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Old 12-09-2009, 02:21   #21
Area Commander
Sigaba is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Southern California
Posts: 4,473
Originally Posted by AngelsSix View Post
Once again:

Why is it after the fact that we hear that these folks are acting crazy? His behavior leading up to the attack was bizarre, perhaps his roomies had just gotten used to it but I would have noted that he was acting crazy....
MOO, a key piece of information is:
Al-Zahrani was a graduate student in the anthropology department working on a doctoral thesis[.]
One of the most intelligent people I've ever known nearly went off the deep end on several occasions as he wrote and prepared to defend his dissertation.

As an example, one evening I was riding with him in his pick up along a somewhat busy street. Someone cut him off on by blasting through the right turn lane at an intersection. This maneuver is a common practice in the L.A. area. Generally, one grouses a bit and drives on--because as often as it happens to you, you're going to do it to someone else.

Yet, in this case, my pal went ballistic. He pursued the offending vehicle, yelling obscenities and threats. He cut off the vehicle, let it go, chased it down again, and cut it off. "YOU'RE DEAD," he roared.

With white knuckles and clenched teeth, I waited with decreasing confidence for him to snap out of it before getting out of his truck and inflicting mayhem on a couple of poor souls. Fortunately, my somewhat snarky exhortations for him to calm down got through to him and he let the motorist go.

He had several other explosions of temper in the ensuing months. His rage eventually cost him some friendships--including mine--and nearly cost him his engagement to his fiance. And also, his department got so tired of him that his dissertation committee approved his thesis with very few comments. (When this happens, they're basically telling you to go away and not to count on any support in your subsequent job search.)

FWIW, UCLA's Peter Lowenberg wrote some interesting essays on the graduate school experience. These essays, which I recommend to anyone considering graduate school, are available in Decoding the Past: The Psychohistorical Approach, and I recommend them to anyone considering graduate school in any field.

My $0.02. But then that would still leave you $28.48 short if you were looking to buy the cloth bound, unabridged edition of Michel Foucault's History of Madness.
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