Psychopathy: Manipulation, Deception, and Evil

The best definition I have found for a psychopath is “a morally depraved individual who represent the ‘monsters’ in our society; an unstoppable and untreatable predator whose violence is planned, purposeful and emotionless”. Psychopaths make the...

The best definition I have found for a psychopath is “a morally depraved individual who represent the ‘monsters’ in our society; an unstoppable and untreatable predator whose violence is planned, purposeful and emotionless”.  Psychopaths make the headlines daily.  They are the meat and potatoes of our justice system.  Psychopaths are usually not the product of broken homes or the casualties of a materialistic society.  There is no one to blame for their behaviors except themselves. Psychopaths understand right from wrong. They know they are subject to society’s rules, but willingly disregard them to pursue their own interests. They are not out of touch with reality. Their motivation is power, gratification, personal gain, and survival.  Their mindset is manipulation, deception, and evil. Their level of malice is high to very high, even off the charts when they are held accountable. This is what makes the psychopath so dangerous for law enforcement officers and society as a whole.

Law enforcement officers interact with psychopaths routinely.  Think you can spot one? Think again. They are inevitably more intelligent than your average bad guy.  Frequently nothing noteworthy stands out about them, until they are stopped for a crime or a field interview.  Even then, psychopaths are hard to identify.  The less intelligent are already incarcerated or on parole/probation.  The most intelligent have not been caught, and in reality may never be apprehended (for example the Zodiac Killer). 

Frightening Statistics

Approximately 1% of the population is thought to be psychopathic, however:

  • Half of all law enforcement murdered in the line of duty were killed by a psychopath
  • Psychopaths commit more than 50% of all serious crimes
  • 25% of all prisoners are psychopaths
  • Approximately 1 out of 5 persistent domestic abusers are thought to be psychopathic
  • 50% of all serial rapists are thought to be psychopathic.
  • Psychopaths are 7X more likely than other criminals to commit stranger murders; twice as likely to commit other stranger crimes
  • Psychopaths 1 year general crime recidivism rate is 3X more likely than other criminals
  • Psychopaths 1 year violent crime recidivism rate is 4X more likely than other criminals
  • the prevalence rate of psychopathy in the financial services industry is 10%
  • Psychopathic characteristics can be seen in childhood
  • About half of all psychopaths reduce criminal activity by the age of 35-40

The Psychopath

Psychopaths are the worse kinds of narcissists.  They not only disregard society and social cues, they carry this disdain for rules to the extreme, calculating and scheming ruthlessly. They are notoriously callous career criminals. They enjoy what they do, the bottom line is that psychopaths are deliberately, energetically, joyfully evil.

Psychopathy involves poor emotional intelligence and the genuine lack of conscience.  The psychopath rarely remains attached to anyone or anything.  Their lifestyle is consistently predatory; they feel little or no regret or remorse for their behaviors. Psychopaths do need relationships; however, they view people as barriers to their fundamental needs.  Relationships are easily and frequently eliminated. Others are viewed in terms of how they can be used to increase the psychopath’s self-esteem or simply for stimulation.  Most fundamentally, psychopaths value others in terms of their material value.  They are stalkers, rapists, perpetrators of domestic violence, deviant sexual crimes, and they are the serial killers.  They are also CEOs and some would argue they are politicians.  Psychopaths are unable (or unwilling) to control their impulses or to delay gratification. They use rage to control and manipulate others into submission.  Many of them are sadistic; taking true pleasure in inflicting physical, emotional and financial harm to their victims.  Not all psychopaths are law-breakers. However, all psychopaths do engage in antisocial acts such as lying, manipulation, aggression, and cruelty.

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