Spartan Daily
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Report: Bipolar disorder may not have affected Bedell's behavior

Eric Van Susteren and Anna-Maria Kostovska

Issue date: 3/8/10 Section: News
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John Patrick Bedell, the Pentagon shooter who was killed Thursday, had bipolar disorder, according to the Associated Press.

"I would be hard-pressed to think this was a result of someone having bipolar disorder," said Wiggsy Sivertsen, professor in counseling services, in response to some reports claiming the suspect in Thursday's Pentagon shooting may have been bipolar.

Sivertsen said she thought there were other important factors that motivated Bedell.

"He was probably in a rage, having lots of resentment against the government," she said.

Sivertsen said it appears as if he was struggling with serious psychological issues other than bipolar disorder.

People with bipolar disorder are not more likely to commit crimes than others, but they are as capable of committing a crime as those who don't suffer from the disorder, she said.

Sivertsen said bipolar disorder is characterized by highs and lows, meaning people who suffer from the disorder sometimes feel high and intense while, at other times, low and depressed.

During his time at SJSU, Bedell showed no signs to peers and professors he would commit such a crime, said Pat Lopes Harris, director of media relations for SJSU.

"People who knew him saw one side - his academic side," she said. "If he had another side, as many of us do, people didn't see it, based on the professors I've talked to."

Purnama Prasetyo, a senior civil engineering major, said the faculty isn't responsible for not noticing Bedell's disorder.

"Students have to inform professors if they have a disability," he said. "There's no way the faculty can identify whether he has a disorder if he hides it."

Harris said she thought Bedell's death was tragic.

"People in these situations shouldn't be marginalized by their classmates," Harris said. "Mental illness is a complicated thing and we haven't found answers on it yet."

Junior art major Sean Dwyer said the suspect most likely wasn't in his right mind when he committed the act.
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