The Doctor Opines: Nature Vs. Nurture, Part 1

We sit and day after day as horror stories smack us in the face. I faded out last night to more news of the bus bombing in Bulgaria, followed by Norway’s new resolve not to allow their way of life to be changed by the Brevik massacre. Then, this morning, slugged again – this time with the Colorado Batman shootings.

I guess the first thing – well actually the second thing after the ,”Oh, my God!” response we feel and wonder is – why?  What takes a person to this place? Obviously, the psychological community has not found the answer, or else the escalation in violence we are witnessing would have been capped. But here is what we do know:

Studies show that 60% of psychopaths had lost a parent; as a child – was deprived of love by parents, belittled by them, and – probably the most telling – inconsistent discipline: if the father is stern and the mother is soft, the child learns to hate authority and manipulate mother. That’s the nurture part. As for the nature – inherited genetics, when a psychopath does inherit genetically-based, developmental disabilities, its is usually a stunted development of the higher functions of the brain. About 40% of psychopaths show abnormal brain wave patterns, or EEGs. (Studies quoted here are from the latest edition of the DSM, and a full bibliography will be found at the end of this piece).

Can we fix them?   No.   Shock treatment doesn’t work; drugs have not proven successful in treatment, and psychotherapy, which involves trust and a relationship with the therapist, is out of the question, because psychopaths are incapable of opening up to others. They don’t want to change.

I am, of course , making some assumptions, since we don’t have much on this guy’s background. For instance, I am not considering drugs, a recent tragedy or perceived wrong done to him, and delusions and hallucinations, usually the top common behaviors in a psychotic break. I will try to address those in my second piece, as LK and I had a long discussion this morning as to how we’re going to break this down.  He’s leaning towards the environmental ramifications.


Dahmer, Lionel. Father’s Story
Egger, Steven. Killers Among Us
Everitt, David, and Harold Schechter. A To Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers
Foreman, Laura, editor. True Crime: Serial Killers
Jennifer Furio The Serial Killer Letters: A Penetrating Look Inside the Minds of Murderers. The Charles Press Publishers, 1998.
Gekoski, Anna, Murder by Numbers: British Serial Sex Killers since 1950: Their Childhoods, Their Lives, Their Crimes. London: Andre Deutsch, Ltd. 1998.
King, Brian. Lustmord: The Writings and Artifacts of Murderers
Leyton, Elliott. Hunting Humans; Inside the Mind of Mass Murderers
Martingale, Moira. Cannibal Killers
Meloy, J. Reid. Psychopathic Mind; Origins, Dynamics, and Treatment
Norris, Joel. Serial Killers: The Growing Menace
Ressler, Robert; Ann Burgess, and John Douglas. Sexual Homicide: Patterns, Motives & Procedures for Investigation
Seltzer, Mark. Serial Killers
Richard Tithecott Of Men and Monsters: Jeffrey Dahmer and the Construction of the Serial Killer.

Why China Canned Batman

From The Austrailian:

LOS ANGELES: Batman blockbuster The Dark Knight won’t be screened in Chinese cinemas.

Warner Bros studios said in a statement yesterday that the acclaimed film — the second-highest-grossing movie in US box-office history — would be canned in China, with “cultural sensitivities” cited as one of the reasons for the no-show.

“Based on a number of pre-release conditions that are being attached to The Dark Knight, as well as cultural sensitivities to some elements of the film, we have opted to forgo a theatrical release of the film in China,” the statement said.

Explanations being bantered about include a character who’s a Chinese money launderer, and the presence of the late Heath Ledger, whose “Brokeback Mountain” was banned in China as well.

Both of those reasons are small minded diversions, and they’re wrong.

“The Dark Knight” portrays a society in chaos, disorder in the streets, and a lack of central authority that can restore whatever passed for normalcy.   With China’s economy experiencing a downturn as a result of the global swan dive, Chinese unemployment is rising, and workers who migrated to the cities are unhappily returning to their old peasant-farmer lives.

The keepers of the poorly named People’s Republic are concerned with the effect that the on screen chaos of “The Dark Knight” would have on a populace who have been kept in check over the past decade by the Chinese boom and the subsequent rise of the middle class along with the general standard of living.

There are already rumblings of social unrest; Party leaders fear that Eastern fascination and emulation of Western culture may include copycat riots.  They err on the side of caution.  I think we call it censorship here.

Readers of these pages know that “Batman: The Dark Knight” disgusted me, but one of the things I have to be thankful for this holiday season is that movies I’m disgusted by still have the right to do huge box office in this otherwise fraying nation.

Perfectly Executed Evil

I saw “The Dark Night“, the latest Batman movie, over this past weekend. Although I was coerced into it, in the final analysis those were my feet that walked into the theater and my wallet that supplied the currency with which to pay for the viewing.

It’s the Antichrist of movies. Although I’m not a Christian, here’s my broad brush explanation:

As best as I understand it, the Antichrist will rise through the ranks to be seen as a great leader and unifier in his homeland. His influence will then spread, until all people, worldwide, become disciples, at which point he’ll undergo a subtle but all too real transition from savior to demonic despot, making victims of us all.

“The Dark Knight” suckers one in under the premise that, however dark it may be stylistically, its roots and soul still reside in the world of comic book make believe. It’s not like “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”, where you get what you pay for: the agenda’s vile, but it isn’t hidden. “The Dark Knight” however, is expertly crafted, walking the tightrope between entertainment and dark indoctrination until, voila, hundreds of millions of people have been drenched in subliminal evil for 2 hours plus, and have worshiped at its alter without being aware of having done so.

My soul needed a shower after the movie, as it felt like it had spent that time in a vat filled with the devil’s spit. It’s a poor reflection on us, myself included, that we’re susceptible to the lure that was cast.

It also speaks softly but strongly about the hypocrisy and the blind spot of the Hollywood elite, who wonder why a nation they’ve indoctrinated with their profitable but mind twisting fare continues to elect and re-elect corrupt knuckleheads.