The Narcissism of Andreas Lubitz

Erica Goode looks at mass-killers-for-fame, the modern-day Herostratuses:

He was described, in the immediate aftermath of the Germanwings crash, as a cheerful and careful pilot, a young man who had dreamed of flying since boyhood.

But in the days since, it has seemed increasingly clear that Andreas Lubitz, 27, the plane’s co-pilot, was something far more sinister: the perpetrator of one of the worst mass murder-suicides in history.

If what researchers have learned about such crimes is any indication, this notoriety may have been just what Mr. Lubitz wanted.

The actions now attributed to Mr. Lubitz — taking 149 unsuspecting people with him to a horrifying death — seem in some ways unfathomable, and his full motives may never be fully understood. But studies over the last decades have begun to piece together characteristics that many who carry out such violence seem to share, among them a towering narcissism, a strong sense of grievance and a desire for infamy.

2 thoughts on “The Narcissism of Andreas Lubitz

  1. If what researchers have learned about such crimes is any indication, this notoriety may have been just what Mr. Lubitz wanted.

    Okay, so it’s jumping to conclusions time:
    If he had wanted notoriety he would have steered the plane into a settled area, not into mountainside.
    There’s no indication that he believed the black boxes would be found. If he would have said anything during the last minutes this could be a proof that he wanted to be seen as a murderer. But he didn’t. Maybe he didn’t realize that there would be enough clues to reconstruct what he did. Maybe he believed he would be seen as a pilot who died in the fulfilment of his duties.

    We know he realized that his dream of being a pilot was seriously threatened. His dreamed-up life was over.
    Better an end with terror than terror without an end.

    This still makes him a murderer, but for very different reasons than those of Herostratus. He would have been seen as one of 150 victims of a mysterious plane crash. Nobody would have been interested in knowing his name. The desire for infamy — I don’t buy it, given the facts we know.

    But the towering narcissism and the strong sense of grievance, that sounds very valid. If you have nothing to live for — love, friendship, dreams — you may still try to force your reality violently upon others. That’s what murderers do, and that’s what he is.


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