Can a child be considered a sociopath or a psychopath (the terms are interchangeable)? The NY Times presents the case in a long, detailed article. The answer is maybe. Adam Lanza was by all accounts unresponsive to people, except for his mother. So we don’t really know what he was thinking. But someone who slaughters children meets my definition of a sociopath. I discount the theory that he did it because he was going to be institutionalized. Lots of people know they are getting committed and don’t become mass murderers because of it.
Callous-unemotional children are unrepentant. “They don’t care if someone is mad at them,” Frick says. “They don’t care if they hurt someone’s feelings.” Like adult psychopaths, they can seem to lack humanity. “If they can get what they want without being cruel, that’s often easier,” Frick observes. “But at the end of the day, they’ll do whatever works best.”
Are some people just born being bad seed? I think, maybe, some can be. However, as the article shows, others do grow out of it by learning to moderate their impulses (or by becoming investment bankers and politicians and thus get richly rewarded for their pathologies.)
On the other hand, sometimes being rebellious is, as someone once put it, a healthy reaction to unhealthy times.
Cops on Ninth Street busting at random
DA on TV say don’t try understand ’em
Custodial sentencing is all they need
That’s bad seed
I said bad seed
Genetic bad seed
Were talking bout bad seed.
Tattooed Neanderthal been messing with your daughter?
Shoot him down daddy don’t ask no quarter
Zero tolerance, let the bastard bleed
No big thing, he’s just bad seed.