Often, I can make sense of a person committing suicide. Indeed, I can even make sense of a morally decent person doing that. However, ending the life of other innocent people is another matter entirely. Andreas Lubitz knew that he had significant psychological problems. Indeed, he knew that his psychological problems were sufficiently significant that he would never become a pilot who is captain. I can certainly comprehend that Lubitz was deeply pained by the reality that his options as a pilot were significantly limited. However, at first glance I was absolutely unable able to fathom is Lubitz’s utter indifference to the lives of some 150 other individuals, a number of whom were children.
Andreas Lubitz’s behavior stands as one of the most horrendous degrees of moral callousness that I have ever heard about. And it is unequivocally clear that Lubitz’s act of destroying some 150 other lives was absolutely intentional. After all, he deliberately hid all information from his superiors that would have justified their telling him he cannot be the co-pilot of the Airbus A320. What is more, Mahmoud El Habashy, the first-officer was deliberately locked out of the cockpit.
There is an ever so real and significant line between (a) being so psychologically diminished that one is simply not able to function properly and (b) taking very clear and well-defined steps to harm countless others. It is simply false that whenever we have an instance of (a) we thereby have an instance of (b). With Andreas Lubitz, it is unequivocally clear that we have an instance of (b). It seems true that he had difficulty becoming a full-pilot and it appears that his fiancé had abandoned him. Just so, there were a number of positive things that remained in his life. He was certainly sufficiently well-off and it appears that he had caring parents. In other words, nothing withstanding the fact that Andreas Lubitz’s dream of becoming a first-officer yet seemed to be beyond his reach, it is still the case that he surpassed a substantial number of others throughout the world in terms of having advantages.
But there is a fundamental sense in which Lubitz seems to have lacked perspective. With all due respect, 27 seems rather young to be the first-officer of an Airbus A320. And there does not seem to be any evidence at all that folks were on the verge of making him a first-officer. Nor again does there seem to be any evidence that folks were overlooking absolutely extraordinary talent in not moving to make him a first-officer.
However, it would seem that Andreas Lubitz was not taking “No” for an answer. And that configuration of circumstances may shed considerable light on Lubitz’s very calculated and willful act to crash the plane. Andreas Lubitz wanted to get even with the company Germanwings. And killing innocent passengers in the plane as well as the plane’s first-officer, along with entirely destroying the plane itself, was deemed by Lubitz—who was still allowed only the role of a “mere” co-pilot—to be a way of doing just that. Invoking the idea known as “inference to the best explanation”, it would seem that the line of thought in the preceding paragraph has considerable explanatory power. Quite simply: Lubitz abhorred taking “No” for an answer. Indeed, getting even was so much more preferable to him than was taking “No” for answer.
© 2015 Laurence Thomas