I hope everyone had a good weekend, and if you celebrate, a Happy Passover/Easter.
On Saturday night, I found myself in the very weird position of defending sociopaths.
Maysoon Zayid reply:
“Nah, this is why I don’t go with that definition, then every terrorist and murderer could be blamed on disability”
“Maysoon Zayid”: I do not consider sociopathy a disability. Mental illness totes is but being evil is not a disability.”
(Maysoon Zayid is wonderful btw, you should check out her TED Talk)
I’ve already had a nice long rant on why we shouldn’t blame crime on mental illness. If I have to say it till I die, I will.
Crime is not typically the result of mental illness.
Mental Health is a factor in only about 4-5 percent of crime, usually coupled with substance abuse, and that INCLUDES people with personality disorders ( including sociopaths). Don’t get me wrong, they certainly aren’t people I recommend having in your life. Generally though, they aren’t responsible for crime and terrorism.
once again, everyone repeat after me:
MENTAL ILLNESS IS NOT THE CAUSE OF CRIME OR TERRORISM.
Let talk about
You know when I’m sick and phlegmy, I can do an outstanding Doofensmertz (pictured above) interpretation.
He’s a cartoon character EVIL scientist set on taking over the tri-state. Besides tri-state domination, and all things EVIL as his main focus, he is extraordinarily good at messing his plans up without anyone needing to step in.
So, when I think of EVIL, I think of doofensmirtz, and a host of other media super-villains, not violent crime or terrorism.
The resulting pain, loss, and devastation that crime brings is a terrible thing, and there have been in the past and still today, sociopaths responsible for orchestrating horrible horrible things. Yet, to look at those instances and conclude all sociopaths are “evil” killers and don’t deserve to be classed as having mental illness, OR to say it is caused by evil people ignores the very complex nature of crime, and terrorism.
The study of risk and resilience in the face of diversity has been a major focus of child development/lifespan research.
We ask, What factors influence a person’s life for good or ill?
Factors of crime and terrorism include
- socio-economic problems
- lack of education
- lack of basic resources
- lack of stable adequate employment
- dysfunctional government
- abuse or otherwise dysfunctional family with lack of positive or worse a negative role model
It leads to vulnerability to indoctrination into violent ideology, disenfranchisement, and history of criminality which tends to only escalate.
Obviously, fixing those problems are just as complex. (and requires a systems mindset)
It’s easier just to blame one thing.
We also don’t like the idea that we are all vulnerable. It’s scary to consider one doesnt need to be an “evil” sociopath to do horrible things.
Just as it is easier to blame mental illness for terrible acts, its also easy to just blame “evil.”
It gets us off the hook.
It fools us into believing we aren’t vulnerable to the same actions.
Blaming “evil” is easier.