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« A storm in a Hollywood bowl | Main | Analyzing Depression »


The case of David Mark Clark (Left.) gets more bizarre as it unfolds.

Clark is the 39 year old driver of an SUV who it is alleged went on a rampage in San Francisco and deliberately ran down four cyclists over the span of about six minutes.

This event happened around 10pm. on Wednesday evening, 2nd June. Clark crashed the SUV after hitting the fourth cyclist and ran away; he later reported the vehicle stolen, which turned out to be a lie.

He was subsequently charged with four counts of attempted murder, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon (to wit: a car), and three counts of battery causing serious injury.

I am glad in this case the prosecutors have got it right; when a person deliberately drives at cyclists in this manner, he is intending to kill. It is only by a twist of good fortune that no one was killed, although three were injured, two seriously. 

David Mark Clark is a self-proclaimed Spiritual Healer. On a web site he described himself as:

A Reiki Master, Priest in the Order of Melchezidek, and Crystal therapist. After an energetic awakening in 2006, David has committed his life to the service of others through healing.

If his background is not strange enough, what I am finding more bizarre is because of his "Spirituality" people are coming to Clark’s defense, and asking people to show compassion. On this blog, one commenter said:

Please do not treat him (Clark.) like a monster. Whether he is guilty or not, it is the car culture we should be obsessively exposing. We should not be harassing fellow victims of this crazy society. Sure, he’s weird. I think he’s crazy. But nobody deserves to be treated like a monster, regardless of his sanity and regardless of his innocence or guilt.

Another wrote:

Love and compassion for all those less fortunate than ourselves would be a good thing for this world…it’s the difference between humans and animals. I find it hard to believe that someone who has wanted to help heal others for the past 4 years could be in a ‘normal’ mental/emotional state to run people over.

David Mark Clark set himself up as a “Healer,” and apparently charged $85 an hour for his services. It is not like he was healing people for free, or running some charity; and even if he was, why should that excuse him from an act of extreme poor judgment?

I was always taught there are consequences to our actions. If we choose a course like Clark did, there are consequences.

David Clark has already tried to relieve himself of the responsibility of his actions by lying to the police and saying his car was stolen; if he tries the insanity plea and gets away with this, I for one will be extremely pissed.

If he faces the consequences, pleads guilty, shows remorse for what he has done, and takes his jail time like a man; if he does that, then maybe I’ll show compassion.

Until then my compassion is all for the victims of this attack. I wish them a speedy recovery



Reader Comments (10)

I do really admire your ability to face the absurdity of our world and the inane reactions of others, and compose a moderate and reasonable response.

Personally I would say the guy was a crook before and now he has lied and tried to kill. The people who are apologists for him and very confused rotten people.

June 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercb

No different than the faith healing, fire and brimstone preaching, Armageddon believing preachers we have far too many of in this counry. In other words : a con artist. He can rot in jail for the rest of his life and we shall all be better off for it.

June 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterskylab

David Mark Clark needs a lot of angel therapy (or healing light or whatever).
At least he'll get a professional discount.

People who lash out with acts of violence as it appears he did, need to be kept away from the public.

My presumption is that he's a dangerous charlatan (although the placebo effect is real).

June 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRay

I live in SF and travel those streets in which the individuals were hit. There are clear, concise bike lanes in either direction, which is where all of the riders were located when hit. What Dave failed to mention is that this guy actually went against traffic to hit riders; in other words, going into opposite lanes to actually hit riders coming at him. That act alone would make it seem pretty damn deliberate. What was strange is that the SF Police did not arrest hit immediately. As a matter of fact, he was only "detained" when he went to his city's police department to report the vehicle stolen. At that point, the SF Police took him into custody and were evaluating him, but he was not charged. It was only until the following day did they actually charge him.

June 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaltese Falcon

I was waiting to hear some of the details from this story. Thanks to Maltese Falcon I now can compare to to the ER Doctor here in LA who's getting his butt reamed in jail for deliberately running down cyclists. I don't care "who" this asshole claims he "is" or what he claims "he does," from what I have read we could all save everyone time, money and energy by just eliminating him. Society does not need someone like this. It cost's on average $50,000.00 a year to keep one prisoner locked up in jail in California. The jails are so ovecrowded that the state has plans to release 100,000 imates because of the overcrowding and lack of funds. Even if he does some time and there is a civil suit, will he pay the judgement to the cyclists if convicted? It will probably end the same as OJ and the Goldmans !

June 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

You write about depression on your blog, yet you do not seem to understand the consequences depression can have on some. Dave is a compassionate person, who must have had a COMPLETE break in his mental state. It has nothing to do with bicyclists...most likely road rage when, maybe, he was cut off by a bicyclist, and already being in a mentally impaired state, he went NUTS. You are turning it into a hatred of bicyclists/cycling, etc....he was a cyclist himself. Dave will pay for his HUGE mistake, but he needs help and turning it into something it is not, is ridiculous.

June 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertennis student

Hello Dave, I respect you and have learned a lot from you...I am a physician. My first reaction as this event unfolded was that of horror. When I found out who the driver was I had a feeling of utter disbelief. I know Dave Clark. Not really well but well enough to know that he is a genuinely nice person. And well enough to know that his recent "transformation" has brought him to the edge of sanity. Not in an unpredictable "scared to be around you" way but in a "living in fantasy land" way. Anyone who has spoken with him in the last few years will tell you that he has major progressive mental problems. I am not defending his actions, they are horrible. Dave himself is an avid cyclist who has put in more miles on a bike than most people. For him to have done this is a testament to his sickness. I agree that he needs to be prosecuted. But justice in this case and any other case of insanity should include the help he needs. I am very disturbed by his actions. Not only because of how horrible they are but because society offers no help for people like Dave until it is too late for the victims and before it is too late for the sick. I hope that his insanity plea is successful because Dave is who the insanity plea was designed for. Condemning him will not bring health to his victims. It will not deter future "Daves" from committing heinous acts either because they do not think with a rational mind.

June 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersf biker

Tennis student and sf biker,
Recently in Cumbria, England, a man went on a rampage and shot and killed 12 people, and wounded 11 more. Apparently, he was a normal decent person up until the time he snapped. The difference between this man and David Clark is the fact that a gun is far more efficient at killing people than an SUV.
Had David Clark not crashed his vehicle, would he have continued on his rampage until someone was killed?
It is my opinion as a layman, that mental illness is often nothing more than a cry for attention; just as a child will miss-behave to get attention.
When I see a man that is a self styled “Grand Master” of this, and a “High Priest” of that, I think, “Here is a man that craves for a lot of attention.”
David Clark is not so crazy that he was able think rationally enough to lie about his vehicle being stolen and try to put the blame elsewhere.
Dave Moulton

June 21, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

So upsetting to read your post. Mental illness is as legitimate an illness as cancer and heart disease. Genetics and imbalances in brain chemistry result in mental disorders. Like other illnesses, they can be successfully treated if caught in time before destruction is done to oneself or to others (as in this case). Someone close to him in SF should have seen the signs and steered him towards treatment. It's a truly horrible thing that he was in a car at the time he "lost it", but Dave would never have been in possession of a gun (you obviously do not know him and cannot compare him to others) and planned a mass attack with a gun on others. He most likely crashed the car to stop the assault and was obviously not in his right mind when he went to the police station. It was awful to lie, but it is clear that he was mentally distraught. I'm sorry that your view of mental illness is as you suggest. Maybe you should read a bit more about it.

June 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertennis student

I read your comment with interest. Let me say that I agree with you on several points. 1. that Dave Clark should certainly be prosecuted to the fullest extent. 2. There are consequences for our actions. Daves choices landed him in jail and far worse he is now responsible for these peoples lives and sufferings. 3. That he should man up and accept what he did and probably spend the rest of his days trying to make this up to the victims in whatever way is possible. However, he will need a lot of help to get to a point where he understands what he did in the same sane way you and I understand it.

I have spent a lot of time with the mentally infirm. Esp. schizophrenics, PTSD, and severe bipolar/depression. I can tell you that it will make your mind hurt to try and reason with some of these people. Some, a surprising number, are a hair away from acting out with violence and only keep from doing so through great will and constant coaching. There is no waking up from mental illness. It is there in the background even during lucid states and sadly is usually progressive.

I think we can agree that the best scenario is if Dave had gotten help prior to committing these acts. More often than not the signs are there for us to interpret. Sadly there is no path to take other than trying to have a person committed (nearly impossible) or trying to break through in an intervention.

Our society is structured in such a way as to diffuse this responsibility so that no one feels responsible for anyone else. How much of this falls on each of us to intercept the "Daves" of the world before they harm others? You didnt know the guy so you are off the hook for this one. But I bet you have known similar people in your long life crying for help who you were unable to help for whatever reason. If you have not then you are lucky.

I am not arguing for Dave's innocence here. What I am arguing for is compassion. If not empathy then sympathy. For both Dave and his victims. What is the alternative here? Really? Firing squad? Hammurabi's code? I understand the outrage because I felt it prior to knowing who the perpetrator was. I am asking that we all take a step back and realize that the world is not all black and white enough for us to make clinical and clean judgments of others. To be civilized is to have compassion for the least among us.

June 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersf biker

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