Vlad the Abuser: What Putin has in common with a California child-murderer
You probably saw or heard the news reports recently about a man in Sacramento, California, who shot and killed his three daughters, ages 9, 10 and 13, and their 59-year-old chaperone, during a supervised visit at a church.
Not surprisingly, the killer, David Mora Rojas, was “estranged” from the little girls’ mother. We’ve seen it all before, in news reports and “Law & Order” episodes. And we’re seeing it again — in Ukraine.
Bear with me.
Psychologist Dale Hartley, writing in Psychology Today in response to a similar 2018 case in Texas, said child-murdering fathers such as this — and there are many more examples — are in a “catathymic crisis.”
“By breaking off their relationship, the children’s mother had deprived him of his lover and dethroned him as the head of an intact family,” Hartley wrote. “This profoundly undermined his fragile ego and destroyed his sense of manhood. In Humpty Dumpty terms, he couldn’t put his mental equilibrium back together again.
“Devoid of empathy and pathologically self-obsessed, he allegedly blamed the mother for fueling his revenge. The only victim that matters is him. Sure, two children are dead, but just look at how cruel this woman has been. From his perspective, the blood is on her hands.”
Such an individual “nurses grudges and ruminates over grievances to the point that he or she becomes hyper-obsessed and pathologically self-focused,” Hartley wrote. “This is most likely when a person is already psychologically disturbed. If he or she doesn’t get help and won’t let the matter drop, the obsession can build up to a state of rage-fueled cognitive dissonance so profound that the person experiences a dissociative or psychotic state.”
Now think about Russia’s authoritarian head of state.
Vladimir Putin is a former KGB operative with a history of merciless violence, macho narcissism and nationalist fantasy. He has seen the vast empire into which he was born and rose to prominence, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, collapse under the weight of its own inefficiencies and self-deceptions after a decades-long struggle with Western democracies. He has persuaded himself that the NATO countries, especially the United States, reneged on promises to help Russia, the heart of the USSR, make the post-Cold War transition to fully functioning economic engine. He is obsessed with returning Russia to its former glory, however dubious it may have been. He wants Russia’s bloc of satellite countries, its “children,” back. He wants custody.
Ukraine is arguably the most prized of them all because of its ports and great agricultural lands. But Ukraine, excited by and happy with its post-Soviet independence and potential, wants nothing to do with Putin and the still-repressive country he commands.
Like a spurned lover, Putin decides he must repossess Ukraine even if doing so destroys the very thing he covets. When his soldiers and tanks are not greeted as “liberators,” when they are not loved and welcomed as he assured them that they would be, he unleashes artillery and missiles and lays waste to Ukrainian cities and schools and hospitals. He continues to claim to be the real victim, lies about carnage that is revolting most of the world.
What we have to worry about most is what happens when his murderous rampage ends and he realizes what damage he has done just not to Ukraine and to Russia but to himself.
The man in California, Rojas, like other aggrieved, deranged men who would rather see their children dead than give up possession, turned his weapon on himself.
Putin could put an end to it all.