Brain tumors, mental illness: Way back in 1966, Charles Whitman invented a cultural practice.
After murdering his wife and his mother, he went to the 28th floor of the Texas Tower at the University of Texas. He fired at passers-by for 96 minutes, killing eleven and wounding thirty-one before being shot and killed by police.
At the time, this was a shocking new practice. We don't recall ever hearing about his brain tumor, although it's possible that we did.
We heard his tumor mentioned this week, and so we looked it up. Last year, Eva Frederick reviewed the topic for The Daily Texan. Here's how her report began:
FREDERICK (7/30/16): Smart, strong, talented and popular, the young Charles Whitman seemed, outwardly, like a poster child for the “all-American boy” stereotype.Sure enough! Whitman did have a substantial brain tumor. For an earlier report in the Atlantic, you can just click here.
But as the sandy-haired boy grew up into a tall, athletic ex-Marine, beneath his mop of blond hair, something else was also growing. A brain tumor, nestled between his thalamus, hypothalamus and amygdala, developed quietly to the size of a pecan.
During his 25th year, Whitman began to complain of headaches, a severe, persistent pain that he later described as “tremendous.” He wrote increasingly troubled journal entries detailing his mental state: “Recently (I cannot recall when it started) I have been a victim of many unusual and irrational thoughts.” He paid a visit to the campus mental health center complaining of violent impulses.
Then, one sweltering August day in 1966, Whitman did something no one expected: He climbed to the top of the UT tower with a sawed-off shotgun, and began shooting. His 96-minute reign of terror killed 13 people on campus and injured over 30, and only ended when he was killed by Austin police.
Whitman’s suicide note requested an autopsy to examine his brain, because he was convinced it would show some “visible physical disorder.”
Did Whitman's tumor explain, or help explain, his murderous rampage that day? Apparently, different experts have expressed different views.
By now, though, murderous mass shootings have become a familiar cultural norm. Presumably, it's possible that Stephen Paddock suffered from some sort of organic disorder, or more generally from some other sort of "mental illness."
There's someone else who may be suffering from some sort of "mental illness." That would be President Donald J. Trump.
Yesterday, he behaved in typically peculiar ways during his visit to Puerto Rico. This morning, Joe and Mika acted out concerning this conduct, in their own typically histrionic way.
It's time for this entertainment product to stop. Back in 2015, Joe and Mika spent a substantial chunk of time normalizing Candidate Trump. By now, they've noticed that their former friend routinely behaves in disordered ways.
Earth to Joe and Mika:
Duh! It's no longer surprising when Donald J. Trump behaves in peculiar ways. Guess what, kids? It's highly likely that he is "mentally ill" in some way. He may be suffering from some form of dementia.
Who knows? He may even have a tumor himself!
Earth to Joe and Mika:
It's time to stop rehearsing your state of anger and shock every time Donald J. Trump behaves in peculiar ways. Instead, it's time to have a grown-up discussion about the state of this disordered man, who you helped place in office.
Watching Morning Joe, it seems that Mika wants to discuss this topic, but her corporate bosses won't permit it. Unfortunately, if you've read her three (3) memoirs, you probably understand this:
There's no chance that Mika will ever jeopardize a financially lucrative position like the one she currently holds. Instead, she and Joe will go through their song-and-dance again and again and again and again when Donald J. Trump misbehaves.
In fairness, they produce a great entertainment product! They're also lining their pockets with this tiresome "Groundhog Day" game.
Donald J. Trump seems to be disordered, unwell. It's time this pair of corporate hustlers stopped hinting about this possibility and stated discussing this fact.
It seems their owners don't want them to do it. We can reliably tell you this:
On cable TV, owners rule!