Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy And Smart Criminals — All Myths
I have been working with criminals longer than I care to admit. I suppose it is a condition of my accepting temporary consultation assignments, going where the need is greatest. A lot of work in prisons. Some with people later, during the parole process. Sometimes they are contrite — more often not.
I am still waiting to meet the smart criminal. The Moriarty to some law-enforcement-colleague Sherlock. The high IQ planner, the applied psychologist, the brilliant criminal.
Maybe they are so brilliant that they never get caught. Or – if crime truly does not pay – maybe they are the ones who go to those so-called “Country Club Prisons” after they have become wealthy from stock market schemes. They might get “classier” psychiatrists, males with receding hairlines and goatees who wear neckties. I know they don’t get better ones.
I get the ones like in the book “These aren’t my pants.” I actually got a copy and read it and gave it as a gift to an esteemed colleague psychologist who had a lot of the same frustrations that I did. Guilty people who are caught make up stupid excuses that any idiot can see through. Right next to “those aren’t my pants,” I would put Linday Lohan’s excuse, “Those drugs in my pants weren’t mine.” But I was flipping through CNN when I saw people quoting some of Paris Hilton’s excuses. They were, if possible, even worse.
“It wasn’t my cocaine.” “It wasn’t my purse.” And the best one, “I didn’t know it was cocaine. I thought it was chewing gum.”
I truly despise the new words the gossip columns come up with to describe people like Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton. They are cruel and unnecessary. They are simply stupid criminals – though rich ones — in a country where we have laws against the possession of drugs.
The real problem is their sense of entitlement. They think they can get off from everything and they do. I do not think them otherwise different from the people I see who have done time in jail for drug charges.
The only difference I see, is that people who have done time usually tell me “that was horrible. I’m not going to do that again.” I do not think we have heard either Lindsey or Paris say those things. They seem to get their jail time shaved down to a bare minimum. One of the basic tenets of becoming an adult is having to deal with the consequences of your actions.
Drug addiction is certainly an illness, and reasoned logical treatment is possible. It is unlikely those who inhabit the Malibu horse riding estates that pass for rehab clinics will ever receive such care.
As a doctor and a fellow human being (a rational one, I hope) I don’t think throwing people in jail for an illness is good for society or the victim of the illness.
Neither is slapping the wrist and making threats — jail time that is reduced to minimal inconvenience.
There is a psychiatric diagnosis called the “borderline personality disorder” really means that someone has a skewed way of dealing with life, which both of these young ladies do. A chronic liar may have passed the line, may be an anti-social personality disorder.
If such be the case, I remember seeing some literature that says such folks can be “scared straight” about half the time with a real — full term — jail sentence.
It seems to be the only thing that has not been tried.