There are times in our lives where we just don’t have an explanation for what just happened and we are just left in shock and horror. Now, is one of those times for me.
The etiology of the term Black Swan comes from the latin phrase, “rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno” (“a rare bird in the lands and very much like a black swan”) written by the 2nd century Roman poet Juvenal. When this phrase was first used, it was assumed that a Black Swan did not exist.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb defined a Black Swan event as having three attributes:
- An Outlier event outside of the realm of possibility
- The event carries “Extreme Impact”
- Retrospective Predictability – meaning it seems only hindsight could have predicted this to occur
I have been close to several events that I would classify as a Black Swan. Several years ago, a cardiologist named Dr. Mark Hausknecht was murdered while riding his bike to work in the medical center of Houston, TX. Later, I learned that I knew the killer, Joe Pappas; I was completely shocked.
I had known Pappas for approximately 20 years and knew him to be a quiet and friendly guy. He was a police officer and seemed to just be one of the guys. There were signs of trouble from Pappas, but I totally missed those signs until after it was learned that he had killed Dr. Hausknecht.
It was later learned that Pappas killed Dr. Hausknecht because he had lost his mother during surgery and blamed the doctor for her death. The sad truth was, his mother was such in bad condition that Dr. Hausknecht was one of the only doctors who would even try to save her.
After Pappas’ death, I was part of a group of friends who sat down with the investigators to try to dissect his life in order to look for the warning signs with the hope of preventing another one of these Black Swan attacks.
This week, Richard Logan killed his wife and son; leaving his daughter as the lone survivor. Once again someone I have known has acted in a way that I never even saw as possible. Logan was a minister, very social and on the outside seemed to be a good guy.
While we do not know yet why Logan killed his family, I suspect that this was the result of a long brewing conflict inside of him. The coming days will hopefully shed some respective understanding, but right now the entire community is reeling in the aftermath.
For those of you who knew Logan well, I would urge you to set aside the image that you had of him and think back on events to try to remember if you saw attributes of this monster, but failed to recognize it at the time. When looking back on my interactions with Pappas, there were several signs that I completely dismissed because I could not fathom that he would ever do something like that.
Law enforcement will be taking a fine toothed comb to Logan’s past not just to understand this case, but in order to try to identify markers that may help prevent future tragedy. I would urge the friends of Logan to write down any observations that you have made over the years and give them to investigators.