People look at my behavior since October 1991, when my last employer, the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, terminated my employment, and they are appalled. The years of letter writing, law enforcement involvement, disputes with psychiatrists, interminable litigation and other behaviors that I have engaged in appear foolish, reckless, and lacking any reason.
But I ask you: am I really that unusual? When people criticize my behavior, just who are they comparing me with? Certainly, my behavior would appear odd, even disturbed, by any normal standard. When a person is terminated from his job, he generally goes about his merry way, finds a new job, and settles down to doing what other people do: go to work every day, and not ruminate interminably about the past.
I would like to pose a hypothetical. Just speaking hypothetically, what is the normal or typical reaction of a person to a job termination in which the employer had placed the employee under surveillance, unlawfully obtained confidential mental health information from every mental health professional the employee consulted during his employment, continued its surveillance for years after the employee had been terminated -- terminated unlawfully, I might add -- and had certified the employee mentally disturbed and potentially violent? What is the normal or typical reaction to that hypothetical employment experience? Let's say that the individual in question is intelligent, perceptive, creative, and is trained in the law. I ask you: What do we know about the following reference group: that class of persons who are intelligent, perceptive, creative lawyers who have been certified insane and potentially violent by a racketeering law firm?
How do most creative lawyers react when they have been certified insane and potentially violent by a pack of racketeering lawyers and psychiatrists?
In assessing a person's reaction to his environment it is always important to ask: Is this person's reaction an abnormal reaction to an average expectable experience or is this person's reaction a normal reaction to abnormal experiences?
Of course, this is just a hypothetical. In fact, I am severely disturbed and, to be sure, my employer had a rational basis to conclude that I might be prone to act out violently. We all know that. And, of course, for legal reasons I have to say that!
But it's an interesting problem. It's useful to look at the reference group in question. What do we know about people who have the hypothetical experiences that I have described. What do we know about that reference group?