Most suspicious is the nearly instant surfacing of a therapist who claims that Bruce Ivins threatened her and told her of murderous plans to kill his fellow scientists at the lab. She revealed that Ivins had been evaluated by two psychiatric examiners as “a homicidal sociopath,” causing her to seek a protective order from the courts. One usually expects a certain circumspection from therapists, but these revelations came almost on the heels of the FBI announcement, just in time for the nightly news.
My suspicions on the case itself aside, however, the real question goes to the issue of how such a seriously deranged individual could be employed in a high-security weapons lab, receiving awards for his work and even helping the FBI look for the anthrax killer over the years.
For 30 years Ivins worked at Fort Dederick, Md., the Army’s high-security labs for the development of weapons of mass destruction, both chemical and biological. His task was to develop strains of anthrax capable of use against cities and military forces for mass casualties that would cripple any enemy resistance. For three decades he labored on mass murder as a daily project. For at least the last eight years he has had serious drinking and psychological issues, resulting in his being briefly institutionalized, but nobody thought to question his job performance.
In fact, Ivins was the perfect worker in the field of wholesale death.
Who but a sociopath could go to the job daily and plan the mass poisoning of populations of people with whose political/economic system we feared? In point of fact, anyone in his field must be detached from the rest of humanity to even contemplate such horrors, much less struggle to achieve them.
His reported plans to murder his fellow lab laborers are typical of the thinking of both his colleagues and his bosses, to whom all problems eventually come down to killing the opposition, whether in foreign wars or over intra-lab scientific rivalries.
Of course, it is all speculation as to whether Ivins was a nutcase before becoming a science assassin or if three decades on the job were to blame for his breakdown and suicide. We are all what we do, in existential analysis, and maybe we should all take a long look at what causes we serve.
“Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views.