Quote of the day—Lawrence H. Climo, MD

My tipping point was the clinic’s emergency protocols for what to do in the event someone did enter our clinic with a handgun. The protocols were clear. Immediately notify the psychiatrist on duty. That psychiatrist would approach the gunman and, in a “quiet, non-threatening voice,” ask for his gun. I recalled my medical school classmate who had done that very thing some years earlier at a different mental health clinic. He was shot dead on the spot.

Lawrence H. Climo, MD
October 23, 2019
What Do Mass Murderers Have in Common?
[The “tipping point” he is referring to is when he decided to get and carry a gun.

Yeah, one would think this would be more than enough to tip people over the edge into the realization that the best defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. But that’s not the way it plays out in a lot of cases. Some people tip in a different direction.

Aside from the tipping point and direction the doctor has an interesting hypothesis. Perhaps instead of mental illness being the common issue with mass shooters it is frustration:

But, what if there is this other commonality, this frustration goad or tipping point? What if the tipping point for those with urges and obsessions about delivering justice, restoring honor, pride, and the natural order, defending America, destroying evil, and serving patriotism, justice and God, or just the desire to end pain, isolation, insignificance, and loneliness and feel at peace—or at least feel safe and in control—is an overpowering and unbearable frustration? What are the implications?

It’s sounds plausible in a lot of cases. If true, then a partial remedy would involve something different than drugs and/or confinement such as might be the case with true mental illness. It would also point at a different indicator of potential danger.

Ignore his suggestion. He lives in Massachusetts and probably doesn’t realize that firearm licenses aren’t a requirement in free America.—Joe]

7 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Lawrence H. Climo, MD

  1. So, the protocol was for the psychiatrist to approach the potential murderer and in a low, non-threatening voice, appeal to his better nature.
    As Robert Heinlein is reputed to have said, “Don’t appeal to his better nature, he might not have one.”

    • Yes.

      I find it “interesting” that people whose job is to understand the thinking of other people would be so clueless as to the likelihood of that plan being successful.

      • It’s the same thinking that leads to “active shooter plans” based on throwing hockey pucks. They believe guns are evil so they will resort to thinking so twisted it would make Cthulhu seasick to avoid the obvious solution of using a gun to stop a killer.

  2. Is inability to deal with frustration itself a harbinger of mental disorder?

    Frustration comes in wide variations of both quality and quantity and from nearly infinite sources, and there are myriad recourses to frustration: working around it, changing one’s perspective, requesting assistance, avoiding frustrating situations, accepting it in some circumstances, etc. I’d suspect that while “frustration” is certainly capable of pushing someone over the edge, a certain degree of mental difficulty may be what brought that edge close enough to allow frustration to more easily push oneself over.

    As to how that can be reconciled, and prevented, psychiatrically I don’t know; I’m also not sure how to – accurately – reasonably identify and quantify its presence and degree. It’s possible “frustration impact factor” is a component, however deeply underlying, and of unknown size, of a range of mental disorders.

    Nearly all of us deal with, or at least tolerate without consequence, quite a bit of frustation in daily life without traversing that edge; that DMVs nationwide do not suffer from an epidemic of Bill Fosters is ample evidence of that (Bill Foster was Michael Douglas’ character in Falling Down).

    • “Nearly all of us deal with, or at least tolerate without consequence, quite a bit of frustration in daily life without traversing that edge; that DMVs nationwide do not suffer from an epidemic of Bill Fosters is ample evidence of that (Bill Foster was Michael Douglas’ character in Falling Down).”

      Amen! I was thinking the same thing.

      Frustration happens all the time. How we deal with it shows our character, strength, etc. Sometimes it truly is overwhelming. Rarely does that lead to the sort of ‘break’ that we see in the movie, though.

      “Is inability to deal with frustration itself a harbinger of mental disorder?”

      It does seem to lead us to that conclusion, when you look at the overwhelming evidence that the daily frustrations we all experience and manage doesn’t lead to a dozen or so ‘Bill Foster’ moments every hour. The mere fact that we can and do get through life and the myriad frustrations that come with that, would seem to indicate that those who blow their top a lot (anger management?) are the ones with some sort of underlying issue.

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