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Unfortunately, however, such informative works tend to be less popular than the dramatic news coverage of psychopathic killers or the horror stories we read in true crime and thrillers. The first answer I’ll offer is in the form of an analogy.When I (and probably most other people too) shop for a car, I don’t need someone to explain to me in great detail the mechanics behind how the car functions.Experts estimate that there are only about 50 to 100 serial killers circulating in the country at any given moment.It’s therefore rational not to live your life in the fear that you’ll be attacked by one of them.Somehow, we assume that our families and we are immune to such terrible things happening to us.Perhaps we believe that we’re too wise, too well educated and live in too good of a neighborhood to fall into the hands of social predators.In other words, a superficial knowledge of the car suffices for me.That’s how most people feel about the psychopaths featured on the news, in history or true crime books and in the movies.
Perhaps because they’re so dangerous and destructive—the closest approximation to metaphysical evil that human beings can embody–the general public has a morbid fascination with psychopaths. The media seems to be intrigued by men like Scott Peterson and Neil Entwistle, who remorselessly murder their wives so that they can fool around more easily with other women. True crime books about psychopathic killers tend to be best sellers.
This is significant, given the number of lives they touch and the kind of damage they can inflict.
Psychopaths are exceedingly sociable, highly promiscuous, have many children, move from location to location and, generally speaking, they get around.
We may disapprove of their horrific crimes, but their capacity for evil fascinates us.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, we hold psychopaths at arm’s length, so to speak, in our own minds.
It seems like people tend to research psychopathy and other personality disorders after they’ve been burned.