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What Should be Done With Sociopaths?

People love the idea of our minds being blank slates, but they're not. Steven Pinker's great book, The Blank Slate... Well, I've endorsed his book a million times. You know what I'm getting at.

Sociopaths: A sociopath is someone whose brain is wired differently to the point where they cannot feel empathy. No, this has nothing to do with autism. Empathy deficits that affect some people with autism generally have to do with the person being unable to understand that the other person is upset and why. With a sociopath, that person not only understands these things, but he (usually "he") also doesn't care and often even takes pleasure in seeing people get hurt. Sociopaths are remarkably good at lying to, manipulating, and fooling people. The BTK serial killer's arrest shocked nearly everyone who knew him. With very few exceptions (some people saw he had a temper), people saw a kind, charming man. His wife of 34 years divorced him and his kids disowned him. He was arrested in 2005 and is serving life in prison.

Many people on the left like to say that anybody can be rehabilitated and that ought to be the right course of action, rather than just locking them up. In many cases, I agree. But with sociopaths it's a different story. The desire to rehabilitate comes from the noble intention that a criminal has been horribly abused, neglected, or has otherwise suffered in some form during his life. But sociopaths are born without a conscience, and from a very early age often do horrible things like abuse animals. Brain scans have shown that different regions of their brains than those of average people light up when they see horrific images. Research has shown that attempts to rehabilitate these people are pointless. Whenever rehabilitation appears to work, it only means that the sociopath has learned to cover his tracks.

So what should be done about sociopaths? Should they be locked up because it's the only thing you can do? What if a kid is clearly on his way to being a sociopath (yes, psychologists have actually been able to spot young kids showing signs)? Should a kid be locked up because of an accident at birth? Perhaps should we advocate prenatal genetic testing and engineering of sorts to prevent sociopath brains from developing?

Let's discuss.




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