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Bikini Model Accused of Running Drug Ring
Aired March 19, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.
Is a bikini model the mastermind of an international drug ring?
Why is the founder of "Kony 2012" in a mental hospital?
And did an American soldier slaughter innocent Afghans? Is there a stressor that makes some people and others break? And could it happen to you?
Let`s get started.
We are live and tonight we`re beginning with a crazy story: an international swimsuit model captured in Australia after being on the lam for over a month.
Simone Farrow modeled bikinis for Ed Hardy. That should have been enough to get her arrested right there. She`s the alleged kingpin for a drug syndicate that distributed meth all around the world. It`s outrageous. Authorities say she shipped the stuff via FedEx from her Hollywood apartment.
Here`s what she told ABC News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMONE FARROW, BIKINI MODEL: I have nowhere else to go. I tried to go to a friend`s house. I actually did this because someone was trying to murder me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Yes, now I just want to, before I introduce my guess point out that kind of paranoia where people believe that people are out to get them is very typical of somebody who`s using methamphetamines. We might speculate that`s part of the story here.
To discuss this with me tonight, criminal defense attorney Mark Eiglarsh; also Judge Karen Mills Francis, who got the memo on light green neckwear from Mark, host of "Judge Karen`s Court"; and editor in chief at celebuzz.com, Dylan Howard.
Dylan, are we to believe a supermodel-turned-drug-kingpin, is that really what`s happening?
DYLAN HOWARD, EDITOR IN CHIEF, CELEBUZZ.COM: She`s said to have made $580,000 over the years. This woman posted bail in an Australian court, $150,000.
PINSKY: So her first arrest was in Australia. Not here. I thought it was here and she absconded.
HOWARD: She was detained and sent back to Australia.
PINSKY: I see.
HOWARD: Now, she was to appear in an Australian court having posted $150,000 bail. How did she post that? As a result of a doctor and a barrister. One phonied up $50,000. The other one, $100,000. They --
PINSKY: What does that -- what does that mean? I`m starting with the barrister.
Mark Eiglarsh, are you ponying up money for your clients?
MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely, Drew, out of my own kids` college fund.
PINSKY: Especially if they are bikini models evidently?
EIGLARSH: Of course, call my law firm, I`ll take care of you, absolutely.
Give me a break.
PINSKY: All right. And, Judge --
EIGLARSH: I told you the other night, if I validate their parking, they`re lucky. Come on.
PINSKY: Judge Karen, is that as sound as incredulous as I find it to be as well?
JUDGE KAREN MILLS FRANCIS, HOST, "JUDGE KAREN`S COURT": Well, I don`t think that being a playboy pet and a mastermind behind a global drug ring go together. I don`t think this girl was smart enough to have done all these things that she`s accused of doing. And --
PINSKY: Let`s see what Dylan says.
MILLS-FRANCIS: She`s changed her name 19 times.
HOWARD: She was due to appear in court and then didn`t attend court. She submitted a note claiming that she was in hospital. That was a complaint out of nonsense, though. Instead, she flew from the East Coast in Sydney, Australia, through to the Gulf Coast. That`s where she was found in the last couple days in a raid in a seedy part of the Gulf Coast.
PINSKY: So, is this -- am I to believe this is just how Aussie ladies behave?
Dylan, you`re Australian.
HOWARD: Look, in that interview, she made mention of the fact that she was going to be killed. That there was a --
PINSKY: That could all be methamphetamine.
HOWARD: That could also be very true. Let me explain to you in Australia, up until recently there has been a gang land war, where 20 people were murdered over the period of a decade all to with drugs. This along the east coast of Australia. So, it is, perhaps, conceivable she may have been put up to this, that she wasn`t the mastermind.
PINSKY: But she was doing a lot of this out here in California.
HOWARD: And shipping most of it via FedEx packages, packing bath salts and putting in the pants on the side.
PINSKY: And when you say bath salts, you`re not talking about the drug bath salts that people are --
HOWARD: No, she was passing off the methamphetamines.
PINSKY: Actual bath salts. Actual bath salts.
Mike Eiglarsh, I`m going to go out to you. Does she have liability out here now -- it seems like there`s tons of issues here. She`s distributing stuff through the mail. I mean, I can`t imagine she`s not going to be brought back here to face charges.
EIGLARSH: That`s correct. First of all, there`s federal charges that she could be facing if she`s using the mail, if she`s trafficking in a controlled substance, without question. The feds -- I know the DEA was involved. So, I suspect that they would bring charges as well.
PINSKY: And, Dylan, you said she made $500,000 doing this?
HOWARD: During the period of February 2000, until October 2010.
PINSKY: Do you think for a second that she unwittingly got sucked into something here? Are we -- according to court documents obtained in the Australian court, there were seven people involved in this operation. The DEA had gone to an apartment here at (INAUDIBLE) in a hotel here and they made an appointment to meet with one of her henchmen, if you like, one of her dealers.
That next day, this gentleman by the name of Zander Rian killed himself, committed suicide. So, that`s one less person involved in this that I could speak to. But according to court documents in Australia, there is a network of six people involved in this.
PINSKY: Judge Karen, you say, she doesn`t -- you wouldn`t expect her to be bright enough to have been up to this. It sounds to me like she`s involved in something pretty sophisticated here. And to me, to my humble ears, this sounds like drug addict behavior but real serious criminal behavior.
MILLS FRANCIS: You know, what I don`t understand about the court in Australia, this woman has 19 different aliases. In November of last year, the court allowed her to change her name yet again to Lawson. And apparently, she had already planned this escape.
It`s possible that she could be a mule -- she said in one of her statements she`s had relationships with some unsavory and powerful people in this game. She could be the girlfriend of somebody. But I think that she didn`t know how to do anything but take off her clothes and be a model. So, what does a model do after that? If they don`t become an actress or marry a rock star, I guess they become a drug lord.
PINSKY: Wow. Karen. So for all the young ladies out there that strive to go on to professions --
HOWARD: Let`s face it. She`s not on international model. She was modeling for penthouse. Not the bible really when you think about it.
PINSKY: It`s not? She had some high-fashion modeling.
HOWARD: Not high fashion, Dr. Drew.
EIGLARSH: Twenty years ago.
MILLS FRANCIS: Twenty years ago.
HOWARD: Twenty years ago, Drew.
MILLS FRANCIS: She`s 38 years old.
PINSKY: We`re talking about 20 years ago. But that`s my point is that this really, to me, I mean, this nonsense, people going, oh, oh, this poor girl, people are threatening to kill her, oh, we got to protect her. This looks like a long-standing criminal --
PINSKY: Enterprise. Yes. Whether she really has risk to her life by the people she`s involved with, by the way, as part of her so-called enterprise, or whether she is at the center of it -- it`s long-standing severe ongoing criminal behavior.
This is where I wish we had Pat Brown here tonight, because finally a psychopath. Finally -- well, she`s not killing anybody yet, but she could have gotten there.
EIGLARSH: Legally, Drew -- legally, it doesn`t matter whether she was the kingpin or whether she was the one who brought the boxes from FedEx and held them while someone stuffed them. She is just as guilty.
Now, if we`re talking about the federal system, they`ll rank them, who`s the leader, who`s underneath that. There will be some adjustments made. But she`s facing significant minimum mandatory penalties in the United States -- I can`t speak for Australia -- even if she played a minimal role in the enterprise.
PINSKY: Yes. And, Mark, let me just say -- I`m always trying to make sense of this stuff, I want to give people a break if they have mental illness or addiction. But this, to me -- this is hardcore criminal history.
We`ve got some Facebook reactions to this story.
Meagan writes, "She`ll be the next top model of the jail now." Oh, she`s funny.
Then Jan says, this is actually more interesting, "I think the media gives her too much credit. Why is anyone surprised? I mean, this kind of stuff has been going on for years."
Meaning criminal behavior -- you know, that`s the thing, night after night, Mark and Karen, we keep hearing on this show that people are tired of. They`re tired of excuses for this behavior.
MILLS FRANCIS: Sometimes, Dr. Drew, a criminal is just a criminal. And maybe she`s just criminal.
PINSKY: I think you`re right. I think you`re absolutely right. I think that is the case here. I really do.
MILLS FRANCIS: There`s no psychiatric problem. There`s not a drug addiction. She`s just a criminal.
PINSKY: Well, she may also be a drug addict. But I`m not even prepared to say that that is in any way explanatory.
MILLS FRANCIS: She may be a drug addiction criminal.
EIGLARSH: She`s a legend. Can we throw in a legend here for a second? Because we --
MILLS FRANCIS: We have a defense attorney here.
EIGLARSH: Can we just throw that in? Could you dash it in maybe once or twice? Just throw that in.
PINSKY: Thank you, Mark. Thank you, Mark. Thank you for that.
And now, I`m going to see Dylan and Judge Karen in a few minutes, after the break.
Next up, we`re going to talk about the bizarre behavior of the "Kony 2012" filmmaker, Jason Russell. Yes, there it is. It was really quite something. I can tell you what that is. I mean, that is actually something very characteristic, I guarantee you there are third year medical students all over the country watching this with their tendings and their tendings saying, this is, I`ll tell you what the naked truth is about that when we get back.
PINSKY: And welcome back. We`re trying to figure out how did one man go from a humanitarian hero one minute to a gravely disabled human, detained and locked up in a psychiatric hospital the next?
There he is. He seems OK during this. He is the filmmaker and producer of "Kony 2012", Jason Russell.
Just last Thursday in that footage we`re looking at. Watch this.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
PINSKY: Very, very different behavior than what we had seen just a couple of days before. "Kony 2012" was seen by over 100 million people worldwide. Just as many may have seen Sean Russell`s breakdown here.
So, one of the questions I`m asking is, has the media been unable or unwilling to really take a good hard look at what this thing is? Roll that footage again. I`m going to talk over it if I possibly can, because this is how we would do it in medical school.
Show students the footage like this. And here`s exactly what I would say to third year students in a psychiatric rotation. Notice excessive motor activity, verbal outbursts, associated with derailment of thought, nonsensical repetitive activities, responding to internal stimuli. We call that manic psychosis, and that can be caused by one of three things. See, there he is.
That is either a severe medical problem like a brain tumor, seizure disordered, something like that. It is induced by drugs, and alcohol potentially, things like stimulants or hallucinogens, like LSD. And, finally, it`s a manic psychosis. I mean, if somebody had schizophrenia, you`d also say they were in a schizophrenia form break. But something that is out of character, you would call manic psychosis from bipolar disorder.
So, my assessment is based on what the family has said, not drug induced, seems medically OK, apparently was cleared at the hospital. And now, he`s held in a psychiatric hospital as gravely disabled for stabilization of his bipolar disorder, bipolar mania.
And, by the way, just a quick pointer, think how different that was from a Charlie Sheen, say, which was hypomania, which we`ll talk about in the next segment.
Back with me to continue this conversation is Judge Karen Mills Francis, former Miami-Dade County judge, and host of "Judge Karen`s Court." Also, got Dylan Howard, who is a new -- has a new title. He is the editor in chief of celebuzz.com.
Dylan, any media reports out there that help us understand what we`re seeing? That precipitated this? I mean, to me, have to have two hits, you have to have pre-existing bipolar disorder and then something that precipitated it.
HOWARD: No, not necessarily. We don`t really know too much about this gentleman beyond the fact that he founded this organization and has been working toward this cause for some time. You know, I read over the weekend people calling "Kony 2012," "pony 2012".
This doesn`t change the method or the message behind this campaign. It`s an unfortunate incident and one which is going to shine negativity to their cause. But at this point, we don`t really know what predicated to this. The family released a statement today saying that it was dehydration and exhaustion as a result of the stress.
PINSKY: Right now, you people -- I`m sorry, Dylan. You people in the media -- it`s me people, too, because I`m a part of this.
HOWARD: You`re a chat show host.
PINSKY: Whenever you hear dehydration or exhaustion, that is -- there`s no such thing as a young person -- there`s no diagnostic category for a young person, exhaustion, that would warrant medical hospitalization.
HOWARD: This is now a P.R. battle for the organization, Invisible Children. They need to address this. If, indeed, he does suffer from bipolar disorder, what he`s wrong with coming out and saying that our founder suffers from bipolar disorder?
PINSKY: Thank you. Dylan, I completely agree with you. I think the public sort of deserves that explanation.
And he`s stabilized now. He`s taking treatment. He`s going to be back at work in no time.
But, Karen, my question for you is, all -- what do you think the stress is that he`s been experiencing? I`m hearing people sort of question the voracity of the Kony video, maybe this was something in Uganda 15 years ago and now it`s in the Congo. But it`s still something very active.
MILLS FRANCIS: Look at what kind of proportions this video has taken on. I mean, it`s the most viral video ever on YouTube. I mean, you ask people 30 days ago, 60 days ago, what`s Kony? And nobody knew what you were talking about.
How many of us know the names of any African leaders other than what`s his name from Uganda? There was a movie about him. I can`t remember.
But I think that all of a sudden, this thing that they`ve been fighting for since 2003, Invisible Children was founded in 2003, they`ve been fighting and fighting for this global recognition of what`s going on with these children being exploited in Africa by the military.
Maybe the popularity, maybe the fact that now he`s out there all the time. It`s possible, everybody can`t deal with fame. Everybody can`t deal with the stress of scrutiny.
And, of course, now you`re out there in the public. People are starting to question, was this organization legitimate? Why is he making $80,000 a year? Which to me is not a whole lot of money for a charitable organization that`s been in business as long as they`ve been in.
But maybe he just couldn`t take it. Some -- everybody can`t take it. Everybody`s not strong enough to take scrutiny.
PINSKY: Well, that`s right. They said he`d not been sleeping for days and, again, sleeplessness is a sign of impending mania. But by the same token it can precipitate it.
Dylan, you mentioned the wife. I`ve got a -- was it wife?
PINSKY: I have Ben Keesey here, CEO of the organization Invisible Children, which is the organization we`re talking about here, reading a statement from Russell`s wife.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN KEESEY, CEO, INVISIBLE CHILDREN: This is Ben Keesey. These last two weeks have been tough. Really tough. Because when we set out to make the "Kony 2012" film, our goal was for 500,000 people to see it. But in just over a week and a half, it was almost 100 million people, which was incredible, but it also came with the attention and the pressure of the global media spotlight.
And that was hard for all of us, but it was especially hard for Jason, because the story was so personal for him and his family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: But, Dylan, I want to create an analogy here for our viewers, which is that, look, scrutiny is tough for some people as Karen said. But nobody, for instance, got for scrutiny than Cindy and George Anthony. People were for how long in their lawn, in their garage, scrutinizing them, and vilifying them a lot of them.
And they didn`t throw their clothes all the time around -- if he`s suffering from bipolar disorder and something predicated that, this organization, Invisible Children, should come out. They should what the issue is.
Don`t say exhaustion, don`t say dehydration. Tell us really. I mean, it doesn`t change the moral nature of your -- at the very core of your campaign.
PINSKY: In fact, it humanizes the organization.
MILLS FRANCIS: They don`t know yet because under the statute where he was hospitalized in California, it`s quite possible that they don`t quite know yet what`s wrong with him.
PINSKY: You`re right. You`re absolutely right, Karen, that there can be -- the HIPAA laws in particular pertains to psychiatric hospitals are close-lipped, very tight. So, we`ll have to wait and see if they choose -- it is up to them -- to choose sharing his diagnosis with the public.
Thank you, Karen. Thank you, Dylan.
MILLS FRANCIS: Thank you.
PINSKY: Next, I mentioned Charlie Sheen, also Britney Spears. They both had very significant breakdowns in front of everybody, in front of millions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON RUSSELL, CO-FOUNDER, INVISIBLE CHILDREN: It`s a name. It`s invisible children, but it`s your movement. You started this with your money. And we`re here to serve you. You the people on this planet, you human beings.
And so, it`s much bigger than me. I`m going to go on news media and be doing all these different things in the next couple days, but I need you to know something. I am here representing you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: That was Jason Russell just 48 hours before his very public, called episode, there it is. Again, this is him in an excessive motor activity, responding to internal stimuli, nonsensical repetitive behaviors.
That is manic psychosis, either caused by substances or bipolar disorder. The family says no substances. This to me looks like a straight-up bipolar episode.
Schizophrenic form reactions in certain individuals can look like this, too, but it really has that manic flavor to it. And as I said, there are third year medical students on their psych rotation all over the country looking at this so the doctors can help them understand what a manic episode looks like.
Now, Charlie Sheen and Britney Spears had public breakdowns similar to the Kony 2012 filmmaker. There is Britney having an episode.
Dylan, this is why I kept you here. These stories sold magazines. Very few people broke down what was happening to poor Britney back then.
If you remember, she pulled her car over and all of a sudden, shaved her head. That`s a manic behavior or probably possibly drug induced. Something of a manic nature.
HOWARD: Maybe it`s the deficiency of the tabloid media, that those instances become the thing that sell magazines.
PINSKY: Rather than the deeper --
HOWARD: As opposed to the deeper context which is someone that`s deeply troubled.
PINSKY: But, man, I wouldn`t call deeply troubled, as her brain is misfiring and we should understand this is a psychiatric event. I noticed in the last segment, you were advocating on the behalf. There`s Britney again when she shaved her head.
You were advocating for that kind of thing -- oh, boy, was that an episode. I mean, look at her. She was not in her right mind there.
And then, we have Charlie, let`s see what kind of footage you guys have on Charlie to show me. But he gave -- he got -- I think everyone is pretty much aware of what he did in a hypomanic episode where he was grandiose, he was winning.
HOWARD: I got to say, you know, he doesn`t look like that. He doesn`t wear that thing on his head. His behavior was something of someone that`s not Charlie Sheen. That`s not the Charlie Sheen we all knew.
And I spent more time with any other journalist at that time when he got fired from "Two and A Half Men." And that`s the time I thought he was playing a character. But after listening to you over the last year talk about it, it`s made me understand that actually he was going through some serious troubles.
PINSKY: Oh, yes, he wasn`t sleeping for long periods of times. He was hypersexual. He had a grandiose sense of understanding.
And this sort of -- one of the things people as they get toward mania will say, is I`ve figured it all out, I understand everything now. It`s a sense of, you know, sort of -- it`s a grandiosity.
HOWARD: The difference there is, though, that Britney Spears and Charlie Sheen were both famous and Invisible Children gentleman and founder has been catapulted to stardom. So, what effect would that have had?
PINSKY: Hopefully, he`ll come up and talk about that when he stabilizes and can talk about it.
HOWARD: I supposed that if he has to, in order to make that cause seem -- appear to overcome this issue.
PINSKY: To humanize it again. And we hope it does, and I really to. That`s my hope for this whole thing is people understand what this is, and they continue to back what is clearly an important thing, important cause.
Thank you, Dylan.
And when we come back, I`m going to be taking your questions and answering them about anything. As I keep saying, no topic is taboo.
And later, we`ll talk about an American soldier who is accused of murdering 16 innocent Afghans. We`re going to try to figure out what might explain his alleged actions.
Go over to HLNTV.com and tell us what you think. We also read your comments. And don`t be shy. We get some of our Facebook stuff off the web. Please put it up there right now.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): Coming up, an American soldier is accused of gunning down 16 innocent Afghans for no apparent reason.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Finally, they came to this room and martyred all the children in the room. There was even a two- month-old baby.
PINSKY: He`s described as a devoted father and husband. A friend says he`s a great person.
ROBERT DURHAM, FAMILY FRIEND: A real caring, real understanding individual, even from a real young age.
PINSKY: So, what happened? Did he suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder? He was on his fourth tour of duty. Does that matter? What about the traumatic brain injury he apparently sustained in Iraq? Financial pressures may figure into it as well or is there nothing at all that explains his alleged actions?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: All right. Before we get to that story, it is time for your calls and comments and something we ask our internet audience, is midlife crisis an excuse for behaving badly? That`s what we`re asking on Facebook, and we`re getting some interesting responses.
Victoria had this to say, "I don`t think women are really, quote, "allowed" to have a midlife crisis, not by the men in their lives, anyway. If they do, then men see it as rebellion, as a letdown, as a sign of some sort of -- to your men. But men can do what they want when they want, and bad behavior is summed by saying it`s a midlife crisis, a double standard alert."
Wow! She got a lot of energy. That`s Victoria. Victoria, I absolutely agree with you. I tell you what, I think this -- I think the whole concept of a midlife crisis is flawed. I agree with you. I think it`s a shroud people hide behind. And, I think it`s an excuse for men to do things they should have done when they were 20, and they didn`t do it, probably, because they couldn`t, and now, they think they can because they have command of resources.
And by the way, I think it`s inexcusable. I remember back in the day when we were all talking about Bill Clinton`s behavior. I said, I just can`t understand it. It`s an attack on the people you love. It`s an attack on your wife and your kids. You don`t think about that. How do you live with yourself when you behave like that?
Do this stuff before you get married or don`t get married, that`s fine, enjoy. But, come on, now, I agree with you. I got a lot of energy on that, too.
Joyce Writes, "Why are women labeled whores when we behave badly, but men are going through a midlife crisis because they feel the need to cheat?"
Wow. You guys are pushing all my buttons tonight. Joyce, it`s unbelievable how much we fear female sexuality and the cruel names that we reserve for women that, so-called, behave badly. I think it`s cruel. Women have midlife crises, too, but they typically act them out when they`re not getting their emotional needs met in the relationship.
And men, this is on you. When your partner is saying to you over and over again, hey, we don`t spend time, you`re not talking, not listening to me, don`t dismiss that. She knows what she`s talking about and she has a good sense of what the relationship needs and what she needs from the relationship is your job to respond to it. That`s when you see the midlife crisis develop.
We got Stephanie on line in Louisiana. What`s your question there, Stephanie?
STEPHANIE, LOUISIANA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Stephanie.
STEPHANIE: Stress (INAUDIBLE) in my life.
PINSKY: What happened?
STEPHANIE: My 19-year-old son has cystic fibrosis.
PINSKY: Well, I`m going to break this down. Cystic fibrosis is a chronic lung disease since childhood. It`s progressive. It`s pretty serious once you hit your 20s. OK. There`s that. That`s enough right by itself. Yes.
STEPHANIE: Recently, I lost my only sister to a pill overdose, and my mother, 24 hours later, broken heart syndrome.
PINSKY: Meaning she just laid down and died because of your sister?
STEPHANIE: In her sleep.
PINSKY: Oh, I`m so sorry. Oh my goodness.
STEPHANIE: And I just found out my husband had an affair. So --
PINSKY: We were just talking about that.
STEPHANIE: Yes, I know.
PINSKY: Is your husband -- I mean, I --
STEPHANIE: We`re OK now, actually.
PINSKY: Good. Listen, first of all, God bless you for hanging in there, because I`ve seen a lot of relationships go through these episodes or even when one of them is a sex addict, and they end up in a much, much better place if they`re willing to stick together if you can find forgiveness.
STEPHANIE: We`re in a way better place.
PINSKY: All right. So, at least you got him support you through this. What is the most significant problem right now?
STEPHANIE: I developed a gambling addiction out of the blue and depression.
PINSKY: Are you on medication?
STEPHANIE: No. I don`t want to take medication.
PINSKY: You know why I`m asking it, because some medicine, there`s actually been some Parkinsonian medication that has been known to trigger gambling addiction. And let me ask you this, I mean, from my audience, there are different kinds of gambling addicts. There are gambling addicts that really get into losing, believe it or not. They`re really actually debtors (ph). You`re shaking your head --
STEPHANIE: I`m the escapist. I was the escapist.
PINSKY: You disassociate. You disassociate. It`s like watching video games for you. Yes. That`s --
STEPHANIE: -- did not matter.
PINSKY: Well, I tell you what, why not get some therapy, because that kind of thing can be dealt with various kinds of therapies. Have you ever seen a therapist?
STEPHANIE: I have. You know, I`m trying to do it on my own. I know I shouldn`t, but --
PINSKY: Well, Stephanie, look, here`s the deal. I got to wrap up with you very quickly, but there`s two routes, and I`d actually suggest both. One is to go to G.A., Gamblers Anonymous. Do a 12-step program, work -- I mean, do that for free. There`s G.A. meetings. Just look them up online. Go in, say I want help, what do I do and get a sponsor. Free, free, free, and it really does help.
And it will work through some of that dissociative stuff, too, and/or get a therapist to help you really work with what`s underlying here, which sounds like unresolved grief is just shattering. So, please take care of yourself, my dear.
I`ve got Monica calling from South Carolina. What`s up there, Monica?
MONICA, SOUTH CAROLINA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hey, Monica.
MONICA: I was wondering, do you believe that a person with a mental disorder should be held accountable for how they behave?
PINSKY: What`s behind that question? That`s a really interesting question. You mean, if they do something awful, should they be held legally accountable?
MONICA: I think it`s awful, you know, big, small.
PINSKY: Let me ask you. I`ve got less than a minute here, my dear. Did you do something or someone you know did something to you?
MONICA: Well, I have bipolar disorder.
PINSKY: Have you done stuff when you`re in that manic state that you really regret?
PINSKY: OK. I think we`re hearing more and more the legal system is sort of relatively impatient. At least, the jury is relatively impatient with people saying -- because not everyone with bipolar does awful things. It`s something that affects you your whole life, as you know, right?
PINSKY: And you -- are you OK?
MONICA: Yes. I`m fine.
PINSKY: Oh, I thought you`re crying. And it`s something that you`re oblige to take care of and take your medicine. And you know, it`s like if you had diabetes. It`s your charge to take care of it. And if your disorder goes out of control, you know, I don`t want to hold you directly accountable, because I know when you`re in your right mind you regret it, but I do want to hold you accountable for the treatment.
And if you don`t do the treatment properly -- if you were doing it properly, I think people should not be held accountable. Maybe, sometimes, the doctors are held accountable when you don`t get properly treated or treatments are controlling your condition.
It`s a complicated issue, and it`s one we hear about all the time on the show and trying to get in the minds of people when they do things that we want to hold them accountable for. We just do.
Thank you to all of you for these questions and comments.
Next up, we are going to address the soldier who allegedly killed 16 civilians in Afghanistan. His friends and family are devastated, and they have no idea how this could have happened. It does not seem like this guy at all, talking about really applicable to that last caller. We`re going to talk with two of his childhood friends after the break. So, stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DURHAM: I couldn`t believe it. I still can`t believe it. I can`t believe it. The Bobby that I knew is not the Bobby that could have done that.
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PINSKY: An American soldier allegedly goes on a shooting rampage in Afghanistan, reportedly having killed 16 civilians in their homes, nine of them children. It`s hard to believe. Thirty-eight-year-old Staff Sergeant Robert Bales stands accused of this crime. He was on his fourth tour of duty.
Now, according to friends and family, he was reluctant to deploy to Afghanistan. He had previously suffered a brain and foot injury in Iraq. He`d been passed over for a promotion. A military official says Bales had a marital problem and had been drinking and just snapped. His lawyers say he didn`t have a marital problem, wasn`t drinking, and probably suffers from undiagnosed posttraumatic stress syndrome.
Bales has not been formally charged, but the military has made a determination of probable cause.
Joining me, first of all, via phone, Dr. Paul Ragan, associate professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, former Iraq war veteran and membership coordination at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Nick Colgin, and two childhood friends of Robert, Michelle Caddell and Michael Blevins.
Michelle, now, I`ve seen you, guys, making the rounds, and you have very strong feelings about who Robert is and who he`s accused of being. Tell me about that, Michelle.
MICHELLE CADDELL, FRIEND OF SGT. ROBERT BALES: Bobby was the kind of person that you wanted your kids to be around, because you felt safe. They were protected. He had very, very high standards for himself and the people around him and was very goal oriented and put his mind to something and did it.
And it was just -- you felt safe, and he was always happy. It`s the kind of person you want to be around.
PINSKY: And Michael, I understand he was actually one of your idols that you grew up near him, and he was somebody you emulated, and he actually would take care of the kids in the neighborhood, and there was a disabled kid in the neighborhood. Tell me about all that.
MICHAEL BLEVINS, FRIEND OF SGT. ROBERT BALES: Well, the disabled person was an older gentleman that lived next door to him, and he was around 35 years old when Bobby was 19. And Bobby would come home from college at Mt. St. Joseph, which is 20 minutes away, he`d come home nightly to take care of him.
And they were talking about the marital problems and whatnot. I didn`t see that either, because I`d spoken to him not very long before the incident through a wall post on Facebook, and he was excited about his son`s third birthday.
And somebody like that`s not going to go out on a shooting rampage and kill children, because children were something that Bobby saw as something precious and you wanted to protect as much as possible.
PINSKY: My understanding is that you guys can`t even believe it was him that did this given how different someone would have to be from the guy you knew.
CADDELL: Correct. When Michael showed me the video on MSNBC.com, he showed me the video and I said, so? And he said, Michelle, Robert Bales. And I said, oh, that`s so freaky. Somebody did something like this that`s got Bobby`s real name. And then, he said, look, and we watched the video six times for me to see that it was not Bobby.
I looked for anything that would show me that that was not Bobby. And in the three pictures, I saw bobby and I completely fell apart for a little while.
PINSKY: Yes. It`s just -- making sense of this is really just -- I mean, I`m so sympathetic to him -- well, let`s keep this conversation going. We have a comment from Sgt. Bales` wife, Caroline, today. She says, quote, "Our family has little information beyond what we read and see in the media."
Again, she`s trying to make sense of this. "What has been reported is completely out of character of the man I know and admire. I, too, want to know what happened. I know the media has the right to pursue an important news. As you do your jobs, I plead with you to respect the trauma that I and my extended family are experiencing. Please allow us some peace and time as we try to make sense of something that makes no sense at all."
And Michael, I believe that`s what you`re saying, too. This is a guy that was -- if I remember right, he was a linebacker, and then becomes captain of the football team. He was decorated as a soldier. Somebody that everyone looked up to, right?
BLEVINS: Exactly. He was -- he went from -- when Mark Edwards (ph) became a junior, Bobby went from being a linebacker to a nose tackle, so because he wanted to do as much as he could for the team. And it was because the coach just felt that Mark Edwards (ph) was faster. And Bobby would sit there and take Mark Edwards (ph) under his wing and gave him as much information and help being the best linebacker that he could be.
And you can see what happened with Mark Edwards (ph). He became, you know, a professional football player for the San Francisco 49ers and then the New England Patriots and Chicago Bears. And --
PINSKY: I may -- I may try to put a call out to him and see if he remembers Bobby and see what his thoughts are on all this. I want to switch --
BLEVINS: I`m sure he does. He was the best man at his wedding.
PINSKY: Yes. I want to talk to a colleague of mine, again, from Vanderbilt, Dr. Ragan. Now, in 2007, Congress passed a measure requiring the military to test a soldier`s brain function, so to speak, before they deploy again and when they return from combat. The test called automated neurological assessment metric or ANAM (ph).
Now, can you explain what their -- first of all, what their intention was with that and where this probably fell short? Because Dr. Ragan, my biggest concern here is that this was a traumatic brain injury gone bad.
VOICE OF DR. PAUL RAGAN, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY: Or even a combination of traumatic brain injury and PTSD.
PINSKY: Yes. Yes.
RAGAN: But, clearly, every war in American history has had sort of a signature injury, and this traumatic brain injury, the blast. The body armor and a lot of things protect our soldiers, but the traumatic brain injury has sort of become the signature injury of this war, and people wrote their congressmen and they passed this law to try to address it.
And so, the ANAM is a 20-minute computerized-based test of memory, some simple cognitive and speed and accuracy. And it`s supposed to be sort of easy to do, because it`s administered via your responses on a computer. And the idea is to do it before you deploy and do it when you come back and then compare and see if there`s something that would correlate with traumatic brain injury.
PINSKY: And traumatic brain injury is something that is protean in its manifestations, including things like seizure disorder and various kinds of distortions of emotion and thought. Isn`t that a viable explanation, as you said, with or without posttraumatic stress disorder to explain what we saw here with Sgt. Bales?
RAGAN: I think it`s very, very viable. And I also want to say something about the marital problems. What do you think happens to any family relation or any marriage when every two years, every two years since November 2003, you take this man and you toss him to the other side of the globe and shoot at him --
RAGAN: And, you know, whose marriage can undergo the kind of scrutiny this poor guy --
PINSKY: No, that`s right.
RAGAN: And so, I think that he had anything more than anybody else in the situation.
PINSKY: No, you`re right. And by the way, there are many other victims here than just him. There`s his wife, there are his children. We need to support them through all this as well. Listen, today, Sgt. Bales met with his attorney, john Henry Browne. And Browne told CBS news that Bales has actually no memory of the event.
He is, quote, "in shock" and has not admitted in the killings. Browne believes the army, perhaps, was negligent in sending Bales back to work after he suffered a brain injury. Take a lock look at this.
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JOHN HENRY BROWNE, ALLEGED AFGHAN SHOOTER`S ATTORNEY: There`s been a big problem with soldiers who have previously deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan with head injuries and posttraumatic stress disorder. I know there`s been a lot of controversy about this particular base in Washington not treating those illnesses. We do know he had a concussive head injury.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Reminder though, this is the guy that also killed 16 children -- most of them children. Nick, I want to go out to you. I`ve got about 30 seconds. This is a story that you are familiar with. Not the deaths but people being sent back with PTSD and possibly brain injuries.
NICK COLGIN, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: Yes. I suffered a traumatic brain injury on my 15-month deployment in Afghanistan, and it transformed my life, but it`s not the story that 2.4 million veterans out there.
I suffered a brain injury, but I returned home and became a volunteer wrestling coach at an elementary school, great husband, and a father of a young dog, but I received a bronze star overseas and a traumatic brain injury, but nothing like this ever happened to me.
PINSKY: Yes. I`ve got to go. We`re going to continue this conversation. And we`ll be right back.
PINSKY: Welcome back. A reminder that we are live and talking about a horrific war crime. The suspect, Sgt. Robert Bales who`s sitting in jail tonight for allegedly gunning down 16 innocent Afghan civilians on March 11th while on active duty. I have two of his childhood friends here with me tonight, Michelle Caddell and Michael Blevins.
Now, Michael, or Michelle, either of you, my question to you guys is, we have this horrible crime, right? Somebody did it. Michael`s the one that`s suspected -- Robert is the one suspected of having done this. What do we do with that? If he is the guy you say he was, he`s also the guy that did this horrible thing. Help us make sense of this. You knew this man. What do we do with this?
BLEVINS: There`s no way possible the Bobby I grew up with is the same guy that did this. That would take -- that`s a complete polar opposite, and you being a doctor, you would know that someone`s characteristics aren`t going to change that drastically just basically overnight. This is the same guy --
PINSKY: Yes, but if it`s -- if the brain has been changed by a physical injury, like traumatic brain injury or a severe emotional injury, like posttraumatic stress disorder, people can have a seizure, for instance, and do horrible things or they can black out in a dissociative episode. I mean, things can explain it, but Michelle, I mean, if you were an Afghani, explaining it I don`t think would be good enough.
CADDELL: Well, no, you`re not going to, but also, we have to look at we put categories on our video games because you don`t want your children to watch too much violence because it will make them mean. Then you get to be a teenager and you don`t want them to watch the movies that are out because they`re violent because you don`t want them to that.
Then, as soon as they turn 18, you want to send them to a country where the only people that they know are the few friends they have. Then, they`re going to watch them died. They`re going to be killed right in front of them and they`re going to say, but don`t let it bother you, you`re a big boy now.
CADDELL: And these poor men are coming back and not knowing -- I mean, you go to gas stations and you see these men who had wonderful medals and valor and they`re begging for beer and drugs. And this is what we`re doing to --
PINSKY: Michelle, I think you`re bringing up an excellent, excellent point. It`s a corollary to all this is we have to prepare for the men and women that are coming home, and we have to support them and their families.
PINSKY: But, we`ve got this horrific crime tonight we`re trying to make sense of. Do you think -- I`ve got a less than a minute for you guys. Do you think that we should be holding the people accountable that sent him back out there?
CADDELL: I think we should find out -- yes. How one person could go back four times to a place --
BLEVINS: Everyone`s trying to shoot at you.
CADDELL: -- correct. Why would you send somebody back four times?
PINSKY: He`s a warrior. My understanding is that he got extra pay. He wanted to do it. People were discouraging him, but he wanted to do it. Also, he was part of the equation here. I mean, I believe I`m not laying blame anywhere. I`m just trying to figure this thing out. I tell you what, you guys, do you know his family?
PINSKY: Will you please send them regards? I know that everybody watching, hearts go out to them. And they`ve asked for us to be careful and clement as we report this story, but please, give them back something from the viewers and from me, that we are all -- our prayers are with them. Our thoughts are with them. And please take care of themselves, OK?
CADDELL: Thank you so very much.
PINSKY: OK, guys. Thank you, Michelle, Michael. I want to thank you all for watching. We`ll keep an eye on this story. And, again, prayers for that family. I don`t know what we`ll do with this. And take care of those soldiers when they return home. We`ll see you next time.