Here’s a free psych eval: It you’re planning to whack Jesus, you’ve got problems

Yes, I know that’s an insensitive headline on a number of levels, but sometimes I lose patience with quiet, sober discussions of whether someone has psychological problems when the naked fact is staring us in the face. Take this kid who wanted to blow up his high school. An investigator says he has owned up to planning to kill Jesus. Specifically:

    Townsend testified Schallenberger told a Chesterfield County sheriff’s
detective that "once he got to heaven, he was gonna kill Jesus or
something like that."

We’re going to be paying money to determine whether this kid’s got mental problems?

Killing Jesus in heaven? That’s less likely than Sollozzo getting to Don Corleone when he’s in his bedroom inside the family mall on Long Island — not gonna happen.

Yeah, I know that we’re talking legal definitions of insanity, and that involves all sorts of "how-many-angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin" distinctions. But my point is that we know this kid is messed up, deeply and profoundly and tragically. And thank God his parents were alert enough to stop him. The problem, the thing that causes us to call in the experts, is that society still has trouble making up its mind about whether an insane person is culpable. In a sense, almost anybody who commits murder or plans to do so is in a psychologically abnormal state — either temporarily, through anger or fear, or permanently, such as in the case of a psychopathic personality. So we come up with all these rules and tripwires and technicalities, whereby it takes dueling experts and something akin to a coin toss to decide whether the person in question is legally insane according to the ultimately arbitrary rules that we’ve come up with.

The fact is, only God knows to what extent another human being is culpable — no matter how many tests or guidelines or whatever we set up. If we really think we know, we’re crazy. In the end, about all we can do is act to prevent crimes. Which, in this case, seems to have happened. Not that anybody is likely to pat himself on the back over it.

His poor parents…

15 thoughts on “Here’s a free psych eval: It you’re planning to whack Jesus, you’ve got problems

  1. bud

    Today marks the fifth anniversary of the president’s cocky landing aboard the Aircraft Carrier Lincoln to declare “Mission Accomplished” I would suggest the president and all his supporters of this atrocious military occupation are just as crazy as the young man in Chesterfield County. At least he only planned to kill a few people.

  2. faustd

    Brad, I think little dweebs like this are smarter than you’re giving them credit for.
    I don’t know much about this loser, but I imagine that he has essentially had a cushy life of leisure. He probably has doting and detached parents who have given him every creature comfort while depriving him of the basic parenting that he needed in order to avoid becoming a savage. Or maybe not. I don’t know, but I do know this little zit-faced hoodlum had the time and wherewithal to figure out how to get ammonium nitrate delivered to his front door, which tells me he probably had unsupervised access to a computer and a credit card.
    So, he’s an intelligent little deviant. Given that he’s got a respectable IQ and has probably spent a lot of time watching “Law and Order” on TV, I think this “kill Jesus” thing is his opening gambit to mount an insanity defense.
    I think the best we can hope for is minimal prison time and probation. Wonderful. The prison time will expose him to other deviants and harden his resolve to harm decent people, and the light sentence/probation will let him get to it with alacrity and the zeal of youth.
    After all is said and done I think this worthless piece of human debris, who absolutely had it all, ultimately will see himself as a victim in all of this. What a waste of skin, especially in such a land of opportunity. But the “kill Jesus” thing is the precursor to a defense strategy, you watch. David

  3. david

    Brad, you wrote “his poor parents…”
    I wrote that I thought they were probably doting and detached. Can parents be both at the same time? I don’t know.
    Anyway, as I ponder on this, I think we’re giving them too much cedit. I think that parents of these little hellions who do this kind of stuff are a BIG part of the problem. The method for grooming suicide bombers has been perfected in the middle east, and it starts when the candidate is about 24 inches tall. Meaning parents.
    Obviously I’m not accusing Schallenbergers’ parents of doing anything like this intentionally, (and neither do I believe that this little dirtbag has the courage to do himself in with his victims…he’d have done his harm from afar like the coward he is). But, parents ALWAYS play a major role in how their kids turn out. And lavish fawning, or distance, neglect, absence of character training, poor example, poor or nonexistent character training and/or correction…the list is endless…all these thing contribute to broken kids.
    Nevertheless, I understand that at some point, everyone has to row his own boat. And this little skinbag is completely responsible for his own evil. David

  4. bud

    Here’s an excerpt fron another article concerning the hypocricy of John McCain:
    Just a few days ago, appearing on ABC’s “The View,” John McCain talked about the importance of increasing the size of the U.S. military. To entice more volunteers, he said, the government should focus on incentives: “[O]ne of the things we ought to do is provide [the troops with] significant educational benefits in return for serving.”
    Naturally, then, McCain indicated a few days later that he’ll withhold support for a bipartisan measure to renew and expand the GI Bill for a new generation of veterans.
    And the complete article:
    Good ole John McCain. He can’t get enough of military adventurism bit when it comes time to treat the soldiers with a bit of respect he runs away as fast as he can. Shameful, just shameful.

  5. Richard L. Wolfe

    Hey Bud, Brad said only God knows to what extent another human being is culpable. What is science’s official position on God?

  6. david

    Richard, you may have to ask twice to get his attention, since Bud is on one of his anti-McCain rants as usual and probably isn’t listening to anything but that buzzing noise in his head.
    And as usual he’s found it impossible to control his urge to spew, no matter where he finds himself: Of course he’s completely off topic blathering something or other about the GI Bill when the topic is Schallenberger, but Bud never ever lets a little detail like that stop him.
    Why exactly are you asking him what the scientific position on God is? Do you really care what he says, or are you just trying to keep him spinning and spouting a little longer? David

  7. James D McCallister

    Some people think it is the very definition of insanity to believe that there is a figure called “Jesus” floating around in the sky, sitting at the right hand of “God”, the both of them with some kind of vested interested in the goings on of us “sinners” here with our feet on the ground.

  8. faustd

    Many many people don’t want to admit or acknowledge that there is a God, because if
    a) God is Who He says He is, and
    b) I am who God says I am, then:
    c) I must answer to Him
    That manifold billions of people don’t want to answer to any authority in todays world is obvious. This I believe is the wellspring from which we get evolution, which is simply the denial of God cloaked in pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo.
    Another type of unbeliever is the joker who won’t believe anything he can’t verify by his own personal witness. This is the form of naysayer that denies the lunar landing.
    Belief in God answers the most profound questions of mankind: Where did I come from, and what is my purpose? Why is the world so screwed up, and what can (or has been) done to repair it? What happens when I die?
    Belief in God has answered these questions for me. David

  9. Brad Warthen

    I’ve noticed that when doubters talk about God, he gets awfully anthropomorphic and concrete all of a sudden (“floating around in the sky”). Sort of like the cartoonish God in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
    It often strikes me that if believers actually believed in the God that unbelievers like to say they believe in, they might be as foolish as unbelievers think they are.
    I find myself wondering whether atheists create or seize upon this silly God as a way of cheating in argument, or if that concrete way of conceiving of the deity is an innocent result of the fact that unbelievers tend to be very concrete-thinking people themselves.
    Which brings up the question: If someone who believes only in something for which there is physical evidence actually did run across a Holy Grail (an idea that is a relic of the days when Christians were relic-obsessed), would he become a believer?

  10. faustd

    Alright in a clinical sense, meaning he can stand trial.
    Alright meaning not bad for a kid who planned to commit mass murder.
    Alright for a psychopath.
    Anytime a psychiatrist says something or someone is “alright” one must consider carefully what is meant. David

  11. Karen McLeod

    Brad, We know the teenager is very, very deranged, whether he meant his ‘kill Jesus’ story literally or as a device to shock others (given the situation he’s in). But do you really think that sentenced to however long in a locked unit of Mental Health is better than a jail cell? He did not manage to kill anyone. I’m sure he can get time off for ‘good’ behavior (from what I hear, this pink monkey knows how to blend in). I’m not at all sure he won’t stay longer with mental health than he would in jail cell.


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