Friday, June 19, 2015

Understand Psychopaths or be Victimized by Them

From mass murderers to women helping felons to escape prison to people lying about their race, psychopaths all have something in common; the same motive for what they do. Since so few people understand psychopathy, few understand the true motivation behind their actions.

In just the span of a couple of weeks, three stories are being heavily debated in the news and on the Internet: why Joyce Mitchell helped two murderers escape prison, why Rachel Dolezal claimed she is black when she is actually white, and why a mass murderer would kill  a bunch of innocent folks attending church.

The three main answers people seem to want to settle on is 1) Mitchell fell in love with one of the prisoners and her emotions led her astray, 2) Rachel Dolezal so identified with her black adopted siblings, she felt as black as them, and 3) racism caused a young man to become a killer.

None of the above is actually true; the real answer is all three thought what they did was fun.

"What? Fun?" You exclaim in disbelief and hundreds of psychiatrists will roll their eyes and charge me with practicing mental health without a license or a clue. They will claim I am tossing out some one-size-fits-all motive and ignoring all the complicated psychological issues that cause behavior.

Let me explain. Yes, all three of these human beings have complicated issues that CAUSED them to become psychopaths. From that point on, they are motivated by the thrill their behavior gives them. The love the attention they get through their manipulations, lies, and actions. They love the power and control they get from getting over on others. To put it simply, what they do is fun for them.

Mitchell wanted to play Bonnie to her Clydes. She had fun befriending dangerous men, having sex with them, fooling her husband, and then planning a masterful escape. Soon you will see her having fun manipulating people in prison or on the Internet through inmate dating sites or a Free Joyce Mitchell group of people who think she was the victim of manipulation by men.  Rachel Dolezal had fun convincing people of something that was not true, she had fun playing the victim, and now she is having fun on television. If people stopped giving credibility to Dolezal's claims, she would disappear.

All mass murderers find it fun to kill people, that is their real motive. They are not actually getting back at bullies, starting a race war, or killing for Allah; they are killing for fun and the thrill they get when they pull the trigger, and, more importantly, the thrill of becoming famous. It all is so much fun, so much more fun than being a normal person, telling the truth, and slogging away at a normal job and being just a regular Joe. If we recognized this, especially the media, then we would be adamant that the media stop giving glory and fame to mass murderers because that is exactly what they want. Stop their fun and you take away motive for their crime. We might still have some mass murderers who want the thrill of the moment when they drop a person, but, the bigger motivation of fame would be gone; we would see the numbers of mass murders decline substantially.

People find it difficult to accept that a person who commits horrific crimes is just a psychopath just having fun; it seems so incredibly shallow, so pointless, that an individual would kill or ruin peoples' lives on a whim. But, yes, that is exactly the point; psychopaths ARE shallow people; they don't really care much about anything or anyone. They may quote religion, but, in reality don't care all that much about it; they may state they are fighting some race war or fighting back against some group, but, in reality it isn't about any issue, it is only about them getting attention and the cheap thrill of power. They want to have fun and you are how they are going to get it. You are just fodder, meaningless fodder. Rachel Dolezal has had fun for years with her crimes of lies and deception and people continue to fall for her manipulations and so she is still having fun. Be on the watch for her reality show or her bestselling book! While we waste our time thinking there is something to figure out about Dolezal and race, she is just having fun hoodwinking us.

The other difficulty people have with accepting people are psychopaths is also accepting that there is nothing that one can do about it. You can't change a psychopath; they remain one for life. There is no therapy and, for psychiatrists, that is an income killer and an affront to the entire concept of helping people regain mental health. Kind of a buzz killer.

Anyone who has truly been the victim of a psychopath over a long period of time will be nodding their head at my words; they will totally get it, totally. But, for the rest of the population, psychopathy makes no sense, it cannot be, there must be a better explanation, be more complicated and more "fixable." It simply is too frustrating to think these zombielike people are among us and can strike out and hurt us at will and simply because they find it fun.

But, that's the way it is. All we can do is recognize it and do whatever we can to stop psychopaths from inflicting so much damage on us. But, our refusal to recognize psychopathy, especially the refusal of psychiatrists to recognize psychopathy, puts us all in harm's way and we need to open our eyes to the truth of this horrific personality disorder and deal with it. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Making Something out of Absolutely Nothing: Why Civilian Juries Fail

The other day I received a notice to serve on a jury in my county. I sent it back with a note in the section that allows a person to give a reason why they shouldn't have to. I wrote that I refuse to serve because I do not believe in the jury system that we have in the United States, that I won't serve with a gaggle of untrained citizens who have no background in crime scene analysis or behavioral analysis, who do not have any experience in making deductions in a scientific manner, to make a life and death decision with a group of people, well-meaning though they might be, who pretty much just got picked randomly off a bus stop to be criminal profilers for the day or weeks on end.

Recently, in the Madeleine McCann case comes a prime example of what kind of thing can go on in the minds of a jury. Someone checked the Wayback Machine, an Internet thing that allows you to check what happened on a particular day on the Internet in the past and they came up with a page labeled April 30th with an announcement by the governmental agency, CEOP - The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) is a command of the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) - of Madeleine McCann's disappearance. All hell has broken loose on the Internet....many, including some folks who have written books and made films on the case....are claiming this is unquestionable proof that Madeleine McCann did not die or disappear on May 3rd, the date Kate McCann claimed she found her daughter missing after doing a check on her children, but, instead Madeleine was already gone days before which therefore proves that there is some huge conspiracy afoot which includes the government and a gaggle of accomplices, a conspiracy in which some shady super powerful people did something to Madeleine McCann and then had the McCanns and their friends (and other possible accomplices) carried on a hoax for days in Praia da Luz, pretending Maddie was alive until May 3rd at which point they staged a really pitiful fake abduction so that all would think that she disappeared on that date and not that something happened to her days earlier! In spite of all the "proof" folks have been batting about - a "fake" last photo and "forged" creche records, stuff that some think proves Madeleine was already dead and gone by May 3rd - NOW there is DEFINITIVE proof with this April 30th CEOP page that Madeleine did not die or disappear on May 3rd and the government clearly is involved with some incredibly big hoax with the McCanns in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Oh my god, I have a really bad headache.

Clearly, there is just a glitch on the Wayback site because it just makes no damn sense. Common sense - which seems to be missing in this case - should tell anyone that the government is not going to accidentally put up a webpage that a child is missing three days before the parents report her missing to the police. If a conspiracy is SO big that the government is in on the disappearance, they are hardly going to do something so incredibly stupid. The whole idea just makes my head hurt and want to slam it into a wall. And this comes from a person who DOES believe there is evidence to support a theory that Madeleine came to an accidental death in the vacation flat and the McCanns did false report and cover up her death.

But, this is the whole point as to why I want the civilian jury system to end in the United States. Juries can be manipulated and confused by attorneys, both defense and prosecution, into thinking some of the most ridiculous things which then allows them to either convict an innocent person or let off someone who is guilty as hell. Instead of using scientific, objective deduction, they get carried away with some scenario and can't recover. In the case of O.J. Simpson, "if the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit" allowed the jury to override massive evidence of guilt in spite of the fact the whole glove thing was just a silly lawyer trick. In the Casey Anthony case, Jose Baez got the jury to ignore a pile of evidence which hands down proved Casey Anthony guilty simply by suggesting her Daddy might have sexually abused Casey and had some hand in what happened to little Caylee. This ignited some kind of highly improbable scenario in the heads of the jury and, in spite of the fact no such evidence existed that any such scenario occurred and, in spite of the fact there was overwhelming evidence - both physical and behavioral - that Casey Anthony premeditatedly murdered her daughter, the jury found her not guilty. This was the day I lost total faith in the civilian jury system and realized just how ridiculous it is to put completely untrained people into a room with highly trained lawyers and expect they can do the job. The only reason it seems to work most of the time is because most cases that go to trial are slam dunks with clearly guilty people; this is why prosecutors can have such high convictions rates.

Can one imagine being on a jury now trying to decipher what happened to Madeleine McCann and having the jury believe that the government put out a webpage looking for a missing child prior to anyone knowing she had gone missing? Oh, god, I would be sitting in that jury room with my head on the table, crying. And, I would be the lone holdout for days while the other jury members tried to convince me of this nonsense until finally there was a hung jury because I refused to believe in the most ridiculous conspiracy theory ever.

I am not saying professionals are always right, but at least we ought to try to stick with analyzing the evidence as properly and scientifically as we can and no one should be arrested and prosecuted and convicted without having professionals be a methodical and logical as possible, making sure they don't take one weird or confusing element and spinning it out of reason until they make it fit some theory they have, ignoring all of evidence to the contrary. We could either hire already properly trained professionals for the jury or we could actually have a degree to become a professional juror, but we need to find a way to make sure that the jurors in the box actually have the knowledge and experience to properly evaluate evidence.

The civilian jury system needs to be dismantled and a proper professional jury system set up in its place. It still won't be perfect but at least we can have a far better shot at jury members understanding evidence and not getting swept away by some snake oil salesman attorney's attempt to win his case by confusing and winning over a bunch of people who have no more knowledge of analyzing criminal evidence than they do of how to fix rocket engines. Civilian juries are a crazy idea and why they still exist boggles my mind; I guess because lawyers like it that way.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My Jewish Experience

I am the daughter of a Jewish man. A Jewish man who just barely escaped with his life when Adolph Hitler came into power. My grandmother, seeing the writing on the wall, pressured her husband into leaving Germany, preferring to start life anew in America with their two sons rather than hope things wouldn't get worse in the home of their birth. They left in 1937, the last of the Jews who were able to get out of Germany before they either weren't allowed to leave or no country would accept them. Not all of the Sonnemann family escaped Germany; some suffered in concentration camps and one died in the gas chamber.

As a child, I suffered nightmares from hearing the stories of my family's history. Sometimes when I lay in my bed at night, the door shut to my room, I would hold my breath just in case the air contained gas and not oxygen. My father's cousin showed me the numbers on her arm and sometimes in math class in elementary school when I was multiplying and the sum reach six numbers, I would shudder as if I was tattooing the number on the arm of some soon to be exterminated Jew. Even though I was not there in Nazi Germany when Hitler turned life for Jews into a living hell, no Jew or child of a Jew would ever be free of that legacy even in the United States.

As a daughter of a Jewish man with a Jewish name, children made fun of me in school, calling me Jew girl and Jesus killer. I began to fear going to elementary school in my wealthy New Jersey neighborhood and I was relieved to moved to Virginia at age nine, thinking the racial and religious slurs would end. I was wrong. I moved into an even wealthier town in McLean, Virginia and the tormenting became worse because so few Jews lived in the area where I lived. I struggled through all my school years, an outcast, until I finally graduated a year early and escaped the daily abuse. My Jewish experience growing up was painful and I carried this pain into adulthood.


Not really. Absolutely, not really. Oh, the first paragraph of this blog is absolutely true but everything from then on is a total pack of lies. I haven't a clue to any Jewish experience. In fact, I didn't even know my father was Jewish until I was twelve and we got a Jewish New Year card in the mail. I asked my father about it and he said, "Oh, my side of the family is Jewish." I asked why then did my grandmother always have a big Christmas Eve celebration each year, complete with a candlelit Christmas tree and a yearly rendition of "Silent Night"? He told me my grandfather wanted to be Catholic and return to Germany after the war ended. My grandmother wasn't so keen about the returning to Germany part and when my Grandfather died aboard ship while taking her back to visit Germany (he told her if she didn't like the country and didn't want to move back, they would get divorced and she could continue living in America), she buried him at sea, never got off when the ship docked in Germany, and came back to the US where she remained until her death. I guess she didn't have too much of a problem with the Catholic part.

My father married my mother whose parents sometimes attended a Congregational church in New England. My parents never entered a synagogue and made it to church only a couple of times in my youth. They were lifelong agnostics and religion of any sort was never mentioned in the house. Outside of the few stories about my relatives, I knew nothing of Jews or Judaism. And, in spite of my German name (which could be Jewish or Christian), I don't remember one comment aimed at me during my school days. I was sort of shunned in high school but that was because I wasn't very popular and I got out a year early simply because I wasn't having a good time.

So, I have no Jewish experience at all, in spite of my family history. I now find my family history fascinating and have been learning more and more about it recently, but I am not becoming more Jewish because of it. I would have to actually convert and start living a Jewish life to have any clue to what it is like to be Jewish. I DO have relatives who are very Jewish and know full well what the Jewish experience is in the United States, but, me, I don't even have the tiniest bit of Jewish experience to brag about.

But, if I were a liar and a fraud like Rachel Dolezal, just think, I could have a really great job with the Anti-Defamation League. Maybe I should paint a swastika on my front door and give the police a call.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Faking Being Black does not Replicate Being Black

I just read the stupidest Time article about Rachel Dolezal at least "walking the walk" of being black because she passed herself off as being black. Yeah, no, really, no. I think I can speak to this as I have spent a good deal of time in the black community and I have two biracial children and one black son.

I dated an African-American man from age eighteen to about age twenty-two. I spent a lot of time listening to black music and dancing in black clubs and hanging with black people. I was the white girl who could dance. Actually, I was the rich white girl who could dance because I came from a pretty ritzy neighborhood. Although I experienced what it was like to date a black man in the 70s and, therefore, had some intersection with how blacks were treated and I suffered some abuse for dating a man who wasn't white (from both races) and gained some understanding of the difficulties of racism that blacks the end, I was a white girl from a rich neighborhood and I could go home. Blacks were already home.

My second learning experience was in St. Louis, Missouri were I ending up working a midnight shift in an IHOP in a very bad area of town (I was passing through - not trying to pass - attempting to pick up money to get to LA). I worked there about a week and made about $1 hour because the pimpis and hos and almost homeless didn't tip very well. I complained to one young black girl about the crappy pay and she told me she had been working there for a year. I remember asking why she didn't quit and she replied she didn't have a way to get another job. I learned something that day; she had little education, a horrible home situation, and lousy employment opportunities. I had an education, a car to drive away with, and a Daddy to call for help. And I was a rich, white girl who could always go back home.

Time passed and I married a man from Jamaica. I had two biracial kids and adopted one black son. I have had a many interesting experiences raising my children but very little issues with racism. Yes, once in a while there was a little something here or there, but, really, not a lot. My worst problem with racism was trying to get my kids bussed from a mostly white community to a black community for a magnet program and having them turned down because they were too black. So I homeschooled them. Even though I had nonwhite kids, I had the benefit of being a totally white mother.

My kids are all grown up now and as I walk around town, nobody discriminates against me because I have three nonwhite children; that is because I am still a rich white girl who can always go home.

Rachel Dolezal, too, has always been a white girl who could pass as white and could always go back home.