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The source of violence is not poverty.
It is not gender. It is not race.
It is not lack of education. It is not society.
It is self-interest. And on this front,
the self-proclaimed pacifists are no less violent
than those who use physical violence… they
just use different methodologies and tactics.
                          Marc MacYoung

Criminal Mind

On this page:
It's All About The Criminal | Criminals: Predator or Scavenger? | Who Is Pointing The Gun At You? | Who's Likely To Rape? |

We have in our personal library two floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with books on crime, violence, criminology and psychology. (And yes, we have read them all.) We tell you this because these books contain a lot of theories about the motivations of criminals.

What we would like to point out is that these theories were postulated by people who were dealing with the criminals in the relative safety of being in a position that the criminal needed something from them (e.g. the psychologists were in a position to influence whether or not the criminal would be released or imprisoned). As such, the criminal needed to stay in the good graces of the interviewer and was often trying to 'get over' on the person. This is normal dynamic in institutionalized settings were criminals are studied.

It is also why we liken the subject of criminology to studying lions in the zoo. While all kinds of important zoological information can be gathered, you still are not dealing with the beasts in their natural habitat or on the receiving end of a lion's charge.

In short, very few academic theories about the nature of criminal mind have been developed while looking over the barrel of a gun. That meaning your either on the wrong end of the gun or the person aiming the gun at a violent criminal (in some cases, both are happening at once). And yes, when it comes to dealing with criminals, as well as having researched the subject. We also have experience with all versions of the gun barrel issue -- including when those guns were being fired.

We tell you this because:
     A) having looked into the eyes of 'charging lions' we have a slightly
         different opinion about a criminal's motivations -- and what it takes to
         stop him.      
     B) if you have the bad luck to encounter a violent criminal, odds are, it
         won't be in the safety of an institution ... it will be looking into the eyes
         of a charging lion in his natural habitat.

That means you're going to need a more practical understanding. One that is less oriented on 'curing' or understanding the criminal, and more on stopping him.

Having said all this, we tend to agree with the assessment of Stanton Samenow PhD about the nature of the criminal mind. Summed up in one sentence: It's about selfishness ... the different manifestations of criminal behavior is just a matter of style.

That is a simple, but profound statement. Because it is both the greatest strength and the greatest weakness of the criminal and the violent. Strength because it usually gives him an overwhelming degree of focus and dedication. Weakness, because it makes him both predictable and easy to out think -- once you understand how he thinks and acts.

All too often the subject of criminal and dangerous behavior -- especially the aftermath -- is muddled up with ideology, rhetoric and even politics. Often the actions of the criminal and violent person is explained away as a result of injustice, oppression or societal failure. However, by looking at crime and violence from the perspective of extreme selfishness and lack of concern for others, you begin to see more of the 'charging lion' nature of the subject.

And make no mistake, that criminal coming at you is like a charging lion ... intent on eating you alive.

It's All About The Criminal
If criminals had a theme song it would be the chorus from "It's all about me!" While everyone is to some degree or the other selfish, criminals, violent and angry people take it to extremes.

Criminals: Predators or Scavengers?
While it may seem that we're against zoological understanding of criminals, we're not. In fact, when put into these terms a very good layman's understanding of the nature of criminals can had.

Who Is Pointing The Gun At You?
What is the personality of people who do robbery?

Who's Likely to Rape
What are the character traits of someone most likely to rape?

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