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BUT THE POOL WAS SO NICE...

A summary of views, commentary and sometimes comedy.

By David W. Brown

The tragedy that recently unfolded at John E. DuPont's estate, Foxcatcher, was undeniably bizarre. However, it should not have been much of a surprise to anyone who was familiar with the alleged killer. DuPont, the heir to one of America's largest family fortunes, made no efforts to conceal his mental instability.

Yet, the wrestling team that Dupont sponsored (Team Foxcatcher) continued to live at his estate and train for the Olympics. They obviously wanted to stay with DuPont in order to take advantage of his generosity, which included free use of his athletic facilities, free housing, even ample stipends. DuPont's madness and violent tendencies were clearly worsening--he had threatened wrestlers with guns before the alleged shooting. But they probably wanted to continue to milk his benevolence at least until the summer Olympics. These wrestlers probably put too much stock in the old maxim, "don't look a gift horse in the mouth."

When your landlord starts to insist that he be referred to as the Dalai Lama, when he suspects that the geese on his estate are trying to put spells on him, and when he becomes convinced that he is always under government surveillance, it's time to consider finding a new place to live. But when someone who is so obviously delusional is also a gun fanatic with deadly aim and has an arsenal that includes weapons ranging from a .38 revolver to an armored personnel carrier, moving is imperative.

Maybe we will never really know what drove DuPont to dementia or why he finally snapped. But it's clear that even a huge inheritance can't buy sanity. In fact, DuPont's wealth may have contributed to his problems. DuPont's bankroll gave him the freedom and the resources to concentrate on cultivating his odd obsessions.

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