Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Pedro Vargas murders: roid rage?

From the Miami Herald:

Jorge Bagos, who also worked out with Vargas, told the Associated Press that Vargas had mentioned exercising as a way to release his anger. Bagos said Vargas complained of bad experiences with women, and blamed his hair loss on steroid use.
Although police said Vargas asked for his girlfriend while speaking with a hostage negotiator in his final hours, neighbors and associates never saw Vargas with a woman or heard of him having a girlfriend.
Hair loss from steroid use? Problems with anger? Fantasy indistinguishable from reality? That paints a picture, doesn't it!?

Other details about Vargas emerge in the Herald's background piece, and I encourage you to read the whole thing if you are following the case, but those who have seen guys abuse steroids and start to lose touch with planet Earth probably have the crime figured out already.

So we have, sadly, another spree shooting apparently attributable to the shooter's twisted mental state, the state in this case self induced through abuse of steroids. The matter will never be fairly tried in court, since we cannot try a corpse, and of course it is possible that the press has the story wrong. But as it looks at this point, we have another case of a crazed killer, in the literal sense of crazed, as in crazy.

With the possible exception of the crime of Major Nidal Hasan, all the recent big-headline spree shootings have been attributable in one way or another to the abnormal mental state of the actor, a difficult point as we work out the correct balance between the general right to keep and bear arms and the instance-specific limitations upon that right. We don't want people who are off their rockers walking around with guns, but on the other hand, how do you stop them without infringing on the rights of, say, the moderately eccentric? We really don't know as much as we need to about the criminally insane and their problems. We need to avoid putting ourselves in the position of burning down the house to roast the pig inside.

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