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Reblogged:A Crook's 'Red line' Is a Lie

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Reflecting on the Murdaugh murder case, criminologist Stanton Samenow considers the common idea that many criminals set limits for themselves regarding what crimes they will commit:
Professed limits by criminals stand only at their convenience and drop the context of their regarding crime as acceptable in the first place. (Image by Bady Abbas, via Unsplash, license.)
Although he confessed to financial crimes, Alex Murdaugh indicated repeatedly that his "red line" was harming the people he loved most. He flatly denied killing his wife and son. The jury did not find him credible. Because he did not want his wife and son to know about particular financial crimes that were about to come to light, he shot both of them. (Evidence revealed that he was on his property at the very time they were murdered.) They would not be around to cause him any trouble.

Criminals do establish their own "red lines" with respect to the crimes they commit. But these lines shift according to circumstances and are not effective deterrents. Any "red lines" that criminals set are temporary. What is off limits is likely to change with the criminal's whims, opportunities, and overall quest for excitement. [bold added]
An important theme of Samenow's work, as I understand it, is that the criminal has free will, just like everyone else, but has not adopted or fostered long-range thinking or productive habits. Instead, he lives by whim, and is well-practiced in evasion, or what Ayn Rand also called, blanking-out.

On this, I quoted Samenow some time ago:
The dictionary defines "rehabilitate" as a process of restoring a person or object to an earlier constructive state or condition. Rehabilitating a 19th century mansion entails returning it to its former grandeur. Rehabilitating a stroke victim involves helping her regain functions she previously had. There is nothing to which to "re-habilitate" a criminal. The scope of "habilitation" is larger. It is to help him abandon thinking errors that give rise to criminal conduct, to learn corrective concepts, and implement those concepts so as to live responsibly. [bold added]
As he notes in his Murdaugh commentary -- and backs with other examples -- any red line you hear from a criminal is part of a deception on his part, be it of others or of himself.

Indeed, one can see this from Murdaugh's own professed red line, given that he was making his own family unknowingly dependent on criminal activity long before he physically harmed them.

-- CAV

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