The one qualification I do have is for whatever reason I run into a lot of people with antisocial tendencies and psychopathology. It’s part of my life experience in the mental health system in America.
I lived in a group home two different times with a man who killed his father and his brother by shooting them with a rifle. He admitted to another patient that he just pretended to be mentally I’ll so he wouldn’t be in prison.
I do not disclose confidential information about other patients but in this case, since he was a fraud, I am. His name was Frank.
Frank loved to go to the hairdresser and have his long blond hair permed and possibly colored. He had the air of a rock star wanting adoring fans.
I didn’t trust him after a conversation I had about jumping horses. I said I once jumped my horse Roger 4’11” but he cleared the standard. This man said he’d jumped his father’s racehorse 6 feet. I said, oh really? Did you jump it in a Western saddle? (This was Montana and he grew up on a Montana ranch.)
He said he did jump it in a Western saddle. I knew he was full of so much manure as to fertilize the whole Republic then. The horn of the saddle would have impaled him. Horses don’t jump well in Western saddles either. Six feet is no small fence and even watching Snowbound win the gold medal in the ’68 Olympics with Steinkraus aboard, I know it’s an athletic challenge even for an Olympian.
I watched a Montana cowboy jump a Warmblood in a Western saddle and it was not easy to watch. The mare was not a happy camper and the fences were tiny.
So I have lived under the same roof as cold blooded killers. It was considered therapy for me. I survived.
I heard that Frank later went to prison for a parole violation. I don’t know that for sure.
The psychiatrists don’t have to live 24/7 with the mentally ill or those who are masquerading as such (but belong actually in forensic units of prisons). That’s what we get. That’s our therapy.
So I didn’t hate that man but I sure as heck made sure to navigate around him. Sometimes I made fun of him. I felt as I did when I met Vadim, the then head of Radio Moscow in my parents’ family room. I knew he was a dangerous man and I stayed clear of him. I was in grade school. I knew nothing of the KGB, but in retrospect, he was definitely in it.
He taught my brother chess. I declined. I wanted to stay as far from him as I could. And I did.
So when I see Mr. Putin, I see in his eyes as did Senator John McCain, “KGB.” And I know what that means. I am also a reporter, albeit a handicapped one. It’s a bit of a stretch to ask a real journalist to see Mr. Putin as anything but a killer because we are his prey. It’s a Russian sport now: kill reporters.
So yes, he’s a killer to me, too, as President Biden said. I hope President Biden is praying his rosary, and not just keeping it in his pocket. He needs it.
Mr. Putin has a killer instinct and an appetite to devour democracies. We are his prey. I rely upon the holy rosary and St Micheal the Archangel for protection because I am personally committed to non-violence. But that makes me also hyper-aware of dangerous individuals because I have been their prey so many times. I was disabled by a lustful priest who’s still at large. And he may remain so forever.
Ditto for Mr. Putin and his designs for Ukraine and Europe. He may indeed win it all back and wage nuclear war, even.
“This is a sick man. How can I best be helpful to him? G-d save me from being angry.”