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Why Are Most Killers Male?
Aired July 24, 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.
Why are so many mass killers men? And what about female killers? They are less common but they can be more extreme.
And what can we learn by looking at the brain of a murderer?
Also, I`m talking to a man who ran towards the danger in the Colorado shootings and helped save lives.
We want to hear from you now, 1-855-DRDREW5.
And let`s get started.
PINSKY: Welcome and good evening.
And we are still trying to make sense of senseless killings. Now, we are going to look at this tonight in a way that we hope brings it to light in a way you can`t get anywhere else.
Now, one of the things we are going to look at is the differences between why men and women kill.
Joining me, HLN`s Jane Velez-Mitchell and clinical psychiatrist, Dr. Dale Archer.
Now, Dr. Archer, there are differences between male and female killers. Let`s begin to get into that right off the top. What are those differences?
DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: Well, first of all, men are ten times more likely to murder than women are.
And when we look at motives, they are vastly different. Men typically kill for money, revenge and power. And with women, it`s about love. Either someone they have loved, someone they currently love, their kids.
So it`s much more emotional when it comes to women.
PINSKY: Yes. And, Dr. Archer, again, I want to break it down even a little further because, you know, the way I think about it is men act out and women act in. Would you agree that is sort of a general trend?
ARCHER: Yes. I think so. I think that women tend to be more introspective, more reflective than men.
PINSKY: Not even reflective. Not even reflective so much as they take things out. They have eating disorders and they cut and they commit suicide while men commit violent act.
Now, I want to look at two basic different categories of killers though. There`s psychotic killers which is what I think our killer was in Colorado, disconnected from reality. By a psychotic, we mean a brain state where somebody is delusional, hallucinating and disconnected from reality.
Let`s look at -- I want to shine up on the board here a list of recently documented male versus female psychotic killers. There is a list there look at that list of men in blue versus purple in women.
Now, the blue there shows you how many more men there are, psychotic killers, than women. The women, if you look at who is on that list, people like Andrea Yates.
Even, Dr. Archer, to go to you, even when the women are killers, oftentimes it`s under extremely special biological circumstances like postpartum depression. Is that accurate?
ARCHER: And again, (INAUDIBLE) these are her children. So, these are people -- love does come into it in this particular case. The list is fascinating and really highlights that very thing.
PINSKY: Now, let`s look at psychopathic killers a psychopath is born, and created, some kind of -- we will talk more about that in the next segment. Psychopathic killers, again more men than women, the thinking is that the genetics of psychopathy, where the brain doesn`t work and people cannot experience empathy and they become fascinated with murder -- more men, still a fair number of women, often in combination with their male partners, women get involved and become serial killers with the men -- again, Dr. Archer, with a loved object, then they become the serial killer.
ARCHER: Absolutely. And again, making the distinction between the serial killer murdering one after another after another versus the mass murderer, who is doing this all in one fell swoop.
PINSKY: Do you have a theory about our killer in Colorado, Dr. Archer?
ARCHER: I do. I would be shocked to find out he was not psychotic. I mean, everything that I`ve seen leading up to this killing spree indicates a guy that was relatively normal, up until about six months before the event. And he started withdrawing socially. He dropped out of school, even though he`s on a very prestigious scholarship that was only given to only six people in the country, extremely smart.
You look at the gun club that he tried to join and the guy saying, man, you know, I called on his voicemail, it was like this rambling message that really scared me. One of the neuroscience professor said that he started becoming eerily quiet and seemed socially off. So, just one thing after another, this indicates to me a guy who is gradually becoming psychotic, having a psychotic break. And of course, we never know what they are going to fixate on.
In his particular case, he fixated on Batman and evil and killing and his fantasies then turned into reality.
PINSKY: And then, Jane, now that we have this guy that has descended into madness, people are questioning this methodical way in which he preceded with the killings. It does look like in addition to madness, there may have been something else going on.
I have a question for you, Jane, there`s a movement afoot, not to mention this guy`s name, so as not to gratify his narcissism. Is that a policy you adhere to?
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: We have to report the facts, Dr. Drew. Sometimes the facts include the defendant and the suspect`s name. So that`s not a policy that I have been able to adhere to but I understand the spirit behind the policy that to glorify these individuals by giving them the attention that they maybe desiring, may be self-perpetuating the problem or perpetuating the problem.
So I do think we have to look at our culture of violence. The fact that as I wrote about in "Addict Nation," we are an addicted culture, and one of the things we are culturally addicted to is violence. We use it as entertainment and then we are horrified and haunted when it comes back in real life.
Is it a closed system? Is there a connection between the drenching violence in our culture in terms of entertainment, in terms of infotainment and the violence in real life? I would suspect there is because the subconscious mind sees pretend violence very much as it does real violence that`s why we flinch at movies. I don`t have any proof of it but I think we need to look at it.
PINSKY: And, Jane, our preoccupation with fame in this culture, you wonder if this guy`s narcissism was somehow gratified by that in addition to his madness and that`s why this methodical, disgusting quality to the killings,
I want to go to calls. Donna in Wisconsin.
Donna, what do you got?
DONNA, CALLER FROM WISCONSIN: Hey, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hey, Donna.
DONNA: I love your show.
PINSKY: Thank you.
DONNA: My question is, if he is mentally ill, how was he able to set up for months at a time?
PINSKY: That is the million dollar question here. I`m going to throw that to Dr. Archer. Can we surmise that this guy was psychotic for three months while he was planning so methodically to kill many people?
ARCHER: Yes, we absolutely can. Because, first of all, it was early on in his psychosis. Second of all, a psychotic brain is able to fixate and focus on one thing at times, very, very specifically, very cleanly, and to the exclusion of all else. And I think that`s the key.
Basically, he had given up everything else in his life so the only thing he had to focus on was the planning and the committing of these murders.
ARCHER: And the answer is, yes, a psychotic brain can do that.
PINSKY: Again, it`s so chilling. It is so chilling.
Gayle in Georgia. Gayle, you got something for us?
GAYLE, CALLER FROM GEORGIA: Yes, Dr. Drew, I`d like to know. Do you think this guy stayed at that theater just so he could see the chaos and the pain that he caused instead of trying to get away from the cops?
PINSKY: You know, I`m going to say -- I`m going to let Dr. Archer respond to that, too that he again -- you think about people - remember here in Los Angeles, in the valley, we have these bank killers that were all suited up in armor and they had a shootout. They were bad guys, intended to steal money, intended to kill cops.
I think this guy really was so disorganized and psychotic.
Dr. Archer, why do you think he stayed behind?
ARCHER: Well, I think, first of all, he didn`t expect to live. And, second of all, remember, he had been planning this for months, he didn`t think anything through after the event.
ARCHER: So he went in the theater, he shot and killed al these people and then it was over and it was like, oh, wow, what now? So he really didn`t know what to think at that point. He just gave up.
PINSKY: Yes, I think that is very much the point. I think that, again, the brain that is disorder and the disordered brain. Again, even as a clinician, I tell you, I`m having trouble letting go how angry I am about this behavior, even though I understand it as illness, disordered brain, what do we do with it? These are really interesting questions.
And speaking of disordered brain, I`m going to show what you can tell by looking at the brain scan of a killer. A neuroscientist joins us next. Can he reveal something shocking about well, his own brain as well? That`s next.
PINSKY: We are all still trying to make sense of the tragedy in Colorado. We`re trying to help you understand what happened and why a person would open fire at innocent people. It`s the question we`re asking and asking ourselves.
My next has a rather unique perspective. This is Dr. James Fallon. He`s a neuroscientist at the University of California-Irvine. He studies the brains of psychopaths.
And I guess in the process, you learned something rather startle about your own brain. Tell me about that.
DR. JAMES FALLON, UNIV. OF CALIFORNIA-IRVINE: Dr. Drew, you know, about 25 years old, you`re supposed to figure out who you are. Well, it took me until I was 60 to really figure out who I was. It was sort of an interesting upside down world I went through the past couple of years.
PINSKY: You found out, I guess, I`m going to show somebody what you discovered. I`m going to show my viewers this and let`s see how you interpret. Up here on the scan, on the screen here, are brain scans of a normal person. So, these yellow and red areas are nice, hot brain activity. Again this is normal.
Then here is Jim Fallon. Dr. Fallon`s brain, you see this blue area out here in the frontal cortex, the orbital frontal system, these are the front part of the brain ain`t working so well there and what did that mean to you?
FALLON: Well, I -- when I saw it, because I had been studying so many killers` brains, I thought the piles of scans were mixed up I thought it was one of the killers and turned out when we decoded it, it was mine. It was quite unusual because it was about as bad as you can get, in terms of having these areas of the brain involved in moral decision-making, ethics and controlling impulses being completely turned off in me.
PINSKY: And had you had difficulty in that sort of functioning, and you`re sort of understanding of morality and appreciating and empathizing with other people. Had that been a sort of a problem for you?
FALLON: I think so. Very early on, I was hyper religious. I was -- from our diocese in New York, I was Catholic boy of the year. I thought things were sins and immoral that weren`t. And as I got older, in my late teens, early 20s, where I lost that hyper religiosity to a point where I didn`t think anything was wrong.
So, something happened during my adolescent development probably, we don`t have scans from them, but all of my behavior and all of my symptoms certainly point to that. So, somehow during development --
PINSKY: Tell us what the criteria are for a psychopathic killer. We`re not talking about psychotic killer. We`re talking about psychopathic killer --
PINSKY: -- which is largely a genetic disorder. What are those features?
FALLON: Well, there are -- sort of positive symptoms, if you will, and more negative symptoms.
The positive ones are the ones that make the psychopaths very sociable. You know, they are glib. They are charming. Extremely sociable, life of the party, and they can be disarming in that way, very friendly.
And -- but also, they lack a certain kind of empathy. They maybe empathetic in a very different way. Empathetic like Hitler in the Stalin and even Norway shooter, had empathy, or tried, if you will. But that lack of empathy and connectiveness with people, personally that is a hallmark of these.
But this makes -- there`s these positive symptoms, then there`s these negative sorts of the Hare, Robert Hare`s checklist that have to do with criminality. I score very high in the first part and not as much in the second part. But the second part involves a hyper sexuality, you know, being really loose morally but also some criminality, not taking responsibility to have your actions.
All of those things that make somebody in a way parasitic.
PINSKY: Do you think -- now you`re talking -- we`re using a lot of big language here, like sort of criminal tendencies and the inability to have moral judgment. Now, that`s different than had the gentleman in Colorado.
Do you have a theory about what was going on in his brain?
FALLON: Well, of course, we don`t know about him at all. You look at him, you say, well, here`s a guy in his mid-20s, and he -- all of a sudden, because -- he really becomes very quiet and stranger. This would be typical of somebody who is going through their first psychotic break in schizophrenia.
FALLON: Because usually schizophrenia starts to occur in your late teens, early 20s, just like him.
PINSKY: That`s right.
FALLON: And there`s something that brings that on, some stressors. But there`s always a stressors. You know, he -- he -- you know, left graduate school. Some people, they lose a mate, et cetera. But there`s always something there that precipitates it.
So, in a way you the genes and the brain pattern, you know, load the gun and then the environment pulls the trigger. That`s usually a stressor, a real stressor.
PINSKY: Let`s take a quick call before we go to break. Denise in British Columbia -- Denise.
DENISE, CALLER FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA: Yes, I was watching the other day on one of the news coverages and there`s this fellow who said he had gone to university with him and he was really putting him down, like he was a real jerk and nobody liked him and nobody talked to him.
And I just wondered if this could have been sort of bullying and something a few months ago sort of happened and tipped him over the edge.
PINSKY: Dr. Fallon, I guess that`s a theory. But I think more as that people descend into psychosis, they become rather odd and withdraw socially and kind of people -- get scared of that and they maybe unkind. Would you say that`s more likely?
FALLON: Walk away or attack them in some way or bully them. They are obvious targets.
FALLON: But there -- those stressors are going to be there. It is not like the stressors caused it, like the bullying caused it, it just precipitate what is probably inevitable.
PINSKY: And by the same token, I think I have heard you say that in additions to the genetics of psychopathy, which is, again, the other disorder where people become killers, that`s genes also, plus an environmental like abuse in childhood and that abuse doesn`t have to be extraordinary.
FALLON: That`s right. It would have to be pretty severe abuse early on, you know, when you`re 2, 3, 5 years old. After 7 or 8, there`s much less of an effect.
So, there is timing of the stressors around abuse with a certain group of genes that make you susceptible.
PINSKY: OK. Dr. Fallon`s going to stay with me. Jane is still here. Dr. Archer is still here as well.
More of your calls after the break.
PINSKY: We are trying to make sense of the Colorado killings. I have assembled a nice panel here around going to go right to your calls at 1- 855-DRDREW5. Dr. Fallon, Dr. Archer and Jane Velez-Mitchell.
Calls up. Who`s my next caller?
Lowell in Texas, what do you got? Lowell?
LOWELL, CALLER FROM TEXAS: Yes.
PINSKY: Go right ahead, sir.
LOWELL: Just wanted to let you know I`m a big fan of your show.
PINSKY: Thanks, Lowell.
LOWELL: And my question is I have a buddy of mine. He`s 26 years old. He`s a gun collector.
And what I find strange about him being a gun collector is, you know, he is not only purchasing guns just about every single week, he also purchased a flack jacket, helmet, stuff like that, whole bunch of ammo boxes and stuff.
My question is: is this something I should be concerned about? Is this something that I should report or how should I go about this?
PINSKY: Dr. Fallon, what do you think? Is that a sign of trouble?
FALLON: I have very sane friends who collect guns and all sorts of weaponry. They just like the machinery and they go shooting and have never done anything with it. So, that by itself doesn`t really tell you a lot.
PINSKY: OK. Ebony in North Carolina -- Ebony. Hi, Ebony.
EBONY, CALLER FROM NORTH CAROLIJNA: Hello?
PINSKY: Hi. What can you do for us? Ebony, what do you got?
EBONY: Hi, Dr. Drew. I was wondering, is the reason that there`s such a drastic gap in between reported male killers versus female killers is that female killings just go unreported? Because if you watch "America`s Most Wanted," profilers always assume it`s a guy.
PINSKY: Jane, I would assume they assume because it is mostly men. Wouldn`t you agree?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. In fact, Dr. Drew, I`m holding in my hand a list of rampage killings in the United States dating back to the 1940s. Of more than 70 rampage killings, only three are women. And these are some of the biggest, as well as more obscure rampage killings.
So right there, of more than 70 rampage killings, only three are women. That`s the statistic.
PINSKY: So if I were a betting man and profile willing, I`d bet on a male.
Melany in Indiana -- Melany. Hi, Melany, what do you got? Melany`s giggling but -- OK.
That was our next caller, I believe it`s Debbie. Debbie, are you there?
DEBBIE, CALLER FROM NEVADA: Yes, I am.
PINSKY: What`s going on?
DEBBIE: I just -- thank you for taking my call. I had been listening for several days and I am a victim of a crime. I got great comfort on Sunday when I was watching the vigil and watching the focus be on the healing for the victims rather than the person -- evil person.
And in my situation, I think that, you know, I have been unable to cry for, like, a year and a half since my situation happened. And mine involves a family member who did something horrific and is still continuing to do that. I think that you can`t ever make sense of the senseless and I have been trying to label with this person or find out a label or a reason for the action.
PINSKY: Well, Debbie, I`m not sure I`m going to be able to do that, but I`m going to throw it out to Dr. Archer and let`s talk about psychological, psychiatric first aid. What should someone be doing when someone is experiencing and is dealing with tragedies like what we have in Colorado?
ARCHER: Well, remember, that posttraumatic stress disorder is about nightmares, flashbacks and relieving the event. So, if you have been exposed to some type of a trauma, then all of a sudden, another trauma comes on the news and watching that of course, it`s going to bring you right took your event. So, that`s very classic, very common.
Again, the key with posttraumatic stress disorder is to get it evaluated and treated early, it can be completely treated. If you let it go too long it can become untreatable. I would suggest a therapist.
PINSKY: Yes, professional help, support from others, faith, service, these are all critical. Not any one, can`t leave any one out, profession is the key ingredient.
Thanks to my panel.
Next up, attorney Areva Martin is here with her latest take from the events in Colorado. Be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Micayla Medek.
CROWD: We will remember.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Veronica Moser-Sullivan.
CROWD: We will remember.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alex Sullivan.
CROWD: We will remember.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was just finding herself. She never harmed anybody. She didn`t deserve to die this way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m very proud of him. I`m going to miss him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: We are live this evening and I hope you will permit me it improvise a little bit. I have asked my panel to stay. I thought they were great and I was just checking Twitter live and Boston Gal 1641 wanted me to make a point that I thought was very appropriate, which is the fact that most psychotic people, schizophrenic, even the drug addicts that become psychotic, don`t become violent and certainly don`t mass murder.
So please, everybody, let`s not allow this horrible event and what this guy did become something that further stigmatizes people with mental illness.
OK. As I said, my panel stays. I want to take as many calls as I can. So, if you have calls for any of the three of them, they`re here. I`ve also asked Areva Martin to come on in. She`s a civil attorney. She`s been following the events in Colorado since the shooting.
So, Areva, a couple of things I wanted to go back over with you, this issue of insanity and competency. What`s the -- one thing which is, is he insane at the time he commits the act and the other is competency to stand trial? What`s the litmus test for competency?
AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: The real question for this guy, for this shooter, is going to be, does he understand the charges that have been brought against him? Does he understand that he`s being charged with murder?
MARTIN: Will he be able to assist his council in his defense?
PINSKY: -- up in the screen here. Take a look, everybody. That guy does not look terribly confident, right? But he`s confident enough -- what is the threshold?
MARTIN: Well, the judge is going to be make that decision, Dr. Drew. There`s going to be a myriad (ph). You know, tons and tons of evaluations by doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, trying to determine if he knew at the time and if he knows now at the time of trial what`s going on? Did he understand the charges?
Does he know that he`s being charged with murder? And the judge makes that final decision. So, we`re going to have to watch very closely what happens with these evaluations.
PINSKY: By the way, that picture -- show that picture -- give me that other picture where you can see it here, too. Notice -- something I`m noticing here. Look at his pupils, they`re a little bit enlarged, but they`re not huge and is certainly not pinned. So, people that say he`s on opiates or is an opiate addict, it doesn`t fit with that. If he`d taken a bunch of Vicodin the night before, he would have blown pupils or pinned pupils, not the mid position he`s got now.
So, the other issue is insanity. He is not guilty by reasons of insanity. Do you think they`re going to go for that and given the methodical four-month planning that went into this case, is there any chance that will stick?
MARTIN: I think, absolutely, we`re going to see a plea by this, you know, defense attorney, by these public defenders saying that this guy is not competent to stand trial, first of all. So, that`s the first issue.
PINSKY: Oh, they`re going to go for that?
MARTIN: I don`t think they`re going to allow him to stand trial. I think we`re going to hear --
PINSKY: How long can they delay it then?
MARTIN: It can be delayed for a very long period of time. In fact, if the judge determines he`s not competent to stand trial, this shooter can go to a state hospital. He may not even be in jail. He can go to a state hospital. He could be medicated.
MARTIN: Indefinitely until he`s competent to stand trial. There are a lot of issues here about his ability. Did he know he was committing these shootings?
PINSKY: Well, that`s insanity at the time, but now, competency to stand trial, if they go for death penalty versus just first-degree murder, is the competency issue going to be more difficult?
MARTIN: Another important point, Dr. Drew, the issue of death penalty. There`s another competency determination, is he competent enough too understand that he`s going to be put to death?
MARTIN: So, we have the competency to stand trial, then we have the competency to be put to death by the death penalty. So, this trial is going to take a very long time. People have got to be really patient. It`s not going to happen overnight, even though there is so much anxiety around it.
PINSKY: Or anger. It`s not anxiety. It`s anger.
MARTIN: There are emotions.
MARTIN: But it`s going to take a long time to get through the legal process. We`ve just got to watch to see what happens with this evaluation.
PINSKY: And that`s just the confidence issue. Now, we have not guilty by reason of insanity which is a different kind of insanity that me, as a doctor, would assess. We would say they`re disconnected from reality. They`re delusional. That`s insane.
MARTIN: Legal terms.
PINSKY: Legal terms. It`s knowing right from wrong and not knowing right from wrong for four months.
MARTIN: Legal term, though not guilty, because a lot of people say, how can he say he`s not guilty? We saw him shoot and kill 12 people.
MARTIN: How can he say not guilty? But it`s a legal term. It just means that not able to determine what I was doing. You may see this guy come into court. You may see the lawyers say he shot those people. He shot 12 people. He wounded 58.
PINSKY: That never sticks. Rarely sticks.
MARTIN: -- didn`t understand what he was doing at the time.
PINSKY: Rarely sticks?
MARTIN: Well, I don`t know. We`ve got to watch it. We`ve got to watch and see what happens --
PINSKY: All right. Let`s take some calls. Thank you, Areva. Carrie in Colorado -- Carrie.
CARRIE, COLORADO: Hi, Dr. Drew.
CARRIE: I watch you and Jane all the time. And I thought, I was going to call you. My son, daughter-in-law, and their best friend was in a massacre. And my son happened to have been -- when columbine happened, at George Washington High School, and they were doing drills if something like that happened.
So, he got his wife down and he jumped on his wife and then his best friend jumped on him. and all three of them were hurt. Josh getting the worst because he was on top. He was shot in his arm and leg. And Brandon was -- got buck shot and shrapnel in his arm, side, and back. His knee is screwed up, and they just found out today that the top tissue in his ankle is injured very badly.
PINSKY: Carrie, I don`t know about Jane, but Jane, let me get you in this conversation with Carrie since she watches you as well. It sounds heroic what these young men did.
CARRIE: Well, exactly. And this is why I`m calling you. When -- he gave interviews with your sister station. And when they asked him how he was, he said fine. He`s a very proud person. He didn`t want it to be about him. He wanted it to be about his best friend. They`re still in shock.
And he has started, as of yesterday or the day before, I don`t know, I just found out, it had to be the night before because I called your office yesterday, and he is now getting hate mail, calling him coward.
PINSKY: Because of his appearance on television? Jane -- disgusting. Jane, I`ll let you respond to this.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST, HLN`S JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL: it is just disgusting. Your son is a hero. Everybody who was involved in this who survived and those who died, they`re all heroes, because they responded with grace, and they responded with courage in an absolutely horrific situation.
And that`s why I say, Dr. Drew, we cannot give this accused killer a pass and say well, he`s just mentally ill. There is such a thing as evil in this world. There is such a thing as losing your moral compass.
The idea that now, oh, he`s incompetent when he was perfectly lucid planning this for months, ordering guns, ordering ammunition, booby trapping his apartment, going into the movie theater, pretending he was a customer, then pretending to get a phone call and going out the exit door, donning (ph) all this gear and coming back in and starting the massacre, that is somebody who has consciousness of guilt.
And you do not suddenly lose your lucidity and become somebody who is totally out of it, unless, there`s drugs involved overnight. I do not buy the idea that this man is just insane. I think he`s evil. I think he knows the difference between right and wrong.
PINSKY: Jane, I got to go. Areva, I think you pushed Jane`s buttons there. And my caller, Carrie, if you`re still -- that goes her Carrie. Was that her name? Is that correct? Carrie? Yes, Carrie, I want stay on the line.
I want to speak to you -- it`s your son-in-law, his friend, the girlfriend, I want to speak to all of them personally and give them my support. So, you stay on the line. I`ll talk to you. We`re going to take more calls after the break.
PINSKY: This is a video from a vigil for people who were killed in the Colorado massacre. Returning with my panel, my guests. Reminder Jane Velez-Mitchell can be seen right here HLN seven o`clock weeknights, and she`s kindly stayed with us this evening. And as I said, I think, Areva, you got her going a little bit there. Thank you for that.
PINSKY: Areva wants to respond, but I want to go right out to callers. Abis in Georgia. Abis, what do you got for me?
ABIS, GEORGIA: Yes, Dr. Drew. Thank you for taking my call. I have a 23-year-old son who thought the guy booby trapping his apartment was really cool, and he has a history of violence with girlfriends and, I mean, like choking them out and stuff.
ABIS: And he had, like, black hole from childhood. I had him at psychologist, psychiatrist, on medication.
ABIS: And nothing -- the medication helped, but when he got old enough to come off of it he`s not the problem, everybody else is.
PINSKY: Did he do -- Abis, Abis, did he do any torturing of animals or any of that --
PINSKY: OK. I`m going to go to Dr. Fallon who`s an expert on this topic. Dr. Fallon, what do we tell Abis?
DR. JAMES FALLON, PROF. OF PSYCHIATRY, UNIV. OF CAL., IRVINE: About which part?
FALLON: There were several --
PINSKY: I would say she understands her son is in serious trouble. What can she do?
FALLON: Unfortunately for -- in the case of psychopaths, there`s very little that can be done, especially if somebody is older than seven years old, let`s say. There`s no real treatment.
But I should add that there are other kinds of organic problems that can contribute to these kinds of behaviors, murder, rape, pedophilia, and are cases where a person, completely normal person, a guy, all of a sudden, starts to become, let`s say, a pedophile, and it turns out that they have a tumor right in that same area of the brain, the orbital cortex, and after two years of being a pedophile, it`s removed, and then the pedophilia goes away.
So, there`s this kind of organic nature to it, and it can be due to a combination of genes or brain damage, being beaten up. But once that damage is done, unless, it`s a tumor like that, it`s very possible, and it maybe possible in the case of Holmes, that there are -- it`s a reversible thing.
If, for example, there`s a fresher from a tumor on the area of the brain that controls impulsivity but also moral reasoning.
PINSKY: OK. And Dr. Archer, we may go out to you in terms of a practical issue. Let`s say he starts to talk about hurting other people, what does the mental health system do? What are our restrictions and what are our obligations?
DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: Well, the most important predictor of someone that is going to harm anyone else is when they start talking about it. So, that is a huge red flag have to pay attention to that. And, if he wants to go into treatment, then you don`t have a problem. He talks about it, and you say, look, we`re going to put you into hospital because we`re afraid that you`re going to harm someone.
Where the problem comes up is when he does not want to be treated. At that point, then you have to have a psychiatric eval, and perhaps, you have to have him picked up against his will by a commitment procedure and have him evaluated, and the doctor then will determine, is he a danger to himself or is he a danger to others.
And if they find that that`s the case, then he can be forcibly put into a mental hospital and treated at that point, but the bottom line is, if they talk about it, there`s a good chance they`re going to do it. You got to take it very, very seriously.
MARTIN: That`s where the issue of conservatorship comes in --
PINSKY: Based on what Abis is describing, do you think she can go after conservatorship?
MARTIN: Absolutely. I think she has a real good chance of going into a court with a psychiatric evaluation like we heard the doctor talked about and convincing a judge that her son needs to be hospitalized. He needs treatment, because he is a danger, perhaps, to others and possibly even himself.
PINSKY: So, should he be put -- conservatorship meaning you take away his rights and privileges.
MARTIN: She takes legal control. She has the right to have him hospitalized. She has the right to make decisions on his behalf. She basically becomes like his mother again, like he`s a child.
PINSKY: Is that something we should do more of in this country?
MARTIN: Absolutely. I think there are so many cases where there is an adult that is legally able to make their own decisions, but mentally they`re not. And they need to have someone making decisions on their behalf that could include getting medication, being hospitalized, getting treatment, and getting help so that they`re not harmful to others.
PINSKY: And there are (INAUDIBLE) conservatives. It doesn`t have to be mom. There are people that just make their living being a conservator of people --
MARTIN: It could be an aunt. It could be a relative.
PINSKY: Like Abis` son. More calls. Leslie -- Leslie in California. Very quickly, Leslie?
LESLIE, CALIFORNIA: Yes, I work at three forensic mental health hospitals for the criminally insane, and I saw schizophrenics during their psychotic breaks change their outward appearance drastically, like, shaving their eyebrows.
PINSKY: Turning their hair orange, that sort of thing.
LESLIE: Yes. Has anyone checked when he dyed his hair and did it coincide with the difficulty he had in school that made him withdraw?
PINSKY: I don`t know if we have that information yet. And one of the unfortunate sort of aspects of the mystery we`re all going to be left with with this case is his HIPAA laws still apply.
PINSKY: -- privacy to his medical care and his records are retained. So, we`re not going to know what happened leading up to this or what`s happening in prison right now.
MARTIN: But it`s going to come out, Dr. Drew. We`re going to learn so much. They`re going to go back to childhood. They`re going to go back to elementary school.
PINSKY: But Areva, after talking to you, it sounds to me like we`re not going to have a trial until 2030.
MARTIN: I don`t want to leave with you that impression. I want to talk about the fact or I want people to know that there is a process that`s going to take place. But we`re going to learn so much. There`s going to be evaluations, there`s going to be hearings. We`re going to start to hear more and more about what happened in the childhood of Holmes.
Why did Holmes, as the caller just said, you know, suddenly break? Why is his hair orange? You know, why did he start buying guns six months ago? Why did he start buying 6,000 rounds of ammunition? We`re going to learn everything we need to know to make some evaluations about what happened to Holmes and why the shooting occurred.
PINSKY: Help us to make sense of this (ph). Again, my hope is that raise awareness, people see things like this. Parents will take conservatorship action.
PINSKY: People will report this kind of nonsense and not go, hey, he`s just a funny guy --
PINSKY: We can understand what these things are and take action.
Next up, get this, an act of kindness from actor, Christian Bale, privately visiting shooting victims in Colorado, quietly, under the media radar. Back after this.
PINSKY: Today, actor, Christian Bale, of course, Batman himself, snuck into Denver, apparently on his own and without any publicity, under the media radar. Of course, here we are reporting it. But his intent was to visit the victims of the movie theater shooting. Here`s a picture of him with one of them as he posted it on his Facebook page. And I just think that`s a pretty cool deal.
All right. My panel is still with me. And by the way, those pictures are blowing up on the internet right now, caught our attention. I thought we report on it. I`m going to go out to Carly in Florida. Carly, I`ve just got very limited time here. What do you got?
CARLY, FLORIDA: I think that our culture needs heroes. And why going to see movies like that is so important. So, what Christian Bale did today visiting the survivors in the hospital is bringing the focus on the real heroes.
CARLY: And those are the people who had to go through something extraordinary beyond any human capacity.
PINSKY: You know what, Carly, you`re bringing up an interesting issue. I was talking earlier on the show, a mom, I`m going to get back on the phone, maybe get the kids out here (ph) some way who are being called cowards for ducking and covering. That`s the aggression that`s in social media that`s resulting in all the aggressive acting out in our culture.
MARTIN: But you know, I just want to point out, Dr. Drew, even though that is a horrific story, there are so many people, you know, on Facebook and Twitter talking about the amazing heroes. We`re seeing such stories. So, we don`t want the few stories about a couple of, you know -- and I`m going to call them idiots for lack of a better word that don`t recognize what a horrible situation that was.
PINSKY: And applauding the people that really made it through.
MARTIN: And just applaud the people who really stood up and, you know, helped other people out, even risked their own lives. Those are true heroes, and they need to be remembered and we need to recognize them every opportunity we get.
PINSKY: That is where we need to take this conversation, which is elevating the human spirit. Dr. Archer, thank you for joining us. Well, hope you`ll come back and participate in these conversations. Dr. Fallon, be careful, buddy. I know you`ve got some liabilities there in how your brain`s functioning. But you`ve been --
FALLON: Thank you.
PINSKY: -- very insightful and I hope to really shed light on these issues, help people understand these are biological processes as well as psychological, environmental. And Jane, of course, we will check you out, seven o`clock HLN, every night. And I want you to have Areva on, because she`s got a couple of things to say to you, whether you know it or not, after you went off a little bit.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ll have a good chat.
MARTIN: Yes. Look forward to it, Jane.
PINSKY: Fair enough.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I love you, and I think you`re great.
MARTIN: Thank you. Appreciate it.
PINSKY: Back after this, I`m going to take some calls before we finish. So, stay with us.
PINSKY: Human at their worst can bring out humans at their best. Now, it`s time for us to show that. And I think our calls tonight have been example of the outpouring of interest and support and caring that is available. It`s what makes this show about you is the calls. I`m going to go now back to the calls. Jessica in Oregon -- Jessica.
JESSICA, OREGON: Hi, Dr. Drew.
JESSICA: My question is what type of treatments should parents plan for after their young children are involved in experiences like this?
PINSKY: Do you mean if you actually were in the theater or do you mean watching all of this on television?
JESSICA: In the theater?
PINSKY: Oh, if it`s in the theater, that I would get -- have a team involved with that really to watch carefully, because it`s very subtle in children. It`s not as though they can tell you what`s going on. But the message I keep trying to put out there is that trauma changes brains and not just brains, but brain development.
And so, the goal becomes not for there to be a residual affect of the trauma on the brains, so obviously, the intactness of their family, the availability of others, the professional help is key over a long period of time. Cheryl in Massachusetts -- Cheryl.
CHERYL, MASSACHUSETTS: My question is not to -- I know the victims are the victims, but the first responders, the police, fire and the EMS that arrived on scene, to me, they`re victims as well.
CHERYL: You ask them, you know, they were only doing their job, but they were running in when everybody else was running out.
CHERYL: Is there anyway like -- I know the police chief stated that he was going to get help from his officers.
CHERYL: And I know from working in both EMS and law enforcement, when talking to the guys, they always say, well, I was just doing my job, I was just doing my job. In a situation like this, they were doing a little bit more than just their job, because they were doing things that not every human being sees or does.
PINSKY: But Cheryl, let me -- let me pin point out two things, A, they are trained. They have a capacity to handle things a little bit expanded than the rest of us. And number two, they`re aware that they need help. These -- they take care these days to give psychological, psychiatric, first aid so their teams don`t develop posttraumatic stress disorder. I think there`s a lot of awareness about that.
But I`ll tell you what, everybody, go send a pizza or coffee to your law enforcement, your fire department, think about them for a change. And in particular, those guys in Aurora. If you know anybody, reach out to them, give them support. Be a great, great thing.
Thank you for watching. Thank you for calling. Again, this is the place we want to share and make sense of these things. And, Nancy Grace begins right now.