Readers React

Don't blame depression for Germanwings crash

To the editor: I must express my deep frustration with the media for linking the Germanwings pilot's depression to his apparent mass murder. ("Germanwings plane crash: Copilot's mental health under scrutiny," March 27)

As a psychologist who has seen a large number of potentially violent clients, it is clear to me that in many cases of mass murder the "experts" are overlooking the power of shame and envy and the hate that can come from them. Persistent envy can twist the mind to the point that others become the cause of our suffering, and they must suffer as we do.

Also, there can be an immense grandiosity, which can make us godlike in our belief that we have the right to determine the fate of others. We don't know what was going on in the mind of this pilot, but we can know that his violent act was not the result of depression, although it may have been exacerbated by it.

Sadly, all of this emerges from chronic suffering and deep deficits of empathy in a young child's life. As well, there may be a hard-to-perceive core of psychosis.

Jon Pedersen, Pasadena


To the editor: In all of the reporting on the potential mental issues that may have led to the apparent horrific actions of 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz on the Germanwings Airbus A320, I have seen nothing on an important physical fact: the pilot's age.

At what age is a pilot too young to command, or co-command, a large commercial aircraft?

While the immaturity I had at that age never led me to seriously injure anyone, I know I was far less concerned with how my actions impacted others than in later in life. Driving or reading accident statistics bears witness to the "safety with maturity" principle my auto insurer observes.

Here, the pilot was apparently suffering from a whole lot more than immaturity, but the role age plays in accidental or deliberate transportation tragedies, and how to ameliorate its impact, is being overlooked.

Robert Wollman, Los Angeles


To the editor: Why is it we always "fight the last war" and make things more complex than needed? Cockpit doors that are all but impossible to breach are not necessary, because a 9/11-type hijacking will never occur again.

Everyone understands there are twisted individuals who want to die and would take others with them. But passengers who act up have been dealt with and restrained.

The solution to preventing another Germanwings crash is to make the flight deck a "no-lone zone." If a pilot leaves it for any reason, a member of the cabin crew must replace him. The crew member does not need to know how to fly, only how to open the door.

Simple usually works better.

Chris Daly, Yucaipa

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