You don’t normally expect a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut, captain in the United States Navy, college graduate, and Roman Catholic to fall so hard, so fast. But then again, you also would never suspect an American President to have sex with an intern, a National Basketball Association star to rape a mistress, or a Hall of Fame football player to commit a double murder. Or perhaps, because of the way American society has developed over the last few generations, these types of events are no surprise anymore.
Lisa Nowak, the aforementioned astronaut, was arrested last week in Orlando, Florida on charges of attempted kidnapping, battery, attempted vehicle burglary with battery, and destruction of evidence. After the subsequent arraignment, Nowak was ordered released on $15,500 bail with the condition that she wears a GPS tracking device. Before her release however, Orlando police charged Nowak with attempted first-degree murder and announced she would not be released on bail. After the second arraignment, Nowak was charged with attempted first degree murder with a deadly weapon and released on $25,500 bail. She is currently on leave from NASA and is undergoing psychiatric evaluations under police surveillance. What happened to this woman?
Well, the short explanation is simple. She wanted to kill the woman who her quasi-boyfriend was possibly cheating with. Let me put that in plain English: she went crazy.
The long explanation for her actions is a bit more complicated. Nowak, is (or was) a brilliant woman. Her academic history, her experience with the Navy, and her time with NASA show that she was no less than a true success story. She was well liked amongst her friends, colleagues, church members, and industry peers. Yes, she was divorced, but she had been happily (or seemingly happily) married for nearly twenty years and she and her former husband had three beautiful children together. For Nowak to consider murdering a relationship rival seems inconceivable. Or does it?
Fame and fortune have brought many people to their knees. Whether it’s the power these fallen stars felt entitled, or it was merely their giant egos, we do not know. But we see it over and over again from the rich and famous; drug use, weapon charges, suspected murders, sexual affairs, public fights, drunk driving, and much more. You name the crime or criminal behavior, and there is no doubt that one of America’s icons has been involved in the misdeed. Nowak is simply the latest case of someone falling from the pedestal that we place them on.