Not all sociopaths and psychopaths become serial killers and mass murderers. There are other outlets for their personalities needs. I’ve mentioned before that sociopaths and psychopaths, particularly high functioning psychopaths, make excellent police officers, firemen, soldiers, CEOs, CFOs, and other high stress jobs. However, this does come with a stigma, so admitting it can be detrimental. But let’s be honest, I’m not going to boast about the boons of being a federal officer and a psychopath, I focus more on criminality.
It is this seedier side of life that drives another one of my series. While Aislinn Cain and the SCTU are battling serial killers, Nadine Daniels and Daniels’ Security deal with the other criminal element where being a sociopath or psychopath is a good thing. Primarily, gangs and for the purpose of this post (and because it is technically correct), organized crime is a gang.
Being a sociopath is a good start for a gang member. Sociopaths are calculating and incapable of empathy. Robbing someone at gunpoint or selling Krokodil isn’t something that’s going to keep them up at night. Frankly speaking, neither is killing someone for money or firing a gun from a moving vehicle for a perceived slight. In some ways, being incapable of empathy is more dangerous than being incapable of fear. Failure to have empathy for our fellow human beings makes their lives, well, worthless.
The flip side of the coin of course is being a psychopath. Psychopaths tend to move up the ranks faster than sociopaths when it comes to gangs. They are more likely to be in charge. They are capable of empathy, however, they are also capable of turning it off. They tend to be more socially adept and charming than the average sociopath (who tends to be seen as slightly awkward, socially speaking). Since they lack the understanding of fear, they only know how to use it as a weapon and do not experience it themselves. For this reason, they will do what it takes to climb the hierarchy because they are actually incapable of imagining they could fail at it.
Most interestingly however, is not that they join gangs, but that they manage to join gangs together. Sociopaths and psychopaths are all narcissists and they all have alpha personalities. It is why serial killer duos are problematic. However, the social structure of a gang gives a sense of purpose, belonging, and an understanding of where they stand. Since the majority of sociopaths and psychopaths desire structure and to be around others of their mindset, a gang is the perfect social club for both. As the adage goes; birds of a feather flock together. This is true of both personalities. They are attracted to one another and oddly, they do seem to have some sort of strange radar that allows them to find each other. A sociologist I once knew called it Violent Tendencies ESP and research has shown that psychopaths and sociopaths are very good at finding one another – but that’s a different blog post.
In most cases, low functioning sociopaths/psychopaths tend to stay on the wrong side of the law. For high functioning sociopaths/psychopaths, they seem to have the option of being lawyers or being criminals. It is the high functioning ones that cause the most problems when they become criminals. Most gang leaders are in fact high functioning psychopaths with a minority being high functioning sociopaths. A recent study actually found that of all the historical gangs they could research, none of them had low functioning sociopaths or psychopaths as their leaders and if one rose to the position, the gang deteriorated.
The best example that everyone will know is Whitey Bulgar. Bulgar ran the Irish mob in Boston and as long as he was pulling the strings, their operations went smoothly. After he went on the run, he continued to operate the gang from a distance, but a few of his right-hands were low functioning and they turned out to be the weakest links in his organization. They were the first to go down when the gang began to fall apart and they took others with them. In fact, there is some evidence that it was the take down of the low functioning lieutenants in Bulgar’s operation that lead to the amassing of evidence against Bulgar himself.
So, not all sociopaths and psychopaths have to be serial killers to wander into the world of crime. Some might argue that it is those that join and run gangs that are the most dangerous of the criminal sociopaths and psychopaths.