By Any Means Necessary

Study after study (see The Clinical and Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy, A Practitioner’s Guide ed. Carl B. Gacono for a good selection of studies) has shown that violent crime by psychopaths is much more likely to be due to “instrumental” reasons rather than “affective” reasons.  That is, for the psychopaths that are violent, the crimes tend to be focused and deliberate and not the result of passion.  Whereas many non-psychopaths will batter or assault in the heat of the moment as the result of enflamed passions or emotions, the violent psychopath is much more apt to commit crime due to purpose.  This can take the form of seeking vengeance or simply to achieve some sort of gain from victims who are near by.  The reasons seem to be more muddled.  Yes, some psychopaths are mere forces of destruction whose only purpose in life is to harm others.  Most of us are not, however.  We are just more likely to use immoral means to achieve our goals.  We will benefit by any means necessary.

We tend to lack empathy and conscience.  There is nothing holding us back from our actions exception the fear of being punished, should that fear exist at all.  I’ve argued before that this can allow us to live objectively more productive lives than those that are unable to move forward due to conscience or a fear of committing immoral actions.  I am not a violent psychopath.  I prefer to use manipulation and cunning to achieve what I want rather than brute force.  However, many choose the latter.  It is never personal and, for the psychopaths that are not just living to commit violence, I suspect that when we choose violence it is because the reward is available for minimal effort.  The calculus dictates, in that case, that violence is the most appropriate route.

This reward can take many different forms.  Maybe your money is what we desire.  Maybe we are bored to tears and assault, or worse, can be a brief jolt of stimulation that we badly crave.  The point is that when we know what we want, rarely is anything off of the table when it comes to getting such satisfied.  The only consistent deterrent is the possibility of getting caught, and for many psychopaths this does not enter the picture.  For the violent psychopath without this restraint, the result can be bloody.  ‘By any means necessary’ is an appropriate battle cry for the psychopath

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Use of this image should not imply endorsement by the image author, Gates of Ale.


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