Criminally Insane / Oswald & Ferrie

Hosted byDave Schrader

Criminally Insane / Oswald & Ferrie

About the show

In the first half of the program, psychiatrist Stephen Seager joined Dave Schrader (email) to share his true insider's account of working in a hospital for the criminally insane. Despite the common perception that the inmates at these facilities are often mistreated by the staff, Seager said that the reality of the situation is far more unsettling. He explained that the patients are sent there by the court system and "ninety percent are criminals as well as being mentally ill." Since security at these facilities is extremely lax, violence amongst the inmates and against staff members has become rampant. According to Seager, his hospital has a stunning 3,000 assaults a year and similarly perilous working conditions have been reported at numerous state medical facilities throughout the nation.

Seager described the conditions inside these facilities as fraught with danger since "there's just the staff, the patients, the door's locked, and we're in there alone." The limited security that exists is often minutes away from being able to respond to any outbreak of violence and, as such, staff members often have to cultivate relationships with sympathetic inmates in order to ensure safety or, should they be attacked, hope that a compassionate patient witnessing the event will intervene. "That's what we rely on for our real line of safety," he lamented, "we rely on psychotic criminals to bail us out." Seager hopes that raising awareness of these egregious safety issues will force lawmakers to enact legislation to better protect doctors and nurses at these facilities.


In the latter half, author Judyth Vary Baker, who personally knew Lee Harvey Oswald as well as David Ferrie, revealed details about their alleged involvement in the conspiracy to assassinate JFK. She suggested that Oswald could never reveal his true patriotic nature to outsiders, because of his undercover CIA work as a pro-Castro communist and defector to the USSR. However, these efforts were likely his undoing, she said, recounting a conversation with Oswald from July of 1963 where he expressed concern that the government was ultimately going to kill him due to his deep involvement in covert operations coupled with the fact that he was seen as expendable. Additionally, Baker claimed, Oswald realized that he had the only "publicly provable motive" to kill JFK and, thus, was an ideal candidate for the role of patsy in an assassination plot.

Regarding David Ferrie, Baker contended that he had inadvertently penetrated the circle of assassination conspirators after making comments suggesting that Kennedy should be killed due to the botched Bay of Pigs invasion. However, Ferrie's opinion of JFK would change, unbeknownst to the conspirators, upon finding out that the CIA was behind the event. As such, she said, "he kept up this persona that he hated Kennedy when really he was learning information" about the murder plot. Since Ferrie was never mentioned in the Warren Commission report, Baker observed, he initially managed to avoid scrutiny for his potential connection to the assassination. However, in February of 1967, Jim Garrison began investigating him and the press reported on this development, much to Ferrie's chagrin since he believed it would result in his demise. "Five days later," Baker noted, "David Ferrie was dead."

News segment guest: Jami Windecker

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