The tragic death of 150 air travelers over the French Alps last week when Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed into the side of a mountain is looking less and less like a tragedy and more like an atrocity every day.
Millions of depression sufferers scoffed at the reports that indicated Andreas Lubitz struggled with debilitating anxiety and clinical depression, and that might have led him to intentionally shut his co-pilot out of the cockpit and set a descent course that resulted in the plane’s destruction.
“Many patients and other interested parties are rightly concerned that Lubitz’s murderous behavior will further stigmatize the mentally ill,” Slate’s Anne Skomorowsky wrote.
“[B]laming a person’s depression for his evil acts is ridiculous,” Forbes contributor Dan Diamond agreed.
A deluge of letters to the editor published in The Los Angeles Times almost universally protested the link between Lubitz’s depression and his murderous impulses. And these are just a handful of examples of the many that came out to defend those who suffer from depression from the allegation that they may also harbor secret murderous impulses.
Surely, there is altruism in the impulse to defend those who might suffer from depression but have never had a violent thought in their lives. It is also true that merely asserting that Lubitz’s “severe depression,” which prosecutors allege he suffered with even after he completed flight training, does not necessarily make it a non-factor in this event.
As more evidence has been uncovered leading up to this criminal act, however, it appears increasingly clear that Lubitz did not spontaneously decided to lock his co-pilot out of the cockpit and nosedive the plane that he was piloting. Evidence now suggests that this act was possibly premeditated and meticulously planned long before this fateful flight took off.
“Prosecutors’ spokesman Ralf Herrenbrueck said in a statement that Lubitz’s search terms included medical treatment and suicide methods. On at least one day, the co-pilot looked at search terms involving cockpit doors and their security methods,” The Washington Post reported.
Duesseldorf prosecutors said investigators found a tablet computer at co-pilot Andreas Lubitz’s apartment in Duesseldorf and were able to reconstruct his computer searches from March 16 to March 23.
Based on information from the cockpit voice recorder, Investigators believe the 27-year-old Lubitz locked his captain out of the A320’s cockpit on March 24 and deliberately crashed the plane, killing everyone on board.
“(He) concerned himself on one hand with medical treatment methods, on the other hand with types and ways of going about a suicide,” Herrenbrueck said. “In addition, on at least one day (Lubitz) concerned himself with search terms about cockpit doors and their security precautions.”
If these allegations prove accurate, this event should no longer be considered a suicide but a horrific and selfish act of mass murder. While Lubitz’s depression might have played a role in his decision to take this course, this grotesque act cannot be explained as an outgrowth of depressive impulses.
If the prosecutors’ allegations prove true, it looks as though those who complained that the international media was doing a disservice to depression sufferers had a point. Lubitz wasn’t merely depressed, he was psychopathic.