Saturday, October 11, 2008

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Doing Wrong to Do Right

Governor Sarah Palin apparently has been cited for losing some of her ethics on the warpath to getting her brother-in-law nailed for his misbehavior. Did the end justify the means? This is an age-old question, especially when it comes down to protecting innocent people.

Let's look at a couple of scenarios that can drive us nuts.

The first one: A man is let out of prison after he has raped and murdered to children. He comes to you one night - say he is your brother-in-law- and he tells you, as he is getting into his car, "I am going to go rape and kill me a little six-year-old girl." You know he means it. Do you shoot him?

The second one: Ten men are fighting the death penalty in court. One is innocent of murder (and truly an honest and wonderful law-abiding citizen) and the other nine are vicious serial killers who we know have killed many times and, if they get off, they will go out and kill ten innocent people a piece. Should we be so strict with our requirements to get a conviction that it is nearly impossible to get a guilty verdict? Is that saying that it is better to let ten guilty men go free to save one innocent one? I don't know why the person who made that statement can't count but if you let the guilty men go free, you are condemning 100 people to death.

Maybe Palin got caught up in this kind of thinking or maybe she just wanted to win and didn't think she had to follow the rules. I tend to think the latter is true but the issue of right vs. wrong in protecting innocent people is really quite interesting and certainly frustrating.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Too Young to Blame? Then Blame the Parents

When young children commit heinous crimes, who is to blame? Who is to be responsible? Once upon a time, society held the parents accountable for the actions of their children who hadn't reached adulthood reasoning that they are in their charges, their responsibility, and they controlled their behaviors and movements. If your child committed a crime, you paid either out of your pocket or with some jail time yourself. When did this concept disappear?

A seven-year-old boy recently broke into a zoo in Australia (yes, seven-years-old) and beat thirteen lizards and turtles to death and fed them to a crocodile. The toll of the mass animal murder tallied over five thousand dollars, not to mention the loss of life to these innocent animals and the sadness and horror felt by the zookeepers and community.

The boy cannot be charged because he is too young. The zoo is going to sue the parents for his actions. I think it is a damned fine idea. It is about time parents realize if they are going to bring another human being into the world and train it for eighteen years, they must take the job seriously.

I have suggested the same concept for teens who murder their friends and classmates with guns. Make the gun owner responsible for whatever happens with that gun (unless the owner reports it stolen). Since a gun is either supposed to be on your person or in a lock box, there is no excuse for your kids getting to it. If you clearly already deranged teen takes your guns to school, you go down as an accessory to the crime. If this happened to the next parents who gave little juvenile delinquent Johnny access to lethal weapons, I am guessing you would see a major increase in the sale of gun safes.

Some folks will say this is too harsh, that some children are just born bad and parents shouldn't have to pay the price for their child being a psychopath. I disagree. I just don't believe out-of-control kids "just happen to good parents." Sorry. Maybe I am to harsh, but i am getting sick of parents claiming they can't do anything about their kids. It starts young, folks, and raising children means putting in lots of work. My feeling is you work hard when they are young and then you don't have to suffer later. Your kids may not turn out "perfect" but they don't have to be menaces to society.

Other than providing three more meals to the crocodile (the boy and his parents), suing the parents is the next best thing.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Did Financial Woes made a Mass Murderer of Karthik Rajaram?

I can't but help see red when I see headlines like this: "Man Kills Family and Self over Market."

Then, to make matters worse, we get to read how the man struggled over time and finally, after three weeks of planning, decided to commit suicide and murder all of his family members as well. Why don't we see this headline instead?

"Innocent Children and Women Brutally Murdered by the Father and Husband who was Supposed to Love and Protect them."

Then, why don't we read about each one of these wonderful people - the 19-year-old son, Krishna, who was on full scholarship at the University of California and the other two sons, Ganesha, 12, and Arjuna, 7, who were top students in their schools as well. And what of the lovely wife, Subashi and her mother, Indra, the fine women who raised these three wonderful boys? Why don't we only focus on them and stop analyzing the coldblooded killer who took their lives?

I know people want to understand how a man could do such a thing. The fact the man once made big money and then lost his job makes people think that he must have had a breakdown. What is ignored are all the signs along the way that he had other issues as well. What is dangerous about this kind of man is that his psychopathy may be unrecognized until it is too late. He may be smart and controlling and successful but when he starts losing the game, losing his status and power and control, he suddenly doesn't want to play the game of life anymore. And if he doesn't want to play the game anymore, he is going to smash the game up and all the other players aren't going to get to play anymore either.

Karthik Rajaram was just this sort of man. Even if he had financial troubles, his family was doing well. His eldest son didn't even need his money as he already had his college education fully funded. But that didn't matter to Mr. Rajaram. If he can't be happy, no one can be happy. If he has failed, everyone is going to fail. He is a narcissistic, self-centered man and his relatives were simply possessions to him. He killed them because they had no rights and he had no empathy for them. He could dispose of them if he wanted and he did.

Maybe if we start calling this murderous psychopath the evil man that he is a mass murderer - maybe other psychopaths wouldn't follow suit and off their families. After all, it isn't nice to think you will be called nasty names in the newspaper. If you are going to kill yourself and your family, you want to leave your poor excuse of a suicide note and get sympathy at the end for being a poor suffering soul.

I say let's change the headlines and tell it the way it really is.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown