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Violent criminals–are they born that way? — 13 Comments

  1. While comparing the personality traits of “bad apples” in human to “bad apples” in dogs makes sense, in a way it also does not.

    Sure the dogs may be “born that way” but often times it is at the hands of humans as their owners may purposely pick dogs with more aggressive personalities to breed within their program. They may call it selective breeding, and it certainly is, because they are breeding FOR the trait of aggressive personalities, usually if they are involved in things such as dog fighting. Some breeders may also choose to look for aggressive dogs to breed as they promote them for guard dog duties. They want something that looks mean and scary to keep thieves away or at least deter them from breaking in. Other breeders may breed for dogs who are protective of their people, herd or territory, but know when and how to direct that aggression and when not to.

    For those who know the history of pit bulls and the many variations of the “bully breeds”, dogs with an aggressive personality were often culled straight away. If they showed any aggression towards humans- they were taken out back and done away with. It’s was when dog fighting became more prosperous for those involved in it or betting on it, that breeding for these traits seemed to take over and blackened the eye of the whole, because of some.

    Selective breeding doesn’t just take place in dogs either. Cattle are selected for breeding based on milk production (dairy), carcass dress weights (beef), bucking abilities (rodeo) and so on. Sheep, goats, even llama’s, alpaca’s and ostriches… (oh my!) are bred based on whatever attributes the owner wishes to pass on in their herd, pack or flock.

    Now I’m not saying that people cannot be born with some of their genetics gone awry because of their parents traits carrying over, or even inheriting genes from a past relative that was disordered in some way, because it certainly happens. How often has anyone heard- She’s just like her mother, aunt, grandma or He’s just like his father, uncle or grandpa…. If the genes are in there, no matter how far back or diluted over the generations- the genes are still in there and can crop up at any time. It’s a matter of dominant and recessive genes and which ones both parents are carrying. Add in the environment the child is born into, grows up in and there you have it. A recipe for success in some cases and a recipe for disaster in others.

  2. Phoenix, I agree about the dominant and recessive genes in aggression. I started with a “docile” breed of cattle who had been selected for non aggression for centuries, but the occasional one would crop up who was aggressive and I culled them out of my herd into meat…for over a decade I have not had an aggressive animal born in my herd, then a few years ago I had one that was wild as a deer….I culled her out (into the freezer) but I got her calf up and gentled it and it is quite docile.

    I recently had to cull a bull for aggression because he was “hand raised” and because of that and the male hormones combined, as an adult he became aggressive and had no “respect” for humans. So behaviors of aggression are definitely a COMBINATION of genetics (and selective breeding) and environment.

    Many times, though, humans tend to be more “mongrel” in their breeding than animals so it is difficult to determine what a person’s genetics are as far as aggression etc. is concerned than it is with breeds of dogs or even cattle (like the Spanish fighting bulls).

    I own a dog which is a trained protection dog, and I’ve seen her put a 200 pound man on the ground and she can’t be beaten off or kicked off him, until she is told to let go, however, this is probably the sweetest and most loving dog I’ve ever owned and she is not aggressive to our friends or even strangers coming into the yard…with one exception, and it was a man who came here on business that raised the hackles on the back of both my son’s and my necks as well as the dog’s hackles. Interesting that feeling of menace coming from that man both in myself, my son and the dog.

    I agree about recessive genetics…I had a white calf born this spring and I haven’t had a white Highland in 10+ years but the genetics are still there and though recessive, one cropped up this year. Two red parents gave birth to a white baby. Just as out of two docile and gentle parents I had the crazy-wild heifer born.

    But in my own family, both the maternal line and paternal line I can trace a straight line of psychopaths back to a man born in 1800 on one side and back to 1820 on the other side. Every generation had at least one psychopath in the family on both sides, both male and female examples, and on one side, alcoholism that went on for generations over lapping with the psychopathy which meant not only a psychopath but a DRUNK one who had no inhibitions at all. In some cases, the psychopathy might skip a generation, like my father being a psychopath, but me not, and my son being one, but again, not ALL my children were psychopaths. My mother’s brother was the psychopathic alcoholic in her generation, and my biological father was the one in his generation on the paternal side, his mother and her father both being psychopaths as well.

    I am fortunate that I have an excellent family history both oral and recorded that goes back many generations and with the extended family history well known as well. My family came here in 1833 to settle on this farm and so I am able to trace with reliability my family’s history of who was who and what was what from oral history which has been confirmed as well by records. Patrick seems to be the first and only member of the family to have gone to prison except a VERY distant cousin, though he was not the first to be a known killer.

    If I had known then what I know now, I would never have had children. Our of my four first cousins on my mother’s side there were only three children born to the 4 of us, and two of them were mine. My uncle that I think was a psychopath, had 3 children and only one of those had one child. That one child appears to be non psychopathic and none of my uncle’s kids were psychopathic (or drunks) But who knows when it will crop up again?

    I’ve seen it crop up in families who appear to have no psychopathic or offending members here in this community. I wish there was a magic test to pick them out.

  3. I knew you would understand what I meant about the selective breeding of dogs and livestock. The animals generally have no choice in the selection process, whereas their humans do. And occasionally an offspring will come up that needs to be removed from the breeding program. Again the humans get to make those determinations, not the sire, dam or their progeny. In some cases in the wild, Mother Nature takes care of it and so it goes in the food chain.

    However selective we may be when breeding animals, I hope it is not so with our human counterparts. I cannot and would rather hope not, think that some people choose their mate, based on them being a ___________ (fill in the blank with all of their poor qualities–> nasty, rude, manipulative, violent, abusive, alcoholic/addict) person and thinking they’ve hit the jackpot. Ooohhhhh Let’s have kids and pass THIS trait on to them!

    With the posting of the “Hot Mug Shots” of Jeremy Meeks and now Sean Kory drawing so much attention recently, it could very well be going that direction. I personally can’t imagine overlooking someone’s obviously violent past and thinking THAT is a good reason to choose them as a mate. At least some of the people in the comments on the various stories have said- “He’s nice to look at (Meeks or Kory), but that’s all. I would never take it any further than that.” Then there’s the bunch over on Prison Talk. Yikes!!!

  4. Phoenix, I definitely GET IT about genetics and environment both playing a part in how an animal or a person “turns out”—violence etc.

    People who have wild animals for pets amaze me…I spent years in the wild animal business and photographing them and those people who have a mountain lion or other animal as a “pet” and tell me how sweet and nice “Fluffy” is amaze me, until “Fluffy” eats their kid, and those same people who say a “Pit bulldog” is all about how it is trained….until that dog eats their child or their grandchild. We’ve had several cases here lately where people were KILLED by pit bull dogs…dogs that were NOT “trained” to be “mean” or aggressive. It is just the nature of the beast….the same as the border collies have hundreds of generations teaching them to “chase” livestock…if they are not trained AND controlled they will ALL become stock killers. I had some of the BEST working Border Colies in the state, but I could not let them run loose or they would have chased the n eighbor’s animals and someone would have (justifiablly) shot them. I had some neighbors who had catahoula dogs, which are the “pit bull” of the cow chasing dogs, and they used to let them run loose, and I thought I would run out of shot gun shells before they ran out of dogs (they were breeding them) but eventually I got it across to them that if they wanted to keep their dogs alive they needed to keep them away from my livestock. I love dogs, I hated to kill them but talking to the owners was a waste of time. They had it in their mind that they could allow those dogs to run loose.

    Unfortunately too many young women and girls are not put off by a “hot guy” being a criminal or violent….and too many of these young women have 1,2, 3 or more children out of wedlock with these men and are not parental material themselves.

    Look at this “Mama” June and “Honey Boo Boo” trash….I can NOT fathom why people want to WATCH this kind of trashy behavior on TV, or Morrie or all the other shows where the girls come on to see which one of several men is the father of their child, then they get into fights with each other over the men. OMG! Jerry Springer and Judge Judy and Judge Alex and all these other shows with people behaving in a “trashy” manner….just unbelievible and how ab out the “housewives of ____ (name the place)” and “Survivor” and all the other UN-reality shows.

    Looking at my own family I can definitely see the “trashy” and violent behavior in many of the members, and worse, I tolerated waaaay too much of this trying to “fix” it. NO MORE!

    I do NOT want to engage in any more “Jerry Springer-esque” drama in my life and in my relationships. I am also no longer willing to “pretend none of this happened” any more. I wish I had a “normal” family (whatever that is!) but I sure as heck don’t but those members of my family by blood who behave in a “trashy” or violent manner, I do NOT need in my life.

    We have around here what we call the “bigger AND meaner” rule…and if anything is BOTH bigger AND meaner than I am it GOES AWAY. I dont’ put up with a cow or a horse that TRIES to hurt me and they GO ASAP the minute they show aggression. And that pretty well shows up in the disposition of the animals I have and breed, but like the heifer I killed a while back and the bull I killed more recently, they VIOLATED that rule and they are GONE. Sure, a cow can accidently hurt me, or be scared and hurt me, but not one that is AGGRESSIVE.

    Even my protection dog is kept under 100% control at ALL times, and in fact, a meter reader attacked her and kicked her and while I would have liked him to have had his pants torn off by her, I called her off him and she obeyed. If he had been attacking ME I doubt could have called her off, but that’s okay I’d want her to bite the seat out of his pants, but a dangerous dog or any other animal is not welcome around here….and people who are not kind and caring are also not welcome around here either.

    • This is an interesting discussion. Nature v. Nurture, etc……..the difference between livestock and pets is that they have no agenda. They are simply reacting to stimuli in the most base and primal ways. They don’t have the benefit (or, curse?) of “free will.” Sure, they can learn through conditioned responses, but they can never be left unsupervised.

      I worked with a horse that had learned every ugly, nasty, and sneaky trick in the book and I had been hired to “retrain” this mare. She was not going to have ANY of it, because she didn’t respond to the typical rewards. Nothing that I came up with altered her behaviors. She was 12 years old, and had been through a slew of owners, and the owner that had hired me was a very, very compassionate person. Well……..I had never believed that something was so far gone that it couldn’t be redeemed, but this mare was. I never did articulate to the owner that the best possible thing would have been to put the horse down. I just couldn’t bring myself to tell her that, AND…..(and, this is bigger) I couldn’t admit that I didn’t have whatever it took to change that mare.

      With people, there is the choice of free will. We know what’s right. We know what’s wrong. We know what’s legal, and we know what’s illegal. But, we can’t put people down………..not without them having committed a capital offense……..and the best we can do is to supervise them in prisons, etc.

      • And, the study involved criminals. People who were convicted and serving time for violent crimes. What about the people like both of my exes? I never reported Victor’s violence to any agency. The second exspath was so deviant and manipulative that he could have gotten away with poisoning me after he ran through my money – he wasn’t physically violent with me, but he entertained the most violent se-xual interests imaginable. These are both “offenders,” yet they never were charged with a crime.

        I believe that “violence” is a relative term, and researching criminals is at the furthest end of the spectrum. I would like to see some research on the everyday people that were never charged, yet got away with criminal behaviors. Just a thought………LOL!!!

    • >>>Unfortunately too many young women and girls are not put off by a “hot guy” being a criminal or violent….<<<<
      THIS!!! They are often drawn in by the element of danger the guy brings to the relationshit. The thrill, the undertones of scary excitement, forbidden things, the lure of doing things and not getting caught. We have probably all been there at some time, right? Who here hasn't ever had the boyfriend that was not what mama imagined or hoped we would bring home..??? Many girls may have been involved with a 'bad boy' just to spite their parents. Not like that has never happened before. lol

      While all of the bad things about the relationshit are happening, somehow we feel safe with this person even though they are the direct CAUSE of all of it. He would never put me in a position of danger. I would never get hurt when I'm with him, and certainly never be hurt BY him… Ahhh youth and the dangerous ignorance that goes with it at times.

      • Phoenix,
        Although it may SEEM as if we are drawn in by a “dangerous type” that is not always the case. I think part of it has to do with being reminded of our parents, except we are not aware of it. It’s subconscious.

        In my case, my spath seemed to be the polar opposite of my father. But now I see that his need to control me was exactly like my father. And I confused control with love because that’s the only kind of love I had ever known.

        My spath was adventurous but he never seemed dangerous to me. Now I know that he is the most dangerous person I’ve ever met. And I see that my father is an N, so that’s where the similarity comes in.

      • I think Jessica, the girl my son killed, was somehow associating with patrick as “adventure” and that she knew he was an ex convict but some how exciting. But that girl was 17 years old and not really experienced in “real life” not even imagining that Patrick would kill her.

        She’;s not alone though,l many o9ther women and girls have dated “exciting” and “slightly” bad or aggressive guys who later killed them. Violence is viiolence and violent people are not safe to be around.

  5. Truthy, I agree with you wholeheartedly that “violence” doesn’t have to be physical…look at Bernie Maddof, he VIOLENTLY took the life savings of thousands of people through lies and manipulations…he drove one son to suicide and the other is dying with cancer.

    There are LOTS of violent people who are “violent” in manipulative ways…emotional violence doesn’t ever have to leave a visible mark, but the mark is there none the less.

    Animals have INSTINCTS and they also have CONDITIONING. If an animal does X and the result is Y and that is pleasing to the animal they will repeat X. If they do X and the result is painful or displeasing then they will genrally not repeat that behavior.

    Animals also have a heirachy of who is ALPHA in the pack or herd. If the animal is able to “put one over on you” and make you afraid and you give way to their alpha behavior, then you have lost respect. It is important that YOU remain alpha to a domestic animal, with non domestic animals, they will frequently “turn on” you when you least expect it because they have not had genrations of selective breeding. Plus there are the differences between horses, donkeys, mules, cattle,, dogs, pigs, cattle etc that are SPECIES specific, including what the way they try to maintain dominance.

    Cattle maintain it by brute force as do horses and donkeys…also the SEX of the animal plays a part. When my 900+ pound donkeys (who are neutered) went to stay with a friend for a while, his UN-neutered 300 pound jack ass ATTACKED my big donkey with a vengence,. he jumped up and bit mine on the neck like a pit bull dog and HUNG ON. Eventually one or the other would have killed the other because the smaller donkey was DETERMINED to establish his dominance and he would never have quit trying to kill the larger animal. Eventually teh larger animal started to defend himself so I brought them home.

    With male cattle (bulls) as soon as the hormones kick in, he continues to try to whip daddy and rise to be the “bull of teh woods” with cows, there is a pecking order but once it is established as long as the alpha cow lives or stays in the herd there is no fighting for position. Position is ESTABLISHED.

    In interacting with those cows, you have to establish dominance over them so that they RESPECT you. With a neutered bull (steer) they behave as cows do in the pecking order, but if a bull who has been hand raised will NOT have respect for humans and WILL eventually attack a human because their hormones are tellilng them to become ALPHA.

    So there is conditioning (learning) and instinct to consider in the behavior of animals, domestic or wild.

    I had a horse once who was “spoiled” and she had the idea that she was BIG enough to do whatever the heck she wanted and she was dangerous. I sold her to a man who pulled logs out of the woods with horses and mules and he knew how to handle a dangerous animal…he proved to her that he was the most dangerous human she had ever come into contact with so she learned to earn her keep. The only other option was to kill her.

    No matter what folks might tell you, there are some horses or cattle that can not be “loved” into submission no matter how caring or adept at training you are. That’s why I have the “bigger AND meaner” rule here. LOL

    Aggressive actions from animals that are larger than I am are NOT allowed. Even a small dog that continually bit me would find himself in that great dog house in the sky.

    There are also in humans, violent cultures where the biggest baddest guy on the block is the “top dog” and the genetics of that man seem to be spread far and wide. Add the genetics to the culture and you have ISIS, the Talaban, Nazi Germany, Gingas Kahn, etc. The weak or the timid died and the aggressive survived to produce offspring and then the culture of violence trained them to be even worse than the genetics warranted.

    It is estimated that 25% of the children in “public housing” in England are sired by full on psychopaths who seem to be pretty permiscious and spread their seed far and wide. My own father produced 4 children and I think only one of us is psychopathic…but yet, my son is just like my biological father. So of course not all of a person high in P traits is going to produce all of their offspring as very high in P traits.

    It has been well known for generations that “adopted” kids tend to be more psychopathic than the general public…because most of those kids put up for adoption come from very dysfunctional back grounds and many of their parents and grandparents are personality disordered. Medical science has finally come to the conclusion that GENETICS does play a part in personality disorders and violence. Of course NOT ALL adopted children, even those from disordered parents become psychopathic.

    So we are left with the conclusion, backed up by science now that genetics plays a large past in what we become as adults. We are not born blank slates any more than a pit bull dog is or a lion cub is.

    • Joyce, I agree with the genetic input in helping to determine how people will develop. I don’t remember the exact article, but the guy that was a researcher in psychology/psychiatry and discovered that he, himself, was very high in P traits. Then, he was able to make the connections that he didn’t really empathize as much as display the “expected” response in given situations.

      I believe that a child high in p-traits can be taught the “proper” or expected behaviors if (and, ONLY “if”) they are raised in a non-dysfunctional or psychopathic environment. This is unlikely, as children high in p traits are typically spawned by one (or, both) parent being high in p traits, themselves. Sometimes, on a rare occasion, the anomaly will surface in an otherwise “normal” family.

      What I do know is that I’ve learned to recognize even tiny “red flags” in behaviors, and I back away from anyone that presents a threat. It may sound paranoid, but it’s a survival and protective mechanism for me, right now. In due time, I hope to swing back towards the center of the Bell Curve and begin to experience a more “normal” way of living, emotionally speaking.

  6. Truthy, I think there are some children that if they were raised by the virgin Mary and Joseph would not turn out well…but there are others with the DNA that environment can put on a better path.

    Dr. James Fallon was the researcher you were talking about, I have an article here on his book.

    No Truthy that does NOT sound paranoid, it sounds like you are taking care of yourself in a healthy way.

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