The BAU travel to Montana to investigate a mass murder shooting at a gas station. By witness accounts, a young male/female couple were the shooters. Evidence at the scene suggests that the couple are newlyweds, that the shooting was not planned, but that the shooters’ primary need is to please each other. The BAU know that they will kill again. When the unsubs end up having another killing spree at an alcoholics support group meeting, the BAU believe that the unsubs are recovering alcoholics themselves who met at a support group meeting, but who have violated what is known as the thirteenth step of getting involved with another in the program. Piecing together the clues, the team are able to identify the male of the couple as Ray Donovan, and ultimately the female as Sydney Manning. Knowing their identities leads to knowing their next intended hit. That results in a standoff with innocent hostages involved. The team use the knowledge of Ray being a sociopath and Sydney being a psychopath to try and end the standoff. Meanwhile, Prentiss receives some distressing news from an old work colleague named Sean McAllister.
The Predatory Mind
Here’s an enlightening view into the heart of darkness: the treachery ofcriminal minds, what tricks might be up a predator’s sleeve, and quite possibly how tobeat him at his own game.
WHAT IS EVIL?
The American Psychiatric Association has spent thousands of hours exploring whatevil is, why some people revel in it, and how to prevent it. They have a”Depravity Scale” to gauge a criminal’s degree of evil, such asdepriving victims of their humanity, needlessly escalating a victim’s trauma, humiliation, suffering, andterror.
PSYCHOTIC – LEGALLY INSANE
Psychotic symptoms include delusions (“hearing voices” and/or seeinghallucinations), usually exhibiting unpredictable, often frenziedbehavior, and not knowing right from wrong. They don’t hide their crimethus are legally insane in most U.S. states – from the 1843 McNaughtonruling (a more recent exception: “unable to comply with the law byreason of mental defect”). Psychosis (or psychotic disorder) is afundamental mental derangement, such as schizophrenia, characterized bydefective or lost contact with reality.
(If they do try to hide their crime, that proves they knew it was wrong but did it anyway, thus they’re not legally insane.)
According to Indianapolis police Captain Robert L. Snow, author of Protecting Your Life, Home, and Property,one extreme psychotic killed a cop then was shot nine times while stillmaniacally trying to kill a second cop until a tenth bullet shatteredhis pelvis and kept him on the ground.
[One way for an unarmed victim to survive such an attack is to “outcrazy” the attacker. Fight fire with fire by unleashing your “animalwithin” (see Optimal Mindset). Fight with the utmost ferocity and the most brutal of Fighting Options, such as blinding and crippling him – then escaping.
That may seem preposterous, but what other tools do you have? Time and again, victims with no tools almost prevailed but their efforts fell just a bit short. Just in case,learn these simple but powerful fighting options. Even if you loseafter all – going out with a roar rather than a whimper – at least yougive yourself a fighting chance. Besides, you may well win. See Acting.]
Duke medical sociologist Dr. Jeffrey Swansonsays, “Violence-prone people with mental illness are three times more likely tobecome violent when provoked, but most people with mental illness are not violence-prone.”
Though most rampaging mass-murder shooters are psychotic, massmurders are statistically rare. However, alcoholic or drug-addictedpsychotics are four times as likely to commit a violent crime than theaverage person. In contrast, “clean” psychotics are only 1.2 times theaverage risk. Overall, they comprise less than five percent of allviolent offenders. Most simply aren’t capable of the coherent cunning ofa predatory criminal’s stealthy hunting and trapping.
News media often cover a hothead who kills in a moment of passionate emotion. Most humans are capable of doing so if pushed to the brink. Such a criminal is contrasted with the “coldblooded” predator who kills with little or no emotion – a small but significant portion of the general public – the psychopath:
PSYCHOPATH – LEGALLY SANE
Roughly one percent of the general public are clinical psychopaths and 10-25 percent are sub-clinical psychopaths. Most of them do not commit actual crimes but do go through life abusing others without guilt. (There’s a far higher percentage of psychopathy among both violent and non-violent criminals.)
The world’s foremost authority on psychopathy, Professor Robert D. Hare of the University of British Columbia, says that psychopaths don’t feel positive emotions – much like Mr. Spock or Data on “Star Trek.” Most conventional treatment for psychopathy, such as group therapy, only makes them worse; it teaches them how to better manipulate people and fake emotions.
Experts say that psychopaths, while havingan extreme mental disorder, are legally sane – they know right fromwrong but commit a crime anyway. By trying to hide their guilt, theyprove they knew it was wrong – thus they are sane per the law’s McNaughton Rule.
A psychopath’s brain has a dysfunctional amygdala (the center of compassion, fear, sexual orientation, etc.) combined with a dysfunctional Prefrontal Cortex (the ‘executive power center’ that regulates impulse control, emotions, pro-social behavior, and moral judgement). A psychopath’s brain is hyper-sensitive to his reward and hypo-sensitive to the suffering of others – making a psychopath very dangerous.
Psychopathic symptoms include a core, aggressive narcissism and being psychically isolated from other people. They believe they’re entitledto do whatever they want.Psychopaths lack compassion like someone born blind lackseyesight. They lack a conscience, thus never feel guilt or loyalty. Without compassion for others – the essence of humanity – they blithely deceive and harm those who trust them.
However, though most criminals are psychopaths (at least sub-clinical), not all psychopaths are criminals – most never commit an actual legal crime. Most psychopaths [a.k.a. pathological or malignant narcissists or having narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)] don’t have violent criminal minds. A few examples: social or workplace bullies, swindlers,tyrannical bosses, promiscuously unfaithful lovers, and (knowingly)disease-infected sex partners. They wreak havoc but rarely go to prison.
Most psychopaths (both the full-blown clinical and the sub-clinical)succeed in the military, business (salespeople, lawyers,corporate executives, etc.), or politics – or anywhere cunning, ruthless ambitionthrives. [To clarify – those occupations have more psychopaths than usual but still, the vast majority of people in those occupations are not psychopaths.]
To a lesser degree, most people are basically self-centered but the extreme psychopath is the ultimate selfish brat grown up into a pitiless, cold-hearted adult.Beware of workplace psychopaths – your boss ora coworker, the New Scientist magazine warns. They may not be violentbut their predatory personalities help them rise in rank. ProfessorRobert Hare says that workplace psychopaths are ruthless, manipulative,and charming – the very traits that help them rise in rank but can alsoharm those companies. They also make coworkers miserable with theirrages, blaming others for their mistakes, and taking credit for others’work.
[However, many of the sub-clinicalpsychopaths are benign, perform well under pressure, and are an asset to society. See more of the spectrum on What it’s like living as a female psychopath.]
The Psychopathy Check List (PCL)
Dr. Hare originated the Psychopathy Check List (PCL). It has 20 questions and scores answers at 0, 1, or 2 points – with 40 points maximum. Serial killers score in the 26-40 range, and are considered “true” full-blown clinical psychopaths. Most violent prisoners score above 20. Most people (“ordinary” people) score 0-5. Scores of 6-25 are considered “sub-clinical psychopaths” (who may comprise up to 25% of the general population).
Psychopathic killers often find great pleasure intorturing victims. Some scientists consider them evil – in thattheir diabolical savagery has no psychological explanation. Dr. Hare said, “There aresome who are psychopathic, sadistic, and sane – for whom evil acts areno big deal.”
The 20 traits assessed by the PCL-R score are: glib and superficial charm, grandiose self-worth, need for stimulation, pathological lying, cunning and manipulativeness, lack of remorse or guilt, shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness), callousness and lack of empathy, parasitic lifestyle, poor behavioral controls, sexual promiscuity, early behavioral problems, lack of realistic long-term goals, impulsivity, irresponsibility, failure to accept responsibility for their own actions, many short-term romantic or marital relationships, juvenile delinquency, revocation of conditional release, criminal versatility.
The psychopaths who are violent– from battering spouses and petty thugsto serial rapists and serial killers – score somewhere between 6 and 40on the PCL.However, though all psychopathsare ruthless to varying degrees and in various ways, most who score between 6 and 40on the PCL are not violent criminals and instead harm innocent folks in non-violent ways, oftentimes “legally.”Almost all psychopaths are masters of deception, carefully creating and then preserving their images. Thepositive first impressions they make are long-lasting because we trustour initial judgments and want to believe whatever supports our firstimpression, and reject whatever doesn’t (a.k.a. “confirmation bias”). If we doubt anything, the psychopath has a smooth explanation to cover it and innocent folks tend to believe them.
Psychopaths seem to have another shared quality, though it’s not on Dr. Hare’s PCL nor can it be measured. Their eyes are different. The extreme psychopath’s gaze has often been described as creepy, cold, empty, reptilian – not quite human. But, of course, that’s a matter of opinion.
Researchers Delroy Paulhus and Kevin Williams identified The Dark Triad of Personality: narcissism (entitled self-importance), Machiavellianism (strategic exploitation and deceit) and psychopathy (callousness and cynicism). They show that most ordinary people have at least a few of those traits. But only a few. That dovetails nicely with Dr. Hare’s PCL test showing that ordinary people score from 0-5 on the PCL scale of 0-40.
Extreme psychopaths cannot feel compassion or guilt. They cancharm when needed, and they can ruin people’s lives on a whim as easilyas killing a fly. They’re extremely selfish. They cannot changeand can actually control psychotherapists trying to diagnose and changethem. As just one example of many: Paul Beart was convicted in England of a brutal rapeand sentenced to five years. He quickly convinced prison staff that hewas fit and was released two years early. He soon raped and murderedDeborah O’Sullivan, a random stranger.
Nature and/or Nurture – What Influences These Predators?
The traditional nature/nurture theory says that your behavior is roughly a 50/50 mix of nature (your genes) and nurture (your parental/societal influences).
The general public often confuses the terms sociopath and psychopath. Sociopathy is caused by poor parenting and/or life influences – unfortunate nurturing. Psychopathy is caused by congenital anomalies in the brain’s amygdala and prefrontal cortex – unfortunate nature.
A sociopath is defined as having a rogue attitude, behavior, and moral code shared by theirsocial group – usually a street gang, ethnic faction, religious sect orcult, political group, or element – that rejects the laws and morals of the largersociety in which they reside.
Basically, sociopaths are made ruthless – by unfortunate nurture. Psychopaths are born ruthless – by unfortunate nature (and might also receive unfortunate nurture – for a double whammy). Psychopaths can never become compassionate; their brains aren’t wired for it. But sociopaths might someday change their beliefs and leave their gang or cult and reform themselves into good citizens.
Psychopaths comprise up to 25% of U.S. prisoners, and up to 4% of the general population and are “clinical” cases in the 26-40 PCL range. But many more are in the still-dangerous 6-25 “sub-clinical” PCL range.
Since a psychopath’s main defect is “concealed” – with an absenceof easily readable signs – its diagnosis is controversial. Thus,psychopathy is not included as a disorder in the Diagnostic andStatistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American PsychiatricAssociation. Instead, the more general Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) diagnosis is often applied to criminals who blithely commit a broad range of aggressive crimes.
The new science of neurocriminology is not an either/or choice of nature vs nurture, but a more complex nature/nurture MIX of how our genes and brain structures interact with our social environment. This is called epigenetics: the way one’s environment affects the expression of one’s genes and brain structure.
Some idealists argue that psychopathic criminals aren’t fully responsible and therefore deserve to be locked up only until they’re “cured” rather than being locked up forever as a permanent danger to others. But realists argue that there’s no “cure” for violent psychopaths – it’s impossible – though they’re master con-artists who often fool the examining psychiatrist.
MONSTERS are MONSTERS – EVIL is EVIL
Here’s the bottom line to all this psychobabble: The age-old but accuratediagnoses of “moral insanity” or “malignant narcissism” for violent, predatory minds has been discarded in favor of the modern but slippery terms of psychopathy, sociopathy, and APD.Yet to their victims, these monsters are monsters and evil is evil – theend result is the same no matter the name. Their depravity leaves youwith the same Victim’s Options.
MIRROR IMAGING –
Many compassionate Pollyannas make the foolish mistake of “Mirror Imaging” –projecting their own values and beliefs onto predatory minds,believing that violent predators are merely helpless victims of toughlives who simply need a helping hand (and that they can reason with or compassionately connect with a predator).
Yet most people who’ve had tough lives have not chosen to be violent predators [such as the siblings of serial killers (raised in the same household) or those born with the same biological disorder or brain defect]. Being dealt a bad hand in life may help explain why callous predators have twisted minds, but excuses nothing. A tough life simply is nota valid excuse for committing a crime, otherwise millions more peoplewith hard-luck stories would have an excuse to wreak havoc. Most poor people and most people who’ve had a troubled childhood and most people born with the same biological disorder or brain defect do not commit violent crimes.
A criminal – who knows the difference between right and wrong – still chooses to do wrong. It’s not the fault of society’s laws; it’s the fault of the lawbreaker.
Furthermore, anyone who has once chosen to be an evil monster can never be trusted to be free ever again among the general public. Freeing a proven monster is gambling with the lives of innocent people who did not volunteer to be guinea pigs.
Though all criminals prey on others, only a minority of them choose to become violent predators. They are not to be pitied – their victims are. They callously choose to inflict harm on others, either for personal gain or for the twisted thrill of a godlike power of life and death.
A veteran New York City undercover cop said, “There are predators who’re thrilled by their victims’ pain and crying and begging. They love it.”
Cruelty to animals eventually leading to cruelty to other humans has beenwell-documented for centuries. Professor Frank Ascione’s studies at UtahState University have shown that most violent and sexual offenders had ahistory of childhood animal abuse.
For just one of many examples, Australian serialkiller Paul Denyer’s childhood progression from slashing his sister’steddy bears (destroying something that someone loves), to a kitten’sthroat, to his eventual murders as an adult was a classic case of animal abuse escalating to serial killing. Veterinarians in New Zealand and Britain are legally allowed to report animal cruelty but Australian and US veterinarians cannot.
Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.Anyone who can be cruel to an innocent human or helpless animal that provides unconditional love, is beyond troubled – they are incurably evil.
Serial killer Keith Hunter Jesperson said there wasn’t muchdifference between killing a cat and killing a person, except it waseasier to kill a person – they fought back feebly. He said when you haveyour hands around the throat of a puppy, cat or human, you get to be God. There was no greater thrill for him than that.
Russian serial killer Alexander Pichushkin said he didn’ttake money or jewelry from his victims. “I didn’t need it. I took themost valuable thing, human life. I felt like God.”
These devils-in-disguise are the fiends and monsters oflegend. Chameleon-like, they manipulate their prey togain life-and-death control over them and delight in their victim’sbegging for mercy and cowering in fear.
“It cannot be called ingenuity to kill one’s fellow citizens. By these means one can acquire power but no glory.”
– Excerpted from The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli – 1513
FIGHT FIRE WITH GREATER FIRE
A predator commits appalling crimes, but almost always chooses easy targetsand uses sly lures to his traps, then launches sneaky attacks. He ensures his total domination by leaving little, ifanything, to chance.
Sure, he may seethe with anger and even welcome token resistanceto further his sadistic pleasure, but nevertheless he carefully avoidsany real challenge to his total control over a defenseless victim. “Theynever go after weightlifters,” said former FBI agent Robert Ressler – co-author of Whoever Fights Monsters and an expert on the twisted minds of serial killers. A truly brave man is too proud of his self-image and respected reputation to behave so cowardly by choosing easy targets.
Ultimately, the psychological profiles of predators are much likethe pugnacious yet fainthearted schoolyard bullies who’ve grown older, bolder,and more treacherously evil. And therein is the key to surviving a life-and-death confrontation with them.
You must prevent anyone from getting near you – or isolating you – in a secluded location (as described in Outdoor Safety – Overview). You must act to escape his trap by explosively attacking him (preferably before he attacks you – as described in When to Fight).
Far from a superman, he can be badly injured or even killed (to end his threat to your safety) by your self-righteous fury and the fighting methods in Fighting Options – Overview. You must “go animal!” on him. Adopt a rabid pit bull attitude – imitating the most vicious dog you’ve ever seen – and become his worst nightmare by attacking him with a maniacal ferocity. When it’s time to “do-or-die,” your will to survive must surpass his will to kill you.
Besides, what other choice do you have? When someone’s trying to kill you, your best bet – your only chance, your only hope – is to not whimper, but to fight with the utmost ferocity. See Optimal Mindset and Self Defense Techniques.
PERSONAL SECURITY DEVICES
Deter a predator by holding Pepper Spray & a Personal Security Alarm (noisemaker or screamer) in plain sight. Those pages tell you how to use them most effectively.
Crime-Safety-Security > Criminal Minds Overview > Predatory Mind
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