Compared to, say, ten years ago, a lot of people today are aware of and talking about psychopaths. On the one hand this is encouraging, but on the other, it’s a little troubling. It is heartening to see awareness of psychopathy breach the mainstream frequency fence here and there, but the signal-to-noise ratio, as with all knowledge relevant to the growth and survival of decent human beings, remains high on the ‘noise’ side. We see ridiculous studies in the news portraying psychopaths as curable and articles making the rounds about how not having a Facebook account may indicate that someone is a psychopath. We’ve also seen Twitter being touted as a tool for ‘spotting psychopaths’ and, just today, news that the US justice system is considering acceptance of biological evidence that someone is a genetic psychopath in court with a view to using it to mitigate the sentences of criminal offenders. The reasoning being that psychopaths can’t help being psychopaths, that they lack free will and therefore they bear diminished responsibility for their crimes.
Well, yeah, that’s exactly why they need to be held under lock and key permanently.