The Hills Are Dead with the Sound of Hatred

Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of Tuesday’s star-crossed Germanwings Airbus flight, allowed the aircraft to float and flutter above the Alps for a reported eight to ten minutes before he crashed the plane into the French mountainside. The craft disintegrated, and 149 lives other than Lubitz’s disintegrated too.

No one will ever know for sure why Lubitz did this to all the innocent people aboard the flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. But here’s a guess.

Lubitz, a nihilist to the core, wanted to soak up every moment of his warped notion of beauty, every last moment of fatalistic romance in his depraved mind.

A photograph of Lubitz circulated on television last night. In the photo, which reportedly appeared on Lubitz’s Facebook profile, Lubitz sits contentedly on a wall, with a smile on his face, as the Golden Gate Bridge looms in the background. Take a closer look, and you realize that he sits actually not so much on a wall, as on a ledge, with possibly nothing, other than his own sense of balance, to prevent him from tumbling off it and dropping perhaps to his death.

Notice that Lubitz neither holds onto the stone ledge nor straddles it with his feet, which are tilted at an angle above the wall.

Once the photo popped up on the TV screen, all I could think about was that the Golden Gate Bridge, which, like the Alps, is known for its beauty, has been the site of more than 1,000 suicides over its history.

I am not suggesting even remotely that Lubitz suffered from depression or any other mental illness, as many suicidal people do.

What I am suggesting is that Lubitz, like many of the people who have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, might very well have been drawn to the Alps for the same reason that he was drawn to the fabled span in the Bay Area: he was obsessed with, revered and maybe even fetishized the aesthetics of jumping or diving to his death from a majestic spot.

While investigators from France, Germany, Spain and the United States search Lubitz’s home in Germany, his e-mails, his presence online and in social media, everyone of course wants answers so as to prevent future airline tragedies, future mass murders.

As I watched CNN today, I heard many analysts question why Lufthansa, parent of Germanwings, did not require regular psychological monitoring of their pilots and co-pilots.

They were making a good point, if one that we have rarely had to worry about in an age of terrorism. Pilots and co-pilots are assumed to be benevolent and Hippocratic in their duties, but they, like terrorists, have the capacity to commit acts of mass murder by crashing planes.

I keep referring to this as mass murder, not suicide, because I suspect that Lubitz was not depressed or mentally ill. Rather, I suspect that he was a sadist, who obviously did not care for human life.

If he had a lover, it is hard to believe that he was a good lover or any lover at all, because I doubt that he loved much other than austere, inanimate beauty.

Without a doubt, airlines in Germany and elsewhere should conduct regular psychological testing on their pilots and co-pilots. And Germanwings and Lufthansa should mandate, as we do in this country, that once a pilot leaves the cockpit, a flight attendant or other official must join the co-pilot.

The first policy might have prevented Lubitz from becoming or remaining a co-pilot. The second would have made it far more difficult for him to steer the airbus to its fatal end in the Alps.

Lubitz permitted the plane to drift slowly on its descent from a reported 38,000 feet to its crash on the mountainside.

Sadist and sybarite that he likely was, Lubitz not only wanted to soak up all of that rugged, alpine beauty; he may have wanted to torture his victims, give them a slow death.

At minimum, he cared not a whit for the 149 others on the flight. He did not care that there was a mother and her infant onboard, nor that a recently married couple who intended to settle in Dusseldorf was traveling on the plane, nor that two opera singers were on the flight.

He did not care that 72 of those onboard, the plurality of those on the doomed flight, were Germans, his own countrymen.

Nor did he care at all that a group of sixteen exchange students, 10th graders from Joseph-Konig Gymnasium in Haltern Am See, Germany, were returning from spring break in Spain.

If I had to guess, I would bet that Lubitz relished the power that he had at that moment. He relished the prospect that he, an otherwise powerless or impotent peon, at least in his own mind, could rule the world of 149 other people for those eight to ten minutes and take their lives in an act of ascetic yet hedonistic evil.

Yes, Lubitz was evil, a psychopath.

Maybe, he was taking or not taking his meds. Maybe, he was in therapy. But if you asked me, he was not mentally ill at all. He got a perverse fillip of delight from ruining the lives of others.

One thinks of Jeanne Moreau’s femme fatale driving herself and her lover, played by Henri Serre, off the bridge in Jules et Jim. One thinks of the Illinois Nazis plummeting off a highway in The Blues Brothers. “I’ve always loved you,” says the subordinate to his commander.

But more than anything, one thinks of a perverse rendition of The Sound of Music. Rather than hiking West to freedom over the Alps, Lubitz steered the Germanwings jet East to oblivion.

Comb those records at Lubitz’s home in Germany, and don’t be surprised if you find LP’s or compact discs of The Sound of Music, a much-laureled film celebrating the 50th anniversary of its release with a screening today in Los Angeles.

Julie Andrews will be on hand at the TCL Chinese Theater tonight at the kickoff event of the TCM Classic Film Festival.

But the hills are not alive with the sound of music. The hills are dead with the sound of hatred.

And those 10th graders, many of them sixteen years old, will never reach seventeen.
Source: Huff Post

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