George Sodini's Diary Reveals Seeds of a "Plan"
Experts weigh in on the Pennsylvania shooter's final blog entries.
August 6, 2009 — -- Angry. Hostile. Hopeless. Ready to die and get back at everyone.
These are some of the words psychiatrists use to describe George Sodini, the Pennsylvania gunman who shot and killed three women and injured nine others at a fitness center on Tuesday before killing himself.
Chilling blog entries by Sodini, 48, dating back to Nov. 5, 2008, offer a glimpse of Sodini's struggle with feelings of isolation and rejection -- and the seeds of a plan to end his torment.
Based on his writings, experts say there may have been a time when Sodini would have benefitted from professional therapy, but a lack of personal motivation or any close, supportive relationships may have slowly closed off that option.
"Certainly he knew [professional help] was an option, and could afford it," said Harold Koenig, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Duke University Medical Center. "He would have been a hard person to counsel, though, given his long-standing negativity about life... These people don't usually seek professional help."
In cases of mental illness, friends and relatives are often the first to recognize problems and suggest seeking professional therapy. Rahil Briggs, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, pointed out that mental problems often start when a young child has difficult family relationships and that identifying negative environments early could be preventative.
But Sodini wrote that he was not close to his family, that his father was a "useless sperm donor," his mother "mad and vindictive," and his elder brother a "big bully."
And despite a relatively successful professional career, Sodini said he had trouble relating to people, especially women, and wrote that he had not had a girlfriend since 1984 and had not had sex since 1990.
"I think if someone had befriended him and persisted in the relationship, that might have helped," Koenig said. "At least allowed him to ventilate to somebody else and share his feelings rather than hold them all in."