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.
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?
Wouldn't whatever steps that are taken to deal with potential criminal psychopaths also adversely affect the potential doctors, athletes, business leaders, etc who have the same brain anomaly? We may eliminate some great benefactors to society while trying to eliminate threats.
Perhaps we should wait to identify which is which through their actions.
If 50% of violent crimes are committed by psychopaths, there will be a human cost involved in waiting for the criminal ones to reveal themselves through some sort of terrible crime.
Also, there is an implicit assumption in your proposal, which is that the dangerous ones will reveal themselves through relatively minor actions. The thing is, all psychopaths lead lives involving minor offenses (succeeding in their career through ruthlessness, callousness, lying, etc.; sexual promiscuity; lack of reasonable long-term goals). But then, one day, they kill someone in a road rage incident, shake a baby to death, beat someone so badly they are permanently crippled, etc. Is that a good price to pay to make sure we don't prevent a "good psychopath" from doing something valuable or impressive.
Likely psychopaths include Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Mitt Romney, and Mother Teresa.
Also, many people exhibit some psychopathic traits while virtually no psychopath exhibits them all. At what point does one say "Enough is enough. We have to do something about this"? Now, this is hypothetical, so let's not be bound by The Constitution. The assumption should be that if something needs to be done that might require changing the Constitution, we need to know what that might be first.
Are we obliged to treat someone lacking human emotions as human? Robots may not have human emotions, but at least we can program them with Asimov's Laws of Robotics.
"And potentially save those who might become criminals instead become business men, lol"
They make very poor business men. Sure they're successful, but it's usually at the expense of innocent people. Look up Chainsaw Al Dunlap. He turned firing people into a fun game "Oh you've worked here for thirty years? well now you're fired with no pension, get the fuck out of my factory loser!"
A corporate monster is still a monster, a financial rapist is still a rapist.
Psychopaths are a problem well beyond the individual level, their love of inserting themselves in influential positions in corporate, religious, and political hierarchies have shaped society in a really nasty way.
Check out The Psychopath test by Jon Ronson, It really looks at the problem on both a microscopic and macroscopic level.
Well, I do have some of the traits of a psychopath (most of us do). The question is how many does it take or what sort of acting out calls for something to be done. And what about prevention?
Perhaps they could be made to wear some sort of identifying symbol, like a yellow star.
No no, just kidding.
I think when psychopaths are identified through psychological testing they should be permanently disqualified from police work or the military. The problem is, this policy would leave the country with absolutely no police officers left.
Yeah they're the best for those kinds of jobs because they are given free reign over innocent victims who can't fight back in any way. Shooting people dead for a cheap thrill, raping, dominating, and intimidating helpless people, psychopaths and law enforcement go together like coffee and pie. Wait until they kick in your door, shoot all your pets, destroy all your belongings sexually demean and humiliate your significant other, and then laugh in your face about it.
I'd rather see a psychopath dead, then working in law enforcement. If only they faced the kind of ridicule schizophrenic people face. The only place psychopaths belong is, to a certain extent, in the medical field, and even then they should be watched VERY CLOSELY.
To some degree, we want psychopaths in the military. Some, not all, psychopathic traits match the lack of empathy we need in soldiers.
In WW2, it is a fact that only 15-20 percent of the soldiers fired at the enemy. That is one in five soldiers actually shooting at a Nazi when he sees one. While this rate may have increased in desperate situations, in most combat situations soldiers were reluctant to kill each other. The Civil War was not dramatically different or any previous wars.
In WW2 only one percent of the pilots accounted for thirty to forty percent of enemy fighters shot down in the air. Some pilots didn't shoot down a single enemy plane.
In Korea, the rate of soldiers unwilling to fire on the enemy decreased and fifty five percent of the soldiers fired at the enemy. In Vietnam, this rate increased to about ninety five percent but this doesn't mean they were trying to hit the target. In fact it usually took around fifty-two thousand bullets to score one kill in regular infantry units! It may be interesting to not that when Special Forces kills are recorded and monitored this often includes kills scored by calling in artillery or close air support. In this way SF type units could score very high kill ratios like fifty to a hundred for every SF trooper killed. This is not to say these elite troops didn't score a large number of bullet type kills. It is interesting to note that most kills in war are from artillery or other mass destruction type weapons.
If one studies history and is able to cut through the hype, one will find that man is often unwilling to kill his fellow man and the fighter finds it very traumatic when he has to do so. On the battlefield the stress of being killed and injured is not always the main fear. (source)
If we could get every soldier or pilot shooting to kill, we could rule the world! and think of the money we'd save on ammunition!
So I researched the author of your quote William S Frisbee Jr., an obvious psychopath.
His book "The Airsoft Bible" got 5 stars on Amazon from the 7 psychopaths who read it.
What should we do about William and these other 7 know psychopaths? Amazon has their home addresses, should we send Homeland Security out to get them?
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"...then they should be watched VERY CLOSELY. "
Watched by who? Who will be in charge of this Orwellian world of perfect humans?