Lately or at least for the past 5 months, I have obsessively been reading and learning about psychopaths, sociopaths, abnormal behavior and the relationship between empaths and a petri dish full of other disorders. This journey started with a call to my BFF on one of our usually interesting discussions. One that started with Richard Kuklinski aka the ice man. Reading and watching his interviews and the books was an interesting insight into the mind of a psychopath. The question I wanted the answer to was , are psychopaths born or can they in fact be created? Richard Kuklinski could have possibly been spared and set aside to be a productive psychopath, but his upbringing and life led him down a path of criminal psychopathic behavior that resulted in his arrest. Question answered in his case. In fact, it was kind of disheartening when you learned how his life shaped him to not become a potentially productive psychopath. Yeah, that may sound funny but it’s true. People hear these terms and automatically think Norman Bates, or other horror films and associations. But the truth is they’re all around us, at work, on the street or in your very own neighborhood, at church there’s a psycho or sociopath somewhere in our daily interaction.
I decided to read Amanda Knox’s book next in my to read list. I vaguely remember the story unfolding and to be honest and fair I think I was too young to care. Now that my life is barreling towards a life in psychology or forensic psychology I took a deep interest. I can typically run through books in a matter of days. In fact I read two books about Jodi arias in a matter of about a week plus re-watched some of her bizarre antics and interviews. The frightening part of all of that was that she came across as almost likable had we not known what she was truly capable of. These are the facets of humanity that captivate me.
Yet, despite my ability to go through materials quickly, I’m struggling with Amanda Knox’s book. There is something that I simply can’t pinpoint. I’m not saying she’s guilty but I am saying that something isn’t right. I just can’t place it. As I did with Richard Kuklinski, even Jodi Arias observing her behavior, posts,interviews, etc I am starting to do the same with Amanda Knox.
I stumbled upon a web sight that discussed body language and clues. Very Lie to Me (TV show) kind of information. Because I’m sure you’re aware, everyone has tells. Normally people don’t realize, a twitch, a nervous grab of the hair, slight twist of the lips, blinks etc. Reading the comments of the website I found, was even more interesting than the segment that was being scrutinized itself. Why? Because everyone seemed to be in tune with one common consensus. There is something just not right or slightly off. Maybe we’re all picking up cues of sociopathic traits that have nothing to do with the crime itself, or the traits of eccentric behavior, something.
People deal with stress and grief in a number of different fashions. Just because someone explodes into the “expected” emotions such as crying, screaming, or passing out etc it doesn’t mean there’s an emotional connection to the physical demonstration. Psychopaths are exceptional creatures that can turn on the expected emotions on cue, as fast as you can say lights, camera, and action. the difference is they don’t feel it. They can emulate it like it was Broadway, but they don’t feel it.
So I wasn’t necessarily bothered by Amanda Knox’s initial reaction because in all fairness maybe she was in shock. But following the questioning it was the ta-da jump in the covered booties at the crime scene, this obsession with trying to help the police solve the murder and later on the lack of grasp of the severity of the situation that made me feel funny. You’re in a country you know nothing about due process, you don’t know the language (barely), yet instead of admitting you can’t understand everything correctly you continue down this spiral of “helping” that eventually also helps facilitate the case against you. Even while she’s in jail her attorneys are advising her to watch her words as the prosecution is preying on every word, smile action etc. Yet, she admits that she didn’t censor herself. That kind of blew my mind. You’re in jail, behind bars at this point, has the severity of your poor decisions and the train wreck that you’re in not warrant taking other steps since clearly the ones you opted to choose before didn’t end well?
I admit, I had a lot more life experience than most 20 year old’s but something’s I struggled with relating to in this book and those were some of them. I could eat the story about her innocence and a great frame up job, I really could. But it was the portrayal of this poor naive, unknowing, innocent little girl that I think gave me great pause. Jodi Aria’s played this role wickedly well. I’m not comparing the two, but I’m just explaining. Knox wasn’t innocent or sheltered enough she hadn’t understood clubs, partying, or drugs. Yet in one part of her book where she explains the job with Patrick, the innocent man she accused, her job was to get people to come to the club. She claims to have not realized she was hired to essentially lure men in to the club. I was floored, had she never entered a club I may have been able to understand, but from my understanding she had been to clubs before, so what did you think you were doing? Rounding up people to serve them tea and cookies? These are the small things that just made my radar beep pretty quickly.
Given that I have a background in law I guess it’s unfair to assume what one would do in this situation. But even as young as I was putting myself at her age, I knew one thing, you’re in legal trouble you better call a lawyer. “Loose lips sink ships.” A number of attorneys I’ve worked with over the years have told me the same running story. The worst enemy of a client is himself/herself.
The issue here is memory, could someones memory be altered. Studies as well as even experiments on shows like Brain Games have illustrated that memory is not what we think it is. In one experiment they gathered a group of people as “jurors.” They played a scene of a crime taking place, then asked the jurors what color was the perpetrator wearing etc. The point was there was one person there to trip everyone else up. Did it work? Absolutely, people couldn’t tell you if the perp was wearing blue, black, zebra stripes or what. So memory can be influenced. I just can’t help but feel just something nagging at me even knowing that.