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Oct 16, 2008



Ahhh...Tremont Street, isn't that Junius Heights, not Lakewood?

Christina Hughes-Babb



I don't think it's in the Junius Heights Historic District, it's sort of in Abrams-Brookside or Parks Estates. But it is right across from the Tremont Columns as far as I can tell - did it happen in the townhomes?


I feel compelled to paste an old blog I wrote about the Albrecht incident here because I don't like to see violence and self-defense passed off as a tragic accident. We have got to stop believing the "he just snapped" myth. There are predictive patterns of behavior that people choose to ignore that precede tragedies such as this:

Albrecht, best known for being Edie Brickell's keyboardist, according to news accounts, beat up his girlfriend while in a drunken rage, first slamming a drinking glass on a table, breaking it and cutting himself, and then hitting her in the face several times, knocking her onto the floor, before she managed to lock him out of the house. Once locked out, he began trying to kick in the door to a neighbor's home, who then fired what was meant to be a warning shot high towards the door from inside their home and instead killed Albrecht, who died of a bullet to the head.

The naivety of people never ceases to amaze me -- and yet, part of me envies their idealism as well. Those who knew Albrecht or at least saw him play sing his praises in response to this brutal account of battery and rage that ended in tragedy. It is hard for people to accept that they can't trust their feelings, I guess. Idealistic people believe that if they like a person, that person must be good -- and maybe they are 99 percent of the time.

Uncontrolled rage (and I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt here, assuming it was uncontrolled rather than calculated conscienceless violence) happens to varying degrees in many people. It doesn't always define who we are. It isn't usually the predominant character trait. Indeed, it is a character trait that is kept closeted and rarely shown to any but the most intimate friends and family. A pattern of uncontrolled rage is caused by childhood issues, usually, though it can be caused by other traumatic events, all these usually involving victimization of some sort, whether it be physical abuse or mental. Otherwise good people can have rage.

Many are blaming this incident on alcohol. Well, perhaps alcohol did exacerbate the problem, but alcohol alone won't make a pristine person of upstanding character and healthy psychological balance become violent. This is where responsibility comes in. Mr. Albrecht was a musician, and of all the musicians I've known zero percent of them never consumed alcohol. If alcohol is known to trigger rage in a person, then that person should be responsible and not drink alcohol. So let's not blame the alcohol.

Some people were also insinuating that we "don't know the whole story." Well, I'm certain of that, and I'm just as certain they don't either. I think what they were getting at is that his girlfriend was maybe a piece of work and, therefore, provoked him to hit her. Well, she may be a piece of work, but if he's such a great guy and she's such a piece of work, then what is Mr. Wonderful doing with her? I automatically assume that anyone who tries to blame the victim is themselves a violent person looking to justify their own existence.

Some of the most charming and creative people, like every other demographic, rich or poor, white, black, yellow, red or brown, whether blue-collar worker, bank president, sports figure or rock star, have uncontrollable problems and act out on them. No one is exempt. I'm sure they all have a circle of people around them who have no idea what they're capable of and a mother who will never believe her child did it. That doesn't change the fact. Violent people rarely look or act publicly any different than anyone else. If anything, they may be more charming, to overcompensate for their shortcomings.

As I say, I almost envy those who still live with this rose-colored-glasses view of the world. It must be a more peaceful existence than keeping one's eyes open to view reality. Unfortunately, for most women, our innocence will disappear soon enough, according to statistics, which estimate that one of every four women will be the victim of some form of violence in their lifetimes.

I am always sad to lose a good musician. Anyone who knows me knows that. But they're not exempt from violence. No one group is. I'm very glad Albrecht's girlfriend was wiley enough to get him locked outside. Do you know how hard it must have been to go from being beaten to the point you are down on the floor to putting a grown man out? She must be very brave. And I'm sure she's heartbroken that her relationship ended in tragedy. And now, not only does she have to live with the aftermath of abuse, but she will probably lose the support of many of her friends who may have more loyalty to him and place blame on her. She is the victim here.

A few years ago, this tragedy might have had a different outcome. I'm glad the laws have changed so that the neighbor, who was only defending himself against an intruder, cannot be charged for defending himself shooting this violent intruder before he got inside and hurt him and his family. That is one of the greatest changes to benefit victims that has been made in recent decades. We are no longer required to let the person enter, and then try to flee, before we defend ourselves. Can you imagine what a comfort this is to victims of stalkers and anyone who lives in fear of being present for a home invasion? It's a progressive law, a long time coming. I know that man is probably filled with remorse that he took a life. Any decent person would be. But I hope that sometime that man reconciles that he did the only sensible thing. Chances are that if Albrecht was still in enough of a rage to be kicking in a neighbor's door, he was still in enough of a rage to beat them up as well. And if he'd managed to get the neighbor's gun away from him, the girlfriend wouldn't be alive today. And I wonder what his loyal entourage would have to say about it then.

Quentin Mendoza

I new Carter Albrecht briefly while a student at SMU, and the most spirited debate we ever had involved whether or not rock group the Pixies were the greatest arrangers of music since Beethoven.

That being said, he and I were not acquainted long - our lives went separate ways so I have no idea what sort of thing he was in to between then and his death.

One theory that was floated about his 'snapping' was that he was on the smoking cessation medicine Chantix^1.

Although the manufacturer (Pfizer) initially denied the potential for psychological side effects, their website now acknowledge this^2. I know at least one other person who has been on this medicine and experienced some pretty stark phsycological symptoms. IMHO, death is always tragic regardless of the circumstances, but I don't think it's fair to group someone with no apparent history of psychotic behavior with someone caught red-handed in the midst of a crime.

^1 http://cbs11tv.com/health/chantix.carter.albrecht.2.507207.html
^2 http://www.chantix.com/content/important_info_about_chantix.jsp

Christina Hughes-Babb

Yeah, Quentin, I remember all the talk about Chantix right after Carter's death. I've noticed the most recent commercials for the drug include a lengthy list of possible side effects that include agitation, depression and suicidal thoughts ... I don't think those same warnings were in the earlier Chantix ads. Carter's behavior that night and it's horrible consequences — combined with similar reports around the country — ended up raising a lot of awareness about the medicine's potential dangers.

Farinata X

"chances are, this Williams guy was a thug, and knew he was running the risk of being blown away when he decided to break into someone's home."

On what basis do you make this self-righteous and irresponsible claim? Isn't it possible that Williams, too, was taking Chantix or some other disorienting drug? Shouldn't you at least consider the possibility that he was another victim of gun violence by some trigger-happy vigilante?

Christina Hughes-Babb

Wow. I was actually considering that minuscule possibility, Farinata X. In using the term "chances are", I think I suggested that indeed I HAD considered an alternative scenario. And ... I make the so-called "claim" on the basis that I read police reports for that and surrounding neighborhoods daily and see that usually, when someone busts into a home that isn't his ... he (or she) is a THUG TRYING TO ROB YOU OR WORSE. But it really just takes common sense, not a daily read of police reports, to figure that out.

Farinata X

Carter Albrecht, popular local musician with many friends in the media: innocent victim of mindless gun violence at the hands of trigger-happy vigilante.

"this Williams guy": thug who got what he deserved.


If you break into a house that you don't belong in and the home owner is home then you deserve to be the victim of a trigger happy gun carrying vigilante. DO NOT GO INTO OTHER PEOPLES HOUSES AND THEY WONT SHOOT YOU. Albrect and Williams are the victims of their own stupid choices.

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