Lately my YouTube history has been peppered with recorded police interrogations of murderers and lesser criminals. I’m creeped out by people who watch too many true crime shows because they seem to be a bit unhinged themselves, but I find interrogations to be a more genuine study of psychology.
Criminal behavior hasn’t been a subject I’ve been particularly fascinated by in my lifetime. Both the criminal acts themselves and the mainstream public’s response to them are depressing, and I try not to subject myself to information that makes me feel bitter. For example, knowing what we know about how psychopathologies develop, if you can’t fathom feeling sympathy for even the most hardened criminal in the world, you simply aren’t a very serious person.
It goes without saying that we all have agency and when we commit a heinous act we need to be held accountable by our given society, but to pretend criminals are just “bad people” is to guarantee that more and more criminals will be produced. Treating a disease is always more difficult than treating its symptoms so it’s no surprise that our solution in America is to put people in prison and talk about “monsters” and “scum” on social media, while ignoring the drug addicted thieves that we are raising in our own homes.
Emotionally, I still find it difficult to not see both pedophiles and domestic abusers as “other” but logically I know that it’s not as though they simply materialized out of a puff of smoke. That whole agapic love thing is stretched to its limit in these cases. However, only by knowing and confronting such individuals can we ever begin to rescue their victims pre-emptively and, maybe in a few dozen centuries, eliminate the psychopathologies entirely.