A Nation of Children
The Aging Brain and Cognitive Decline

Crime Victims As Sociopaths

Approximately 4% of Americans are sociopaths.  In a country of 300 million, that's a lot of sociopaths.  Why then is it to hard to imagine that many crime victims are sociopaths?

One of the many myths of criminal law is that there exists "hard evidence" in most cases.  If only that were true.  Instead, nearly every criminal case starts with the same thing - a complaining witness.

Called victims by prosecutors, police, and some courts, a complaining witness is simply a person who has made a criminal accusation against another person.  Norm Pattis tried a case where an accusation was made against a client 10 years after the alleged crime:

A couple of years ago, two parents confronted their teenage daughter with the contents of text messages on her cell phone. A peer was writing to the girl in tones too salacious to be repeated even here. He wanted her, in the most carnal of ways.

The fifteen year old girl was outraged. How could the parents so violate her privacy, she demanded, tearfully.

"We just want you to be safe," the mother replied.

"If you want me to be safe, then you should know what Uncle X did to me," the teenager responded. Her mother and father sat dumbfounded as she relayed an account of touching her "privates." In a flash, the salacious messages were forgotten. Law enforcement was contacted, an investigation begun, and my client, Uncle X, was charged with serious felonies.

Why do we assume that the complaining witness is not a sociopath?  Was she tested for sociopathy?  If not, why not?  

If I wanted to ruin your day, I wouldn't key your car.  Instead, I'd hire a woman to seduce you.  When you woke up hung over, police would be at your door.  They'd arrest you for rape.  Your life would be harmed much more than if I ruined your credit report or beat you up.

Why is it so hard to imagine, then, that a large number of "crime victims" are nothing more than sociopaths who are using the legal system to harm other humans?  

We easily imagine a mugger demanding our wallets.  We less easily imagine a person lying about being a mugging victim.  "Why would a person make up having been mugged!?"  Well, why would one person mug another?  People are different.  That you wouldn't do something is irrelevant except to your narcissism.  Other people are not always like you.  

Sociopaths are probably as overrepresented by crime victims as by criminals.  Like criminals, many crime victims feel no empathy and have no compassion.  Ruining lives is fun.  Or, as in the case of the 15-year-old girl who claimed to have been raped: Ruining lives is easier than accepting responsibility for your own misconduct.