The Hare PCL-R Psychopathy Checklist assesses twenty traits which seem to be evident in a person diagnosed as possibly psychopathic:
- glib and superficial charm
- grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
- need for stimulation
- pathological lying
- cunning and being manipulative
- lack of remorse or guilt
- shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
- callousness and lack of empathy
- parasitic lifestyle
- poor behavioural controls
- sexual promiscuity
- early behaviour problems
- lack of realistic long-term goals
- failure to accept responsibility for own actions
- many short-term marital relationships
- juvenile delinquency
- revocation of conditional release
- criminal versatility
Maybe it’s just training.
Maybe it’s just experience.
Maybe it’s just bothering to focus on what they aren’t, so that what they are becomes evident.
Maybe it takes a new crime and a new murderer to show us lay people just how right (or wrong) we were when we judged Susan Atkins as one.
Maybe it takes forty years and a knife attack on another soul, an ocean away, for us to clearly see the writing on the wall, on all those walls, forty years ago, right here in our own backyard.
Maybe it took the existence of
for me to clearly see and understand
One psychopath to another, forty years apart.
As anyone who bothers to come out from under his rock and slither out of his cave, even just for a moment, you could not help but follow the media circus surrounding this crime, committed all the way across The Pond, in Perugia, Italy.
Of course there were differences. The murder of Meredith Kercher was not part of a mass murder, spree killing, committed for a demented guru.
But if you slowly and methodically compare the actions and behaviour of Knox to Atkins, similarities begin to pop up that only Helen Keller herself could afford to ignore;
- Both were in their early 20s when their respective crimes were committed.
- Both had quite a promiscuous past, Sadie sleeping with untold men in the Haight and at Spahn’s, Knox reportedly having sex with three men before her then current partner-in-crime Sollecito, one of which she had sex with on the train travelling to Perugia.
- Both had a childlike quality to them, a little-girl lost or innocent wall-flower demeanour when anything but that was the truth.
- Knox, like Atkins, never felt compelled during the trial to actively protest her innocence or was fraught with anxiety over the situation in which she found herself.
- Both seemed disassociated from the gravity of their respective situations, both overly cheerful in court, almost blissfully unaffected by the proceedings.
- Knox giggling and doing cart-wheels during her first interrogation with the police; Sadie participating in similar acts in front of her interrogators and during the trial.
- Knox wearing that “ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE” T-shirt (shown above) to court while
- Both girls were highly narcissistic in their reaction to the crimes, focusing on how it was affecting them, and not one word as to how it affected their victims.
Yes, there were differences too. Sadie was from a highly dysfunctional family and had very little formal education and was never thought of by anyone as being very intelligent; whereas, the opposite was true for Knox.
- But both had an over-whelming need to be the centre of attention, to be noticed, to be sexually provocative to attract the opposite sex, and BOTH women were caught with a knife as evidence in the execution of their crimes - a personal, up-close and passionate weapon of choice, which allows for death to come more slowly so the murderer is sure to be known by the victim – a weapon of hatred and control.
- Both had a marked distain, or disinterest, for their victims. Knox, during the police investigation after her arrest, when asked if Kercher had suffered, just said, "What do you think? They cut her throat... She f**king bled to death!" ; Sadie, when asked of her response to Sharon’s pleas for life, said, “Woman, I have no mercy for you.” (Grand Jury testimony)
Wikipedia defines psychopathy as,
Psychopaths are glib and superficially charming, and many psychopaths are excellent mimics of normal human emotion; some psychopaths can blend in, undetected, in a variety of surroundings, including corporate environments. There is neither a cure nor any effective treatment for psychopathy; there are no medications or other techniques which can instil empathy, and psychopaths who undergo traditional talk therapy only become more adept at manipulating others. The consensus among researchers is that psychopathy stems from a specific neurological disorder which is biological in origin and present from birth. It is estimated that one percent of the general population are psychopaths.
Coline Covington from The First Post article, “Signs that suggest Amanda Knox is a Psychopath” defines psychopathy as,
“The psychopath is someone who has no concern or empathy for others, no awareness of right and wrong, and who takes extreme pleasure in having power over others. The psychopath has no moral conscience and therefore does not experience guilt or remorse.
Most psychopaths are highly skilled at fooling those around them that they are normal by imitating the emotions that are expected of them in different circumstances. They are consummate at charming people and convincing them they are in the right. It is only when they reveal a discrepancy in their emotional response that they let slip that something may be wrong with them.
The psychopath is the conman, or in the case of Amanda Knox, the con-woman par excellence. Her nickname 'Foxy Knoxy', given to her as a young girl for her skills at football, takes on a new meaning.”
And I, for one, see both these women as easily achieving the 30 point score that is needed on the Hare PCL-R test to be diagnosed as psychopathic.
Knox, just like Sadie, definitely lived in the “Now”, her desires paramount over the life of her victim. Poor Meredith Kercher never knew she was living with a Sadie Mae Glutz, that just the right word or set of circumstances, would set a knife flying into her veins, Amanda, like Sadie, quite capable of murder with or without a Manson-figure in her life.
And in thirty years, if Knox is still in prison, I imagine she will, like Atkins, become proficient at mimicking remorse and sorrow for her victim, in an attempt to gain her own parole.
People who study Italy’s justice system have speculated that Knox’s guilty verdict may easily be over-thrown in the appeals process, and I’m sure, if this occurs, Amanda will be on the next American flight home.
If the experts are correct when they say that psychopaths cannot be treated and/or their dysfunctional behaviour cannot be permanently reversed, expect to see Amanda in newspaper headlines in the future, another victim caught in her web.
Sadie may be dead but her soul is very much alive and breathing in one Amanda Knox.