My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:
There has been a lot of second-guessing about Andreas Lubitz, the Germanwings co-pilot who deliberately crashed his plane into the French Alps, killing himself and 149 others. If only Lufthansa had regular mental evaluations of pilots, if only people at the airline knew what obvious signs to look for, this tragedy could have been avoided.
But psychiatrists know that isn’t true. It isn’t just fellow workers who fail to pick up the supposed subtle hints that indicate that someone might be a danger to themselves or others. “We have no indication what could have led the co-pilot to commit this terrible act,” said Carsten Spohr, Lufthansa’s chief executive.
Psychiatrists themselves have a very poor record. Identifying mental illness is a long way from thinking that the person poses a danger. Look at the inability of psychiatrists to identify mass shooters. It’s very common for mass killers to be seeing psychiatrists before their attacks, including Elliot Rodger (Santa Barbara), Ivan Lopez (the most recent Fort Hood shooter), Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook elementary school), James Holmes (Aurora, Colo., movie theater), and Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech).
Rodger had already been receiving top-quality mental-health counseling for years. Indeed, one of his psychiatrists, Dr. Charles Sophy, is nationally known and medical director for the LA County Department of Children and Family Services. . . . .
Labels: mental illness, op-ed