Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My segment on MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Show: 'Inside the mind of a killer'

Here's the video to my segment on MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Show today. They called it "Inside the mind of a killer."

(Update: I added links at the bottom to my NPR segment, AOL News piece, etc.)

We discussed Jared Lee Loughner and four categories of mass murderer, including what I learned covering Columbine, and other tragedies since then, such as Virginia Tech.

I hope the show was useful. 

I was really happy with Dylan as host. We met during the commercial break before the segment, and it was immediately obvious how bright he is. And thoughtful, too. You get a sense of people in this business right away, and I could tell he was after insight, not drama or stunts.

He asked great questions, and guided me gently. I was nervous, of course, and also out of practice in speaking in short sound bites. He was kind of the perfect host.

And my personal thanks to everyone on the staff, who treated me so well: Jesse who set it up, Christine who did my make-up, Chris who mic'd me (I think), and I'm sorry, I forgot the name of you who did my hair. (Someone mistakenly called you Norbet or Norbert, and that is stuck in my head. Sorry.)

And you never know who's going to help. My driver Abdul was great, and turns out his son is bipolar and we had a great discussion about seeing the world through the eyes of someone who is delusional.

Abdul--I hope I spelled it right--you were the first person I bounced my ideas off out loud, and that was a perfect dry run for the show 40 minutes later. Thanks.



My AOL News Opinion piece Don't Rush the Healing is now up.

Earlier in the week, I wrote Shooters Aren't Just Politically Motivated or Crazy for NPR's WNYC, and A Reporter's Lessons from Past Shooting for Columbia Journalism School's Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma.

I appeared on NPR's Talk Of The Nation to discuss these tragedies from the perspective of the killer's family. Listen here. I join the conversation at the 13:20 mark. (You can slide the play bar to that point.)

I'm continuing to confer with the great psychiatrists, psychologists and investigators I've gotten to know about the case, and I'm working on pieces for other magazines and news orgs right now.

More coming. For regular updates, feel free to friend/follow me on Facebook or Twitter.


  1. Dylan is a great host but you were a great guest. I was impressed by how much information you were able to cover in such a short period of time, and it was delivered conversationally and was easy to digest. Nice job!

  2. Yuo did a GREAT job. I loved how your broke down your points! Hope you get to do some more shows!

  3. Thanks, you guys. You're making me very happy this morning.

    I have not done this stuff in a while, and it's hard to know how I came across. There was a lot I wanted to convey, and didn't want to blow it.

  4. One of the things that I noticed about your segment on the Dylan Ratigan show is how you come across as both very real as a person and very knowledgable as an expert. (I liked it that you checked your notes instead of faking your way through that moment of not remembering).
    You are a top notch journalist, IMHO. I hope that you have many opportunities to offer information that is balanced and allows the human behind the reality of the violent act to be acknowledged as a human being however irrational the behavior.

  5. Dave,

    You presented an interesting differentiation between the archetypes of people prone to violence. I'm glad you and Dylan took the time to emphasize that most psychotic (or delusional, or schizophrenic) people aren't dangerous... small steps toward reducing the stigma associated with psychosis.

    This book, blog, and post were recommended by an associate of mine whom is (like myself) pursing a master's degree in clinical counseling. I'm glad I visited. Thanks for your insight!

    Kent Brooks


  6. Thanks. And Kent, I'm glad to hear an associate in the field recommended it. That's heartening. Thanks.

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  8. Tyrone. My blog is not a catch-all place for you to post random ramblings about unrelated events.