This article is an interview with Bandy Lee, an assistant clinical professor at the Yale School of Medicine who has spent her twenty year career studying violence as a global health issue. She is an expert in the prevention of violence and has consulted with a variety of state and national governments in violence prevention programs including initiating reforms at Rikers Island, the notorious prison.
She is a psychiatric expert in violence and violence prevention.
She is the moving force behind The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump. She’s listed as author, but each chapter has been written by other prominent psychologists. Her writing contributions are the forward and epilogue. She also hosted a conference by a similar title.
She makes several interesting points in the interview and the book. You should read the entire interview and the book, but I’ll summarize what I found most interesting here. Feel free to add the bits you found interesting to the comments.
First, she’s making the point that mental health professionals are legally and ethically bound to warn of impending dangers that others might pose due to their mental instability. A good example is Charles Whitman, the man who climbed the University of Texas’ tower on 1 August 1966 and shot 48 people, 17 fatally. He went to a psychiatrist at the university health center and told him he fantasized about shooting people from the tower. He was an ex-marine with a self-confessed history of violent outbursts and who owned guns, although it is not clear that the psychiatrist knew this. He shoulda asked, though. The doctor dismissed the threat as idle and sent Whitman off with an appointment that Whitman failed to keep.
In the interview Lee cites several indications of a crisis in the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s mental instability set off by the progress of the Mueller investigation:
He entered into a period of frenetic, irrational, and fallacious tweeting that hasn’t let up to date. Many people have speculated that his tweeting is (a) reflective of his state of mind and (b) directly related to the news. As I’ve said in previous posts, his tweets are evidence of his abnormality.
He denied his own voice on the Access Hollywood tape. Most of us would dismiss this an bald-faced lie, which it is. He admitted it was his voice after it came out. But, Lee cites it as evidence of him losing his grip on reality. If he truly believes it is not his voice on the tape when (a) it clearly is and (b) he’s said as much, then he is not dealing with reality as we all agree on it. So, the least bad is he’s just lying through his teeth for political expediency or at worst, he’s not dealing with reality. Hmmm…
When threatened, she notes, that he lashes out vehemently and even threatens violence. Although, Lee does not cite it, he has a well documented history of violence in his childhood and adolescence. So, when he re-tweeted violent anti-Muslim videos and belligerent threats of nuclear war, it caused her some alarm.
She is an expert in the antecedents to violence, so I take her concerns seriously. But, it is not just the possibility of war and intercultural conflict, it is the “laying a foundation for a culture of violence.” She notes the increases in gun deaths, hate crimes, and incidents in school bullying as evidence of how much progress he’s made to laying this foundation.
In short, Lee is building an argument that the Ol’ Pussy Grabber is a clear and present danger to our republic, and she feels that mental health professionals have a duty to warn of this danger.
Her second point is that once the danger has been identified, the state has a vested interest in containing the threat. Containment means detention and evaluation of the person to ascertain whether he really constitutes a threat or not. Lee is arguing that the state has a vested interest in evaluating the mental health of the Ol’ Puss Grabber to establish whether he truly is a threat.
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The longer Donald Trump is in office, the more he shocks and alarms us with his strange and extremely unpresidential behavior.
From the incoherent, fallacious interview he gave the New York Times on December 28 to Tuesday’s tweet about his “nuclear button” to his Saturday morning assertion that he is a “very stable genius,” the remarks keep getting more menacing, bizarre, and portentous of disaster.