Psychopaths aren't evil, they simply have defective brains. Yet, while they are only 1% of the population, they are 20% of prison inmates. Worse, they account for 50% of violent crimes. Thus, one of the most productive things we could do to make society safer, would be to do something about psychopaths.

But what?

Since the physical cause of psychopathy was discovered, a puzzling fact became clear: Many psychopaths go through life without committing any major crime, much less a violent crime. In fact, the scientist who actually identified the area and condition of the brain causing psychopathy discovered, by accident, that he himself is a psychopath! So, even he, a scientist who has forwarded our understanding of psychopathy, is a psychopath. Anything we were to do to control psychopathy might, if handled improperly, prevent the good a psychopath can do.

Confused? Well, what are the symptoms of psychopathy? (Even if you don't read them all, there is further discussion after the list of symptoms.):

1. GLIB AND SUPERFICIAL CHARM — the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Psychopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A psychopath never gets tongue-tied. He can also be a great listener, to simulate empathy while zeroing in on his targets’ dreams and vulnerabilities, to be able to manipulate them better.

2. GRANDIOSE SELF-WORTH — a grossly inflated view of one’s abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart. Psychopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.

3. NEED FOR STIMULATION or PRONENESS TO BOREDOM — an excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Psychopaths often have a low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.

4. PATHOLOGICAL LYING — can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative and dishonest.

5. CONNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS: the use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one’s victims.

6. LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT:  a lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one’s victims.

7. SHALLOW AFFECT:  emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness and superficial warmth.

8. CALLOUSNESS and LACK OF EMPATHY:  a lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.

9. PARASITIC LIFESTYLE: an intentional, manipulative, selfis, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline and the inability to carry through one’s responsibilities.

10. POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROLS:  expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.

11. PROMISCUOUS SEXUAL BEHAVIOR: a variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of numerous, multiple relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity (rape) or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits and conquests.

12. EARLY BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS: a variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use and running away from home.

13. LACK OF REALISTIC, LONG-TERM GOALS: an inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.

14. IMPULSIVITY: the occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations and momentary urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic and reckless.

15. IRRESPONSIBILITY: repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.

16. FAILURE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OWN ACTIONS: a failure to accept responsibility for one’s actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.

17. MANY SHORT-TERM RELATIONSHIPS: a lack of commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable, and unreliable commitments in life, including in marital and familial bonds.

18. JUVENILE DELINQUENCY: behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.

19. REVOCATION OF CONDITION RELEASE: a revocation of probation or other conditional release due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation or failing to appear.

20. CRIMINAL VERSATILITY: a diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes or wrongdoings.

Some of our most cherished ideas about psychopaths are flat out wrong. While bad parenting often results in violent, dysfunctional people, it is easy to find violent psychopathic monsters who were raised ideally in every way. Nurturing environment, loving parents, and yet one day they commit some horrific crime.

So, the question is this: now that we know and can identify the brain condition that IS psychopathy, what can or should we do to prevent that 50% of violent crimes which they cause.

Strangely, we often admire and appreciate psychopaths. Many of our leading politicians, athletes, and business leaders are psychopaths, as are people run charitable programs. Successful doctors are often psychopaths because they can set emotions aside and make starkly practical decisions.

There's another question to be answered, and it's primarily an ethical one. Since psychopathy is a dysfunction of the brain, to what extent can we hold psychopaths responsible for any crimes they may commit?

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Why, psychopaths, of course, because of their lack of conscience.

You should read "the sociopath next door." it might change your mind. Not all sociopaths/psychopaths are criminal.

It's not the criminals that worry me. It's the cops. I'm allowed to defend myself from criminals, I'm not even allowed to talk back to the police. If I raise my hands to try and shield my face from the tip of their boot, well that's resisting arrest and assaulting an officer right there. Got my blood on your uniform? That's destruction of government property. Did my wife cry out while I was being tortured? better arrest her for interfering with police business. 

I've literally given up driving because I can not handle being sexually assaulted and abused by police. I haven't driven since last November. I barely leave my own house anymore out of fear, and it isn't fear of "Criminals".   

Have you considered re-location?

There is a “warrior gene” or MAOA gene that has been found in psychopaths. It shows a predisposition for violence (nature). The upbringing (nurture) of the person will determine whether or not the violence gets “switched on”. So I suppose it could be screened for in utero at some point in the future?

I think anyone can potentially exhibit psychopathic tendencies if they are severely abused as children. Not all abused children will become psychopaths, not all psychopaths are abused children, but if their "behavior" is shown to be psychopathic, there may be ways to discipline/teach to the person to recognize, make choices accordingly, and to "own" their "disorder".......maybe?
Screening people for the gene would be a good step, but what about people who don't have the gene, who are nurtured into those behaviors? I think we must not put ourselves into a biased stance, knowing that nature/nurture can have similar outcomes. (criminals.)

People with generalized formulae about what everybody should be like, such that we should somehow breed or nurture all of the violence out of every single one of us, do so in the face of the fact that sometimes we need soldiers, Marines, SEALs, Army Rangers, etc., who are capable of extreme violence.

"When some mean motherfuckers come over the hill, you're gonna want some even meaner motherfuckers to go up to meet them." A lot of those meaner motherfuckers are going to have a lot of the psychopathic traits, though some psychopathic traits also make some psychopaths unsuitable for anything requiring submission and obedience to authority.

In a nationalistic sense your right. We need psychopaths to kill other nations psychopaths, but looking at humanity as whole, the idea is sick and unproductive. The people who make psychopaths necessary (i.e. war mongering politicians) are often psychopaths themselves.The world would be better off if psychopaths were all rounded up or shot on sight, but the only people who would do that are psychopaths, so what ends up happening is the opposite. People with empathy and emotional depth are criminalized by the psychopath structure.

Anti-war protesters are beaten and everyone cheers.

People more concerned with art, or sexuality, or humanism, then money are deemed losers and left to starve.   

A family goes hungry so a guy can enjoy his nice new gold platted speed-boat that he bought with his daddy's money and we all hail him as winner, a triumphant job-creator.

Psychopaths are only one percent of the population but they're the one percent with their hands on the wheel.   

Careful, we don't want our psychopaths turning on us, so careful with this talk of rounding 'em all up and killing them. Besides, who would run the round-up and genocide program to rid ourselves of psychopaths? The answer: psychopaths. And psychopaths aren't very good at sticking to a set protocol. They will tend to do what benefits them no matter the cost to everyone else.

" Besides, who would run the round-up and genocide program to rid ourselves of psychopaths? The answer: psychopaths. "

Exactly my point. Who would kill all the killers? why only killers of course and why would they do that? So instead it goes the other way, they shape society to benefit themselves. Traditional values and notions of masculinity are psychopathic. The military, the need for it, and the people who perpetuate it, all psychopathic. Our sense of empathy has made us their prisoners on a global-scale. Don't believe me? Compare the military budget to the education budget.


The fallacy behind your thinking—assuming you think there's a way out of it (otherwise, why bring it up?)—is that nobody has control, or even much influence, on a global scale.


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