Last Sunday, a few hours after I wrote on the Lovefraud Blog about how I recognized sociopathic traits in the behavior of O.J. Simpson, the former football star was arrested on charges of armed robbery in that Las Vegas hotel room. Television talking heads immediately ramped up their speculation on why he allegedly did it.
Each expert seemed to have his or her own theory. Some experts had multiple theories. Let’s take a look at some of them.
CNN, Friday, September 14
Here’s what transpired on CNN’s Nancy Grace Show before Simpson was arrested.
Jane Velez-Mitchell, an investigative reporter, said Simpson engaged in self-destructive behavior because he wanted to be caught. “Why would he risk and flirt with imprisonment unless, deep down inside, he has to try and purge this toxic secret?” she asked. “And all of America and all the world knows what that toxic secret is. It involves the murder of two people.” That’s the theory of a book she’s writing called Secrets Can Be Murder.
Pat Brown, a criminal profiler, totally disagreed with it. “Sociopaths don’t feel any remorse, so they can`t go back and want to get caught,” she said. “O.J. simply thinks he’s above the law. He’s beaten out the criminal courts. He’s beaten out the civil courts. He does whatever he wants.”
Then Brian Russell, a forensic psychologist, called Simpson a “classic malignant narcissist.” “You know, when somebody’s talent is identified as early in life as O.J.’s was, oftentimes what happens is people stop trying to develop anything else in that person but the talent,” he said. “And at the same time, they excuse them from responsibility. They don’t hold them accountable. They let them get away with things. And so what you end up with is somebody who’s a small-minded individual who thinks they’re a really big deal.”
Foxnews.com, Monday, September 17
Foxnews.com posted an article in its health section called, O.J. Simpson: Mentally Ill or Just Arrogant? The article quoted a series of experts, none of whom had actually diagnosed or treated Simpson.
Stuart Fischoff, professor of psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, said Simpson probably believes he is “invulnerable” to the law and criticism. “Probably, he’s come to believe he can talk his way out of anything (because) he has.”
Dr. Charles Figley, a Fulbright Fellow and professor of psychology at Florida State University, suggested several explanations of Simpson’s behavior. “It’s the growing need of a star to maintain his level of fame — even infamy,” he said. “(There’s) a certain self-destructive and risk-taking behavior that may be associated not with personality, unless it’s borderline, but with stress caused by lack of money … or drug use, prescription or otherwise.”
The article also quoted Figley as saying, “Does O.J. have a personality disorder? Probably. But his risky actions can also be a bizarre example of O.J. reality testing. Maybe he can get away with everything.”
The Foxnews.com article concluded with the views of Dr. Keith Ablow, a Fox News contributor and psychiatrist. He suggested all of the following explanations of Simpson’s behavior: narcissistic personality disorder, drug and alcohol use, bipolar disorder and an underlying mental rage issue.
Fox News, Wednesday, September 19
When Simpson appeared in a Las Vegas courtroom for his bail hearing, the event was covered live on Fox News. While reporters were waiting for the hearing to begin, they asked Brian Russell about Simpson’s behavior. This is the same psychologist and lawyer who on Friday called Simpson a “malignant narcissist” the Nancy Grace Show.
“His behavior resembles what we typically see with sociopaths, which is they’ve got their two sides,” Russell said. “It’s about being two O.J. Simpsons. You’ve got the incredibly charming, the incredibly social and affable O.J. And you’ve got this enraged O.J.
“What typically happens with a psychopath or sociopath is underneath, there’s rage,” Russell continued. “But they cover it up with this affable, charming surface because they’re all about getting what they want … if they need the charm, they turn that on. But man, if somebody threatens them, that rage comes to the surface.”
The six experts mentioned above have given 15 possible reasons for the bizarre behavior of O.J. Simpson. If professionals can’t explain what is going on with such a high-profile individual, what hope is there for the rest of us dealing with everyday sociopaths?
I wish I could say it doesn’t matter, and that all we need to know is that there are really bad people that we must recognize and avoid, people that I’ve called “evil” in previous posts. They have no conscience, no remorse, feel no empathy for other human beings and cannot be rehabilitated.
Unfortunately, however, a diagnosis is important when dealing with these evil people in the legal system. Or it would be important, if the legal system understood, despite the testimony of paid psychological experts and the theatrics of defense lawyers, that there are people who have no conscience, no remorse, feel no empathy for other human beings and cannot be rehabilitated.
After all, it appears that our legal system let O.J. Simpson get away with murder.