Thursday, September 02, 2010

almost famous

dreams die hard, sometimes.

thankfully this time, for the sake of everyone within the probable blast range of this aspiring young celebrity, his dreams of glory fell victim to the same reckless killer that's snuffed the dreams of many a would-be super-predator — his own lack of maturity:

sisseton, SD — an 18-year-old high school student stockpiled bomb-making materials in his bedroom and wrote about wanting to blow up his school, target individuals he hated, rape women and "become the world's most infamous sociopath," authorities said.

joseph thomas hansen, of claire city, was arrested aug. 23 after someone tipped off a police school resource officer that hansen had talked about an attack, authorities said.

... hansen pleaded not guilty tuesday to selling, transporting or possessing an explosive device and possessing substances with the intent to make a destructive device, and is due back in court sept. 14. if convicted of all charges, he could face up to 25 years in prison, jackley said.

... during a search of hansen's room, investigators found a list hansen wrote of things he wanted to do, including blow up sisseton high school — where he was set to begin his senior year the day after his arrest — torture and rape women and "become the world's most infamous sociopath," according to an affidavit filed monday.

he listed 39 people he hated and the reasons why, and he researched the 1999 columbine school massacre in littleton, colo., in which two student gunmen killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded 26 others before committing suicide, investigators said.

detectives also found drawings of swastikas, documents outlining two attempts to make napalm, instructional materials on how to make bombs, four guns and a video showing two explosive devices detonating, according to the affidavit.

two people whose names were redacted in the affidavit told roberts county sheriff's investigators that hansen told them he "had enough fireworks to blow up sisseton and that the first day of school would be a short one," the court documents state.

during an initial interview with police, hansen said he was fascinated by mass murder, read books on the subject and wanted to know what makes killers tick, authorities said. he also expressed an interest in the marine corps, demolitions and becoming a criminal profiler, according to the court documents.

... amanda ostby, a 24-year-old hairdresser at little shop for hair in claire city, said she was shocked by the arrest.

"he was a nice kid, well mannered," said ostby. "he was a super nice kid so it's pretty unbelievable."

hansen sounds like a highly motivated young man and he seems to have come close to realizing his dream, since it appears that, above and beyond petty teen revenge, spattering his name across the pages of history was his real ambition. he "wanted to know what makes killers tick" and immersed himself in his chosen craft for a shot at outclassing everyone that's come before him.

but most sociopaths with violent tendencies succumb to those yearnings well before the time they reach a level of emotional maturity and intellectual aptitude that might help them better resist crime, better plan bigger and more ambitious crimes and better evade detection and capture. once captured, all development not related to simply surviving in prison comes to an abrupt halt. this means that unless they are born in an essentially lawless culture that exploits their talents and gives them license to operate freely and openly (think hitler's germany or pol pot's cambodia), most sociopaths fail to advance to the higher levels of sociability and status that would make them as dangerous and terrible as any tyrant straight out of history, such as vlad the impaler. the upwardly-mobile ted bundy was the exception that proves the rule and outside of hollywood there are no hannibal lecters. such monsters can only be scripted, not born.

so a closer inspection of hansen's dreams reveals some of their more childish aspects. he wanted to both blow up his school, for starters, as well as torture and rape (and presumably kill) women. it is difficult to envision how he hoped to fulfill both, since his first wish, without an escape plan, amounts to an apocalyptic suicidal act, while the second demands a commitment to an continuing career. one is the act of a mass murderer and the other is the act of a serial killer. one brings instant notoriety, the other requires prolonged anonymity. a person cannot have both and, after hansen's arrest, it is all but certain that, beyond the scope of local news, he will never have either.

hansen's dreams need not have ended this way. his interest in "the marine corps, demolitions and becoming a criminal profiler" shows that he knew full well that there are options on the civil side of the law for people like him who are attracted to high-octane violence. unless, that is, one is dreaming of instant fame ...

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