The Unflinching “Super-Optimism” of Criminals

The Supervillains of the Underworld You practically cannot be as super-optimistic as criminals can. It is almost as though it is a super power. However, it is one super power that has made many lose their freedom and complete liberty. The bloated population in the country’s prisons is a testament to this assertion. This super power is in one called super-optimism. Criminals always expect to achieve success in any endeavor. They plan meticulously, gather resources, and when it is time to go hot, they proceed with a maddening sense of optimism that for a moment they feel invisible and untouchable. Every idea for these super-villains of the underworld is a reality, and every decision must stand.w Their overarching certainty rests in part, on how they consider themselves unique, superior to everyone, and their preparedness to employ any means possible to achieve their objective. Now, to be clear, their super-optimism does not cloud their understanding of reality as much as you think. They do know the high costs associated with their trade. There is the possible of being caught or worse killed. However, when it is time to… Read More

Criminals and Religion: Explaining the Antithesis

The Antithesis It is paradoxical that individuals who devote their life to criminality often associate with a religion and put up the notion that they are devout adherents. It might involve regularly attending a place of worship—a church, mosque, or synagogue. In addition, they may observe holidays, festivals, and read religious texts. Many go as far as adorning religious ornaments. Lifting the Veil The primary explanation for this oddity resides in the word—compartmentalization. Criminals keep their religious beliefs and practices away from their everyday lives. Thus, while religiosity may exist, it exists without substance. Take these scenarios, a man touching a cross hanging around his neck whenever he cursed but has no problem snatching purses or committing assaults. An adolescent takes the time to read a religious pamphlet, but admits to stealing the pamphlet from someone else. The Italian mafia has patron saints, and members of organized crime often build elaborate religious shrines in their homes. The disturbing fact is that they may be sincere about engaging in religious practices and following certain religious teachings. However, it does not translate to how they live day to day… Read More

Criminals: Parents Aren’t Always At Fault

Parenting and Criminality Mental health professionals have been at the forefront of answering the questions that mortify the rest of us. In what environment and under what conditions did a one-time murderer, serial killer or mass shooter grow up? Among a growing number of factors, the parents of criminals receive a great deal of scrutiny. Could they have played a role in shaping up who the criminal becomes in the future? What else plays a role in determining whether juveniles or adults break the law and are charged with crimes? What We Think versus What Is True For most of us, the answer to the last question is a resounding yes. The assumption appears to be that good parents turn out good children who become respectable, law-abiding adults and vice versa for bad parents and criminals. The conviction stems from our remedial understanding of human development. The long-held belief is that at birth, children have a clean slate. They are pure, innocent, little cuties like a fertile soil. Therefore, it is the universal duty of parents all over to instill right training, much like a farmer planting… Read More

Deep Connection Between Terrorism and the Criminal Personality

The Wide Scope of Terrorism Terrorism to the average Joe takes a racial and ethnic dimension. Technically, though this is a misrepresentation and terrorism is far more expansive. According to the U.S. Code, terrorism, regardless of its form refers to acts with intent to coerce or intimidate a civilian population. Going by this definition, most criminals operate as terrorists. The victims they terrorize may be as specific as one person or as widespread as an entire country. Terrorism takes different forms. A man guy battering his wife is a terrorist as the wife feels desperate, trapped, threatened, and intimidated. In 2002, John Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo terrorized the population a large swath of the US stretching from Baltimore to Richmond. Their chose act of terrorism was random sniper takedown of complete civilian strangers. Their spate resulted in 10 fatalities and 3 people wounded. Residents cowered in fear based on the uncertainty of who was next on the makeshift hit list. Walking Down Memory Lane Therefore, there exists a deep-seated relationship between terrorism and the criminal personality. In fact, it appears that the criminal personality feeds off… Read More

Delusions and the Social World: The Connection

Has there ever been a society where deluded individuals did not exist? – The answer is probably no. At one time or another, virtually every psychiatric hospital of decent size had their hands full with people who thought they were Jesus Christ or spies for either of two cold-warring intelligence agencies—CIA or KGB. Today, the mix is evolving. We now have quite a lot of individuals who think they are reality TV stars—the Kardashians in the psych wards so to speak. For these individuals, the whole package is present—directors, camera crews, and the audience. Except of course, the pros are out of sight. Thing is, the phenomenon is not restricted to those who end in the psych wards. More people than you’d realize exhibit the phenomenon, only not so dire that they need special psychiatric evaluation. Mild as it may appear; a public clinic psychiatrist in London estimated that one or two in every 10 patients he examined have had the sensation of being filmed. The phenomenon is commonly called the Truman Show Delusion and interestingly the population most affected is the young. The colloquial name for… Read More

The courts take a jab at civil detention practices: What about professionals?

The trend in the courts In the last three months, two consecutive court decisions have deemed the civil commitment program to be unconstitutional. Which is insightful because 20 states and the federal government uphold some form of the civil commitment laws also called “SVP” laws. To put it simply, the laws permit authorities to confine indefinitely, sex offenders expertly assessed to have mental diagnosis that makes them more likely to engage in future sexual violence. In retrospect, the laws have had several dates with controversies from day one. Almost everything about the laws, related processes, and subsequent programs spark debates. In fact, the US Supreme Court decision permitting civil commitment to exist narrowly passed by a lone vote. Now, the debates are increasingly tilting towards a consensus, at least in the courts, that civil commitment as currently practiced in many regions is unconstitutional and needs to be worked on to check widespread abuses. What the stats say The reality is that ‘indefinite’ is a very long time, and in one of the cases where the court had to censure civil commitment, the treatment program had ran for… Read More

Air Pollution and Violent Crime: Is There a Link?

Previously viewed as manifestation of evil, criminality is now being studied as a cause of prevalent factors in a criminal’s environment. There have been recent studies linking the increase of criminal elements with how it is being influenced by society. But a new study is putting the blame on a more chemical level – air pollution. Violent Crimes and Air Pollution – The Correlation The National Bureau for Economic Research, according to its recent study, is trying to make a link between the rise of criminal incidents with the increase in air pollution levels. Information was gathered from meteorological data and the evaluated crime records from the Chicago Police Department. It shows that there is a significant increase in violent crimes in neighborhoods that are on the receiving end of blowing winds that carry tailpipe exhaust coming from major roads. Other Affecting Factors The study also mentions that other affecting factors, like income, may play in the increase in violent crime occurrences. But the statistics show that low-income neighborhoods that are usually found near major roads, making them more exposed to air pollution, experience 2.2 percent more… Read More

Portrait of Women as Criminal Offenders

The public has a common perception of “the criminal”, which is portrayed, primarily by the media and the entertainment industry, as a bulky, rugged man who is hiding out there in the dark ready to grab an unsuspecting victim. However, if one will take a deeper look, these influential institutions may be overlooking a vital change happening on the ground – that women are joining the ranks of criminal offenders, and that they too deserve to occupy a significant space in the portrait. Men as Crime Perpetrators Rule of thumb is: if it is a crime, the criminal is a male. Statistics show that men commit 75.6% of recorded crime, with the violent ones being committed because the criminal has aggressive tendencies. Research also noted violent crimes are committed by men who hailed from communities where women notably outnumber men. The explanation is men from those communities are likely to compete for female attention and families in those places are run by a single parent. Psychology experts believe that the competition theory among men may be applied among women offenders, although the application is not exactly similar.… Read More

Environment’s Role in the Proliferation or Deterrence of Crime

The environment does not have any hand in producing crime, but it can significantly reinforce or deter criminal acts. Small towns with close social interaction tend to have lower crime rates than big cities where people barely know their neighbor. It is not so much the “bond” that people form that deters criminality, but the sense of being closely watched by the community. According to a tour director in Moorea, a small island in French Polynesia, there is very little crime in the island because “everyone knows everyone else’s business.” It implies that criminal acts are limited because monitoring comes from the community itself. The community seems to have greater influence on the criminal than his or her immediate family. A teenager can become involved in petty crimes at first, and then become a career criminal in just a few years even if all the other members of the family do not have any criminal records. If the environment does not have enough security, surveillance, and punishment, crime can flourish rapidly as criminals will find that they can get away with crimes. Add the environment’s size and… Read More

Ex-Criminals as Counselors?

An irresponsible person can attempt to counsel another person on how to be responsible; but this just isn’t likely to end up successfully. How can anyone teach someone to be something if that person doesn’t even practice what he preaches? This is very true, especially if a person wants to teach values to another person. Most people think that criminals just can’t possibly teach other criminals to be better people because they can’t even do that for their personal growth. This is true in a sense, because teaching someone to be responsible even if you are widely known for being an irresponsible person would be considered some sort of hypocrisy. Who would follow you if people knew that you don’t even follow your own teaching? The teacher, in order to be effective with his goal, must be a good example of his teachings. This does not, however, mean that “ex-offenders” or people who have criminal records cannot become counselors to effect changes in society. Ex-offenders have firsthand experience of the hardships in prison life. They have every right to teach criminals how to change their lives for… Read More