Here’s how psychopaths are made

Tickled - It’s not what you thinkPsychopaths. I don’t believe they are born. They are made. Last week, a documentary I watched confirmed my belief.

The confirmation, interestingly enough, came in the form of a feather, brought to me by my wife, Bridget.

No, it wasn’t an actual feather. It was a picture of a feather, on the television screen.  She came across this feather while looking for something to watch. The feather was part of a poster for the documentary “Tickled”. Here’s what the HBO description read:

“A pop-culture journalist’s investigation into “competitive endurance tickling” leads him on a dark, twisted journey full of manipulation, deception and online intimidation.”

We thought the documentary was going to be funny and bizarre. But it turned out to be a sad exposé of how a psychopath was ruining thousands of young boys’ reputations. I’m not going to give away the story. Read that here. What I do want to recount, are the last 10 minutes of the documentary (spoilers below the pic).

The homoerotic tickle competition
Young athletes “compete” in this odd “tickle competition”. Turns out a lot of people find this kind of things a turn-on.

The documentarians finally track down and confront the guy responsible for inspiring the documentary. He gives up nothing and denies everything. Later, they call his aunt, who recounts the this guy’s life as a kid and explains perhaps why he is doing what he’s doing:

[Paraphrasing] “I thought he stopped doing this….His mom really loved him and overprotected him. We never knew if he was gay…or asexual. He never had a girlfriend. He was always teased by bigger boys. He was relentlessly teased. One day the boys locked him in his locker. His mother asked his dad if his son turned out gay would he disown him. He said he’d be angry, but would come to accept him. But I don’t think he ever got the love he needed.”

It becomes clear by this point in the documentary that this guy is likely gay, ashamed of it, indulges addictively in “homo-erotic tickle porn” and is ashamed of that. He uses his  fixation to lure young athletes – likely similar to the boys who tortured him in school – with toys, cars and many times direct cash, to tickle one another on camera. When the boys no longer want to participate, as they all eventually don’t, he destroys their reputations and their families’ reputation by publishing the videos all over the internet raising suspicions that the boys are deviant, closeted homosexuals. How does he fund all this?  Through over $10 million in inheritance from his parents.

It’s the broadest case of blackmail, exploitation and bullying I have ever seen. Boys from all over the world had been caught in his scheme, participating in “tickle cells” located all over the US. It was a real-world mega-operation, with staff, studios and recruiters he paid to do his bidding.

Six months after the documentary aired, the man responsible for all this, David D’Amato, died “suddenly”  from a heart attack due to complications of obesity, diabetes and other poor health-related conditions.

This man was a true psychopath. He cared not at all for his victims feelings, used them as sexually gratifying play-things (against their knowledge or consent), then, when they tried to resist, he destroyed everything dear to them. The documentary is definitely worth a watch.

It seems clear from that David’s rise as an internet/video/homoerotic porn bully would not have happened had he (1) people around him who cared enough to teach him to accept himself, (2) an environment which allowed him to seek and receive help when he was being tortured in school, and (3) existed in a system where money couldn’t fuel his bitterness and hurt. It was largely because of his huge war chest (his mother left him a trust which paid for all his expenses, plus $5 million and his father left him with over $5 million) that he was able to build a network, including teams of people, who would help him exact revenge on those who possibly looked like the young boys who bullied him in school.

In Copiosis, even if your parents are NBR rich, you’re not, if you haven’t yourself created Net Benefit for society. So when your parents die, their NBR wealth disappears. No more financial inheritances. You can inherit all the property they had, but it’s hard in a Copiosis society to use property to motivate behavior that generates negative net benefit.

Are psychopaths born or are they bred? I think it’s the latter. Even those who seem predisposed to that behavior at birth must be triggered by an environment conducive to the triggering. I think this is why Copiosis offers so much promise for solving the psychopath problem: it creates an environment where such people can get the help they need.


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