David Burke: Disgruntled Employee Methacton High School Abstract This paper explores the mental condition of David Burke before and during his committed murder-suicide on US AIR flight 1771 (Magnuson, 2001). Burke massacred 42 people by crashing a plane mid-flight. This is a result of his unstable personality. Even without many clues from his past, David Burke has been found to be severely mentally ill. He scored highly on both Hare’s Checklist and Stone’s Scale of Evil. He is diagnosed with severe antisocial personality disorder and bipolar disorder.
There have been 62 mass murders in the United States since 1982. Some of them have been for revenge; have happened because of jealousy; and some for no reason whatsoever. What is known is that most people who commit such horrible acts have a severe mental condition. David Burke fits the same description as most mass murderers. He had antisocial personality disorder and was infatuated with getting revenge. Background David Burke was born May 28, 1952. This was 35 years before his tragic double homicide that resulted in the deaths of 42 innocent people.
Burke, born of Jamaican parents, had a relatively uneventful childhood.
He grew up in Britain and in his mid-twenties, moved to Rochester, New York (Wikipedia, 2013). Burke worked with Pacific Southwest Airlines. Many of the flights that came into Rochester International Airport were from Jamaica. After sixteen years of service Burke was under investigation for his involvement in drug smuggling ring between Jamaica and Rochester. While in Rochester, Burke also fathered seven children to four different women (Real Clear History 2012). In order to escape the pressure of supporting his children and the pressure of the ongoing police investigation, he moved to Los Angeles, California (Magnuson, 2001).
Burke had an aggressive personality. On two separate occasions, Burke’s new girlfriend, Jacqueline Camacho, claimed Burke had attempted to strangle her (La Times, 1987). Burke was fired from his job shortly after moving to Los Angeles. Pacific Southwest Airlines cites that he was terminated for stealing 69 dollars from a flight’s cocktail fund. David Burke begged for forgiveness from his supervisor, David F. Stockton, but none was given. This single event sent Burke into a tailspin that he would never recover from. A few days later Burke borrowed a gun from Joseph Drabik who was a fellow PSA employee and friend (Magnuson, E 2001).
He held his current girlfriend and child at gunpoint soon after and forced her to drive aimlessly for six hours before returning home. Later that week David Burke reached the pinnacle of his transgressions. Incident December 7, 1941 is a date former President Theodore Roosevelt once said “…will live in infamy. ” This was the day Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese. For the rest of time December 7th will be remembered solely for this catastrophe. It is often overlooked that another horrifying disaster occurred on the same day 46 years later.
Pacific Southwest Airlines flight 1771 plummeted into the earth at approximately 600 miles per hour at 7:56 p. m. There were no survivors. 43 people died (New York Times, 1989). Just minutes before the crash the pilot and co-pilot were shot dead. After thorough investigation by the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board, it turns out David Burke was undoubtedly the culprit. Using his old security card, Burke was able to bypass airport security to board the plane his old supervisor was on. Mid-flight, Burke shot and killed the entire flight crew, his former supervisor, and himself.
This caused the plane to plummet to the ground. A note was found in the wreckage that was presumably from Burke, it read: “Hi Ray. I think it’s sort of ironical that we ended up like this. I asked for some leniency for my family. Remember? Well, I got none and you’ll get none. ” (Real Clear History 2012) Outcome Burke eventually killed himself on the flight before the plane was obliterated (Magnuson, E 2001). The only indication that he shot anyone is from the cockpit’s black box recording. This box recorded five gunshots. Five shots would have been just enough to shoot the flight crew, his boss, and himself.
Burke was never properly diagnosed before his mass murder-suicide. Stone’s Scale of Evil Dr. Michael Stone is a forensic psychologist and professor at Colombia University. He is known as an “expert on evil. ” Dr. Stone has developed a scale from 1-22, with 22 being the most evil. This is based on motives, remorse, and other factors. David Burke would be classified as a 13. A thirteen would best be described as “a psychopathic murderer with an inadequate, spontaneous personality, with rage being the primary reason for his/her killings. ” This description could easily be a criminal profile of Burke.
Burke’s past is cluttered with clues to his mental state. His past transgressions have made it quite apparent he was afflicted with anti-social personality disorder. Before moving to California, Burke had been under heavy investigation by the NYPD for possible involvement in drug smuggling between New York and Jamaica. He was also arrested multiple times because of domestic violence. He was suspected of beating his girlfriend but all of his arrests fell through for reasons unknown. This information paired with the kidnapping of his girlfriend and son in California, it’s clear that Burke can’t control his rage.
This definitely contributed to his terroristic outburst. Hare’s Checklist Dr. Robert D. Hare developed a checklist to diagnose and assess the psychopathy of an individual. Dr. Hare determined twenty criteria that can be rated zero to two about a subject. All of the ratings are then added up for a max score of 40 and a minimum score of zero. A score of 40 indicates an individual who is extremely psychotic and is a danger to the public. A score of zero may indicate that an individual is for all intensive purposes “normal. ” Beginning with Hare’s first criteria, “Glib and Superficial Charm,” Burke is a zero.
Burke may in fact be the opposite of this. He was not well liked by his employees. His people skills were inconsistent with most people. “Grandiose and Self Worth” describes a person who has a grossly inflated view of his or herself. Most psychopaths are arrogant people who think they are superior to others. Burke had shown that he believed he was above the law. From drug deals to assault, he always seemed to avoid getting in trouble. Burke has the sense that rules do not apply to him. This is why he deserves a 2 in this category. “Need for Stimulation/Proneness to Boredom” is a title encompassing category.
Burke easily receives a two here because of his constant criminal activity and constant moving from place to place. “Pathological Lying” is not a prominent trait of Burke, but it still is present. He has used his cunningness and slyness in multiple situations to achieve his goals. For example sneaking on flight 1771 using an old airport pass is an example of this. Burke receives a two in this item. “Conning and Manipulativeness” is shown in Burke when he used lying and manipulation on his friend to allow him to borrow his gun. He was also manipulative using his old airport ID to get on the plane he would eventually crash.
He receives a two here. “Lack of Remorse or Guilt” is definitely a two for Burke. Even during his high jacking, Burke had the composure to write a note to his former supervisor. He probably had no guilt about beating his girlfriends either because he did it so often. “Shallow Affect” is also a two for Burke. This describes a person with a narrow range of emotions. Burke was described as a quiet, angry man by one of his coworkers. This warrants a two (Kretzinger, 2012). “Callousness and Lack of Empathy” are categories Burke blazed through with twos across the board. Burke had little to no “parasitic lifestyle. Burke has no behavior controls so in that category he received a zero. “Promiscuous Sexual Behavior” is another category in which Burke scored a two. He had five girlfriends and seven kids. You can’t get much more promiscuous than that. There is no information on Burke’s early life so a number for “Behavior Problems” is not possible. Therefore Burke received a zero here. “Lack of Realistic Long-term Goals” is a section in which Burke only shows a little bit of. Though he was a ticket person for Pacific Southwest Airlines, he had no other noted aspirations. There are no promotions possible in a job like this either.
This is why Burke received a one. “Impulsivity” is something Burke showed almost consistently. Burke was originally fired because he was caught stealing a small sum of money from the cocktail booth. He also was impulsive when he beat his girlfriends. This earns him a two. “Irresponsibility” is prominent in David Burke’s life. He had multiple kids with multiple women. He also lost his job over a pointless amount of money. All things considered, he gets a two. “Failure to Accept Responsibility of his Own Actions” is not quite present in David Burke. Although he killed his boss for firing him, he did accept responsibility and say sorry.
This is taking some responsibility. Even so, Burke blamed his boss for not giving any leniency despite his criminal behavior. Therefore he deserves a one in this category. “Many Short-Term Marital Relationships” is a category that is completely what David Burke had. He had a new girlfriend every week (Kretzinger, 2012). He receives a two here. “Juvenile Delinquency” and “Revocation of Release” were not quite relevant for David Burke. He received zeros for those two. The last category, “Criminal Versatility,” means that the subject committed multiple crimes of different offensives. Burke had committed plenty of crime throughout his life.
David Burke is assessed as a 29 on this scale. A 29 places Burke as a dangerous psychopath. This is actually an unusually high score for a mass murderer. Mass murderers usually place around 20. If he were to be diagnosed this at a psychologist before his crimes he would have been sent to a mental hospital immediately. Mental Illness David Burke is a clear example of a man with antisocial personality disorder. Antisocial personality disorder describes an aggressive, careless person with frequent criminal activity. This is exactly Burke. If he was properly diagnosed before his attack on flight 1771, lives could have been saved.
Burke also shows some signs of bipolar disorder. His many relationships with woman and his ability to keep a decent job may indicate this. During his mania phases, his relationships with woman went well. When he was down, Burke turned to abuse to make himself feel better. Then these women broke up with him when this behavior became excessive. Burke was a sick man afflicted with bipolar disorder and antisocial social personality disorder. Type and Organized/Disorganized David Burke is classified as a disgruntled employee mass murderer. A disgruntled employee mass murderer kills people at his/her workplace because of mistreatment or firing.
Although Burke did not actually kill all 42 people, he showed blatant disregard for human life by shooting the pilots thus crashing the plane. This was all because he was fired from his job. He wanted to get back at his supervisor for doing it. Burke would also be classified as an organized mass murderer. His mass murder was the result of at least a few days of planning. He had to borrow a gun from his friend and he had the wisdom to use his old airport ID to pass through security. Burke also had the foresight to leave his girlfriend a message that he was sorry (Real Clear History, 2012). Conclusion
David Burke was a criminal his entire life. From drug deals to beating women, Burke was on a destructive life path. It unfortunately ended in horrible tragedy with 42 people dead and a suicide. Burke had antisocial personality disorder and bipolar disorder. He is a 27 on Hare’s checklist and a 13 on the Scale of Evil. Like most mass murderers, Burke changed the lives of hundreds of people on December 7, 1987. We cannot change what happened. By assessing Burke and the possible reasons for this tragedy we can prevent such a thing to happen again. Reference David Burke’s murder suicide at 30,000 feet.
Real Clear History (2012). Retrieved from http://www. realclearhistory. com/2012/12/07/david_burke039s_murder-suicide_at_30000_feet_937. html 38 families settle cases in ’87 plane crash. New York Times (1989). Retrieved from http://www. nytimes. com/1989/06/28/us/38-families-settle-cases-in-87-plane-crash. html Kretzinger, K. (2012). Workplace violence: the tragedy of PSA flight 1771. Retrieved from http://www. accuscreen. com/tag/david-burke/ Magnuson, E. (2001). David burke’s deadly revenge. Time. Retrieved from http://www. time. com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,145653,00. html.
Cite this Analysis of David Burke the Mass Murderer
Analysis of David Burke the Mass Murderer. (2016, Oct 14). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/analysis-of-david-burke-the-mass-murderer/