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Who is James Holmes?
Aired July 23, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.
The man suspected of killing 12 people and terrorizing countless others shows his face to the world. Wild hair, droopy eyelids. What can his appearance tell us about this man?
Tonight, those who lived through trauma and overcome it share their survival stories. The brother of a Columbine victim says healing is possible.
Plus, we will tell you what to do if your life is threatened with violence. We want to hear from you now, 1-855-DRDREWT.
Let`s get started.
Now, you heard there what the show is going to be about tonight, but mostly, I want to speak to you from the heart. I want to stay as far away from any scripts or reading anything to you guys tonight. I want us to have a conversation. I want to get to as many calls as possible.
It`s time that we made sense of this, that we hear from the country. And then I want to do what I can, as a physician, to help people make sense of this understand it. We hope we are going to give you something here tonight that you just can`t get anywhere else.
I have been on everyone else`s shows all day long talking about the guys with red hair. You can draw your own conclusions. Not a normal guy.
But let`s think about this -- this is a guy that still, in spite of possibly having severe mental illness, planned this devastation for three or four months.
I want to talk about that.
Joining me: attorney Areva Martin.
Now, that`s where I want to start with, pleas of insanity. He, in my opinion, no doubt this guy has mental illness but I don`t want anyone with mental illness to feel as though they are being painted with the brush of somebody like this.
AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: Yes.
PINSKY: They shouldn`t be stigmatized because of this guy`s behavior.
Now, so he has a problem disconnected from reality, behaving in weird ways. In the eyes of the law, to be insane though, you have to not know right from wrong.
MARTIN: Absolutely. Absolutely.
PINSKY: And in this case, you would have to say -- there is his picture now behind me -- you would have to say for three or four months while he methodically planned this horrible thing, he didn`t know right from wrong? That`s going to be impossible.
MARTIN: I don`t know, Dr. Drew. You know, the first thing we have to do is be careful about rushing to judgment. We`re seeing so many of these cases --
PINSKY: Areva, the guy walks in with guns and starts shooting people.
MARTIN: But you got to think about what happens in a legal proceeding.
PINSKY: That`s what make me upset.
MARTIN: If he is going to walk in that courtroom, the lawyers are going to walk in, his defense attorney, and we are going to hear a plea of not guilty. And it may be a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. So, everyone -- yes, we saw it yes, the guy turned himself in the police came, he was arrested, no doubt about it, he shot.
PINSKY: Why doesn`t he just plead guilty? Why doesn`t he just plead guilty? Why not?
MARTIN: Because is there an issue about his capacity, his capacity to know that he was killing those individuals. That is going to become a central part. What was his mental state at the time of the shootings?
PINSKY: That day? That day?
MARTIN: That day, as well as now, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: And how about the three months before, though?
MARTIN: That is going to become an issue as well. But what the court is going to be looking at. You can rest assure the public defender is going to ask for an evaluation. They are going to want a psychological evaluation to determine if he is competent, competent to stand trial.
First question, very important question -- we are going to have to look at can this guy even stand trial.
PINSKY: And what are the criteria for that? Like, today, he was obviously sedated. In my opinion, he was on meds. I think antipsychotic medications that make people look like that literally can`t lift their eyelids up. But they can still understand what was going on.
MARTIN: I don`t know if he was on meds whether this is calculated by the public defender. His defense attorney has a job to do. He`s got to walk in to this courtroom --
PINSKY: The public defender says come in with your eyes droopy and your hair --
MARTIN: Well, I`m not going to attribute that to the public defender.
PINSKY: Why doesn`t she try to change that? Why does she have him make him cut his hair? Lighten up on the meds?
MARTIN: The defense is insanity. So, do we want him in a business suit? Do we want him clean shaven? Do want him to look like a college student?
Or do we want a guy in red and orange hair that looks scary?
Which guy is, you know, more likely to be --
PINSKY: That is interesting. All right. So, you`re saying they are going for the insanity plea.
I want to get to calls as fast as possible. Thank you, Areva.
Pat in Arkansas. Pat, what do you got for us?
PAT, CALLER FROM ARKANSAS: I`m thinking that they have put him on the stand too soon because he is definitely under -- under narcotics because I have been in his position, went to court too soon. And during the court session, I don`t remember anything because I had so much chemicals in my body. I could I walk, could I talk and I could respond, but I did not remember anything about two weeks.
PINSKY: OK. But, Pat, you say narcotics, you are talking about pain medicines, opioids, right?
PAT: Anything that will mess up the mind and the way you`re not --
PINSKY: OK. I can tell you, even if you look at this picture here, his pupils were mid-position. If he were on pain killers, which has been alleged, his pupils would be pinned. In withdrawal, his pupils would be blown, big.
So I don`t see -- I see more like the doctors are giving him stuff to keep him from being so agitated, which undoubtedly he was when he got there.
MARTIN: And I just want to address Pat`s question how soon he went to court. The prosecutors had 72 hours in which to get this guy into court. So we now know he asked for an extension.
So, he didn`t really -- what happened today in court? They were in court about 10 minutes total and he is going to be back in court next Monday. So that`s why you really didn`t hear much going on and he didn`t say anything. We heard the lawyers talking on his behalf.
So, Pat, we are going to see a lot more of this guy. I mean, this is really just the beginning of these legal proceedings.
PINSKY: And, by the way, these public defenders, they just sort of -- they have limited resources, they have limited time. Their name comes up. Somebody -- somebody got this case on that particular day.
MARTIN: And typical case, Dr. Drew. But let`s think about it. This is historic. This shut biggest case we are going to see in the nation`s history. So, this isn`t going to be your typical government employee, your typical public defender. You are going to see the best, the brightest, the smartest.
MARTIN: The most strategic lawyers involved in this case and I bet you are going to see resources because public defenders they can work for the county, they are government employees. So, there is opportunity to pour more resources into a case like this.
PINSKY: That`s interesting.
Now, people wonder why we haven`t heard from the officials when they asked, the press asked, has he been medicated?
Now, my understanding is HIPAA law is applied to him even though he is in jail. So, we will not know his medical record until he`s convicted probably.
MARTIN: Absolutely not.
PINSKY: OK. So we will not know whether he`s getting medication or not. The fact is people ask me, can he be forced to take medication? Yes, he can be, in an emergency if he is so agitated, that he`s dangerous to himself and others, they will medicate him, whether it is in a hospital or a in a jail.
MARTIN: You know what is going to be so troubling about this case, Dr. Drew, is that there are constitutional rights and constitutional protections, even for someone that commits mass murder, like in this case. So, people are going to want to see things happen. They are going to want to se things happen quickly.
But we have to remember, he has a constitutional right to counsel. He is going to have rights to accept medication or not. You know, accepting those cases that you have just defined.
So, we have to be really patient, parent with the system it has to play itself out.
PINSKY: Right there to me unfortunately is where the rubber hits the road. You brought up this issue of the right not to take medication. I bet you, we are going to find out this is a guy that should have been medicated months ago and refused to take medication and we have a problem.
We`d problem with our mental health system getting the resource to mental health patients and we have a problem getting them to take their medicines if they -- Virginia Tech, same exact situation. A guy could have been medicated, that didn`t have to happen. It did.
MARTIN: But you know that adult, once someone is an adult, getting them medicated becomes a really complicated matter.
PINSKY: OK. So, that`s one of the big issues I wanted to address here today. What do you do if you are a parent, you have an adult child, let`s says it`s like the Virginia Tech kid, let`s say it`s like this guy, and you`re a parent, you`re a mother and a father who love your child but you see trouble brewing. They talk crazy, you know they are in trouble, they won`t take meds, they won`t see the doctor, they won`t follow direction.
What can you do?
MARTIN: Something called conservatorship and you can go into court if you have medical evidence that a person is incompetent if a person needs medication because they are not able to make decisions on their own. Their mental state is in question.
But think about this case, Dr. Drew. Everything that we know about the shooter in Colorado doesn`t suggest he was acting weird. I mean, he was a college student. He had graduated with honors. He was in a graduate program.
We are not seeing some of the typical behaviors that we see that would cause, I think, a court to even say this guy needed a conservator.
PINSKY: Unless it had been an acute, severe decompensation, time will tell if that is the case.
But this is important for people at home. If you have a kid who is struggling, you can get conservatorship. If your doctors tell to you get a conservatorship, do not go -- that is going to ruin my relationship with my kid. Don`t do that. It drives me insane when parents do that, because it can save the kid`s life, it can save other people`s life.
If they are staying is time for conservatorship, it is a serious situation. It takes time, takes money and you got to take direction.
Areva, thank you.
Coming up: Craig Scott survived the high school shooting at Columbine, but his sister did not. He is here with his thoughts about pain, grief and healing. And why, for him, the Columbine incident may have been a blessing. Believe that, after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that a man can really walk casually, like nothing happened, knowing that he just shot a whole bunch of people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m definitely not going to recover from this overnight and take a little bit of time -- probably somebody to talk to help me understand what just happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: All right. A couple things here: we are having a little bit of technical issue and you Craig is not quite ready yet.
But I want to take your calls. We`ll go right ahead on to calls.
Before I do I want to talk a little bit, though, about what we are trying to do this evening. We`re just trying to create opportunity to talk about this a couple points to take home, because I`m hoping tonight people learn something from this show.
One is that if you isolate and sit with your fears, whether you have been watching this on television or you worked in the movie theater or knew somebody that worked in Aurora, whatever the circumstance might be, if you isolate, you increase your risk for psychiatric/psychological problems later. Right now is the time to reach out for help, to talk to get support from your community, to get -- to organize a concept of faith, of a higher power and service to other people this is a time, when by taking action, you can prevent problems later. That is number one.
Number two, this guy on the screen over here, not the guy up here right now, the guy up with the orange hair and all there he is now the guy up on the screen, the guy we are seeing all day -- I`m an internist, I`m not a psychiatrist. OK? I`m an internist/addictionologist.
I`ve worked in psychiatric hospital for 25 years. I saw a lot of cases like this. It`s not a difficult thing for an internist even to make an assessment of what`s going on. You see these things over and over and over again. It`s how it works.
Now, I`m not psychiatrist, I wouldn`t be treating somebody like that, but certainly internists, people like me, make diagnosis like this every day.
It`s sort of fairly evident what`s going on here. And I`ll tell you what`s not evident, though, what`s not obvious about this guy is the way he methodically prepared for this. That`s what`s bizarre and troubling about this case. That`s the part that has everybody so angry. That`s the part where you have to wonder, is this not just the guy who psychotic, meaning believing he hadn`t been disconnected from reality, and not understand even who he is, or what he`s doing, that`s psychosis.
Do you remember the guy that was in San Diego? The manic guy, the Kony guy, that was a psychotic episode as opposed to a psychopathic episode, somebody who`s born that way, who doesn`t believe that there is -- other people have agency and exist in and of themselves. That is probably some component, it seems, of what`s going on here, which is what is so disturbing.
Jessica Ghawi was an aspiring sportscaster. She went to the midnight movie last Thursday in Aurora, Colorado, and incredibly she has just missed -- get this, she was vacationing in Toronto and just missed being killed by a shooter there past June.
Joining us now her brother, Jordan Ghawi.
Jordan, you know, everything we hear about your sister, she is an unbelievable person. How is your family doing? How is everyone doing?
JORDAN GHAWI, SISTER KILLED IN COLORADO MASSACRE: My family is, of course, devastated but we`re continued to be surrounded by friends and family we`re getting to reminisce about my sister and what she meant to us and how we can fulfill her dreams.
PINSKY: You know, I was hoping to have Craig Scott here for you, Jordan, he was guy that was in Columbine. His sister got killed in that incident. And I hopefully, we`re going to get him over the next break or so.
But what he was saying -- what I`ve heard him say is that this is a very long process, you need professional help. You need to be able to create meaning out of this. You have to have a concept of faith.
How are you proceeding? What are you doing?
GHAWI: Well, we are remembering my sister and the 11 others, right now, nonstop, just trying to get her name, her story out there and the rest of the victims. We want to fulfill her dream, to be sports journalist, like you said. So, we`re establishing funds right now to help other aspiring females that would like to go into that field so that my sister can live on through them.
It`s just about moving forward by remembering the names to of the other victims and celebrating their lives.
PINSKY: And, Jordan, I have seen your mom speaking a bit about this and she seems like a courageous woman. How is she doing?
GHAWI: My entire family has built -- my sister to her strength. She is hurting, of course, but she is staying strong, like sitting with family and talking about my sister and keeping her memory alive is what is getting every one of us continue on and keeping her in our hearts and minds.
PINSKY: OK. I want to see if you can get a couple of calls going for you here? Do you have any callers up there? We`re going to get some calls, please.
This is Hannah in Nebraska. Hannah, what do you got for us?
HANNAH, CALLER FROM NEBRASKA: Hi, Dr. Drew. I love your show.
PINSKY: Thank you, Hannah.
HANNAH: I just wanted to know how important is it for the families involved in this tragedy to seek grief counseling? And more importantly, what kind of impact could it have on their lives they don`t receive counseling?
PINSKY: Yes. Hannah, that`s the very point I`m trying to make in this block, which is that if you don`t get treatment, if you don`t start to reach out and get help, you can be at risk for die press, posttraumatic stress disorders, various longer term consequences.
We really call this sort of psychiatric psychological first aid now so you decrease the risk of infections and disabilities later. You mentioned group therapy. Particularly, a group can be helpful, individual therapy helpful. Again, being of service to other people, as Jordan is establishing an organization to do so now, this is how people heal and get better.
Marcia in Washington. Marcia, you got something for us?
MARCIA, CALLER FROM WASHINGTON: Yes. Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Marcia.
MARCIA: With all the planning and stuff like you said, the buying six guns in two months and all the ammo, shouldn`t that have set off a red flag for the FBI and Homeland Security to talk to this guy and maybe get him for weapons charges?
PINSKY: I believe most of what he was doing was legal. In fact, if you have been watching the news all day, he tried to join a gun club and that guy, the owner of that club found his answering machine to be so bizarre that he wanted to keep him out of that gun club and learn more about this guy.
Listen, I am sort of trying to stay away from the political issues of gun control and weapons of -- these incredible assault weapons. Rational people can see there is a point to be made here. I just -- really that`s not my place. But I agree with you. I wish somebody had spoken up with him.
Well, I want to thank you, Jordan. And please, our wishes go out to you and your family. And again, if want to tell us what the organization is you are setting up for your sister?
GHAWI: Yes, it is going to be a Jessica Redfield Ghawi fund to help aspiring female journalists get into sports journalism.
PINSKY: Great. Thank you, Jordan.
Next up, I believe Craig Scott is going to join us, if he is ready. If he is not, I`m going to take your calls. He is going to tell us how he healed from a similar situation to Jordan, how he was able to heal from the Columbine tragedy.
PINSKY: I have Craig Scott now. He was in the Columbine High School library in April 1999, when a teacher ran in, warning students about two boys who are shooting at classmates. Craig then took cover under a table.
Craig tours the country promoting something called Rachel`s Challenge. It is a nonprofit organization that promotes school safety by challenging students and teachers to live more compassionate lives.
Craig, thanks for joining us.
Now, your -- you have been through --
CRAIG SCOTT, RACHEL`S CHALLENGE: Thank you so much, sir.
PINSKY: Tell us your story. Tell us what you went through and how you were able to heal. I think the message tonight to viewers is how do we get through this?
SCOTT: Well, I was in the school library during the shooting at Columbine. I had two friends underneath the table that were killed next to me and 10 students that were killed around me and dozens that were wounded. And like the people that were in the theater, we were trapped. At first, we thought it was a prank. Experienced a lot of the same feelings probably that they experienced inside of that theater.
I barely escaped. Some of us students helped each other to get out. And it was later that same day that my family learned that my sister, Rachel, was the first student that was killed.
PINSKY: And my understanding, Craig, is that as you went forward after you tried to get over this event, you actually were having severe flashbacks and you went so far as you actually, I guess, getting confused about a circumstance and being aggressive with your little brother. Is that right?
SCOTT: That`s right. I dealt with a lot of anger after the Columbine shooting. I hated the two shooters. They had no right to do what they did. They killed innocent people.
And I watched in the media as they began to ask the question why and I felt like people began to sympathize, even victimize the shooters, and that made me even more angry. But I found that my anger started to affect my family, my little brother that I was close with, and one day, as I began -- as I held onto that anger toward the shooters, I actually exploded in rage and I scared my brother, I pulled a knife on him. And I was just -- I was outside of myself.
And I realized that I was actually becoming more like the shooters as I focused on and held onto my anger and hatred towards them.
And so I had some steps that I made to heal and to transition to that -- from that to where I am now.
PINSKY: Craig, I think we are all feeling that hatred for this guy who we saw in court today. What are some tips, I`ve only got about 30 or 40 seconds, what do you think we can all do to help heal?
SCOTT: I think it`s absolutely understandable to be angry. And you have the right to be angry at this person that has killed innocent and wounded so many.
My challenge to people that are dealing with this tragedy directly is to not let this shooter, not let James steal anything from within you. Don`t let him steal your peace. Don`t let him steal your joy or your life.
I would say that even though you have that right to be angry, I would say eventually, to let that go or to channel it into something positive and to focus on the good things about the lost loved ones. Not to focus so much on James. There is no good reason that he did this.
And I believe that ultimately, for me and my healing process, it`s very too early to talk about with this tragedy, but with my process, forgiveness was a big part of me letting go and healing. It doesn`t mean what somebody does is OK. It means you let go of that anger. And I know that helped me heal tremendously.
PINSKY: Thank you, Craig. I think those are very wise words.
Also, some sort of spiritual connection with something bigger than yourself, a higher power, whatever it might be, service to other people, and again this is going to take some time, professional help if you need it.
Back with more calls after this.
PINSKY: Coming up, would you know what to do if your life were threatened, if your very survival was at stake, what would you do? A man with the answers is going to tell us how to respond to dangerous situations. There are ways to increase the probability of your survival. You do not have to be victim. We are taking your calls, 855-DRDREW5.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was standing literally directly above me. I could feel his boot right next to my head. I just stayed as still as I possibly could and I prayed and I prayed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just like shattered my gums, knocked out a tooth.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ali stood up. She was immediately shot, and she was shot in the neck. Stephanie, 21 years old, had the presence of mind to drop down on the ground with her, pull her out of the aisle, applied pressure the entire time, while the gunman was still shooting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): These are unbelievable stories, and my hope is, tonight, we`ll help process this, make sense of it, talk about how to deal with these traumas, who this guy was, and now, something a little different. I want to talk about how from profound tragedy, these incredible stories of survival be emerged, there are many people who are in the movie theater early and managed to avoid being shot.
I want to talk about how you can increase the probability of survival in these extreme circumstances. Joining me is Kaj Larsen, a navy SEAL, who can walk us through some of these issues. Isn`t that the goal is to increase the probability you would survive if you were in these extraordinary circumstances?
KAJ LARSEN, FORMER CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely true. One centimeter. One centimeter is the key number here, because that can be the difference between life and death, between that bullet going through Ali`s neck or through her carotid artery.
LARSEN: And so -- once -- if you can just tip the margin of error slightly in your favor, you increase the odds that that one centimeter advantage is on your side.
PINSKY: OK. So, let me ask some basic questions. We`ve heard about people diving and getting behind -- sort of taking cover. Is that right?
LARSEN: So, let`s be clear, in many of the cases in this terrible tragedy, people were caught by surprise, and no amount of training or preparation could have helped them.
PINSKY: OK. But that`s usually what would happen --
PINSKY: -- caught by surprise. I mean, no one is going to warn us they`re going to come around -- even at columbine, that was -- they had two seconds warning but not enough to do anything.
LARSEN: So, no way are we Monday morning quarterbacking the actions of the victims in the theater. There are certain things you can do in a survival situation to, again, help increase those chances. What you said, maybe the first rule, right after don`t panic, because panic kills more people than anything. Probably the second thing you want to do is look for cover and concealment.
PINSKY: OK. So, don`t panic and then cover and concealment.
LARSEN: Right. And there`s a difference and distinction between cover and concealment. Cover, something that actually protects you from bullets. Concealment something that hides you from the view of an active shooter.
PINSKY: OK. Let`s say we were in the theater when the guy opened fire, would the best thing have been to dive behind the seats?
LARSEN: Absolutely. The worst possible thing, sometimes the best thing you can do is not panic and not stand up and start fleeing the theater.
LARSEN: That`s making yourself an active target. If you think about the way a shooter tracks a moving target, or frankly, the way any hunter tracks his target, they`re attracted to motion.
LARSEN: So, you don`t want to start with instantaneous motion.
PINSKY: Unless, you have an exit right there behind you.
LARSEN: Unless, you have an egress route that right there and you have some cover, concealment from the shooter.
PINSKY: Do you feign death?
LARSEN: This is a question that`s hotly debated among survival experts, and it`s a function of physics. How close you are to the shooter? How close you are to the exit? If -- generally, in my opinion, if the shooter is close enough to you that you`re considering playing possum, my preference is that you`re an active victim as opposed to a passive victim.
PINSKY: So, get out of there?
LARSEN: Get out of there, or a very close proximity instance, it might actually be advantageous to attack the shooter.
PINSKY: Oh, attack him if you`re very close? And if you`re near an exit?
LARSEN: Get out.
PINSKY: Get out.
LARSEN: Get out, but really what you said first is primary. Get as low as you can and start low crawling towards an exit route.
PINSKY: The other thing is, what about saving other people? I know as a father, I could -- and I -- if there was any possibility I could save someone in my family, I would have to. I`d rather -- I couldn`t survive and then got hurt if I could have done something. I could do it. I would have to take the guns and have to shoot me right there. Do you do that? Do you try to save others?
LARSEN: I think this is an ethical, not a tactical question. When you ask me that I can`t help but think of some of my colleagues from the SEAL teams who made the ultimate sacrifice, guys like Michael Murphy who exposed himself to fire (ph) in order to save their special reconnaissance element. But those are rare individuals. It`s a choice every individual has to make in the heat of the moment.
PINSKY: And yet, we`re hearing stories emerged from the theater where people actually did that. People diving in front of their girlfriends, their loved ones. And I -- to me --
LARSEN: Isn`t this the beauty of human condition now that in the face of great tragedy, there`s these incredible stories of heroism?
LARSEN: In the darkest of times, we find small piece of light.
PINSKY: And we heard that one father of the four-month-old who got out of the theater and felt like he had to go back if there`s any possibility. Now, I would -- I understand that. We`d have to -- I would not survive. I would not want to survive if somebody I love perished in that.
LARSEN: Totally understandable. One other thing that I think we should address from a survival perspective, and you can talk to the biological response of this better, but in a situation where adrenaline is flowing and your body is in fight or flight mode, you lose your fine motor movements.
LARSEN: So, lots of people say like, hey, get out the cell phone and call for help.
LARSEN: A vast majority of people in that circumstance will not be able to push the buttons --
PINSKY: Oh, yes. That seems like a waste of energy and focus.
LARSEN: In the SEAL teams, we practice gross motor movements in times of combat, big motions that you can`t mess up because your dexterity isn`t there. So, that is exactly right. It`s a waste of time.
PINSKY: Dial when you get out.
LARSEN: Get to a safe location, find cover, concealment, and then worry about the communications.
PINSKY: And what if you`re experiencing sort of a freeze response? A lot of people, they freeze in extreme situations. You try to fight that?
LARSEN: Absolutely. I mean, I think, probably, far and away, beyond standing up and running the worst thing that you can do is just stay frozen.
PINSKY: Freeze. Not be able to take active or assess the situation. Let`s see if we can take a call real quick. Sandra in Georgia. Sandra, you got something for us?
SANDRA, GEORGIA: Yes, Dr. Drew.
SANDRA: In my group of middle-aged educated soccer moms and two- parent families who breastfed their sons, who bought all the right educational toys, we limited TV time, we all have 20-something sons who, at one time or another, have exhibited some of the same warning signs of the shooter, you can`t just rush your son to the hospital or call the police when your son calls you to tell you he has withdrawn from all his classes and feels empty. Please tell us what is this thing we, parents, are supposed to do with these big boys when they`re 23, 24, 25?
PINSKY: You`ve described right in that little scenario with many different situations. Usually, when somebody is calling and saying they`re withdrawing from classes, it`s their freshman year of something. And in fact, what you want to do is get them mental health services. I mean, that`s very much the point.
Is it -- there are signs of depression that that aid (ph) group manifests that go undealt with or anxiety or panic, and they`re very, very common. And if you take action and get them proper medical care, they do great. They can do fantastic. If you don`t, the liabilities start to go up. I think the bottom line message in what you`ve asked me is, use mental health services.
Don`t be afraid to do that. Most of the schools have exactly those sorts of services completely set up for your children. Use them. Realize that if the kid is withdrawing and a crisis of any kind, there can be help. And to be clear, we`re not talking about this what`s behind me here.
We`re talking -- what you`re describing is something that is exceedingly common, much more common, I think, people like to talk about. We`ll take more of your calls, 855-DrDrew5. And Kaj stays with us after this.
PINSKY: OK. A reminder, we are trying to give you information tonight that you can`t get elsewhere, trying to make sense of this tragedy, what you can do, and I`m back with former Navy SEAL, Kaj Larsen. He is giving us advice on what to do in extreme circumstance if your life or your family`s life is in danger.
And again, we`re taking your calls, 855-DrDrew5. So, we`ve talked about surviving in a movie theater. How about in a public space where somebody shows up with a gun. What do you do?
LARSEN: Again, I think the first rule applies across the board. It applies up here, a drowning victim in the ocean or a place where there`s a potential --
PINSKY: Don`t panic.
LARSEN: Don`t panic.
PINSKY: But you`re saying something that`s almost impossible to will. I would panic if I were in that situation. Now, I might be able to overcome the panic or ignore it, but I will panic.
LARSEN: Fair enough. Fair enough. Do everything in your power not to make an egregiously bad move i.e. streaking across the shooter`s line of vision. Again, hunters, shooters, anybody with a gun, they`re locked in to the side (ph) picture, but any motion, left or right, is going to attract the attention of their eye, and that`s when you have a higher likelihood of a shooter swiveling and shooting at you.
PINSKY: If you`re in an open space, do you try to run and zigzag or anything? You still, no running?
LARSEN: No. I`m not saying that you don`t run. I`m saying your initial instinct is you have to understand the context, physics (ph) the ballistics of the environment that you`re in. How close are you to the exit? How close are you to the shooter?
PINSKY: OK. And a lot of us don`t understand ballistics. So, it`s hard thing to assess. (INAUDIBLE) we come into contact with that?
LARSEN: I mean, the main thing is want to avoid making a direct line with the eyesight of the shooter. So, if you can stay in the peripheral vision, so you wait for your moment, you wait until you`re 90 degrees perpendicular to the shooter, and then, you make an egress for the exit. The taller you are, the more visible you are, frankly, the more likely you are to be shot.
So, hitting the deck and low crawling in nine out of ten times is a strategic advantage to you.
PINSKY: There we go. Still, the calls, Steve in Rhode Island. Steve, what do you got?
STEVE, RHODE ISLAND: (INAUDIBLE).
PINSKY: Hi, Steve.
STEVE: How are you doing?
PINSKY: Good. What do you got for us?
STEVE: Twenty-five years ago, I was shot in the head in Bristol High School in Rhode Island.
STEVE: And I -- 25 years ago -- how are you doing?
PINSKY: Good, Steve. Tell us as you got shot 25 years ago and what`s -- what do you think what`s happening today?
STEVE: Yes. I think what`s -- what`s happening is --
PINSKY: Steve, I think you`re listening on the television. Turn your TV off, OK?
STEVE: TV off? OK.
PINSKY: It`s hard -- hard to have a conversation.
STEVE: I think we need to educate our children more in schools and communities with the parents also. The day I got shot, three students and three teachers saw the gun (INAUDIBLE) came forward. So, I`ve created a program called (INAUDIBLE) around schools and communities and I speak to children (INAUDIBLE) recognizing the science early enough before we get to the tragedy.
PINSKY: And what are the signs you want people to know about, Steve?
STEVE: I`m sorry?
PINSKY: What are the science you like people to know?
STEVE: The science I want people to know is that, you know, it`s important to (INAUDIBLE) trying to help someone from being hurt. I mean, (INAUDIBLE) gets the point (INAUDIBLE). I used an analogy where balloons blowing up (INAUDIBLE) because they feel hurt themselves, they want to let it out on someone else (INAUDIBLE) that they shouldn`t go on a hallway to tell someone like a teacher or someone like an adult --
PINSKY: Thank you, Steve. I appreciate that. And again, that`s younger people, adolescents, little different with adults. They`re not as likely to snap the same way. They`re more likely to decompensate we sort to call it. More serious medical, psychiatric, those sorts of problems that lead to this sort of behavior. Dave in Texas -- Dave? Dave, you with us?
DAVE, FLORIDA: Yes.
PINSKY: What do you got for us?
DAVE: I`m from Florida.
PINSKY: OK. Dave in Florida.
DAVE: I want to know what we can do to get help for somebody. We`ve tried numerous ways, taken to the hospital. They say there`s nothing wrong. We`re talking about somebody who`s 40 years old and is acting -- has some of the traits this guy has, and we`re just -- he doesn`t want any help.
PINSKY: Is he just a friend of yours or is it a family member?
DAVE: Family member.
PINSKY: Listen, we talked earlier on the show about getting a conservatorship. You`ve got to -- you need to find a doctor that sees through all of the distortions or whatever, manipulations is going on in your family member that, unfortunately, the real problems these days is people -- people are within their rights to use drugs until they die.
I mean, that`s unfortunately the way it is. I can`t hold somebody against their will just because they`re an addict. And by the same token, family members can`t step in and force somebody to take psychiatric, psychological services even though they can be very dangerous. I`ll tell you what start using -- don`t be afraid to use law enforcement.
That would be my basic rule of thumb. If they say something dangerous, if they threaten something dangerous to themselves or other people, call law enforcement immediately. Wouldn`t you agree with that?
LARSEN: What I`m hearing from you, Drew, is that early intervention gets you -- prevents you from getting to these -- having to use the kind of strategies that I`m talking about.
PINSKY: Right. Use the services, the community services that are out there within your reach. Now, many of are you calling in tonight. So, I want to get to your calls. Again, it`s 855-373-7395. Be back right after this.
PINSKY: All right. We`ve had just so much to talk about tonight. I want to get to your calls. We want to giving up to (ph) talk about this. This is what we need to be doing tonight. So, let`s go right out to Janet in Texas. Janet, how are you?
JANET, TEXAS: I am doing wonderful. Thank you.
PINSKY: And one thing I want to say also is I`m going to keep doing this kind of stuff again tomorrow, maybe bring cash back and keep this conversation going. So, it`s information that you can use. We, as a nation, we got a lot to deal with here. We got to get over -- you know, we got to deal with the trauma.
We have to deal with our hatred. We have to deal with our guns. We have to deal with the fact that this is happening in our country. So, what do you got, Janet? What do you got for me?
JANET: Well, I just like to share that I am so elated with the responses of the victims` families, because it has been so positive. Even in this darkness that have happened, they don`t see it like that. So, it`s apparent that they understand that there is a high power in control through all this trauma, and we need that as a country in order to heal better.
Look at the positive side of things, and the healing can come so much easier. And I thank you so much.
PINSKY: Janet, I applaud you. I applaud you. Well said. I think you`re absolutely right on with that. Thank you for that call. My next caller is from Houston. It is Houston from Florida -- Houston.
HOUSTON, FLORIDA: Yes, sir. Dr. Drew, I would like to say -- to start off, that you`re possibly the best psychologist in the world.
PINSKY: I`m not a psychologist. Everyone thinks I am. I`m an internist, addictionologist. I worked in a psychiatric hospital for 25 years. And so, I sort of sit at the cross roads in medicine and psychiatry for a long, long time. But thank you for that, anyway.
HOUSTON: I apologize.
PINSKY: It`s quite all right. Go right ahead. Houston, did we lose you? OK. Nancy in California. Nancy, what do you got?
NANCY, CALIFORNIA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
NANCY: First of all, I just want to say thank you so much for taking my call.
PINSKY: Appreciate it.
NANCY: Back in October, I had friends and co-workers that were victims of the Seal Beach shooting. And what I wanted to say or more of what I wanted to comment on was, you know, I used to see these things happen on TV and I was so detached from them.
NANCY: And until you become part of the victimization of such horrible thing, you really do not understand the trauma that happens to the individuals afterwards. And families cannot always help us. They want to, but it really is about getting some professional help and dealing with it on a daily basis.
PINSKY: Nancy, I`m so glad you said that. Nancy, one of the things I didn`t have time to get into tonight, but one that began to (ph) is how trauma changes our brains. It changes our brains permanently and that is why we have to have professional intervention.
There`s healing but it`s about rewiring and changing how the brain functions. Nancy, thank you for that call. Are you doing OK now?
NANCY: Hanging in there. This has been a difficult weekend to listen to all of this again.
PINSKY: I can just imagine.
PINSKY: You know, this is retraumatizing. It revokes all those feelings. Please, again, it is professional intervention. It is some sort of spiritual -- some faith, service to others, and support from others. Those are the active ingredients that can help us through this. Back after this.
PINSKY: Welcome back. And reminder, we`re going to try to keep this conversation going tomorrow. Tomorrow, I also want to address the Penn State scandal and the NCAA sanctions. But right now, I want to go on out to buddy in New York.
Now, Buddy, you called me on Friday. I wanted to get you back in today. Some of the things you were saying were profound at the end of my program on Friday. Any new thoughts now that you`ve had a little chance to digest who this guy is and what`s been happening?
BUDDY, NEW YORK: Yes, doctor. I had time to think about it. I mean, the bottom line is it`s become a political soap box right now.
PINSKY: Because of the -- because of the gun issues?
BUDDY: The gun issues, the internet and -- this was stoppable. If the exit doors on the movie theater were alarmed, he wouldn`t be able to get back in or somebody would know that he was trying to get back in. He wouldn`t have done it Thursday. He would have done it Saturday. This was going to happen --
PINSKY: Now, Buddy, let`s refrain. People didn`t hear on Friday. You were a policeman or a fireman? You`re a police, right?
BUDDY: I`m firefighter.
PINSKY: And so, you saw some of the worst that people have to offer. Can you give us any hope? Is there wisdom? Is there something to be gleaned? These are rare events. These are not how most humans are.
BUDDY: Well, yes. Well, we -- at this point in time, I think we need to leave forgiveness to God. It`s too soon.
BUDDY: Maybe down the road, if you have it in you, you can. But what I think a lot of people have been saying that you do see the good in people the. There are a lot of good people and the percentage of the people that do things like this are so small, but they seem to get depressed.
PINSKY: And buddy --
BUDDY: I`m sorry.
PINSKY: Go ahead. We`re hoping that by giving this man press, we`re not somehow glamorizing him or giving something he wanted. I really don`t think that`s the case. I think it`s an opportunity for us to discuss these things and to try to address it so it doesn`t happen again.
BUDDY: Yes. Well, it angers me to look at him. I have to step away from the coverage of 9/11 after a couple of weeks. It just made me more angry. I think you need to step back and what happens, the trauma, the anxiety of waiting for the next shoe to drop followed me for a while. You know, when was the next bad thing going to happen?
BUDDY: And, I lost my son six months later. And you know, the blame -- you know, blaming people, blaming things or circumstances --
PINSKY: I have to go, my friend. I thank you for participating. Thank you for the call.