Mental Illness, The Killer Essay, Research Paper
“Mental illness: The Cause of Violence?”
“The first thing that hit me was I could smell blood. And looked, and quiet, but saw a lot of kids down, a lot of wounds, blood spurting out of legs (”The Killer”).” This is what Don Stone, a football coach at Thurston High School, said as he approached the Cafeteria. Kip Kinkel, a fifteen-year-old student at the high school, had just murdered four people two students and wounded twenty-five, and both his parents. This big incident had happened in a small quiet town in Oregon. After Kip Kinkel had been arrested for the murders and shootings he was taken to the Police office for an interrogation. There Kip for the first time verbally told someone about “the voices” in his head. What caused this teen to commit such a horrendous act? Could this incident be caused by a mentally ill teen?
Kip Kinkel was like a bomb ready to explode. A lot was dug deep inside of him; he was a very depressed boy. He had gone to see psychiatrists on the request of his mother, because she was concerned with his “anti-social” behavior. Later Kip had started to take Prozac to get over his depression. As time had gone on Kip had seemed to get over his depression. He was later taken of the Prozac
After the incident at Thurston High School, there had been a few psychologists who had tried to diagnose him. Dr. Orin Bolstad, one of the psychiatrists who had been interviewed for the defense, stated that Kip suffered from a psychotic disorder with major paranoid symptoms, potentially some form of early onset schizophrenia. Other tests, Bolstad said, revealed a very depressed, alienated child who sees adults as unfair, arbitrary and untrustworthy. He has very low self-esteem, and is manipulative and paranoid (Expert 1).
Kip reported auditory hallucinations. They began, according to Kip, in 6th grade. Kip told him that he remembered the first time he heard a voice; it said, “You are a stupid piece of shit. You aren’t worth anything.” They scared and upset him, he said, and he tried various things to quiet them: biking, watching TV, and punching his head. According to Bolstad, Kip said that he never told anyone about the voices because he was embarrassed (Expert 1). Dr. Richard J. Konkol, pediatric neurologist, also testified for the defense. He showed an image of a computerized scan of Kip’s brain that he said showed “holes” in areas of the brain. These images revealed reduced blood flow to the frontal lobe, the area associated with emotional control and decision-making. He testified that this reduced brain activity was consistent with new research on children who become schizophrenic, and that he thought it could make Kip more susceptible to a psychotic episode (’Psychological”).
There was much evidence to show that Kip is a mentally ill case. According to Dr. William Sack, there was much evidence to show that Kip was a mentally ill person. Kip was driven to kill by these auditory hallucinations: “I feel his crimes and his behavior over those two days are the direct result of a psychotic product that was building over three years that suddenly emerged, taking over his ego. (”Psychological”).”
Bolstad believed that Kip murdered his parents and opened fired on fellow
students the next day (killing two and injuring 25) under the influence of these hallucinatory voices. He described Kip recounting the voices to him: “‘My Dad was sitting at the bar [in the kitchen]. The voices said, “Shoot him.” I had no choice. The voices said I had no choice. and later, after he killed his mother, ‘The voices said, ‘Go to school and kill everybody. Look what you’ve already done’ (Expert 1).”
Looking at the evaluations the psychiatrists have made it is obvious that Kip was a case of being mentally ill. Bolstad said that he did not believe that there was any way to cure Kip’s disorder, but that it could be managed with medication: “I would not want to see Kip Kinkel out on the streets, ever, with this condition… without medicine and without an awful lot of structure and support services arranged for him (Expert 2).
I believe that when a parents realize that their child seems to be detached to an extreme point, there is should be a sense of worry. Parents as well as teachers and friends should take a close look to what is going on in the life of the person. The neuro-psychologist looked at Kips brain, and realized that there was not enough blood flow. Someone should have done this before to see if there might be something wrong. This is something that showed that Kip might be suffering from schizophrenia. The whole incident might not have happened. I believe that a through analysis should be done on a person if they are suffering from clinical depression. This can, in the future, help the patient out. There might not be as many outbursts of violence. Many may be able to be protected as well.
“An Experts Opinion. Frontline: The Killer at Thurston High.” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/kinkel/trial/#4 .12 December 2000. 11 November 2000.
“A Psychological/Medical Testimony. Frontline: The Killer at Thurston High.” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/kinkel/etc/opb.html. 12 December 1999. 11 November 2000.
The Killer at Thurston High. Produced by Michael Kirk, Miri Navasky, Karen O’Connor. PBS Video, 18 January 2000, 90 minutes.