How brain tumour created a murderer in America

brain tumor
The amygdala is the most important part of the limbic system, Dr. Sarish Kumar (R)

August 1, 1966. It was an auspicious day. It seemed like a normal day as always, but the black clouds that came from somewhere in the sky dimmed the brightness of the clear day. People were streaming through the third square of the Austin Tower inside the University of Texas in the United States. The beautiful view from the top of the tower was a colourful gathering of staff, students, teachers, violinists, and magic performers. It was then that a young white man named Charles Whitman, dressed as a research student, walked into the tower. The time was 11.30 am. He walked up to the observation deck on the twenty-eighth floor. From there you can see everyone walking down the square. He had a cruel expression mixed with depression on his face. He asked security to open the door to the 28th floor.

Without any provocation, he fired the revolver from his pocket into the face of the security guard, who looked suspiciously at him. As if nothing had happened, he took the key that had fallen from the security guard's pocket and opened the door to the observation deck. From there, he looked down indifferently at the people walking happily, oblivious to the impending disaster. Then he pulled out a machine gun from his handbag and started firing at them. You could hear the screams everywhere. Those gunshots which landed surreptitiously from the tower killed 14 people and fatally injured 31. That mass killing which lasted an hour and 36 minutes ended with the death of Charles Whitman. Houston Police Officer Houston McCoy eventually shot dead the brutal killer with his service rifle. Later investigations revealed that he had stabbed to death his own wife and mother before setting out on the Austin Tower massacre.

He was an officer of the American Navy. Whitman who retired from the Navy at the age of 23 enrolled at Austin University to study Engineering. The day before the massacre he had bought a knife and binoculars from a shop. The same day he had written a suicide note in which he wrote ‘I am not able to understand myself. For someone who is so intelligent and healthy I am not able to control my mind. It is running haywire. I am not able to focus on anything and I feel like I will go mad. When I die you should check my brain. Something has happened to me.’

The investigative officers had also discovered something, weeks before the massacre he has consulted several doctors. And he has confided about his mad, uncontrollable thoughts with all of them. Since it was the beginning of the 1960s, CT Scan or MRIs weren’t available. Unfortunately, he didn’t also get the medicines required. Finally, at the post-mortem table Neuro Pathologist, Dr. Coleman found a lump inside his brain. After a long analysis, the doctors had come to the conclusion that a tumour growing in the brain had compressed the man's amygdala, causing him to lose control of his mind.

That was the reason why he couldn't control the crazy thoughts that came rushing into his mind. Now you realize how brain tumours can sometimes turn people into murderers!

What are the main functions of the amygdala?

The amygdala is the most important part of the limbic system, which helps us cope with various situations and control memories and emotions. Any changes that happen there will throw us into a paranoid state. That's what made Charles Whitman a brutal murderer.

"For a week when I've been walking outside in the sun, I could feel a black object jumping out of my eye. I thought it was a cat. I felt a black cat running in front of me and to my side. If I close my eyes, it wasn't there but I could see it when I open my eyes."

I just remembered the 60-year-old guy sitting next to me in the OP telling me about the mischief of brain tumours. tumours that compress the optic nerve in the brain often show the following symptoms: This causes a visual defect called pie in the sky. I decided to get an MRI anyway. As expected, the MRI showed a large tumour called a meningioma growing in the occipital lobe of the brain. He was seeing a black cat because such tumours were affecting his vision.

Anyway, the tumour was completely removed through open skull surgery. The tumour was so thick that I had to cut it out with a knife and scissors. Anyway, when he opened his eyes after the operation, the black cat ran away from his eyes. He held my hand tightly and said, "Doctor...when I close my eyes, I feel like that black cat is walking, but I can't recognize it because of the darkness around me. When I open my eyes, there is no cat and nothing. Everything is normal. Thank you, doctor.”

Rare visions and hallucinations are all prepared by the nerve cells in our brains. Unfortunately, brain tumours can create killers and change your life forever. An accurate diagnosis and treatment can change the life of not only the patient but also many others. Just think of the many lives that were lost because of the infamous killer 'Texas Tower Sniper’s' brain tumour.

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