|May 2009 / Issue No. 47
Many loyal readers may be unaware of the fact that my primary income-producing activity is tax preparation and financial planning. I have been an Enrolled Agent and Certified Financial Planner for almost three decades. As in the field of addiction, I offer an alternative view of the tax and financial world. You are welcome to inquire about these services, which may be more important than ever in this era of financial challenges. Thanks to the telecommunication revolutions, we have clients in 26 states.
Welcome to the Thorburn Addiction Report. Each month, we bring you several sections, including:
1. Top Story of the month
2. Review of the month
3. Dear Doug in which a recent letter to "Dear Annie" or other "help" column is rewritten, with responses given from the unique perspective that alcohol or other drug addiction best explains the misbehaviors described
4. Alcoholic Myth-of-the-Month
5. Alcoholic Antic-of-the-Month, usually where someone deserves the Darwin Award, but lived.
There is something for everyone!
We attempt to post each report to the blog within a day of its arrival in your mailbox. Although we have posted little else, depending on time constraints and other factors, I may begin posting a weekly “Dear Doug” column. We’ll be interested in any thoughts you, our loyal readers, may have.
By the way, call us (800-482-9424) for deals on books you won’t be able to refuse. (They are also available, of course, at www.amazon.com or www.galtpublishing.com.) They make a terrific gift to teens and anyone thinking about becoming professionally or romantically involved with someone else! (…including other drivers, landlords, tenants, employers, employees, neighbors...)
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In a recent piece on white-collar crime, The Economist magazine observed that “many [Club Fed and other white-collar] prisoners suddenly discover, post-conviction, that they had a drinking problem….” This should come as no surprise to our audience. In Drunks, Drugs & Debits: How to Recognize Addicts and Avoid Financial Abuse, I argue that 80-90% of criminals, including those who perpetrate white-collar crime, are addicts.
Students of my books know how to use this simple idea to protect themselves from the financial devastation wrought by addicts. However, try proving the existence of alcoholism when it is so often hidden by both addicts and their enablers. As I wrote in the Top Story on Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and his wife Michelle in the July 2007 edition of TAR:
“I have long bemoaned the fact that the press discloses the drinking and using foibles of celebrities and sports figures while generally failing to report any evidence of use in law enforcers, politicians, CEOs, attorneys and doctors. In my files of likely and confirmed alcoholics, for every [celebrity suspected strictly on behavioral clues, I can confirm addiction in four or five others]; of every four or five law enforcers suspected, I have only one in whom I can prove alcoholism. Yet, the behaviors are similar in all those under suspicion, celebrities and non-celebrities alike.”
This is as true of con artists, including those perpetrating the spate of recent Ponzi schemes, as of law enforcers and CEOs. In the spirit of The Economist’s discovery, I would suggest that those prisoners who have yet to gain such awareness might benefit from greater introspection. The same applies to those who should be in prison but aren’t yet. Let’s take a look at some recent alleged white-collar criminals, for whom the evidence of alcoholism is in the alleged crime itself.
Businessman Tom Petters, whose Petters Group Worldwide owned parts or all of Fingerhut, Polaroid and Sun Country Airlines, charged with running an unusual multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme. Petters promised fat returns to investors who lent him money to buy surplus merchandise and resell it to retailers, including Wal-Mart. According to a federal indictment, there were no such purchases or resales. Instead, Petters used the money raised from new investors to pay off old ones in classic Ponzi-like fashion. He also gifted millions of dollars to colleges, which is significant not only because having university buildings named after oneself is satisfying to the ego, but also because the resulting notoriety is consistent with alcoholic egomania. Oh, and he also funded an “extravagant lifestyle” for himself, which included five lavish homes in several states, several Mercedes, a Bentley and “expensive” boats.
After founding Petters Group Worldwide, Petters often stressed that his core values included caring, humility and integrity. He often said that to “build connections or relationships, you can’t survive without trust.” Yet, his professional life belied the claim. A private investigator, Randy Shain, found that for 15 years up to 2002 there were one or two lawsuits a year for failure to pay for products purchased. Court records show he was involved in multiple breach-of-contract lawsuits with business partners, either he suing them or vice versa.
The problem with Mr. Pettersand the best explanation for the otherwise inexplicable contradiction of overachieving while abusing othersis that he is an addict. His lawyer says he went through rehab for cocaine addiction. The behavioral evidence suggests it was unsuccessful.
Robert Allen Stanford, accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of engaging in a “massive, ongoing fraud” in which eight billion dollars has gone missing. The SEC claims savers who bought uninsured certificates of deposit from his bank with “unusually high yields” of 6% to 10% were told the funds would be primarily invested in easy-to-sell liquid assets. They were instead invested in illiquid assets such as real estate and private equity funds. The SEC tried calling an accountant who was supposed to have audited the investment portfolio, but, according to the SEC complaint, “no one ever answered the phone” (reminiscent of Bernie Madoff’s accounting team of two). The accountant died in January. Among seemingly innocuous questions surrounding his character, Stanford claims to have genealogical research proving he is related to Leland Stanford, the founder of Stanford University, while the university says it has proof he isn’t. He says he went to Baylor University and played football on an athletic scholarship, tearing a rotator cuff and breaking his collarbone along the way. Yet Baylor has no record of such a football scholarship and a college spokesperson says he hasn’t been able to find anyone associated with the team who can recall him ever playing. Little indicators, such as elaborately-told lies, often prove to be the tip of a mighty alcoholic iceberg. This suggests if we were able to dig deep enough we might find that Stanford, too, needs rehab.
California financier Danny Pang, arrested by the FBI on charges of structuring cash transactions totaling more than $300,000 to keep them under the level that triggers a report to the federal government ($10,000 per withdrawal or cashed check). However, this charge is believed to be a “placeholder,” which will allow federal officials to dig deeper into allegations of far graver felonious conduct involving Pang and his Irvine, California investment firm, Private Equity Management Group, known as PEMGroup. Apparently, a page one article in The Wall Street Journal in early April about questionable claims and business practices surrounding Pang caught the FBI’s attention. Questions were raised about Pang’s claim that he had earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from UC Irvine when he had earned neither and that he had previously worked as senior vice president and high-tech merger advisor for Morgan Stanley when he had not. It also included allegations by a fired ex-president of PEMGroup that Pang privately admitted to running a Ponzi scheme inside the firm.
Pang has had a checkered past. His marriage to Janie Louise Pang, who worked on and off as a stripper, was stormy. Police were called to their home four times over complaints of domestic violence (which is an almost-certain indication of alcoholism in one or both spouses). She was quoted in a 1993 incident as saying she was afraid Mr. Pang “was going to kill her.” She told police he’d drained the equity from her parents’ home and spent it on “gambling, women, alcohol, etc.” and later broke her nose while forcing her to withdraw $70,000 from the bank, which she claims he gambled away in one night. In 1997 Pang was accused of a $3 million theft from an escrow account, for which he was never charged and the alleged victim didn’t sue because he later got most of his money back.
A few months later Ms. Pang hired an investigator after observing Mr. Pang holding hands with another woman. The next day, shortly before a schedule meeting with the investigator, Ms. Pang answered the door to their home to a man in a suit with a briefcase who, according to witnesses, asked if she was “Miss Pang” and chased, caught up with and shot her to death (the witnesses, Pang’s son, a maid and the maid’s daughter, fled through the back door). Four years later, authorities arrested a suspect in the slaying, one of Mr. Pang’s attorneys, who faked his suicide off the Golden Gate Bridge days after the murder. The man, Hugh “Randy” McDonald, went to trial and was acquitted, with one juror saying many on the jury thought Pang either killed her or had her killed, because she wanted a divorce and “she probably knew a lot of his business.” When called to testify, Mr. Pang invoked the Fifth Amendment. The lead investigator, Sgt. Yvonne Shull of the Orange County, California sheriff’s department, observed that anytime a husband takes the Fifth regarding his own wife’s death, you have to wonder if there’s something they’ve missed.
The sort of drama and turbulence Mr. Pang has experienced would be unimaginable in the life of, say, Bill Gates, or any other non-alcoholic.
Former Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, along with his brother Robert Blagojevich, his fundraiser Christopher Kelly and three other men, indicted on political corruption charges. Blagojevich’s sordid tale (all alleged, of course) was told in the January 2009 edition of TAR. What’s new to the story is that Kelly, a wealthy roofing contractor, pleaded guilty in January to tax fraud for concealing his use of corporate funds to cover gambling debts and, weeks later, was charged in connection with a kickback scheme at O’Hare International Airport. As mentioned in previous Top Stories on tax cheats (“Survivor’s” Richard Hatch and actor Wesley Snipes), such behavior, especially in conjunction with other misbehavior, is rarely seen in non-addicts.
Mike Carona, who was crowned “America’s Sheriff” by Larry King for having led the search and ultimate capture of the killer of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion, sentenced to 5 ½ years in prison for attempting to obstruct a grand jury investigation into corruption in his office. Numerous behavioral indications of alcoholism were discussed at length in the November 2007 issue of TAR, where Carona qualified for Top Story. Among other clues, he blamed everyone else for his predicament, he was accused of handing out bribes in cash-stuffed envelopes, Sheriff-reserve badges were given to his supporters and those with political connections, he had a long-time mistress and was accused by a former accomplice of being a serial adulterer. Jurors said they thought Carona had accepted cash and improper gifts but acquitted him on related counts because the statute of limitations had run on many of the alleged acts.
Paul A. Morabito and Jack Welti, named in a lawsuit against “brokers at Marcus & Millichap,” a prominent California real estate brokerage, of assembling a portfolio of properties on which franchises such as Jiffy Lube and Church’s Chicken operated, leasing the properties at rents well above market rates and selling them to investors at inflated prices. The suit alleges the tenants then closed the businesses, leaving investors in four states with greatly devalued real estate. Morabito, once described as a “whiz kid” rising fast in the world of real estate and finance, was an emerging figure in Democratic Party politics and recently served as chairman of the State of California Costal Conservancy. Without complicit unnamed appraisers working for PGP Valuation, Inc., a nationwide appraisal firm specializing in commercial and industrial properties, this alleged fraud would have been far more difficult, if not impossible, to perpetrate.
John Malburg, the 40-year-old scion of the family that has for decades run the tiny industrial city of Vernon, four miles south of Los Angeles, sentenced to eight years in prison for sexually molesting one boy over a five-year period and videotaping another for commercial purposes. The case, in which Malburg admitted to abusing the boy while acting as his therapist when the child was 10, arose inadvertently out of an investigation over public corruption involving his father, Vernon Mayor Leonis Malburg, 80. The elder Malburg, along with former longtime city administrator Bruce Malkenhorst, Sr., has been indicted for illegally spending city money for personal use, including “massages,” golf outings, meals and political contributions. The city has less than 100 full-time residents (who, it turns out, may or may not actually live there), almost all in city-owned housing, and rakes in almost $40 million yearly in fees paid by a plethora of industries. Malburg, who has been mayor for 50 years, has been accused of running the city like a fiefdom (The Los Angeles Times ran an excellent series of articles on the alleged corruption that seems to permeate the city). Before he stepped down as city administrator, Malkenhorst was California’s highest paid official, raking in almost $600,000 yearly; he now reportedly receives a pension of over $400,000 (and you wonder why California is broke).
Michael Petronella, 50, and his wife Devon Kile, 44, charged with defrauding the State Compensation Insurance Fund, California’s biggest workers’ comp insurer, of $38 million over a nine-year period beginning in 2000 by underreporting payroll for their three roofing and contracting companies and filing 42 fraudulent claims for uninsured injured workers. The couple spent their ill-gotten gains on five homes, a Bentley, two Ferraris, at least $500,000 in jewelry and other luxury (in this case read: ego-inflating) items. Authorities found $50,000 in cash at their homes, along with an application from Kile to be on the reality TV series “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” The couple is also accused of shorting the State of California about $2.3 million in income tax (which translates to about $23 million in understated income and/or overstated deductions).
I have included perhaps too many recent cases in which alcohol or other-drug addiction should be suspected. However, the lessons are crucial, especially in times of economic strife when the behaviors of addicts may worsen, putting us at greater risk personally and professionally. The SEC roundly ignored Harry Markowitz’s warnings that Bernie Madoff’s returns were mathematically impossible unless he was either front-running trades or operating a Ponzi scheme, so we obviously can’t count on government to protect us from such predators. My books are filled with warning signs that victims of these alleged criminals would have been wise to heed had they been aware of the indicators. We should be constantly vigilant for signs of alcoholism in others, for when the alcoholic who is desperately trying to inflate his ego strikes it could take our life savings, our health and even our lives.
Runners-up for top story of the month:
Lindolfo Thibes, sentenced to 109 years-to-life for sexually assaulting his daughter beginning when she was 6 years old and ultimately fathering her three children. What began as a domestic violence assault in a Las Vegas hospital parking lot in 2005, in which Thibes reportedly stabbed his “girlfriend,” ended up revealing a harrowing tale, in which the girl was found to be his daughter. He monitored her every move for over two decades using surveillance cameras and home imprisonment. He beat her fiercely during paranoid rages. The unnamed daughter, now 29, told authorities he plied her with alcohol and marijuana from the age of 8. While Thibes rambled off a litany of complaints to the judge, calling his trial a “kangaroo court,” the evidence “fraudulent” and testimony “perjured,” DNA tests confirmed the daughter’s account. The story is reminiscent of that of Josef Fritzl, who earned Top Story rights in the June 2008 TAR.
Music producer Phil Spector, 69, (finally) convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson, 40, after pulling a revolver on her, as he had done with many women during drinking episodes. Spector made Top Story in the June 2007 edition of TAR, in which his Jekyll and Hyde, grandiose and just plain crazy behaviors are linked to obvious alcoholism. Spector’s first recorded hit (1958), “To Know Him Is to Love Him,” came from an inscription on the gravestone of his father, who died of suicide, which as explained in Drunks, Drugs & Debits is more often than not rooted in alcoholism. In his own way, he follows in his father’s footsteps.
Kerby Revelus, 23, who was shot and killed by police officers responding to a 911 call from his 9-year-old sister. After fatally stabbing his 17-year-old sister, he decapitated his 5-year-old sister in front of the 9-year-old as the horrified police officers broke in to the home. According to neighbors, Revelus behaved “very erratically” since his release from prison on a gun charge and had gotten into a fist fight with a neighbor the day before. “He would go off, just talking about random stuff, stuff that makes no sense,” said one neighbor. “Sometimes you would see him and he was normal. Sometimes you would see him and he was confused.” Perhaps the fact that Revelus was seen wandering up and down their street “most mornings drinking from a bottle in a brown bag” had something to do with it.
Troy Ryan Bellar, 34, who shot and killed his wife Wendy, 31, and their 5-month-old and 8-year-old sons before killing himself in the front yard of their home near Orlando, Florida. Bellar had been arrested at least twice, once on suspicion of aggravated assault in 1994 and another on suspicion of driving under the influence, in 1999. While a “motive for the killing remained unclear” and neighbors asked, “What motive can you give?” we might respond, “Alcoholic rage. No motive required.”
See most of the stories listed in the Top Story, for which there is plenty of evidence of alcoholism but not necessarily absolute proof.
Alcoholic victims of the month:
Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart, 22, Courtney Frances Stewart, 20 and Henry Pearson, 25, who were killed and Jon Wilhite, 24, who survived, when Andrew Thomas Gallo, 22, blew through a red light at an estimated 65 mph in his Toyota Sienna minivan and broadsided a Mitsubishi Eclipse. Gallo, whose license had been revoked after a 2006 DUI conviction, fled on foot without checking on the victims. He was arrested 30 minutes later and charged with three counts of murder. Despite the fact that he was ordered to take alcohol education classes after his 2006 conviction, his BAL was .24 per cent, three times the legal limit and a level at which most non-addicts would have been rendered nearly unconscious, unable to drive much less run from the scene. As pointed out in Drunks, Drugs & Debits, alcoholics are incapable of self-diagnosis, cannot be “educated” to abstain and need to have logical consequences imposed, just like children. Had Gallo been forced into abstinence with the technology of alcohol testing devices, which should be considered for everyone who has been found guilty of DUI, this tragedy would have been far less likely.
Co-dependent of the month:
Rihanna, whose tale of having been punched, bitten, threatened and choked by her R & B singer boyfriend Chris Brown was briefly told in the Feb-April 2009 TAR, explaining why she’s back with him: “He’ll hit me and feel bad afterward, but then he turns into the sweetest man and becomes my angel. He’ll cry like a little baby when he makes up to me, and that’s the part I love.” She admits, “I’d seen what alcohol and drugs had done to my dad [who was a crack cocaine addict] and I wasn’t going to follow in his footsteps.” Maybe not, but she’s clearly followed in her own way by substituting Brown for her father and thinking abuse equals love. Rihanna, just a thought: wise up, before it ends badly.
Enablers of the month:
Vincent Carroll, who reviewed Jeff Kass’s Columbine: A True Crime Story and Dave Cullen’s Columbine for The Wall Street Journal. Carroll doesn’t mention Eric Harris’s drug use, including the fact that his favorite drugs were vodka and whiskey. The implication is that neither book Carroll reviewed identified alcoholism as the root of the tragedy. I’d like to hope that someone who has read either of these books will prove me wrong. (Had TAR been in existence at the time, Harris and his apparently codependent friend Dylan Klebold would have been the Top Story of the Year. They were mentioned in the April-May 2007 issue of TAR in the Top Story on the mass murderer Seung-Hui Cho, who murdered 32 students and faculty at Virginia Tech.)
The International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement, a group of organizations led by the African People’s Socialist Party, which organized a march of 60 people in support of Lovelle Mixon, 26, who murdered four Oakland, California police officers after a routine traffic stop by two motorcycle cops. As Mixon exited his vehicle, he grabbed a handgun from his car and not only shot the two cops, who fell to the ground, but then approached andget thisshot them in the head execution-style before fleeing on foot. He ended up at his sister’s apartment building, where he had apparently stored an SKS rifle, which he used to ambush the SWAT team as it entered the apartment, killing two SWAT team officers before he was shot and killed. Mixon was no stranger to the criminal justice system: beginning at age 13 he was arrested multiple times for battery. The day prior to the police shootings, Mixon was linked by DNA to the February 2009 rape of a 12-year-old girl. Investigators said he may have committed as many as five other rapes in the same neighborhood during recent months. Those 60 marchers who supported this monster obviously suffer from distortions of perception and confabulated thinking, which are usually rooted in psychotropic drug addiction.
Note to family, friends and fans of the above: the benefit of the doubt is given by assuming alcoholism (they are either idiots and fundamentally rotten, or they are alcoholic/other drug addictswhich would explain the misbehaviors). If alcoholic, there is zero chance that behaviors, in the long run, will improve without sobriety. An essential prerequisite to sobriety is the cessation of enabling, allowing pain and crises to build. Thus far, many have done everything they can to protect the addict from the requisite pain, making these news events possible. The cure for alcoholism, consequential bad behaviors and, ultimately, tragedy, is simple: stop protecting the addict from the logical consequences of misbehaviors and, where possible, proactively intervene.
“The Wisdom of the Rooms,” by Michael Z
“The Wisdom of the Rooms” is a terrific compilation of concepts in the form of quotes collected from the “rooms” of Alcoholics Anonymous, which give food for thought and ways of dealing with life’s challenges for anyone, including non-addicts. Michael’s comments on each idea are instructive and thought-provoking yet succinct, and are followed by a series of “reflections” in the form of related questions to ask of oneself and suitable for discussion with others. Some could be straight out of a Tony Robbins book (“Act as though, until it becomes so”), while others are more obviously original to AA or those who should have been in AA (“Many of us get to Heaven by backing away from Hell”). All are thought-provoking.
Many of Michael Z’s insights into the meaning of the concepts are from his own experience, including “When I did my 4th step it felt as if my life was being turned upside downbut it was really being turned right side up.” This step requires that a searching and fearless moral inventory be taken of self. This can cause such an overwhelming amount of pain that the addict, who is responsible for a plethora of wrongful behaviors, inevitably feels like his life is being turned upside down. The fact is, the addict wasn’t the victim and the 4th step requires that the addict take responsibility for his or her actions. As Michael Z points out, the step is “the very thing needed to turn our lives right side up.”
Some of my favorite “other” concepts, many of which I’d forgotten from my days attending 12-step meetings as part of my own recovery from the addict’s misbehaviors and later research include “No is a complete sentence,” “FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real and more…” and “If nothing changes, nothing changes” (a variation on the definition of insanity: repeating the same thing over and expecting a different result).
As reviewers of the book at Amazon.com write, “It is a spiritual journey into understanding that is not bogged down by a lot of esoteric philosophies,” it’s “a great tool to increase spiritual fitness,” and it’s “like family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation that finally get put down on paper.” All 30 reviews give it a well-deserved five stars, including mine. I also recommend subscribing to Michael Z’s weekly Monday morning "Wisdom Quote," for which you can sign up free. These will ultimately be included in future books (he’s already published Volume Two).
"The Wisdom of the Rooms” is perfect for reading a snippet at a time and is a great book to add to the stack on the bedroom night stand.
By the way, I posted a version of this review at Amazon.com. If you found my review helpful, I’d appreciate a “yes” click where it asks, “Was this review helpful to you?”
My friend loves a pet killer
My friend wants to marry a man despite the fact he deliberately and heinously killed her 10-year-old pet. She also admitted to me he’s abusive in other ways. She rejects professional help and says he’s wonderful and she’s happy. I fear for my friend’s life. Is there anything I can do?
Concerned for her friend
. . . . .
Dear Friend of Codependent,
Other columnists would appropriately respond that if the boyfriend killed your friend’s pet, you and some other close people should gather with her and express alarm and concern for her safety. Everything should be done to get her to leave him immediately. A full-on intervention with a counselor might even be suggested, along with asking for advice from the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
All of this is sound advice. The only point other columnists would omit is the one they almost always miss: the abuser is almost assuredly an alcoholic. Every instance of animal abuse I have investigated has involved an alcohol or other-drug addict. Since such addicts are capable of anything, your friend is truly at risk.
(Source for story idea: Annie’s Mailbox, February 9, 2009.)
“Many motives drive mass murders.”
So said a spate of “experts” in response to the rash of mass murders in recent months. Personal failures and revenge were cited as factors in the Binghampton, N.Y. massacre, in which Jiverly Wong (aka Jiverly Voong), 42, gunned down 13 people in an immigrant center. These same so-called experts say anger is a common thread among such mass killers, who act on that anger by showing others who’s boss. Professor of criminology at Northeastern University in Boston, James Alan Fox, says that “men will often use violence to show them who’s boss, to assert control.” According to a colleague of his, Jack Levin, mass murderers “typically” have no criminal record or history of psychiatric treatment, which he says would describe another recent mass killer, Robert Stewart, who burst into a North Carolina nursing home and killed seven residents and a nurse. However, the former house painter had a DUI on his record and was disabled, which suggests possible use of pain killers. His ex-wife, from whom he had been divorced since 2001, said he had “some violent tendencies from time to time,” which in conjunction with the DUI virtually confirms alcoholism. Wong had been investigated on a tip that he had a crack cocaine “habit” and was planning to rob a bank. In addition, the building he lived in was a “magnet” for drug dealing and prostitution. Few if any non-addicts would live in such a building.
Yet actual use often goes unreported or is reported only months after the incident in minor one-paragraph articles. Three months after the murder-suicide, Bruce Pardo, dubbed the Santa Claus killer, was reported to have had “small” amounts of cocaine in his system when he killed nine people in December. While authorities cannot say whether the drug affected his behavior, the odds of a non-addict over the age of 25 getting his hands on cocaine are remote. And recall I had to read a dozen articles on the anthrax killer, Bruce E. Ivins, before discovering in the 28th paragraph of the 13th article that he’d been in alcohol rehab twice last year as discussed in the Aug 2008 issue of TAR.
As shown in Drunks, Drugs & Debits, the odds of alcohol or other drug addiction in a convicted felon, or in one who should be convicted, are at least 80%. Many other motives have been offered for committing murder, including even heavy-metal music. As I wrote in the May 2005 TAR “Myth of the Month” in which the idea that music could be an incitement to murder was thoroughly debunked, “While mass or serial murderers about whom biographies have been written can almost always be identified by the careful reader as alcoholics, there is often little in all-too-brief newspaper reports offering confirming evidence of alcoholism. However, the likelihood is at least 80% that the motive behind the crime is egomania rooted in this disease.” While the circumstances and environment of the addict helps determine the particular destructive path he or she takes, alcoholism is usually at the root of such wanton destruction.
In the Nov-Dec 2008 TAR I suggested the likelihood that, due to the economic turmoil (which I believe could get far worse), we might be on the cusp of a marked increase in violence. Since we are all at increased risk, it bears repeating:
“Greater…strife, including violence, is a predictable result of an increase in unemployment-induced re-channeling of alcoholic power-seeking misbehaviors. Naturally, ‘financial problems’ will be blamed, but we will know the truth.
“Attempts to wield power may take form in greater violence outside of the home as well. My friend and publisher of The Elliott Wave Theorist Robert Prechter, Jr. and a subscriber of his, John Whitney, discovered a link between bear markets and an increase in serial and mass murder. Charles Manson and his followers committed their heinous crimes in 1969, which encompassed a bear market in stocks. There was an especially large number of such murders during the 1970s, a decade during which stocks essentially went nowhere. Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy and David Berkowitz went on killing sprees over the course of several years in the middle of that decade. As Whitney wrote on the elliotwave message board, ‘Jeffrey Dahmer killed his first victim in 1978 and then lay dormant until 1987 when he began again, only being caught at the tail end of the recession in 1991 as the [1990s] bull market was beginning.’ Jim Jones convinced 900 men, women and children to commit Kool-Aid suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, near the end of the stagflation of the 1970s. Every one of these murderers was an alcoholic.”
The Associated Press report of April 6, 2009, from which this myth was taken, said, “Like Wong, hundreds of thousands of Americans have been laid off in recent months. And Stewart…is not the first man whose wife has left him.” Most never hurt anyone. Levin says it is virtually impossible to know that someone is going to commit mass murder. While this is true, we can at least narrow the focus of our greatest concerns to the 10% of the population with the disease of alcoholism. Those who know how to spot them, as I show in How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics, can gain an enormous advantage over others.
Story from “This is True” by Randy Cassingham, with his “tagline:”
“STRIKE THREE: Jo A. Trilling, of Spokane, Wash., was visiting Wisconsin last year when a Sheboygan County sheriff's deputy stopped to help her -- the car she was driving was stuck in a ditch. The deputy noticed she was wearing only one shoe, and smelled of booze. Her blood alcohol measured 0.21 percent, and she was arrested for drunk driving. The next day, the Kohler-Andrae park superintendent noticed her stuck in the snow. She mentioned to him that ‘I am still finishing up the box of wine in my car from yesterday,’ and she was arrested for drunk driving; her blood alcohol level wasn't reported. The next day, a motorist reported Trilling was weaving ‘all over the road.’ She was arrested a third time: her blood alcohol level was 0.16 percent. Once all the court cases were sorted out she was fined $730, then $906, and then $1,221 -- a total of $2,857, plus $372 for resisting one of the arrests -- and sent on her way. (Sheboygan Press) ...Though I hope they took her car keys away first.”
Authorities should be obligated to take away the keys. Better yet, such culprits should be detained until the BAL is zero and then given an ankle bracelet as a (temporary) parting gift. I suppose this might violate the Constitution, but it would be a heck of a lot more effective than the equally unconstitutional and ineffective War on Drugs. If we are to dramatically reduce the numbers of DUIs who maim and kill others, logical consequences need to be offered to those who create trouble for others. (If such consequences had been offered to Andrew Thomas Gallo, who no doubt had driven while under the influence on countless occasions, Nick Adenhart and the others killed in his vehicle might be alive today.) While Trilling was ultimately sentenced to a month in jail and a $3,000 fine (not enough), repeatedly letting her go without restricting her ability to drink after having proven to society she cannot safely use is not an appropriate and logical consequence.
(Story and tagline from “This is True,” copyright 2009 by Randy Cassingham, used with permission.)
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Have you visited the Prevent Tragedy Foundation" The Prevent Tragedy Foundation is a tax-exempt 501c-3 organization, the goal of which is to educate the general public on the need for early detection of alcohol and other drug addiction. The Foundation is intended to answer a question that has been all-but-ignored by similar organizations: what does alcoholism look like before it becomes obvious"
Click here to visit the Prevent Tragedy Foundation
The Thorburn Addiction Report is a free newsletter published by Galt Publishing and PrevenTragedy.com. Subscibe by visiting our web site at www.PrevenTragedy.com.
The Thorburn Addiction Report is available to newspapers as a regular feature column.
Inquiries are invited.
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