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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Criminals Are Victimizers Who Choose to Commit Crime

     I believed that criminal behavior was a symptom of buried conflicts that had resulted from early traumas and deprivation of one sort or another. I thought that people who turned to crime were victims of a psychological disorder, an oppressive social environment, or both....I saw crime as being almost a normal, if not excusable, reaction to the grinding poverty, instability, and despair that pervaded [criminals'] lives....I thought that kids who were from more advantaged backgrounds had been scarred by bad parenting and led astray by peer pressure....

     I gradually led those sacred cows to pasture and slaughtered them....Criminals choose to commit crimes. Crime resides within the person and is "caused" by the way he thinks, not by his environment. Criminals think differently from responsible people. What must change is how the offender views himself and the world. Focusing on forces outside the criminal is futile. We [the writer and Dr. Samuel Yochelson] found the conventional psychological and sociological formulations about crime and its causes to be erroneous and counterproductive because they provide excuses. In short, we did a 180-degree turn in our thinking about crime and its causes. From regarding criminals as victims we saw that instead they were victimizers who had freely chosen their way of life.

Dr. Stanton E. Samenow, Inside the Criminal Mind, 1984

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