Hey Two Roads
Yes it's a bit of a misnomer isn't it. What the researchers identified is that the character traits of the criminal were clearly definable in most cases - but that these also found in non-criminals too (well criminals they don't catch to be more precise).
The first to be victimized by the criminals are their parents(Samenow,1984:25). Parents are not exempt from the habitual exploits of the criminal. The offender perceives people as being beneficial or detrimental to achieving their wants. Essentially, parents, like other people are objectified. Because the criminal does not see things from another's perspective, his emotional investment to family is minimal. Parents and family, therefore, serve a utilitarian purpose for the criminal. Though criminals are very selfish and demanding, they will often try to ensure that their parents have a least a decent concept of them, in the event that their parents' devotion can be exploited for the need of money, material wants, or even help from punishment from the law. Yet if the parents try to effect a positive change in the criminal (for example, with counseling), the criminal has little reserve from misrepresenting the parents intentions by blaming them for his problems.
Criminals see the world in "chess-board" terms. People are viewed as their puppets and pawns. This is perhaps the defining trait of the criminal. The world is seen by him as a forum for his coercion, scheming, and manipulation. As the criminal is walking down the street or through stores he is always scheming; thinking that no one knows what he is up to and that he can take advantage of them whenever he wants. Not surprisingly, spouses and companions are to serve a subservient role for the criminal. They are to serve a utilitarian purpose, like parents, for the criminal. Incidentally, criminals do not feel love like non-criminals can, for they lack the feelings of empathy necessary for love. People that serve functional roles in the lives of the criminals are seen as property, and criminals have an acute vision for detecting those that can serve their wants and needs. Because their lifestyle is conformed around the idea of taking rather than giving, few exceptions exist. The most notable one is when criminals "give" in order to impress someone of their importance and stature. (Goble,1978:2).
The criminal's capacity and desire for manipulation extends beyond the realm of personal abuse. Work, for example, provides an avenue for the criminal's exploits, and it is often perceived as serving that role by the criminal. Ironically, although the criminal may very well have the means to make a lot of money legitimately, he willingly selects illegitimate means for honest work means little. The reason for this is generally two-fold. First, the criminal is appalled at being told what to do and how to conduct himself. He feels as though he should only pledge allegiance to his own standards and rules. Second, the criminal is easily bored with following established protocols that serve the function of anyone or anything other than himself. Excitement is the fuel that sustains life for the criminal, and eschewing the rules of work will often provide this fuel. Yet, because the criminal protects himself from feelings of accountability, he is quick to provide excuses when he is dismissed from a job or unable to find one. Claiming that there are no decent jobs available or that his previous job was "below" him are frequent excuses employed by the criminal to justify his aversion to work. Of course there are some criminals that are frequent contributors to the work force, and even hold positions of relatively high esteem within their field of work. But the prevailing purpose of work is to exploit it for there own gain; one that might very well be material. White-collar criminals, for instance, are those that pointedly use the arena of work as a grounds for selfish improprieties
Like work, school is generally a place to be disliked by the criminal. There is a belief that when schools fail to meet the needs of children, they eject kids from the mainstream. In other words, delinquency is a result of blocked goal attainment. Actually, Samenow contends, it is the children who reject school long before school rejects them. The criminal rejects the school environment because he doesn't, as with work, accept being subjugated to others. Some delinquents will fail in school based upon this reasoning, not because they are incapable of performing well academically. Yet, there are others who do fairly well in school. The motivation for these criminals, however, is not to succeed in academics, but to provide an appearance of them abiding by the rules while they continue to behave in criminal ways. This keeps their parents and teachers from entangling with their criminal ventures.
Despite such rancorous behavior, the criminal has a decent self-concept. He has his own set of morals, for traditional ones do not significantly apply. Although callous and daring, he can be warm and friendly, though this behavior is somewhat limited. He feels as though he is basically a decent person, despite a plethora of crimes and injustices to others he may have committed. Yet, he is inherently hypocritical as he doesn't see other criminals in such a positive way as he sees himself. For example, a thief may view property crimes as being innocuous. However, if another thief steals from his family's home, he feels as though that crime should be punished to a high magnitude.
Last edited by Normal?
on Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
This should have been a noble creature:
A goodly frame of glorious elements,
Had they been wisely mingled; as it is,
It is an awful chaos—light and darkness,
And mind and dust, and passions and pure thoughts,
Mix’d, and contending without end or order,
All dormant or destructive.