Saturday, December 01, 2007

Surprised There Aren't More Hostage Situations

My main reaction to the hostage situation at one of Hillary Clinton's campaign offices is surprise, and gratitude, that there aren't more such incidents. In the U. S., we have a potent mix of troubled individuals, a violence-soaked popular culture, pervasive pornography, and easy access to weapons and explosives. We not only have a high murder rate but a seemingly constant stream of serial killers, serial rapists, fantasy killings, and other bizarre crimes. Given that there are also continual reports about terrorism, it's surprising that more people haven't adopted terrorist motifs to express their longing for violent revenge and fame.

New Hampshire hostage taker Leland Eisenberg seems to be a good example of what I'm talking about. He claims that he walked into the campaign office with a fake bomb taped to his chest because he was frustrated over his inability to obtain mental health care.

Hillary Clinton believes that account, but I do not!! It sounds too pat, too contrived, and too closely correlated to Hillary Clinton's reputation on health care to be true.

Certainly, Eisenberg is a guy with a lot of long and short-term troubles. He was apparently homeless at the age of twenty-one, accused a Catholic priest of abusing him, and served a 10-12 year prison sentence on a rape count. More recently, he had been arrested for "driving under the influence and stalking" and his wife was divorcing him because of his heavy alcohol consumption, verbal abuse, and threats. That's a load of problems. Nevertheless, it seems like Eisenberg was more frustrated by his lack of fame and celebrity than by a lack of mental health care. Or at least, he was coping with his sea of troubles by trying to become famous. The day before he walked into the Clinton campaign office with a fake bomb strapped to his chest, Eisenberg told his stepson to be sure to watch the television because he knew that he himself would be the center of televised terrorism drama the next day.

It's that convertability of personal breakdowns and traumas into efforts to seek fame through terrorist behavior that's worrisome in the Leland Eisenberg case. I'm glad it doesn't happen more often.


Paulette said...

It appears that Leland planned this event. So is he really mental or is he vying for attention?

riccaric said...

My thought is that he's both.