Sociopathy Or Psychopathy?

I have now read the first five of the Scott Pratt books in the Joe Dillard series.
All were very good books. I plan to read the rest of this series. 

Did you hear about the teenagers in Florida who stood by and taped a man while he drowned?

It is beyond repugnant that they could just stand by and think it was funny to watch a man die. 

Apparently there is no state law there that requires a bystander to help someone in need. The teens, age 14-18, will face a misdemeanor charge for not reporting a death. 

Could what happened have been a severe form of peer pressure, in that no one broke away from the group to help the man?

Or could this be a road map as to what they will soon become?

We tend to think of people who commit egregious crimes as either psychopaths or sociopaths. Both likely involve impaired cognitive function and differences in brain circuitry.

I was curious and did some reading. 

Psychopaths are fearless. Sociopaths aren’t. 

Psychopaths don’t have a sense of right and wrong. Sociopaths do. 

Yet both are equally capable of ruining lives and relationships. 

Crimes committed by sociopaths, including murder, will tend to be haphazard, disorganized and spontaneous. 

While crimes committed by psychopaths are well-planned and organized.

Both are to be feared. A crime that is organized or disorganized is still a crime.

What do you think about these teens? 

Do you think they are too young to judge and could turn out to be responsible and caring adults? 

Or do you think the signs are already there and the road map seems clear?



  1. I have grandkids between 13-20, those kids know right from wrong. To me these kids did as much as kill the man that drowned. What kind of world are we living in that just looks the other way when people are suffering? I agree with my son "Jesus come quickly". I enjoy your escapades with the pupsters and your garden.

  2. unfortunately I think these teenagers are to be feared now and probably always.
    my mother in law used to say that we are in hell now and I just shrugged but more and more I am believing it.

  3. Watching the news about that just made me feel almost ill. WHAT were these kids thinking? Are they so used to watching graphics and videos and video games of death that it doesn't even seem real to them anymore? I wonder how the parents of these boys feel? Did they miss the cues that their sons were like this or were they so involved in something else that they didn't have time to nurture the kids and teach them right from wrong. I think it will take a miracle of sorts to make these kids have a different outlook on life.

    Hope you have a great day, Brenda. xo Diana

  4. The Bible says in the end times peoples hearts will wax cold.......I believe that is what is happening.

  5. According to todays standards, one of them will likely become president..
    Those 4 watched and laughed as 1 man drowned. While millions die due to lack of health insurance if the right finally gets its way.

    Of course those who cause such a horrific deed won't be watching, they'll be out on the golf course laughing it up instead.

  6. I was so sad to see that video and those kids laughing. I just don't have words.

  7. There's probably not a state law to help someone in need because who would think we would need one!!!

  8. That story made me sick to my stomach. I can't imagine that anyone could be so heartless to stand by and let someone die like that. Those kids should be locked away, they were certainly old enough to know right from wrong.

  9. I was appalled reading about the Florida boys and shocked to read that what they had done was not a crime. What scares me is that not only did they watch him die, ridicule him and laugh about it, they put it on social media.

    What is happening in our world????

  10. I was recently in a grocery store and saw an extremely obese man lose his balance and fall down. He was so large he was unable to get off the floor by himself. Several men stood by and watched him struggle and no one came to help him. I asked one man to please assist me in helping him get up and he coldly said: "get an employee of the store to do it." I took a grocery cart and leaned on one side using my weight to keep it from tipping and the man finally managed to get back up. I cannot get this event out of my mind. I was seeing first hand how apathetic many have become. What is our world coming to?

    I know this does not compare to the drowning described, but is still another reminder of far we have strayed from Jesus's admonition to "Love your neighbor as yourself." Now days, we seem to be a service to self majority. I pray I am wrong.

  11. I think children growing up now watch so much violence with their videos and games that they have become numb. So many parents are spending less and less time with their children that the kids are raising themselves--and not doing a very good job of it. I'm glad I won't be around to see what's coming.

  12. I have read a great deal of child development literature both as a student and as a parent. It has been stated frequently in the writings that by age four or five a child's basic view of the world has been established. To me, that means that their behavior and choices after that point reflect the kind of world they have experienced before they are five-years-old. SO...given that, but not discounting the effects of brain circuitry and inherent psychological factors, I think all we can do is speculate about how a child will interact with his world as a teen or as an adult. It's just a very complicated thing to discern. Regarding these young people who watched the person drown, I don't think we can make any determination as to whether they are sociopathic or psychopathic or somewhere in between. In my opinion, it would take comprehensive evaluation of their mental health and of their family backgrounds to draw any conclusions. Personally, I think there's something very wrong about their failure to intervene in some way. Can we blame it on our society that doesn't seem to value caring about the well-being of our fellow humans? Or do we blame the way children are sometimes raised to fear "getting involved" in other's problems? We'd like to blame their behavior on something so we could figure out how to "fix" them, but, unfortunately, I don't believe there's any one or even several things we can assign blame to. It's just too complicated and from where we stand as onlookers we don't have nearly enough information about these individuals.
    About all we can do is feel outraged and very sad and try to nurture any young children we might have within our circles of people in ways that teach respect and compassion for others. That's the place I come to again and again as I look at the world and the "badness" in it.

  13. I have thought for decades that we will pay for our 'love affair' with violence. these kids and their parents both have grown up with it. in every part of their lives. videos. movies. music (the rappers). video games. the reality tv shows. it is in their face or in their hands constantly.
    our society is paying for all that now. and I don't think they're a particular 'type.'
    I think the ones who are what the rest of us oldies call "normal caring people" are the anomaly now. the majority are heartless and empty souls who thrive on violence. and it is totally frightening. to not help is one thing. to laugh about it is another.

  14. I just wanted to comment and thank you for your book recommendations. I am reading the first Joe Dillard now, and read one of the books you previously recommended. Enjoyed that one and I am enjoying this Joe Dillard and will read more! Thank you.

  15. I think in a few years all 5 of them will be arrested for violent crimes. A person who can stand by and watch a person die has absolutely no feelings of any kind. Look at gangs...they kill for their initiation.
    It seems more and more it's all about me, myself and I. It's a sad world we live in but will definitely get worse.

  16. Last week I watched a video of a dog swimming out into the water to rescue a drowning fawn, drag it out of the water and stand by it, nudging it to get it to move. Then this week I hear of these teens videoing a man as he drowns. It makes me ill to even imagine how any human could do this. Even animals exhibit more compassion than these human beings.

  17. Brenda . . . I LOVE following your blog. I enjoy hearing about your fur friends, your garden, home and about the deep things you ponder. I've followed you for several years and I look forward to "hearing from you" weekly. The issue you bring up about the 14 and 18 year olds who watched, ridiculed, taped and shared the drowning of a person is truly disturbing. I would think I could expect MUCH MORE from youth and these two are damaged!!!!


I always enjoy reading your comments and having you join the conversation here at Cozy Little House. It is like having a gathering of friends sitting in my cozy apartment. Enjoying coffee and dessert, chatting and having a good time.

Please be kind with your comments. We all need kindness in this world. That's not to say you can't state your opinion! Everyone should be able to state their own opinion in a kind and thoughtful manner.

I appreciate each and every one of you!