It may be hard to find amid all the politics, but there’s still lawpsyc news out there, and here’s a quick rundown:
First, remember all of the dead bodies found on that Long Island beach months ago? At first, local authorities were saying that a single serial killer was responsible. I was the first analyst (as far as I know) to say on national television (to Nancy Grace) that I disagreed — i.e. that I thought there was actually more than one killer. Nancy wasn’t buying it that night, but within a few days, the authorities and most major media outlets had adopted the multiple-killer theory. Then last week, some media outlets reported that some investigators working on the case are back to a single-killer theory. I’m not — too many differences in the demographics of the victims, too many apparent “m.o.” (modus operandi) differences in the disposal of the bodies, etc. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
Next, remember the “Craigslist Killer” (the medical student who made arrangements to meet women in hotel rooms then beat and robbed them, killing one, then committed suicide awaiting trial)? Well, it looks like there are now “Craigslist Killers” (plural). Two Ohio men, one age 16 and the other a rural ranch owner, age 52, are suspected of using a Craigslist advertisement for ranch hands to lure, not women but men, to the ranch, where they were murdered (after what kinds of torture we don’t yet know). One would-be victim got away and called authorities, and now both suspected murderers are in custody. The older/younger murder duo is actually not a new phenomenon — remember the “Beltway Snipers” who terrorized the Washington, D.C. region a decade ago, and more recently, the two disgusting excuses for human beings that invaded a Connecticut home, sexually assaulted the mother and at least one daughter, and then set the home on fire, killing three (the father escaped). In the Connecticut case, both defendants received the death penalty, but in the other two cases, the younger defendant received more lenient treatment (the younger “Beltway Sniper” got life in prison while the older was executed, and the younger defendant in this latest “Craigslist” case has been charged as a juvenile when he could’ve been charged as an adult along with the older defendant). If you’re a regular reader or viewer, you already know this, but I don’t accept the notion that younger automatically means less culpable, so while my mind remains open until I hear all the evidence, I’m skeptical that this Ohio 16-year-old has been properly charged. This one will drag out, so stay tuned!
Next up, country singer Mindy McCready kidnapped her son from her mother, the son’s legal guardian, took the child out of the state (of Florida), and tried to evade authorities as they searched for her (McCready) and the boy. It didn’t work. The authorities caught up with McCready hiding out in a closet with the boy in Arkansas. Unbelievably, McCready apparently is not in custody at this hour. This kind of thing goes on far too often in custody disputes, and it’s kidnapping, period. McCready, who has had chronic substance-abuse problems and is now reportedly pregnant with twins — both of whom, if she’s using drugs, she’s already abusing in my opinion — said she had to do it because the grandmother/guardian is abusive, but there’s apparently no evidence of that. And the boy’s father? Well he’s obviously not the boy’s guardian either, so that lets you know — surprise, surprise — pretty much all you need to know about the guy McCready picked (not much help for the kid there — hope the grandmother stays healthy!). Oh, and the boy’s name, for those keeping track along with me…Zander.
Now, you may recall that I’ve written in the past about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE, brain damage resulting from repetitive contact-sports injuries. Well, if you’re interested in that (and if you’re a parent of a child involved in sports like football or ice hockey you probably need to be interested, or at least aware), the New York Times is doing a series on a professional hockey player named Derek Boogaard who died earlier this year, apparently after suffering from CTE. You can also read my previous pieces on it, focusing on football players, in my blog archives dated 9/22/10 and 2/21/11.
And here’s another one that should be of interest to parents: As we head into final examination season here in the college town where I live, students reportedly are rushing frantically from drugstore to drugstore looking for…no, not coffee…not midnight study snacks…not calculator batteries…Adderall. That’s right, Adderall, the ADHD drug. There’s apparently been a nationwide supply disruption in recent weeks, and far too many students who are dependent — or, more accurately, think they’re dependent — on the drug are panicking. Again, you already know this if you read/watch me regularly, but I think ADHD is the most bogusly over-hyped, over-diagnosed, over-medicated disorder plaguing our nation’s kids and young adults. Not only do I think it’s unhealthy for most of the young people who take medication for supposed “ADHD,” but I seriously worry about America going up against our global economic competition in the coming years with a generation of American workers many of whom can’t — or think they can’t — be productive unless they have a drug or two on board!
Lastly this morning, yet another story that should be of interest to parents all across the U.S.A.: One of the young men, now in high school, who has accused a former Penn. State football coach of sexually assaulting him years ago reportedly has had to leave his high school due to bullying from other students. Just think about that for a moment — think about it and hope, as I do, that the students at this particular high school aren’t representative of our high school students nationally. It’s tough to be confident of that, though, when a 2008 study of 30,000 high school students found that 30% admitted to stealing from a store in the past year, and 64% admitted to cheating on a test in the past year, yet 93% said they felt good about their personal ethics and character. I really hope that this study somehow doesn’t generalize to the nation as a whole, just as I really hope that this accuser’s high school peers aren’t representative of his peers nationwide, because I really worry about us going up against our global competition in the years ahead with a young generation of workers that has that high a proportion of unabashed dishonesty in it, let alone a generation that thinks people should keep quiet about child sexual abuse so long as the alleged perpetrator wins football games. That’s insane! Big lessons for parents here, again both repeats, but they bear repeating every so often I think: 1) If you have a kid who’s bullied, you have a big problem, but if you have a kid who is a bully, you likely have an even bigger problem, and 2) We have got to stop socializing kids in this culture to idolize athletic and entertainment figures to such a degree that horrendous behavior is tolerated as long as it comes with talent. And regarding sports, specifically, if you’re not convinced after these resent college-sports-sexual-abuse scandals and the reactions of young people to them (e.g. first, the Penn. State students rioting over the ouster of the “beloved” head football coach who allegedly knew that molestation happened on his watch but did basically nothing about it, and now, these high school students bullying an alleged victim of that molestation from the high school campus) of how stupidly over-emphasized sports are in our culture, then I really don’t know what else to tell you, so, I’ll end here for today.