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Old 07-17-2010, 01:28 PM
 
Location: So Ca
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Was Eric Harris a psychopath? How does someone so young become labeled as such?

Harris, at age 18, was the mastermind behind the murder of 13 people at Columbine High School in 1999, and his friend Dylan Klebold apparently would not have been capable of committing such a crime without Harris as the instigator. The author of the book Columbine, Dave Cullen, states that it was suggested that Harris was "a budding young psychopath" by FBI agent Dwayne Fuselier, a hostage negotiator and clinical psychologist who briefed a major FBI summit on the case. A psychiatrist at the conference disputed the assesment. "I don't think he was a budding young psychopath; I think he was full-blown psychopath," he said. The diagnosis was supported by Harris's journal, which opened with the declaration: "I hate the...f---ing world." As Fuselier would later put it, "That is not directed to a specific group (e.g. the jocks); that's an all-pervasive hate."

There is a genetic component to this pathology. Apparently the remaining determinants are environmental. What do you thinnk? How does one become a psychopath? If these traits are exhibited in childhood, is there a way to avert their development? What leads some psychopaths to commit murder?
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Old 07-17-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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I think being a psychopath is on a continuum--from 1 being a mild case to a full blown 10. The number 1 might just have a little lack of ethics/morality, a lot of everyday people can fit into this, or you can continue down the line to the worst offenses/case scenarios.
I feel that it's got to be closely connected to early childhood lacks--a coldness of emotion or lack of true emotion/caring toward the child that closes in on the kid and the kid becomes emotionally numb. Then the "numbness" allows one to do things that others wouldn't dare dream.
There's probably some who have an organic brain cause, but I still wonder about those brain theories, maybe the behavior causes the brain to change and not the other way around...
I wonder how you can not see that your child has some serious issues early on--maybe not wanting to see.
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Old 07-17-2010, 02:25 PM
 
8,862 posts, read 16,581,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix lady View Post
I think being a psychopath is on a continuum--from 1 being a mild case to a full blown 10. The number 1 might just have a little lack of ethics/morality, a lot of everyday people can fit into this, or you can continue down the line to the worst offenses/case scenarios.
I feel that it's got to be closely connected to early childhood lacks--a coldness of emotion or lack of true emotion/caring toward the child that closes in on the kid and the kid becomes emotionally numb. Then the "numbness" allows one to do things that others wouldn't dare dream.
There's probably some who have an organic brain cause, but I still wonder about those brain theories, maybe the behavior causes the brain to change and not the other way around...
I wonder how you can not see that your child has some serious issues early on--maybe not wanting to see.
Lord of the Flies--I suppose in many ways all of us can be 'deserted on an island and attempting to govern ourselves'---truly a national epidemic.
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:33 PM
 
Location: So Ca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix lady View Post
I feel that it's got to be closely connected to early childhood lacks--a coldness of emotion or lack of true emotion/caring toward the child that closes in on the kid and the kid becomes emotionally numb. Then the "numbness" allows one to do things that others wouldn't dare dream. I wonder how you can not see that your child has some serious issues early on--maybe not wanting to see.
Just after the crime, it was said that neither boy had been in trouble with the law before, which turned out not to be true. Together they'd previously burglarized a van full of electronic equipment and Harris had been suspended for hacking into the school's computer base. It makes one wonder if the parents had reacted differently at an earlier time, this tragedy could have been avoided. I do think Harris had antisocial tendencies....where he got that massive hate is hard to determine since his family didn't appear to abuse or neglect him.
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:56 PM
 
Location: Prescott Valley, Az (unfortunately still here)
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I believe they were more of a sociopathic personality (sociopath is someone that doesn't like other human beings and are not social in any way shape or form. They have homicidal tendencies and dream of killing people).

In Eric and Dylan's home videos, they showed classic signs of sociopathic personalities. But I don't think they were psychopathic.
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:42 PM
 
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I don't really know.They seemed to be persons that hated really. That is why they progably targeted the school people.Revenge for perceived wrong done to them.Whay Hitler played on to get disappointed people to believe that WWI waas loss only because of the Jew traitors. It explined why a superior race loss the war ihis twisted way.
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Old 07-17-2010, 10:29 PM
Status: "pre-imbolic." (set 11 days ago)
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
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I am not sure if he was. Sociopathogenisty does exist on a continuum.xo it is not a black and white issue.
There was also a very structured hierarchy in that school. Some people mattered while others were marginalized. .
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Old 07-18-2010, 03:23 AM
 
Location: state of procrastination
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I think you really have to be an adult (or have a conduct disorder before age 15) to become a true psycho/sociopath or at least to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. I don't think he had that much of a history of conduct disorder because otherwise they'd have suspected him before he carried out his plot. Isolated crimes do not a conduct disorder make.

I think this is just a case where a couple of angsty teenagers abused by their peers saw no justice coming from authorities, and became embittered. They had been isolated/dehumanized for such a long time that they lost their connection with society. The only way they could feel any sense of control in their lives was to take out the very institution and people that were responsible for making them feel powerless.

I believe that fantasizing about murdering people and "hating everyone in the whole world" is simply a normal reaction in a person who feels powerless. Doesn't help that their parents weren't communicating well with them and basically left them to their own devices. Teenagers are impressionable and volatile. Eventually a plan hatched that they had to commit to because it was an endpoint of some sort, which gave them a purpose or a "fix" for their crappy lives.
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Old 07-18-2010, 01:54 PM
 
Location: So Ca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miyu View Post
I think you really have to be an adult (or have a conduct disorder before age 15) to become a true psycho/sociopath. I don't think he had that much of a history of conduct disorder because otherwise they'd have suspected him before he carried out his plot. Isolated crimes do not a conduct disorder make.
He was 18, so he was considered an adult, I guess.

There were other incidents but none were taken seriously or followed through on. Harris had a run-in with his friend Brooks Brown and Brown's mother was so alarmed at Harris's threats that she notified the police. Later, over a year before the shootings, Dylan Klebold gave Brooks a web address of Harris's at school (Brooks later wondered if it was to warn him). On the web pages Harris vented his anger about the world, disclosed his possession of pipe bombs and his intent to kill people, and stated that he would target the Brown house, Brooks specifically. When Brooks told his parents, they contacted the police. Somehow the police didn't follow through on any of it, "lost" the print-outs of the pages, handed the case over to someone else, etc. The police did draft a search warrant for the Harris home but it was never presented to a judge. The chance to search the Harris home was lost, where undoubtedly the pipe bombs, gunpowder and journals would have been found.
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:11 PM
 
Location: Orlando, Florida
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Originally Posted by CA4Now View Post
He was 18, so he was considered an adult, I guess.

There were other incidents but none were taken seriously or followed through on. Harris had a run-in with his friend Brooks Brown and Brown's mother was so alarmed at Harris's threats that she notified the police. Later, over a year before the shootings, Dylan Klebold gave Brooks a web address of Harris's at school (Brooks later wondered if it was to warn him). On the web pages Harris vented his anger about the world, disclosed his possession of pipe bombs and his intent to kill people, and stated that he would target the Brown house, Brooks specifically. When Brooks told his parents, they contacted the police. Somehow the police didn't follow through on any of it, "lost" the print-outs of the pages, handed the case over to someone else, etc. The police did draft a search warrant for the Harris home but it was never presented to a judge. The chance to search the Harris home was lost, where undoubtedly the pipe bombs, gunpowder and journals would have been found.
It is a real loss to society and psychologist for law enforcement not to have gotten the journals. They could have shown a progression of sorts of this kind of thinking and behavior.

To answer the OP, I personally think someone HAS to have mental problems to be able to murder someone else. It isn't normal to want to take a life in a premeditated way.
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