

I have a BA in anthropology/zoology, MSW in psychiatric social work, and coursework in two doctoral programs, one in social anthropology and the other in sociology. However, until I get an official honorary degree when I deliver a commencement address, I ask folks to not use a Ph. D. or a M.D. behind my name. :-)

Xenkenito said...


Indeed. It is not always just a drugged up freak out. Its a combination of factors/trends. Including the art in which they consume and just how they identify with the art. I see the synchronicity and the lexilinking of symbols and colors etc. But does that really give us an answer for why?

Some people play violent video games so that they can imagine being a killer and vent that desire in a virtual setting. When they are done playing, they don't want to kill anymore, at least until society makes them mad again and they have to go and vent in the virtual world again.

Things can work either way. It Could inspire one kid to be violent in reality or could suppress the violent tendency that is part of the the kid's nervous system. "instinct"

I've heard parents try and blame video games for their own child becoming violent. Its not that simple.

Anyways, I just don't buy the mainstream psychiatric assessment of mental illness.
I whole heartedly agree with Laing because I have seen plenty of mental illness in my life, first hand. I have never had trouble with the mentally ill, i can get along with them. The majority of the time, their "illness" is in fact a very subjective illness. A error in the programming more so than the networking/wiring of the brain. Not to say physical brain damage is never a factor, it is, just not all the time.

"I ask of film what most North Americans ask of psychedelic drugs."
"If art is not a medicine for the society, it is a poison." -Alejandro Jodorowsky

starviego said...

0ne of the Columbine massacre survivors has recently created a support group for victims of mass violence. He is calling it "Phoenix999."

The Phoenix part I get; but '999'? It's a little too close to '666' if you ask me.

aferrismoon said...

More Aurora

"The passenger was reported missing on the Aurora as it sailed from the Portuguese city of Oporto to Barcelona on Friday, P&O Cruises said."