FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Adam Lanza of Air Travel

Who knows what lurks beneath a smile, an answer to an inquiry about one’s day, or the voice of a pilot who might announce, “We’re at cruising altitude. You can unbuckle your seatbelt and move around the cabin”?

When my husband died and someone, even the mortician, asked how I was doing, I said, “Fine, thank you.” Even though I was far from okay.

An attendant, or the commanding pilot, may have asked 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz who’s blamed for the crash this politeness on the morning he knew he was going to kill 150 people and shatter the lives of their families.

Lubitz may have answered, “Fine.” Certainly he wouldn’t have said, “I’m suicidal, depressed, feeling murderous.”

Andreas Lubitz is now the Adam Lanza of air travel.

Adam Lanza may have said he was fine during the days leading up to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre (December 14, 2012) where he delivered the deadliest mass shooting in US history, killing 20 children and six adults and then committing suicide. He shot his mother at home before going to the school.

Investigators will inspect every detail of Lubitz’s life, just as they did Lanza’s. There will be a search of his house. Most likely they’re there as I write, seizing his computer, examining its hard drive. Lanza destroyed his. Perhaps Lubitz did as well.

Will signs emerge? Certainly they did with Lanza—his fascination with mass shooting, psychological problems, diagnoses of sensory-integration disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Asperger syndrome. His father said he possibly had undiagnosed schizophrenia and psychopathy.

What will we learn about Lubitz? Did he indicate to friends or family that he was troubled? Did he allude to a plan, a scheme perceived as a joke? Mention suicide? Did he have a lover to whom he whispered secrets, his fears, his despair, hatred of someone, self-loathing?

Something usually is discovered, behind a facial expression, just underneath words. Too late, though—too late to prevent a tragedy.

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

November 19, 2018
David Rosen
Amazon Deal: New York Taxpayers Fund World Biggest Sex-Toy Retailer
Sheldon Richman
Art of the Smear: the Israel Lobby Busted
Chad Hanson
Why Trump is Wrong About the California Wildfires
Dean Baker
Will Progressives Ever Think About How We Structure Markets, Instead of Accepting them as Given?
Robert Fisk
We Remember the Great War, While Palestinians Live It
Dave Lindorff
Pelosi’s Deceptive Plan: Blocking any Tax Rise Could Rule Out Medicare-for-All and Bolstering Social Security
Rick Baum
What Can We Expect From the Democrat “Alternative” Given Their Record in California?
Thomas Scott Tucker
Trump, World War I and the Lessons of Poetry
John W. Whitehead
Red Flag Gun Laws
Newton Finn
On Earth, as in Heaven: the Utopianism of Edward Bellamy
Robert Fantina
Shithole Countries: Made in the USA
René Voss
Have Your Say about Ranching in Our Point Reyes National Seashore
Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
Robert Fantina
Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections
Joseph Flatley
The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist
Joseph Natoli
Twitter: Fast Track to the Id
William Hawes
Baselines for Activism: Brecht’s Stance, the New Science, and Planting Seeds
Bob Wing
Toward Racial Justice and a Third Reconstruction
Ron Jacobs
Hunter S. Thompson: Chronicling the Republic’s Fall
Oscar Gonzalez
Stan Lee and a Barrio Kid
Jack Rasmus
Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America
Sam Pizzigati
The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?
Yves Engler
Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?
Cesar Chelala
Can El Paso be a Model for Healing?
Mike Ferner
The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference
Barry Lando
Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels
Ariel Dorfman
The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail