In the lounge, Ellis watched himself on the 11-o'clock news. It was partly vanity and partly morbid curiosity that made him do it. Gerhard was also there, and Richards, and the cop Anders.
On the screen, Ellis squinted slightly into the camera as he answered the questions of a group of reporters.
Microphones were jammed up toward his face, but he seemed to himself calm. That pleased him. And he found his answers reasonable.
The reporters asked him about the operation, and he explained it briefly but clearly. Then one asked, "Why was this operation done?"
"The patient," Ellis answered, "suffers from intermittent attacks of violent behavior. He has organic brain disease - his brain is damaged. We are trying to fix that. We are trying to prevent violence."
No one could argue with that, he thought. Even McPherson would be pleased with it as a polite answer.
"Is that common, brain damage associated with violence?"
"We don't know how common it is," Ellis said. "We don't even know how common brain damage alone is. But our best estimates are that ten million Americans have obvious brain damage, and five million more have subtle brain damage."
"Fifteen million?" one reporter said. "That's one person in thirteen."
Pretty quick, Ellis thought. He'd figured it out later as one in fourteen.
"Something like that," he replied on the screen. "There are two and a half million people with cerebral palsy. There are two million with convulsive disorders, including epilepsy. There are six million with mental retardation. There are probably two and a half million with hyperkinetic behavior disorders."
"And all of these people are violent?"
"No, certainly not. But an unusually high proportion of violent people, if you check them, have brain damage. Physical brain damage. Now, that shoots down a lot of theories about poverty and discrimination and social injustice and social disorganization. Those factors contribute to violence, of course. But physical brain damage is also a major factor. And you can't correct physical brain damage with social remedies."
There was a pause in the reporters' questions. Ellis remembered the pause, and remembered being elated by it. He was winning; he was running the show.
"When you say violence- "
"I mean," Ellis said, "attacks of unprovoked violence initiated by single individuals. It's the biggest problem in the world today, violence. And it's a huge problem in this country. In 1969, more Americans were killed or attacked in this country than have been killed or wounded in all the years of the Vietnam war. Specifically- "
The reporters were in awe.
"- we had 14,500 murders, 36,500 rapes, and 306,500 cases of aggravated assault. All together a third of a million cases of violence. That doesn't include automobile deaths, and a lot of violence is carried out with cars. We had 56,000 deaths in autos, and three million injuries."
"You always were good with figures," Gerhard droned, watching.
"It's working, isn't it?" Ellis said.
"Yeah. Flashy." Gerhard sighed. "But you have a squinty, untrustworthy look."
"That's my normal look."
On the screen, a reporter was saying, "And you think these figures reflect physical brain disease?"
"In large part," Ellis said. "In large part. One of the clues pointing to physical brain disease in a single individual is a history of repeated violence. There are some famous examples. Charles Whitman, who killed seventeen people in Texas, had a malignant brain tumor and told his psychiatrist for weeks before that he was having thoughts about climbing the tower and shooting people. Richard Speck engaged in several episodes of brutal violence before he killed eight nurses. Lee Harvey Oswald repeatedly attacked people, including his wife on many occasions. Those were famous cases. There are a third of a million cases every year that are not famous. We're trying to correct that violent behavior with surgery. I don't think that's a despicable thing. I think it's a noble goal and an important goal."
"But isn't that mind control?"
Ellis said, "What do you call compulsory education through high school?"
"Education," the reporter said.
And that ended the interview. Ellis got up angrily. "That makes me look like a fool," he said.
"No, it doesn't," Anders, the cop, said.