Category Archives: amok-pilot

Der Amok-Pilot: eine sehr moderne Geschichte

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 08.16.34Dalrymple writes that Andreas Lubitz

was not depressed, he was of bad character, for the improvement of which there is no drug. He was an angry narcissist, murderous at least as much as he was suicidal.

Suffering reverses in life, Lubitz

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 23.18.38sought revenge on what he thought was an unjust world.

Many people like him who commit suicide, or try to,

imagine a continued shadowy existence after their deaths in which they are able to witness the doleful effects that their death has had on others, and they enjoy the prospect. He didn’t want to slip away quietly, he wanted fame, even if it were only notoriety.

If he had killed himself

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 23.05.48by jumping from a building, say, which requires no more courage than crashing an aëroplane, no one would have heard of him.

But now,

after crashing his aëroplane, everyone has heard of him. The 149 people were sacrificed to his wounded vanity and his desire for fame.

Lubitz

was treated as if he were ill, thereby disguising from him his own responsibility for his state of mind.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 23.20.00He was

a narcissist whose sorrows and failures made him vengeful and murderous as well as suicidal. He thirsted for fame, though he had no achievements that entitled him to it, and he was willing to sacrifice 149 others to achieve it.

And he was prescribed

useless drugs that possibly contributed to his aggression.

Amok, according to a recent account, 'is found almost exclusively in men between the ages of 20 and 40. The incidents are characterised by frenzied attacks with kris, pedang or lembing. The assaults are often directed at family members or friends, then extended indiscriminately to others. Whether or not preceded by unusual behaviours (depression, brooding, sakit hati), amok occurs as a sudden outburst resembling a hyperstartle reaction, and amok-runners typically declare amnesia for the duration of the incident. The majority of amok-runners are killed during attempts by others to restrain the murderous rampages; those taken alive may be subjected to execution, imprisonment or institutionalisation in a psychiatric facility.' Sir Hugh Clifford, British Resident in Pahang (1896-1900 and 1901-03), described it as follows: 'Much has been written concerning the acts of homicidal mania called amok, which word in the vernacular means to attack. It was formerly believed that these outbursts were to be attributed to madness pur et simple, and some cases of amok can certainly be traced to this source. These are not, however, in any sense typical, and might equally have been perpetrated by men of another race. The typical amok is usually the result of circumstances which render a Malay desperate. The motive is often inadequate from the point of view of a European, but to the Malay it is sufficient to make him weary of life and anxious to court death. Briefly, where a man of another race might not improbably commit suicide, a Malay runs amok, killing all whom he may meet until he himself is slain.’

Amok, according to a recent account, ‘is found almost exclusively in men between the ages of 20 and 40. The incidents are characterised by frenzied attacks with kris, pedang or lembing. The assaults are often directed at family members or friends, then extended indiscriminately to others. Whether or not preceded by unusual behaviours (depression, brooding, sakit hati), amok occurs as a sudden outburst resembling a hyperstartle reaction, and amok-runners typically declare amnesia for the duration of the incident. The majority of amok-runners are killed during attempts by others to restrain the murderous rampages; those taken alive may be subjected to execution, imprisonment or institutionalisation in a psychiatric facility.’ Sir Hugh Clifford, British Resident in Pahang (1896-1900 and 1901-03), described it as follows: ‘Much has been written concerning the acts of homicidal mania called amok, which word in the vernacular means to attack. It was formerly believed that these outbursts were to be attributed to madness pur et simple, and some cases of amok can certainly be traced to this source. These are not, however, in any sense typical, and might equally have been perpetrated by men of another race. The typical amok is usually the result of circumstances which render a Malay desperate. The motive is often inadequate from the point of view of a European, but to the Malay it is sufficient to make him weary of life and anxious to court death. Briefly, where a man of another race might not improbably commit suicide, a Malay runs amok, killing all whom he may meet until he himself is slain.’

The amok-pilots

February 1982: amok-pilot Seiji Katagiri forces  Japan Airlines flight 350 to crash into Tokyo Bay. 24 deaths

February 1982: amok-pilot Seiji Katagiri forces Japan Airlines flight 350 to crash into Tokyo Bay. Diagnosis: insanity

Amok-pilot Andreas Lubitz forces Germanwings flight 9525 to crash into the French Alps

March 2015: amok-pilot Andreas Lubitz forces Germanwings flight 9525 to crash into the French Alps. Dalrymple’s diagnosis: wounded narcissism and chagrin d’amour

A little more stigma, please

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 19.44.37It would have saved the lives snuffed out by this amok-pilot

Andreas Lubitz’s problem, writes Dalrymple, was

one of character rather than of illness.

He was a narcissist whose enthusiasm for fitness was

not for fitness for any end other than a purely self-regarding one. The picture of him out running, pouting as if engaged on something serious and staring ahead with earphones in his ears to exclude the outer world from obtruding on him in his self-absorbed bubble, suggested a man more than usually self-centred.

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 17.37.28He is reported to have been

determined to make more of a mark in the world than his native talents would permit, reducing him to the necessity of doing something terrible to catch the attention of the world that he so craved, and no doubt felt that he deserved. For narcissists, anonymity is the worst of fates.

Dalrymple says he cannot help but think that Western culture

is propitious to the promotion of narcissism of the type that I suspect that Lubitz suffered from — or made others suffer from.

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 17.36.37Psychiatry

will never make the likes of Lubitz whole. We shall never be putty in technicians’ hands. That is not the same as saying that he should have been allowed to fly aëroplanes. A little more stigma and prejudice would have saved the 149 lives he so egotistically snuffed out.

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 17.38.37