9.7.08

TROUBLED. Esquire has been investigating the life of Stephen Kazmierczak.
Information for the 12,400-word story came from interviews with Kazmierczak's friends, including former girlfriend Jessica Baty, and a 1,500-page police file that included e-mail records, police reports from incidents when Kazmierczak was in high school, psychiatric evaluations, military records and interviews people gave police, according to Esquire. The magazine would not say how it got the file.
How much information is accurate and how much is embellished is not specified.

Some of the information in the article has been reported, including Kazmierczak's use of medication, his discharge from the Army after a few months and his stint at a psychiatric treatment center as a teenager.

But the story also chronicles in great detail previously unreported or little-known incidents in Kazmierczak's life - from suicide attempts as a youth to his various sexual relationships with women and men - as well as accounts of his rampage provided by a teacher and teaching assistant, both of whom were injured.

It is clear from the article that Kazmierczak struggled with mental health problems throughout his childhood, then tried to hide them when he was an adult.

His military file details his discharge from the Army after officials “discovered he lied on his application, concealed his mental-health history, his suicide attempts, and his psychotic episodes, including hearing voices and hallucinations,” according to the article.

Kazmierczak also struggled with his sexual identity, according to Baty and police interviews with his sister. At one point, he confessed to his sister that he thought he might be gay, and according to the story had sexual encounters with males. Yet he also had repeated sexual encounters with women he met on the Internet, Esquire reported.

The story includes Kazmierczak's fascination, chilling in retrospect, with Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech student who shot and killed 32 people before killing himself in April 2007.

“He was interested in what was going on in the mind of Cho, and why it was so successful, and how someone could do it, how they could pull it off,”' Vann writes, quoting a friend he identifies only as Kevin.

Rockford's WIFR will interview an Esquire editor on this evening's 10 pm news. Whether the additional details are accurate or not, there is sufficient evidence that Mr Kazmierczak's troubles were evident to the Army and to mental-health practitioners and yet he knew all the right buttons to push to be thought of as promising at Northern Illinois and at Illinois. Higher education ought not be so inclusive that it gets people killed.

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