Everybody commits misdemeanours, whether by
crossing a road on a red light or by streaming their favourite show online from
a non-official source. We know we should not commit these mini-crimes, but we
do not mean any harm, nor do we generally give them much importance. On the
other hand, crimes such as murder, are entirely different and cannot be
shrugged off or ignored, at least to a normal and balanced mind, but what about
the abnormal mind? Does murder, kidnap and robbery mean the same to them as a
parking ticket to you or me?
Psychopathy is an often-misunderstood concept.
There is a tendency to use the words psychopath, or its close cousin,
sociopath, as an insult or even as a light-hearted tease, without any real
understanding of the disorder itself. In general terms, both can be used to
describe people suffering from a chronic mental disorder along with abnormal or
violent social behaviour. Psychopaths have distinct and widely diverse traits.
These can be complex and subtle and not at all like the idealized image often
depicted in the movies, such as the mega mastermind or the manipulative genius.
Crucial to realize is that not every psychopath
is violent or murderous, and not all murderers are psychopaths. Many
psychopaths live regular normal lives like you and me, they have families, go
shopping, take exercise and it is likely that you have encountered many
psychopaths throughout your life without realizing. Nevertheless, there exist
direct correlations between psychopathy and crime. According to Dr Robert Hare,
a researcher and expert on criminal psychopathy, one percent of the general
population are psychopaths and twenty to twenty five percent of prisoners are
in fact psychopaths.
In this essay I intend to describe how a
criminal psychopath views their misdemeanours and how they distinguish between
right and wrong. I will explain the differences between a psychopath’s mind and
those of sound mind. Finally, what it is that tilts the balance between those
that lead a regular life from those that fall into lives of crime.