Dr. Bruce Ivins responsible for 2001 anthrax-laced letters
A biologist in the US Army’s Fort Detrick biodefense lab, Dr. Bruce Ivins, is thought to be the scientist who was responsible for the 2001 anthrax-laced letters that killed 5 people and severely sickened 17 others. Ironically, Ivins initially worked on the case as a scientific advisor to the FBI. Literally a thousand suspects were investigated, writes Reuter’s. The 7 year investigation finally zeroed in on Ivins. The Justice Department stated Friday that the case was finally closed.
As the FBI began to focus attention on Dr. Bruce Ivins, he became increasingly agitated and tried to shift the blame onto colleagues. Though Ivins had devoted 20 years to researching an anthrax vaccine, the FBI revealed in its investigation that Ivins, or Crazy Bruce, as he called himself, was psychologically fragile and often losing grasp on reality. Even Ivins himself had hinted that something was terribly wrong. On one occasion Ivins stated that he had no recollection of even sending the letters stating, “It worries me when I wake up in the morning and I’ve got all my clothes and my shoes on, and my car keys are right beside there.”
Dr. Ivins called himself, or his alter ego, Crazy Bruce. Ivins described Crazy Bruce as the man who “surfaces periodically as paranoid, severely depressed and ridden with incredible anxiety.” With the incredible pressure of the FBI investigation, Ivins attempted suicide once, and succeed on July 29, 2008. The investigation revealed that the scientist had spent many hours alone in his lab at night and was missing when the letters had been sent. When questioned about his whereabouts, his comments were often misleading and inconsistent. Federal prosecutors were just getting ready to charge Ivins with murder when the suicide occurred.
According to WebMD, there is a type of depression where psychosis occurs. This is called psychotic depression. Psychosis is when a person loses touch with reality. Psychotic depression often includes hallucinations, delusions, and some other break with reality. The person who is out of touch with reality may hear voices, or have strange or illogical ideas. The person may get angry for no apparent reason and may be increasingly agitated. The person often spends several hours alone and may sleep during the day and stay up all hours of the night. Each episode of psychosis in depression puts the person more at risk for attempting or committing suicide. Ivins’ doctors considered the scientist “homicidal and sociopathic.”
In addition to severe depression, most likely psychotic depression, Ivins left violent threats on the internet, and leveled death threats at group therapy sessions. The FBI knew that there were only a select few who had access and the skill to be able to send anthrax spores in the mail. The FBI concluded in 2007 that Ivins had created a blend of anthrax spores that were genetically identical to the spores used in terrifying bioterrorism event of 2001. In reports, the FBI showed that Ivins was the sole person to have spores that he kept in a flask in a high-security lab at Fort Detrick’s top biodefense research center, according the Washington Post.
Psychotic depression shares some of the same symptoms seen in clinical depression. These include hopelessness, helplessness, insomnia, agitation, anxiety, constipation, loss of interest, fatigue, and the feeling of worthlessness. Depression can be treated. Please see a doctor and discuss these symptoms if you feel you may have depression.