By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)
Last week I wrote an article about the captain of the sunken Italian ship who said he “fell into a life boat by accident” and that was why he got off the ship very early, not waiting for the rescue efforts. It also turned out this married man was with his lover and was drunk at the time the ship was steered, on his command, closer than normal to an island so he could show it off to the residents and his friends there, crashing it into known rocks.
Even after the ship had hit the rocks and was stuck, he denied to the company and potential rescuers that anything other than an electrical “black out” occurred and delayed even issuing an “abandon ship” until it was on its side an hour later, making the ability to abandon ship at that point almost impossible. Amazingly there was actually a small number of dead and missing out of about 4,000 people on the ship since it happened close to shore. I stated that his unbelievable lie (alone) made me think the man was a psychopath, and subsequent information confirms this to me that the man is high in P-traits.
Another horrible tragedy, which also had significant “Red Flags” displayed, was reported this past week in the news. Josh Powell, whose wife had “disappeared” a couple of years ago, blew up his home, killing himself and his two young sons on a “supervised” visit. His father, who had lived in his home, had previously been arrest for secretly videotaping others undressed.
Here is a short quote from the article:
It is a horrific end to a long, bizarre tale. Josh Powell was under investigation in the disappearance of his 28-year-old wife Susan from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009. He claimed he had taken the boys on a midnight excursion in freezing temperatures when she vanished.
His explanation of how and why his wife “disappeared” is bordering on the unbelievable level of the Captain of the Concordia “falling into a life boat by accident.” His children later said that they went camping and “mom was in the trunk.”
Another red flag to me is that the Josh Powell’s father is a pervert, and was arrested in the home with pornography he had secretly recorded of girls and women. He is currently in prison awaiting trial. Since we know that psychopathy and dysfunction tends to run in families, both by genetics and by environmental influence, I would say that Josh’s father being a sexual criminal would put him high on my list of “red flag” people associated with Josh, and would give Josh a second look from me.
Learning from the news
Learning about “red flags” doesn’t have to be done by being around people. We can “practice” looking for red flags in the evening news, the news we read online, in the papers and the stories we hear about. When we hear about some horror story, or just some person’s divorce, we may be able to use that as a “learning experience” and see the red flags that, as we practice, will become more and more obvious to us.
I was also glad to see an article in yesterday’s Sunday paper by Carolyn Hax in her column Tell Me About It. A young man talked about catching his girlfriend in a lie and how controlling she was … and he asked Carolyn her opinion of this relationship. Carolyn didn’t call the woman a controlling witch but she told him to dump the woman, that there was no chance a control freak who was a habitual liar was going to be rehabilitated. Good advice. I’m glad to see more advice along this line in some of our “advice to the lovelorn” columns.
If we look around us in the news, in our neighborhood, we can watch for the “red flags” that show themselves all over the place. The Flags that tell us “get out of that relationship” or “don’t start a relationship with that person” or “aren’t we glad we didn’t have a relationship.” Not all of these people will be full fledged murdering psychopaths or sexual perverts, but they will have some character flaws that we don’t want to deal with … like pathological lying or controlling behavior. It helps us learn and the “tuition” cost is zero.