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 Was Eric truly a psycopath?

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areyoulistening




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PostSubject: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 2:59 pm

I've read and took part in the topic "Was Eric truly sorry?" and it made me think, was he truly a psychopath?

There's times when I think yes and then times when I'm not convinced that he was.

I identify with Eric a lot, I was a very angry teenager and I had dreams of blowing up my school because I had no friends and I hated being there.
I'm not a psychopath, I've grown up and moved on. It still makes me sad when I think about my school years but I'm no longer consumed with the burning desire to kill and hurt people.

I know the big difference is that he went and actually done it but guns aren't available in Ireland so the only option that I had was to fantasize about it.
I also know that it wasn't planned as a shooting, it was supposed to be a bombing, I don't have the patience to do whats required for that and he obviously had.

But back to the topic at hand, was he truly a psychopath? Or like myself and I'm sure million of others, was he just a severely damaged, mixed up kid?

I honestly don't know and I know that I won't ever get an answer to it because it's hard enough to identify someone with that kind of mental disorder when they're alive, never mind someone dead, who is underage, hasn't fully grown up yet and who only left behind what he wanted to be found.

What side do you stand on? Is there middle ground?

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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 3:20 pm

He wasn't a psychopath, but he definitely wanted to be.

A psychopath would not love their parents and openly confess it.

A psychopath would hurt animals, not love them dearly.

A psychopath would be seen as charming, likeable.

Eric did not hate his parents.

Eric would never hurt Sparky.

And Eric definitely wasn't perceived as charming by members of the opposite sex.

Eric was all ego, with a mix of brains and guts. He took to reality what many angry teenagers desire to do. This makes him violent, homicidal, suicidal... But not a psychopath by any means. He wanted to be perceived as psychotic and violent by the media, it seems, from the remnants of his journals. He got that with Cullenbine.

He was a cheeky bastard with just enough brains to pull off what he did. But a psychopath? No. I don't think so.
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areyoulistening




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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 6:30 pm

I understand all of that but Cullen surely wasn't the only person to come up with the conclusion that he had come to. Their journals were examined by professionals and they came to same conclusion, which is where Cullen got his basis from; and as much as I hate to say it, that has to stand for something. I can't just completely dismiss it because I think otherwise.

His own parents believe that he was a psychopath. How much that has to do with their own inner pain and that by believing he was one allows them to free themselves of any guilt that they may feel I don't know...


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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 6:48 pm

areyoulistening wrote:
I understand all of that but Cullen surely wasn't the only person to come up with the conclusion that he had come to. Their journals were examined by professionals and they came to same conclusion, which is where Cullen got his basis from; and as much as I hate to say it, that has to stand for something. I can't just completely dismiss it because I think otherwise.

His own parents believe that he was a psychopath. How much that has to do with their own inner pain and that by believing he was one allows them to free themselves of any guilt that they may feel I don't know...


Did Eric's parents really believe he was a physcopath? I always thought Cullen had made that up just like so many other things. But the reason you gave if it's true does make sense.
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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 6:59 pm

CatherineM813 wrote:

Did Eric's parents really believe he was a physcopath? I always thought Cullen had made that up just like so many other things. But the reason you gave if it's true does make sense.

Yeah, Tom Mauser mentions it in his book.

"The Harrises seemed mystified by what had happened to Eric. They seemed to rather readily accept that perhaps Eric was a psychopath, but indicated they didn’t know how he became one. They claimed Eric “fooled them” and fooled the psychologist who was treating him."

They also go on to blame the psychologist for treating his problems as "minor." So as I said, how much they actually believe that he was and how much they just want an answer for it all I'm not sure.

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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 7:50 pm

My mistake. I forgot that Tom had mentioned that part. Maybe the Harrises did believe Eric was a physcopath. But I like to believe that they just wanted an answer.
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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 8:23 pm

If people haven't already done so, they should read Cullen's chapter titled "Psychopathy". Cullen's book is freely available to download in torrent form... The chapter itself is so ridiculously OTT that it really needs to be read for yourself.

For those of you who haven't actually read the full chapter: Cullen concludes that Eric was born a psychopath and that he would have done something horrible with his life regardless of how people treated him. "Symptoms appear so early, and so often in stable homes with normal siblings, that the condition seems to be inborn."

It's true that Cullen is backed up by some mental health experts. But it's also true that these mental health experts are NOT backed up by any science. Psychopathy is basically their personal opinion. Psychopathy is diagnosed by personality traits on a checklist -there is no objective test for it. Science can not distinguish a psychopath from the average person.

The psychopathy checklist which Cullen and his "experts" use on Eric is: gratuitous lying, indifference to the pain of others, defiance of authority figures, unresponsiveness to reprimands or threatened punishment, petty theft, persistent aggression, cutting classes and breaking curfew, cruelty to animals, early experimentation with sex, and vandalism and setting fires.

Quote :
I identify with Eric a lot, I was a very angry teenager and I had dreams of blowing up my school because I had no friends and I hated being there.

This is a good point. An ANGRY person will probably meet the criteria for psychopathy, even though they're not a psychopath.

Quote :
I know the big difference is that he went and actually done it but guns aren't available in Ireland so the only option that I had was to fantasize about it.

Fantasizing about revenge seems healthy IMHO. If a person is treated poorly and isn't bothered by it THEN they would be mentally ill. Since so many teenagers dream about attacking their school, I'd say there was nothing abnormal about Eric's love of violence -it's only his lack of value towards his own life that's uncommon.
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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 8:34 pm

RaiseTheFist wrote:
The psychopathy checklist which Cullen and his "experts" use on Eric is: gratuitous lying, indifference to the pain of others, defiance of authority figures, unresponsiveness to reprimands or threatened punishment, petty theft, persistent aggression, cutting classes and breaking curfew, cruelty to animals, early experimentation with sex, and vandalism and setting fires.

So basically just being an angry teenager qualifies him to be a psychopath by Cullen and the others standards? Good job mental health system, my faith in you has been restored


Cruelty to animals? Please don't tell me that they used that bullshit? The one thing that I do fully believe about Eric and take what he said at face value was that he had a deep love for animals. According to him didn't they deserve the earth more than humans or something?

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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 9:19 pm

Quote :
So basically just being an angry teenager qualifies him to be a psychopath by Cullen and the others standards? Good job mental health system, my faith in you has been restored

Cullen and his professionals also claim that rage itself is a product of psychopathy. "Psychopaths erupt with ferocious bouts of anger, which can get them labeled "emotional." And also, "The psychopath was prone to "vexation, spite, quick and labile flashes of quasi-affection, peevish resentment, shallow moods of self-pity, puerile attitudes of vanity, absurd and showy poses of indignation."Cleckley could have been describing Eric Harris's journal."

Cullen asserts that Eric had no rational reason to be angry because he asserts that Eric was never treated poorly.

Quote :
Cruelty to animals?

Well, if E/D's bombs had exploded, the spiders in the building would have been blown to bits...
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queenfarooq




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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 9:55 pm

I just dug around for some of my old Psychology books when I saw this come up Smile

I think with a topic such as this it's important to be clear on what actually defines a 'psychopath' and how this would be diagnosed. I don't know if anybody has heard of Dr Robert Hare? Without going into too much detail basically he constructed something called the 'psychopathic checklist' and has spent the good part of 10 decades researching psychopathy. A list of what is on his checklist can be found here: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

A general consensus is psychopathy as mentioned is extremely difficult to diagnose in a living person let alone a person who is deceased. In the official most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 1V-TR there is no actual diagnosis for a psychopath as the disorder shares many similar characteristics with antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. Again I think this highlights just how difficult it would be to diagnose a living person with the condition.

As far as Cullen goes and his diagnostic expertise (I don't want to sound too critical, even though I probably will do) but we all know how he has claimed all kinds of untrue and exaggerated things in his book. What better way to draw more attention to your book than claiming Eric is a psychopath. A term some of the public are misinformed about and makes a great many think of Norman Bates (who technically would be more likely to be diagnosed as psychotic rather than psychopathic)
This article is quite interesting regarding the misconception of a psychopathic diagnosis: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

One example Cullen uses to support a psychopathic Eric is how he "lies" about the van break in. On pg (661) we can see Eric's apology letter to the owner of the van. Then on pg (26005) we can see what Eric wrote in his journal about the van break in. Finally pg (26778 - 9) is Eric's school essay describing the van break in. Cullen says the way Eric turns himself into the victim, cons, lies and fakes empathy is "classic psychopath behavior." [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
To me this seems a little OTT, of course a psychopath could break into a van, know it is wrong but just not care. It feels like Cullen has taken all of these documents at face value and used them to support his cause, yet not considered any alternative explanations. For example Eric had to write the letter to the van owner which could suggest he was only faking empathy, conning and lying because he had to as part of his diversion programme. This is not enough evidence for me.
As other posters also mentioned there are many other instances in Eric's behavior that contradict being a psychopath but are ignored.

It's difficult sometimes as Eric displays so much conflicting behaviors and it is hard to determine what is natural and what isn't. Was his displays of emotion genuine? Did he really not want his friends or family to get any blame in the aftermath? If the answers are yes then this would discount the psychopathy diagnosis.

All in all I personally feel that although we have a great deal of information on Eric, a diagnosis of psychopath would be nearly impossible to give. I am willing to accept, although I am skeptical of Dave Cullen's view, he obviously looked into psychopathy and consulted professional when trying to offer a diagnosis so maybe, and this is a tiny maybe the diagnosis could have some validity.
Overall I honestly feel to accurately diagnose Eric as a psychopath we would need information we will probably never get, and we would also need a living Eric.

It may be interesting to compile some kind of a list both supporting and opposing the notion Eric was a psychopath.
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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 10:09 pm

queenfarooq wrote:
A general consensus is psychopathy as mentioned is extremely difficult to diagnose in a living person let alone a person who is deceased. In the official most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 1V-TR there is no actual diagnosis for a psychopath as the disorder shares many similar characteristics with antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. Again I think this highlights just how difficult it would be to diagnose a living person with the condition.

This is exactly what I was getting ready to say, that psychopathy is no longer even recognized as an actual diagnosis. Those people that would have previously been diagnosed as psychopaths as now diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. In addition, any mental illness can have the added component of "psychopathic tendencies". I've personally seen this most often in bipolar people during manic phases.

And throwing that all completely out the window and further agreeing with queenfarooq, how can you diagnose someone based on some journal entries and video tapes that were purposely left by the person you're trying to diagnose? Eric could have manipulated the information we have to make us think just about anything.
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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 10:47 pm

Quote :
It may be interesting to compile some kind of a list both supporting and opposing the notion Eric was a psychopath.

OK, some things from Hare's Psychopathy Checklist:

1)Glibness/superficial charm
Eric charmed nobody.

2)Grandiose sense of self-worth
I've said it before... all evangelical Christians and jocks have this trait too. It's just that it's socially acceptable for them to have it. (Speaking of Christianity, Eric actually followed the Golden Rule. He "Did unto others what he wanted done unto him" -he killed them.

3)Pathological lying, Cunning/manipulative, Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom, Acquired behavioural sociopathy/sociological conditioning...
Who comes up with this shit?

4)Lack of remorse or guilt, Callousness; lack of empathy
I can't imagine what's more callous and lacking in empathy than walking up to a complete stranger and calling him a faggot. Let's profile Eric's classmates while we're at it.

5)Failure to accept responsibility for actions
Eric accepted he was responsible.

6)Parasitic lifestyle
All teenagers are parasitic.

7)Early behavior problems
Eric had none.

8)Promiscuous sexual behavior
Things that make you go hmmmmm....

Take a look at the behavior of Eric's community after his death. People said that Mark Manes should be shot or imprisoned for life, and Brooks Brown couldn't return to school because of threats. Eric's community believe -just like Eric did- that's it OK to hurt an innocent person where you're angry. If Eric is a psychopath, his community is too.
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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 11:10 pm

Quote :
One example Cullen uses to support a psychopathic Eric is how he "lies" about the van break in. On pg (661) we can see Eric's apology letter to the owner of the van. Then on pg (26005) we can see what Eric wrote in his journal about the van break in. Finally pg (26778 - 9) is Eric's school essay describing the van break in. Cullen says the way Eric turns himself into the victim, cons, lies and fakes empathy is "classic psychopath behavior." [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
To me this seems a little OTT, of course a psychopath could break into a van, know it is wrong but just not care. It feels like Cullen has taken all of these documents at face value and used them to support his cause, yet not considered any alternative explanations. For example Eric had to write the letter to the van owner which could suggest he was only faking empathy, conning and lying because he had to as part of his diversion programme. This is not enough evidence for me.
As other posters also mentioned there are many other instances in Eric's behavior that contradict being a psychopath but are ignored.


Yes, Eric may have been forced to write the apology to the van owner, but the fact is he still showed no remorse for his actions afterward.

Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about.

I got caught stealing from a gas station back when I was 15 and trust me it sucked. Needless to say my parents were pretty angry at me for what I did and of course, I apologized to them for what I had done. After I apologized I still felt bad, why? I knew that I hurt my parents trust of me and that it just wasn't going to be fine just because I apologized, I felt genuine remorse for what I had done.

Eric on the other hand. He stole some stuff and got caught just like me, but here's were the similarities end. I apologized to my parents for what I did just like Eric apologized to the van owner for what he did (the fact that he was forced to write the apology letter means nothing). Afterwards I still felt bad for what I did, because I knew my parents were still upset with me, Eric on the other hand didn't care. Stealing from the gas station was my fault and mine alone no one else's. Eric blamed the van owner for leaving his property in the van in the first place.

So, Eric lied by faking remorse(no remorse) in his apology letter, charms everyone with it, then continues to blame someone else (the van owner) for the theft in the first place.

Does someone want to get me O'Hares checklist or what?

Quote :

Fantasizing about revenge seems healthy IMHO. If a person is treated poorly and isn't bothered by it THEN they would be mentally ill.

Since when has contemplating murder been healthy? So, if someone calls me a fag and I just brush it off there's something wrong with me?

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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 11:18 pm

O Hares list is here, near the bottom [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Lifetime




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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 11:23 pm

queenfarooq wrote:
O Hares list is here, near the bottom [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

LOL, that was mostly a joke, but thank you anyways.

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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 11:37 pm

Lifetime wrote:
Quote :
One example Cullen uses to support a psychopathic Eric is how he "lies" about the van break in. On pg (661) we can see Eric's apology letter to the owner of the van. Then on pg (26005) we can see what Eric wrote in his journal about the van break in. Finally pg (26778 - 9) is Eric's school essay describing the van break in. Cullen says the way Eric turns himself into the victim, cons, lies and fakes empathy is "classic psychopath behavior." [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
To me this seems a little OTT, of course a psychopath could break into a van, know it is wrong but just not care. It feels like Cullen has taken all of these documents at face value and used them to support his cause, yet not considered any alternative explanations. For example Eric had to write the letter to the van owner which could suggest he was only faking empathy, conning and lying because he had to as part of his diversion programme. This is not enough evidence for me.
As other posters also mentioned there are many other instances in Eric's behavior that contradict being a psychopath but are ignored.


Yes, Eric may have been forced to write the apology to the van owner, but the fact is he still showed no remorse for his actions afterward.

Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about.

I got caught stealing from a gas station back when I was 15 and trust me it sucked. Needless to say my parents were pretty angry at me for what I did and of course, I apologized to them for what I had done. After I apologized I still felt bad, why? I knew that I hurt my parents trust of me and that it just wasn't going to be fine just because I apologized, I felt genuine remorse for what I had done.

Eric on the other hand. He stole some stuff and got caught just like me, but here's were the similarities end. I apologized to my parents for what I did just like Eric apologized to the van owner for what he did (the fact that he was forced to write the apology letter means nothing). Afterwards I still felt bad for what I did, because I knew my parents were still upset with me, Eric on the other hand didn't care. Stealing from the gas station was my fault and mine alone no one else's. Eric blamed the van owner for leaving his property in the van in the first place.

So, Eric lied by faking remorse(no remorse) in his apology letter, charms everyone with it, then continues to blame someone else (the van owner) for the theft in the first place.

Does someone want to get me O'Hares checklist or what?

Not to argue with you, Lifetime, but simply playing devil's advocate. We have all done things that are "wrong", whether this is breaking the law or merely deviating from societal acceptance. To what extent is it necessary to show remorse to avoid the psychopath label? I mean, do we have to show remorse every time? Because Eric didn't show remorse on this particular occasion, is that enough lack of remorse? Or if he felt remorse for upsetting his parents (and I'm not saying he did or didn't), does that balance the face that he didn't show remorse toward the van owner?

In your example, you felt bad that you had upset your parents. Did you feel remorse toward the owner of the gas station? Would you have felt bad if you hadn't gotten caught? When I was 15, my friends and I began playing a game to see who could shoplift the most from the mall, highest dollar amount wins. Was it wrong? Yeah. Do I/did I feel bad about it? Eh, not really. Would I have felt bad if I got caught? If I had lived to see another day after my parents found out, I probably would have. Laughing

Realistically speaking, I imagine that we all have traits from O'Hares checklist. I know I do. Am I a psychopath? Well, would never deign to diagnose myself since I'm no expert, but I really don't think so. I think this is a good example of a psychopathic trait Eric exhibits, but I'm not convinced that a licensed professional psychologist or psychiatrist would consider him a psychopath based on what we know.

Again, not arguing, just playing the other side of things.
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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 11:57 pm

Lifetime wrote:
queenfarooq wrote:
O Hares list is here, near the bottom [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

LOL, that was mostly a joke, but thank you anyways.

Haha I didn't know if you'd just missed it.

Lifetime wrote:
Yes, Eric may have been forced to write the apology to the van owner, but the fact is he still showed no remorse for his actions afterward.

I totally understand your point and i'm most drawn to this line of thought. But i'm just not sure 100% that he had no remorse for the van break in despite the fact I think it is likely. His journal could have been all bravado and his school essay where he writes about how his parents lost all trust in him etc could have been the truth pg (26778 - 9). What I was trying to get at in the original post was Cullen seems to me to take Eric's journal writing as fact and then label his school essay and apology letter a lie. He doesn't take into account that there is a possibility Eric's journal was written for an audience or maybe grossly exaggerated. His school essay was written months after his journal entry so maybe after thinking about what he'd done, he did feel remorse. It's just a possibility I think Cullen doesn't consider when making his judgement.
But, at the same time I understand that his journal could have been real and he may have only felt sorry only because he got caught and punished which would support Cullen's 'no empathy for others' theory thus supporting his psychopathy diagnosis. Likewise he also could have meant every word in his apology letter (although i'm doubtful).
I'm not claiming Eric did or didn't feel any kind of empathy after the van break in, personally i suspect he didn't but I can't discount that maybe he did.

I think the van break in and Eric's response to it is probably one of the best examples we have to base a theory about his psychology. If he did lack remorse it could have
been genuine or just a one off, his behavior is so contradictory at times that he could be diagnosed as many things. I just don't feel Cullen's examples are enough to say he was a psychopath.






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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSat May 04, 2013 11:58 pm

Quote :
I got caught stealing from a gas station back when I was 15 and trust me it sucked. Needless to say my parents were pretty angry at me for what I did and of course, I apologized to them for what I had done. After I apologized I still felt bad, why? I knew that I hurt my parents trust of me and that it just wasn't going to be fine just because I apologized, I felt genuine remorse for what I had done.

Eric on the other hand. He stole some stuff and got caught just like me, but here's were the similarities end. I apologized to my parents for what I did just like Eric apologized to the van owner for what he did (the fact that he was forced to write the apology letter means nothing). Afterwards I still felt bad for what I did, because I knew my parents were still upset with me, Eric on the other hand didn't care. Stealing from the gas station was my fault and mine alone no one else's. Eric blamed the van owner for leaving his property in the van in the first place.

So, Eric lied by faking remorse(no remorse) in his apology letter, charms everyone with it, then continues to blame someone else (the van owner) for the theft in the first place.

Eric knew what he was doing when he broke into the van. He knew it would upset the van owner and he knew it'd hurt his parents if they found out. If he cared about hurting other people's feelings, why would he have committed the crime in the first place? Why suddenly care about it afterwards if he didn't care before?

Eric hated his community and didn't care about hurting them. His lack of remorse comes from hate of people -not because he's incapable of feeling remorse. There's no evidence that Eric was incapable of feeling remorse as a child.

Eric's behavior regarding the van break-in fits the psychopath description, but it also fits the description of a person who's just plain angry too. Cullen knew this, which is why he had to "disprove" that Eric had any reason to be angry before he pulled out the psychopath card.

Quote :
Quote :
Fantasizing about revenge seems healthy IMHO. If a person is treated poorly and isn't bothered by it THEN they would be mentally ill.

Since when has contemplating murder been healthy? So, if someone calls me a fag and I just brush it off there's something wrong with me?

If you can just "brush it off", good for you. But why should other people be expected to? If I'm walking down the street and some asshole starts giving me shit for no reason, why should I be expected to brush it off? Why am I not entitled to fight back? Why should I put up with his (psychopathic?) behavior? And if my community happened to support his behavior, why should I accept that and not be angry?

Yes, contemplating revenge is perfectly healthy IMHO. I wouldn't walk up to a complete stranger and call them a fag, so why should I put up with it from someone else?
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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSun May 05, 2013 12:25 am

Quote :
Not to argue with you, Lifetime, but simply playing devil's advocate. We have all done things that are "wrong", whether this is breaking the law or merely deviating from societal acceptance. To what extent is it necessary to show remorse to avoid the psychopath label? I mean, do we have to show remorse every time? Because Eric didn't show remorse on this particular occasion, is that enough lack of remorse? Or if he felt remorse for upsetting his parents (and I'm not saying he did or didn't), does that balance the face that he didn't show remorse toward the van owner?


Not arguing, debating or discussing. The bold part on this is really important. The fact is, we all have it in us to be psychopaths. If I tried to explain it to you I would just sound stupid, however I do have a link to a Scientific America article that would help explain this.

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Quote :
In your example, you felt bad that you had upset your parents. Did you feel remorse toward the owner of the gas station? Would you have felt bad if you hadn't gotten caught? When I was 15, my friends and I began playing a game to see who could shoplift the most from the mall, highest dollar amount wins. Was it wrong? Yeah. Do I/did I feel bad about it? Eh, not really. Would I have felt bad if I got caught? If I had lived to see another day after my parents found out, I probably would have. Laughing

Did I feel remorse towards the owner of the gas station? No, but thats only because I didn't feel like I had personally hurt the owner. As far as I was concerned the only people I hurt in that incident were my parents.Would I have felt bad if I didn't get caught? Again no, but like I said before I didn't feel like I was hurting anyone, and if I wasn't hurting anyone why should I feel bad about it? The only reason I felt bad about it after I got caught was, because I knew that my actions were wrong and that I shouldn't have done it. I betrayed my parents trust and that's why I felt remorse.

When you started shoplifting from the mall and didn't feel bad about it. Might it been because of the fact that you didn't feel like you were hurting anyone? After all you're only stealing a CD or a shirt and that's not hurting anyone so why should you care?

Quote :
Realistically speaking, I imagine that we all have traits from O'Hares checklist. I know I do. Am I a psychopath? Well, would never deign to diagnose myself since I'm no expert, but I really don't think so. I think this is a good example of a psychopathic trait Eric exhibits, but I'm not convinced that a licensed professional psychologist or psychiatrist would consider him a psychopath based on what we know.

Actually there are quite a few licensed psychologist that believe Eric was a psychopath base on just the information we have of him.

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One psychiatrist linking Harris with possible psychopathy is Dr. Frank Ochberg, a psychiatry professor at Michigan State University who was involved in an FBI school-shooting symposium held shortly after Columbine and who also made trips to Littleton, Colo., for more than a year after the incident “to help Columbine heal,” he says.

I put in bold the word possible, because even professional psychologist know that you can't diagnose a dead person. That doesn't mean we can't speculate though.


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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSun May 05, 2013 12:29 am

areyoulistening wrote:
"The Harrises seemed mystified by what had happened to Eric. They seemed to rather readily accept that perhaps Eric was a psychopath, but indicated they didn’t know how he became one. They claimed Eric “fooled them” and fooled the psychologist who was treating him."

They also go on to blame the psychologist for treating his problems as "minor." So as I said, how much they actually believe that he was and how much they just want an answer for it all I'm not sure.

RaiseTheFist wrote:
There's no evidence that Eric was incapable of feeling remorse as a child.

I wanted to address these two statements together as it was something else I thought about when I saw this topic. If the Harris' do accept that Eric was a psychopath and he was born that way i wonder if there would have been any symptoms displayed by him as a child? I wonder how evident psychopathic tendencies would be in a young child?
As I mentioned i feel like we would need more concrete evidence to diagnose Eric as a psychopath that we don't have access to, one of those been information provided by his parents and brother about Eric's behavior growing up.

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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSun May 05, 2013 12:37 am

queenfarooq,
Quote :
I wonder how evident psychopathic tendencies would be in a young child?

Cullen's writes this, about childhood psychopathy, in his book, "Dr. Hare described a five-year old girl repeatedly attempting to flush her kitten down the toilet. "I caught her just as she was about to try again," the mother said. "She seemed quite unconcerned, maybe a bit angry--about being found out." When the woman told her husband, the girl calmly denied the whole thing. Shame did not register; neither did fear. Psychopaths are not individuals losing touch with those emotions. They never developed them from the start.

I'll repeat that. "Psychopaths are not individuals losing touch with those emotions. They never developed them from the start."

If Eric developed his lack of empathy towards his community during his teenage years, then he's not a psychopath.

Lack of empathy towards people you hate isn't pathological.
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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSun May 05, 2013 12:46 am


Quote :
Eric knew what he was doing when he broke into the van. He knew it would upset the van owner and he knew it'd hurt his parents if they found out. If he cared about hurting other people's feelings, why would he have committed the crime in the first place? Why suddenly care about it afterwards if he didn't care before?

Eric hated his community and didn't care about hurting them. His lack of remorse comes from hate of people -not because he's incapable of feeling remorse. There's no evidence that Eric was incapable of feeling remorse as a child.

Eric's behavior regarding the van break-in fits the psychopath description, but it also fits the description of a person who's just plain angry too. Cullen knew this, which is why he had to "disprove" that Eric had any reason to be angry before he pulled out the psychopath card.

The idea of Eric actually having a reason to be angry or not could be a topic for a whole other thread.


Quote :

If you can just "brush it off", good for you. But why should other people be expected to? If I'm walking down the street and some asshole starts giving me shit for no reason, why should I be expected to brush it off? Why am I not entitled to fight back? Why should I put up with his (psychopathic?) behavior? And if my community happened to support his behavior, why should I accept that and not be angry?

Yes, contemplating revenge is perfectly healthy IMHO. I wouldn't walk up to a complete stranger and call them a fag, so why should I put up with it from someone else?


The bold part here is the problem. You believe that, because you treat everyone nicely that everyone should treat you nicely as well. Unfortunately that's not going to happen. Just because you treat everyone with respect doesn't mean that everyone you meet is going to treat you the same way. Mean people are always going to exist, no amount of sensitivity training is going to solve that. That's the reason why I just "brush it off". I have better things to do than wallow in my own self pity and anger at the things that people have said or done to me. I'm going to live my life as happily as possible and all those mean people who say nasty things don't mean a damn thing to me.


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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSun May 05, 2013 12:47 am

Lifetime,
Quote :
The fact is, we all have it in us to be psychopaths.

This is not what Cullen and his team of experts are arguing! In his book, Cullen clearly states that psychopaths are BORN that way.
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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSun May 05, 2013 12:53 am

Quote :
I'll repeat that. "Psychopaths are not individuals losing touch with those emotions. They never developed them from the start."

If Eric developed his lack of empathy towards his community during his teenage years, then he's not a psychopath.

Lack of empathy towards people you hate isn't pathological.


For one we hardly know anything about Eric's childhood. His parents have refused to talk about it. Secondly, psychopathy is a personality disorder in which case PD's can start to develop at just about any stage in life. It doesn't have to start at childhood.

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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSun May 05, 2013 1:06 am

RaiseTheFist wrote:
Lifetime,
Quote :
The fact is, we all have it in us to be psychopaths.

This is not what Cullen and his team of experts are arguing! In his book, Cullen clearly states that psychopaths are BORN that way.

Maybe they are born that way. Maybe there are some people born into this world that are seriously lacking in empathy. Sure, if someone who I don't like gets hurt and I don't care does that make me a psychopath? No, but my lack of remorse is a trait of psychopathy.The opposite of that is true as well. If someone I didn't know got hurt I would feel kinda bad about it. In other words, I'm able to empathize with other people something psychopaths are incapable of doing.

Eric killed innocent teenagers and didn't care. His extreme remorselessness is a trait of a full blown psychopath.

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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSun May 05, 2013 1:15 am

lifetime,
Quote :
Quote :
Yes, contemplating revenge is perfectly healthy IMHO. I wouldn't walk up to a complete stranger and call them a fag, so why should I put up with it from someone else?


The bold part here is the problem. You believe that, because you treat everyone nicely that everyone should treat you nicely as well. Unfortunately that's not going to happen. Just because you treat everyone with respect doesn't mean that everyone you meet is going to treat you the same way. Mean people are always going to exist, no amount of sensitivity training is going to solve that. That's the reason why I just "brush it off". I have better things to do than wallow in my own self pity and anger at the things that people have said or done to me. I'm going to live my life as happily as possible and all those mean people who say nasty things don't mean a damn thing to me.

Obviously you're a more level-headed, mature, and probably better person than me. I'm not trying to start an argument. I know there are always going to be assholes in the world, but when I'm confronted by one, it's not WRONG to fight back. Why should I accept being attacked? I'm an amateur bodybuilder. I could walk away, as you've said. But, once again, why should I accept being attacked? I'm not WRONG to return the bad attitude this asshole is giving me.

Quote :
Eric killed innocent teenagers and didn't care. His extreme remorselessness is a trait of a full blown psychopath.

Eric didn't view those teenagers as innocent. He saw them as either enablers or collateral damage. Take a look at other countries in the world. Often when a war breaks out, some of the first casualties are as a result of people avenging personal vendettas, knowing they can blame the deaths on the war. Murder isn't such a difficult act for many humans to commit.
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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSun May 05, 2013 2:22 am

Maybe the question is: Can a non-psychopathic human being feel no remorse during mass murder?

And: A psychopath is incapable of feeling empathy for ANYONE. Was Eric capable of empathy towards people he didn't hate?
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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSun May 05, 2013 11:03 am

In one of Eric's journal entries when discussing going NBK he wrote I'll have to put aside my feelings of remorse, mercy and all that stuff and force myself into believing everyone is just another monster from Doom. I'll have to turn off my feelings.

And yes I believe Eric was capable of feeling empathy for people he didn't hate such as family, animals, close friends, etc.


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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSun May 05, 2013 3:31 pm

Interestingly I was just checking what this strange T.V programme was that I was watching and it was a documentary called "The Psychopath" about this guy: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] diagnosed as a psychopath at age 15, some pretty grim detailed in the section on his 'Early Life.'

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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSun May 05, 2013 8:05 pm

CatherineM813 wrote:
In one of Eric's journal entries when discussing going NBK he wrote I'll have to put aside my feelings of remorse, mercy and all that stuff and force myself into believing everyone is just another monster from Doom. I'll have to turn off my feelings.

And yes I believe Eric was capable of feeling empathy for people he didn't hate such as family, animals, close friends, etc.

Yep. I completely believe Eric was capable of empathy for people he didn't hate. In his journal, he held Dylan in very high regard, "I have something only me and V have, self awareness". What a compliment!

The animal cruelty seems, to me, to be the big deciding factor. Animals can't really do anything to deserve remorseless cruelty, so people who hurt them are irredeemable. But people, on the other hand...

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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSun May 05, 2013 9:27 pm

Okay, Lifetime, I truly read the articles you posted and again started writing a massive response before accidently closing the tab. I just got a new laptop and the one-touch mouse is so much more sensitive than my last one. I kinda feel like beating my head against the keyboard because now it's going to sound like I didn't give your response the time and thought it deserved. But I swear I did, okay?

I can't remember exactly what I wrote about the first article except that I was interested in the comparison study of business professionals, psychiatric patients and convicted criminals, and that I thought it further reinforced the question of "how much remorse is enough" that we were talking about.

In the second article, I quoted Dr. Ochberg who you mentioned as saying that he believed Eric was well on his way to becoming a psychopath and describing him as cold and calculating, able to read people and ingratiate himself with them. To which I said I thought Eric was, by all descriptions, impulsive and explosive when angered except in the specific case of the massacre. I also think ingratiating himself with his peers didn't work so well. Good try though, Eric! The article also mentioned the standard red flags for children: excessive bullying, hurting animals, fire-setting, vandalism. None of which, as far as I know, were reported to have been problems during Eric's childhood. There is also generally the thought, and it seems like it was mentioned in this article, that a psychopath will not seek help because they don't believe that anything is wrong with them, the exception being those in the correctional system who will say anything to gain whatever they're after. I felt like Eric genuinely sought help. He was remarkably open about having homicidal thoughts etc. But maybe he was just saying what he thought they wanted to hear.

And frankly, the talk of the callous-unemotional traits that they're talking about have made me think my child and every other child I've met has problems. One toddler hits another toddler, who starts to cry. If the toddler who did the hitting doesn't cry in sympathy, they are showing callous-unemotional traits and may have a mental health problem? Um, what? You know why they don't cry? Because to a toddler, other people exist only insofar as they are relevant to the toddler. They have not yet formed empathy.

Was Eric empathetic? I have no idea. I can't read the mind of a dead teenager. Maybe he really didn't. Maybe he was faking on the tapes when he said he was so sorry for his parents, and when he supposedly stayed home to take care of his dog. Or maybe he was the most genuinely empathetic person on the planet who felt others' pain so much that he thought killing them all was the only way to save them. But I somehow believe that he fell somewhere in between.

By the way, does anybody else feel more and more like they may actually be a psychopath as they keep reading about them? Hehe...
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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeSun May 05, 2013 9:47 pm

Quote :
By the way, does anybody else feel more and more like they may actually be a psychopath as they keep reading about them? Hehe...

I got diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder as a teen, which is sort-of similar to psychopathy. This happened after I got kicked out of high school for violence. But I would have been nice to anyone who was nice to me... Stupid people just don't get it, Hate is not a mental illness.
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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeTue May 07, 2013 8:46 pm

Quote :
, I truly read the articles you posted and again started writing a massive response before accidently closing the tab. I just got a new laptop and the one-touch mouse is so much more sensitive than my last one. I kinda feel like beating my head against the keyboard because now it's going to sound like I didn't give your response the time and thought it deserved. But I swear I did, okay?

I just did the same exact thing so don't feel bad.


Quote :
I can't remember exactly what I wrote about the first article except that I was interested in the comparison study of business professionals, psychiatric patients and convicted criminals, and that I thought it further reinforced the question of "how much remorse is enough" that we were talking about.

I'd be interested in reading about it, if you find it.

Quote :
In the second article, I quoted Dr. Ochberg who you mentioned as saying that he believed Eric was well on his way to becoming a psychopath and describing him as cold and calculating, able to read people and ingratiate himself with them. To which I said I thought Eric was, by all descriptions, 1. impulsive and explosive when angered except in the specific case of the massacre. 2.I also think ingratiating himself with his peers didn't work so well. Good try though, Eric! 3.The article also mentioned the standard red flags for children: excessive bullying, hurting animals, fire-setting, vandalism. None of which, as far as I know, were reported to have been problems during Eric's childhood. There is also generally the thought, and it seems like it was mentioned in this article,4. that a psychopath will not seek help because they don't believe that anything is wrong with them, the exception being those in the correctional system who will say anything to gain whatever they're after. I felt like Eric genuinely sought help. He was remarkably open about having homicidal thoughts etc. But maybe he was just saying what he thought they wanted to hear.

1. Let's not forget Eric was still a teenager, so some impulsiveness is to be expected. 2. He may not of been mister popular amongst his peers, but his teachers seemed fond of him. They did write on his report card about how he was a joy to have in class, that's called being charming. 3. Ill get to this in the next quote. 4. There was that time where Eric admitted on his psychological evaluation that he was having homicidal thoughts, but then what happened? It's as if his therapist didn't notice it or when he asked Eric about it he lied and played it off as nothing. If there was ever a time where Eric was going to get help why wasn't it then? He already told a psychiatrist that he was having problems why not just tell him everything? Did Eric want help? I like to believe so myself, but when it came down to it, and Eric had to chance to admit everything, he didn't, instead he hid it. Maybe it's because he wanted to kill more so than he wanted help?



Quote :
And frankly, the talk of the callous-unemotional traits that they're talking about have made me think my child and every other child I've met has problems. One toddler hits another toddler, who starts to cry. If the toddler who did the hitting doesn't cry in sympathy, they are showing callous-unemotional traits and may have a mental health problem? Um, what? You know why they don't cry? Because to a toddler, other people exist only insofar as they are relevant to the toddler. They have not yet formed empathy.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


As far as Eric showing warning signs of psychopathy when he was younger, it wouldn't have mattered. Just because a child behaves poorly doesn't mean they are going to behave that way when there older, they're a child after all and don't know any better. How about this instead. Who's to say Eric didn't start developing traits of psychopathy when he was a teenager. He was lying, stealing, vandalizing, and starting fires and those are all traits, and it seemed to start when Eric hit adolescents.

Quote :
Was Eric empathetic? I have no idea. I can't read the mind of a dead teenager. Maybe he really didn't. Maybe he was faking on the tapes when he said he was so sorry for his parents, and when he supposedly stayed home to take care of his dog. Or maybe he was the most genuinely empathetic person on the planet who felt others' pain so much that he thought killing them all was the only way to save them. But I somehow believe that he fell somewhere in between.

Who knows. Eric's not here to talk to us and everything he left behind pointed to him having some serious psychological problems, whether it was psychopathy or something else entirely. The one thing we can all agree on, he wasn't thinking very straight was he?

Quote :
By the way, does anybody else feel more and more like they may actually be a psychopath as they keep reading about them? Hehe...
[/quote]

You'd be surprised at what would can find out about yourself when you start reading into psychology.

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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeTue May 07, 2013 11:42 pm

Quote :
Who knows. Eric's not here to talk to us and everything he left behind pointed to him having some serious psychological problems, whether it was psychopathy or something else entirely. The one thing we can all agree on, he wasn't thinking very straight was he?

I don't believe that Eric was suffering from ANY psychological problems, except maybe stupidity in believing that 30mins of fun was worth dying for.

In Cullen's book, he says, "Eric, the mass murder, was mentally ill". Then, when asked to explain how he knows Eric is mentally ill, he basically says, "Because only a mentally ill person would commit mass murder".

This sort of circular reasoning doesn't sit well with me.

How do you know that only a mentally ill person would commit mass murder?

This isn't meant as an argument, just a question... Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Was Eric truly a psycopath?    Was Eric truly a psycopath?  Icon_minitimeWed May 15, 2013 8:44 pm

RaiseTheFist wrote:
Quote :
Who knows. Eric's not here to talk to us and everything he left behind pointed to him having some serious psychological problems, whether it was psychopathy or something else entirely. The one thing we can all agree on, he wasn't thinking very straight was he?

I don't believe that Eric was suffering from ANY psychological problems, except maybe stupidity in believing that 30mins of fun was worth dying for.

In Cullen's book, he says, "Eric, the mass murder, was mentally ill". Then, when asked to explain how he knows Eric is mentally ill, he basically says, "Because only a mentally ill person would commit mass murder".

This sort of circular reasoning doesn't sit well with me.

How do you know that only a mentally ill person would commit mass murder?

This isn't meant as an argument, just a question... Very Happy


"How do you know that only a mentally ill person would commit mass murder?"

That's just it, not everyone who commits mass murder is mentally ill. There was an interesting article I remember reading that studied over 400 different cases of mass murder and that a little over 50% of people who commit such crimes are mentally ill. So that means there is a 50-50 chance that either Eric or Dylan or both could have had psychological issues.

And in all honesty, if your reaction to being mistreated is to kill your teenage peers at random, then there's something inherently wrong with you in the first place.


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