OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT OF COUNTY PSYCHOLOGIST DR. ALLEN OSWALD WITH PATIENT BRADLEY NAVARROR, CASE #MN449704, MAY 3, 2:30 PM
(The room is located within the school administrative offices. Two large purple chairs sit across from the desk, and the floor is black and white checkered linoleum.)
DOCTOR OSWALD: Good afternoon, Brad.
BRAD: I don’t think it’s a good afternoon; look where I am.
DOCTOR OSWALD: We’ll talk about that later. This is our second meeting, and the more you fight against these meetings, the more trouble you’ll cause for yourself. Do you have any questions before we begin?
BRAD: I see you have pictures of nature on your walls. Do you like the outdoors?
DOCTOR OSWALD: I do. I try to hunt every fall and go camping in the summer.
BRAD: Did you design the room to make people feel like a caged animal when they’re in here with you? Do you hunt people in here?
DOCTOR OSWALD: I see that you’re creative and observant, and a little paranoid. But no, I didn’t design it this way; it’s only a coincidence that it makes you feel like this. Your observations tell me a lot about you. You’re very aware of your surroundings. You can think creatively and critically. This will help you in the future. But you also just made a mistake, because now you can’t play dumb anymore.
BRAD: I’m only here because the court made me, not because I want to be.
DOCTOR OSWALD: You have the right to leave at any time, but I’ll warn you: I have the authority to issue an arrest warrant the moment you walk out of that door. So I suggest you start having a more positive attitude; or these sessions will end in a jail cell. Let’s play a game; it’s called, “Two truths and a lie.” Have you heard of it?
BRAD: No. I don’t like games.
DOCTOR OSWALD: Start the game by telling me three things about you: Two of them must be real. One must be a lie.
BRAD: OK… I often fly to different planets and hunt space aliens. Two; on one of my voyages back to Earth, an alien escaped, and now everyone thinks that alien is Bigfoot. Three; I’m the reason Bigfoot is on this planet. Now go hunt him instead.
DOCTOR OSWALD: I’ll warn you again, Brad, a bad attitude will only make your situations worse. Let’s try the game again.
BRAD: Ok… I like listening to music. Two; I like being left alone. Three; You’re my best friend and I have so much fun with you it’s like being at a freaking amusement park in your office.
DOCTOR OSWALD: Funny. What type of music do you like?
BRAD: I like hearing rhythms that normal people can’t understand.
DOCTOR OSWALD: Why do you have such a deep anger toward authority figures like me?
BRAD: Because I just want to be myself, and people like you won’t let me.
DOCTOR OSWALD: Who do you want to be?
BRAD: I don’t know. But I don’t want to be like you.
DOCTOR OSWALD: Let’s change the tone of this. How is your relationship with your parents?
BRAD: This meeting is supposed to be about me. Why are you asking about my parents?
DOCTOR OSWALD: Because – I’m still considering placing you in a temporary foster home if you don’t show improvement at home.
BRAD: I thought you already decided against the foster home once I got out of jail.
DOCTOR OSWALD: My decisions are always adjusting to your behavior. I can alter my plans at any time based on your attitude. I can move you to a foster home by the end of this meeting if I want to.
BRAD: No, you can’t. You’re only a school psychologist.
DOCTOR OSWALD: Check your probation rules, Brad. This is just my school office. I’m a state-appointed psychologist and social worker, who supervise juvenile cases like yours. Right now, I have more control over your life than you know. So start paying closer attention to who you’re talking to. That’s the best advice I can give you.
DOCTOR OSWALD: Let’s start over. I’ll ask you again, how is your relationship with your parents? Are you still fighting with them?
DOCTOR OSWALD: Would they give me the same answer?
BRAD: I don’t want to go to a foster home. Leave me where I am.
DOCTOR OSWALD: I’ll think about it. Foster homes can make problems worse sometimes, but so can prisons.
BRAD: If I was truly out of control, do you think I’d be showing up for these meetings?
DOCTOR OSWALD: I don’t know you well enough to make that judgment. A great liar can convince themselves of their own lies. I am hired by the state to protect the public from you, and also you from yourself.
BRAD: I’m not psychotic. I don’t want to hurt myself.
DOCTOR OSWALD: Look in the mirror. You’re on your way to causing yourself more hurt than you realize. You’re also much smarter and stronger than people give you credit for. I want to learn more about this side of you.
BRAD: You’re confusing me with someone else. I didn’t start that big fire.
DOCTOR OSWALD: There may have been another person with you, but I believe you were there.
BRAD: I didn’t do it. Stop looking at me like that.
DOCTOR OSWALD: Why do you become defensive and anxious when people try to get close to you?
BRAD: I’m not afraid of you. Lots of kids play with fire. It could have been any of them.
DOCTOR OSWALD: But other kids don’t burn down a square mile of state park, and a nearby housing development. Luckily no one died, but the financial restitution you could be ordered to pay is in the millions. But what’s most troubling is that whoever started the fire, likely did it on purpose. You’ve already admitted to seeing the fire start that day. What happened?
BRAD: I only saw it; I didn’t do it.
DOCTOR OSWALD: What was it like when you first saw it? Take me to that moment.
BRAD: I didn’t start it. I don’t know.
DOCTOR OSWALD: Have you ever been seriously burned before?
DOCTOR OSWALD: I’m putting a new requirement in your probation rules. I want you to visit a burn-ward in a hospital this summer and see first-hand the destruction that fire can cause.
BRAD: That’s stupid. I don’t need that.
DOCTOR OSWALD: I don’t care what you think you need. I am ordering it.
BRAD: I want to leave now.
DOCTOR OSWALD: You can leave anytime. Except I will call the police immediately, and they will be here in five minutes to arrest you. You’re smart, Brad, but I don’t think you’re smart enough to know how to handle an extended stay in jail yet. If you take the jail route it will break you; but that’s your choice, not mine.
BRAD: I’m stronger than you think.
DOCTOR OSWALD: I hope you can prove that one day. I also hope you don’t waste your strength trying to survive jail.
BRAD: I’ll prove to you who I really am no matter where I go.
DOCTOR OSWALD: If you’re so strong, why do you seem so weak sitting in this room with me right now? The only time you stand up for yourself and raise your voice is when you’re confronted by authority figures, like me.
BRAD: Many of the greatest, most powerful people in the world were judged wrongly.
DOCTOR OSWALD: None of those people could have accomplished anything if they were incarcerated in prison.
BRAD: I already feel like my freedom is gone.
DOCTOR OSWALD: Trust me, you’ll know when your freedom is totally gone. You won’t be able to see outside or breathe in fresh air; your life will become one long hallway of concrete halls and cells.
BRAD: School already feels like a prison. It can’t get much worse than this.
DOCTOR OSWALD: You will miss it here if you go to prison; I promise you. Just admit that you were the one who started the fire, and this nightmare will begin to be over.
BRAD: I didn’t do it.
DOCTOR OSWALD: I’m sure you did. They found a five gallon bucket in the woods that was used to carry the gas to the burn site. Your fingerprints were on it, and your school backpack was found melted nearby. How do you explain that? Your bike tracks were found in the sand leading home toward your house. When the police searched your home, they found dirty, gas-stained clothes in your closet. All the evidence points at you Brad. Admit you did it.
BRAD: You’re hunting the wrong animal, Oswald.
DOCTOR OSWALD: Look at these pictures! Do you remember your parents crying as you were arrested? These images were in the news!
BRAD: Stop it Oswald –
DOCTOR OSWALD: Not until you admit you did it.
BRAD: I said quit it!
DOCTOR OSWALD: You created this nightmare. Not me.
BRAD: Can I ask you a question?
DOCTOR OSWALD: Please do.
BRAD: Do you think that college degree you have hanging on the wall gives you the right to judge me?
DOCTOR OSWALD: Yes. I think my doctorate in psychology gives me the right to assume opinions about you based on the facts I observe.
BRAD: Do you know what I’m thinking right now?
DOCTOR OSWALD: I can assume a good guess.
BRAD: A guess only means you don’t know the truth.
DOCTOR OSWALD: We have until you’re 18 to discover the truth. If you keep this attitude up, we’re going to be together for awhile.
BRAD: The clock on the wall says today’s meeting is over. It’s time for me to go.
DOCTOR OSWALD: Yes, you can leave. But if I have to put out a warrant for your arrest, you will be in jail for the rest of the year.
RECORDING STOPS MAY 3 – 3:30 PM