Thursday, December 08, 2005

"I heard her say, 'he's bipolar, he doesn't have his medicine.'"

Witnesses aboard an American Airlines jetliner say that Rigoberto Alpizar's wife pursued him, saying he was mentally ill, just before federal marshals shot and killed him. Air marshals said Alpizar had announced he was carrying a bomb.

Later, no explosives were found. The incident remains under investigation.

"She was chasing after him," said fellow passenger Alan Tirpak. "She was just saying her husband was sick, her husband was sick." When the woman returned, "she just kept saying the same thing over and over, and that's when we heard the shots."
"Manic-depression distorts moods and thoughts, incites dreadful behaviors, destroys the basis of rational thought, and too often erodes the desire and will to live. It is an illness that is biological in its origins, yet one that feels psychological in the experience of it; an illness that is unique in conferring advantage and pleasure, yet one that brings in its wake almost unendurable suffering..."

-Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., An Unquiet Mind, 1995, p. 6.


Blogger Caltechgirl said...

I loved that book.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand 100% why the air marshall did what he did. I really do. But I can seriously imagine the turmoil and pain the man was in. I'm bipolar. I've been in a psychotic state, I've heard things, seen things, nearly cut off my own hand because something in my head was telling me it would be a good experiment. Being bipolar we have a responsibility to take our medication, but even then it can be difficult, a daily struggle. I am not saying that the air marshall was wrong: he discerned a threat to the larger group and was doing as he was trained. But I have an incredible amount of compassion for the man and his wife. NO ONE knows, nor will they ever, what that couple went through, both at that moment, and the days leading up to it.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Greg P said...

This is a tough situation.
One of the problems is that we don't actually have a sense that a terrorist intent on blowing up a plane is in a "rational" frame of mind, so it's hard to differntiate that from someone who is "just" mentally ill.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Joel said...

War of the Terrified is what I call it. I felt like ~I~ was laying on the tarmac in Miami.

ON another blog, someone said that if we were likely to panick on airflights, we bipolars shouldn't travel.

I am game to wearing a orange jacket with the word BIPOLAR on the back.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

I wrote a bit of a blog entry about this (I just found your blog today). Truthfully, I think the FAM's had him contained on the ground and could have taken appropriate action. If this was on the plane, then I might have said that the FAM's actions were justified.

Flying is stressful, and I have to remember that even though I take meds I still have to calm myself down. I fly upwards of 100,000 miles a year and I still have panic inducing moments even though I should be used to it by now.

7:54 AM  

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