Monday, March 16, 2009
Take a quiz. Help with a study. Do a good deed.
The Depravity Scale.
Trying to apply a scale of emotional emptiness conflicts with a scale of inflicting damage up close.
How do forensic professionals do it and stay alive inside?
As a journalist, I've gotten close enough to depravity a few times to know the way I dealt with it: copious amounts of alcohol.
something don't smell right on this farm.
But, icky, icky, poo! The topic makes me itch.
So I saw find less depravity for those involved in a group psychology, i.e. a gang. Separate a member from the group and there is an increased chance of rebuilding a morally aware individual.
As for many of the other cases, it was impossible for me to find a rational for deciding which was more depraved:
Cold, blank sociopathy, or
I would have thought it easy to go with the coldness as even perverse passion shows an emotional life existing.
But the descriptions involving a will to scar or prolong trauma are so disturbing as to destroy reasoning.
This post appropriately follows your last, ER, for the theological question here is, how variously lost can souls be?
How far down the mouth of of hell can one distinguish separation of circles?
http://world-news.newsvine.com/_news/2009/03/17/2557330-killer-shooting-teens-was-like-spilling-milk: The unemployed Army veteran who shot and killed three teenage swimmers in Wisconsin last summer is so indifferent to his killing spree that he compares it to spilling a glass of milk.
I was able to apply the some of the items presented in the survey to the facts of the case above. I found the shooters actions, intent and attitude to be very depraved. On another note, it was also very interesting to read what the creator of the research had to say about Madoff on CBS the other night…what a coinkydink. Check him out: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/03/13/earlyshow/main4864122.shtml
It felt weird marking some of those as "somewhat depraved." But they were less heinous than some of the other examples, if there can be such a thing.
I have no experience with courts or criminology. I come at the idea of depravity from the psychological side and having worked for five years in graduate school at a psychiatric hospital on a locked floor for adult psychopathology
I did not intend to communicate any dismissal of the considerations that apply to court trials: not the concerns of psychological compromise that may mitigate moral agency, not the adversarial advocacy process charged with arguing facts and the basis of fact finding, and certainly not the combined sentencing concerns of due punishment, rehabilitation and community safety.
As an untrained person in the law, I found the exercise extremely difficult. But I did take it seriously because I know serious people are trying to do serious things with the data they seek.
If you are engaged in the legal system in whatever way, I applaud you.
And on the general issue of arbitrary sentencing, I would support any and all serious research to know as much as we can about human nature and its pathologies (for all crime is a pathology of some degree) and bring it into relationship with our desire to care for victims and society and to satisfy the need for justice, all in order to better inform sentencing.
Some remainder of arbitrariness, however, will always remain in our efforts to divide men's souls in a search for justice.
"Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made." Immanuel Kant.