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Author Topic: New Article on Columbine
A Rat Named Dog
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This was linked on a forum for game developers, mostly to express relief that it wasn't our fault anymore:

http://slate.msn.com/id/2099203/

Oddly enough, they've discovered that Eric Harris was a psychopath. And not that he played too much Doom.

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Kwea
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Good article.
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Eryn
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I just think it's pathetic that people WOULD blame the game. We live in a world with so much violence and hate (and of vcourse there are many positives), but its your own personal choice for choosing to agree with what is happening in the world. And since censorship is something that is NOT going to get rid of everything bad, which is probably for the better, people need to start taking responsibility for their own actions and stop blaming what other people do/games and such. Ahhh. *pet peeve*

~Eryn

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ak
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This article is intensely interesting.

quote:
It rages on for page after page and is repeated in his journal and in the videos he and Klebold made. But Fuselier recognized a far more revealing emotion bursting through, both fueling and overshadowing the hate. What the boy was really expressing was contempt.

He is disgusted with the morons around him. These are not the rantings of an angry young man, picked on by jocks until he's not going to take it anymore. These are the rantings of someone with a messianic-grade superiority complex, out to punish the entire human race for its appalling inferiority. It may look like hate, but "It's more about demeaning other people," says Hare.

...

Harris claimed to lie to protect himself, but that appears to be something of a lie as well. He lied for pleasure, Fuselier says. 'Duping delight'—psychologist Paul Ekman's term—represents a key characteristic of the psychopathic profile.

...

Harris' pattern of grandiosity, glibness, contempt, lack of empathy, and superiority read like the bullet points on Hare's Psychopathy Checklist and convinced Fuselier and the other leading psychiatrists close to the case that Harris was a psychopath.


Dude, I have known people like that! Maybe not to that degree, but yeah.
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TomDavidson
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I would say that most people have met someone who is mildly socio- or psychopathic. It's not always particularly crippling.
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ak
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I would be interested to know what are the tactics that they suggest should be used for a psychopathic hostage-taker.

What brings psychopaths into being? Are they born or made? How do they treat psychopaths? Is there anything you can do for them, any way to change them, or should you just kill them first?

It seems to me as though all humans have the capacity to set their boundaries of who they consider "us", who counts as people we empathize with, whose pain we feel. Some people include all of creation, others only the human species, their own countrymen, ethic group, tribe, circle of family and friends, immediate family, or only themselves. Everyone has a contempt, whether it's conscious or unconscious, for those outside the boundaries of their "us" group. Is psychopathy just one extreme end of this continuum, or is it something else altogether?

I see, for instance, a complete disconnect between me and others who reject the idea that other species' feelings and desires should lead us to empathize with them and treat them as we would be treated.

Racism, lynchings, ethnic cleansing, genocide, all are simply normal and natural consequences of people setting the boundaries of their "us" group more narrowly than our culture currently dictates.

We treat cattle exactly as Hitler treated Jews, and think nothing of it.

I've seen cats do appalling things with their prey. Once Mouse was eating the back end of a live chipmunk whose front end was screaming. It chilled me and sickened me but she was totally innocent, do you see? To her it was just prey. Not something with feelings that we should respect in any way.

Are we all psychopathic to the extent that we refuse to acknowledge the feelings and desires of other living beings?

This is a fascinating question to me.

[ April 25, 2004, 11:59 AM: Message edited by: ak ]

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ak
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quote:
In popular usage, almost any crazy killer is a "psychopath." But in psychiatry, it's a very specific mental condition that rarely involves killing, or even psychosis. "Psychopaths are not disoriented or out of touch with reality, nor do they experience the delusions, hallucinations, or intense subjective distress that characterize most other mental disorders," writes Dr. Robert Hare, in Without Conscience, the seminal book on the condition. (Hare is also one of the psychologists consulted by the FBI about Columbine and by Slate for this story*.) "Unlike psychotic individuals, psychopaths are rational and aware of what they are doing and why. Their behavior is the result of choice, freely exercised." Diagnosing Harris as a psychopath represents neither a legal defense, nor a moral excuse. But it illuminates a great deal about the thought process that drove him to mass murder.

...

It begins to explain Harris' unbelievably callous behavior: his ability to shoot his classmates, then stop to taunt them while they writhed in pain, then finish them off. Because psychopaths are guided by such a different thought process than non-psychopathic humans, we tend to find their behavior inexplicable. But they're actually much easier to predict than the rest of us once you understand them. Psychopaths follow much stricter behavior patterns than the rest of us because they are unfettered by conscience, living solely for their own aggrandizement. (The difference is so striking that Fuselier trains hostage negotiators to identify psychopaths during a standoff, and immediately reverse tactics if they think they're facing one. It's like flipping a switch between two alternate brain-mechanisms.)

There's the quote about hostage negotiations. I am tempted to get that book they cite.

[ April 25, 2004, 11:57 AM: Message edited by: ak ]

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John L
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quote:
I've seen cats do appalling things with their prey. Once Mouse was eating the back end of a live chipmunk whose front end was screaming. It chilled me and sickened me but she was totally innocent, do you see? To her it was just prey. Not something with feelings that we should respect in any way.

Are we all psychopathic to the extent that we refuse to acknowledge the feelings and desires of other living beings?

This is a fascinating question to me.

I don't see why it's so fascinating. That is the intrinsic difference between human and animal: we have the capacity of mind to be able to distinguish more than just "us" and "them" in a situation, and can make judgements from more input than just instinct or cheap Pavlovian "training." There are some animals who come very close to the human level of distinction, and certainly many humans who prefer the animal level of distinction. However, the humans who want to live in any society cannot successfully do so if they can only view things the way animals do (there was a very good program on treating feral children on Discovery recently discussing similar ideas). Either they need to have some of the social ideology "programmed" into them, or they need to reject some of the animal ideology. There exist many psycho- and sociopathic people who are a mix of both. I know plenty of sociopaths who only just barely have the capability to fit into society, and this is not a product of innocence. It's a lack of something human. Feel sorry for them, if you wish, but it's not inocence or good for society to have such behavior.
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ak
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I just want to know if there is a way to understand this... if it's something that happens because of trauma or if they have any idea, or if it's just an extreme end of the spectrum of normal human mentality.
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Scott R
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My wife did her thesis on psychopathy-- she's a double major in psychology and sociology-- I'm trying to remember if there was anything in it about genetics or environmental causes.

It was pretty much over my head.

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John L
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quote:
My wife did her thesis on psychopathy-- she's a double major in psychology and sociology-- I'm trying to remember if there was anything in it about genetics or environmental causes.
A little of both, I believe. Psychopathy tends to usually be more biological (which doesn't rule out environment), while sociopathy tends to be more environmental. Don't quote me on that, and ask the self-important-know-it-all Squicky for verification, since I can't possibly know a thing about psychology or psychological "disorders."
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Book
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You know, I say stuff like that all the time. Hmm. That's odd.
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