Did you know there is no such thing a (violent) crime of passion? Up until 1980 it was widely believed that people went crazy and committed violent acts. They were out of their mind and this thing happened. They killed someone or whatever. Many people still believe this. If I ever sit on a jury with one of them I will be able to disabuse them of this notion because I am familiar with Lonnie Athens’ work.
In the late 1970’s Lonnie Athens ran around and interviewed violent criminals in prison. One of the things he discovered was that they knew exactly what they were doing. I admire Athens. Not many people would be able to waltz into a prison and get these dudes to talk to them with any kind of candor. Matter of fact, Athens risked his life for this research which he published in 1980 in his book, The Creation of Dangerous Violent Criminals.
Turns out the thought process that leads a violent criminal to commit the act does not vary from criminal to criminal. When talking about their crimes, the offenders all sound like this:
“Well at first I was just going to do x,y, and z, bust him/her up a little…”
and then they shift; finding justification for what they are about to do:
“But then she did a, b, c… “ or “But then I started thinking about last week or last month or yesterday…”
And they come to their conclusion.
“At that point I decided I should just kill him/her…”
It’s shocking how utterly cognizant these people are of what they are doing, especially when you contrast it with the “crime of passion” idea which it turns out is a big myth!
I think the idea of people committing violent crimes in some kind of altered state is our collective (Pluto) defense against reality (Saturn). I also think that when Pluto goes into Capricorn the defense will fall.
Update – I originally wrote this in 2010. Pluto is in Capricorn now. The collective view of violent criminals has changed, considerably.
People have more awareness of dark, hidden machinations that go on. You’d be hard pressed to find someone willing to excuse a murderer because he or she was feeling passionate! We better understand “cold and calculating”. The popularity of crime shows, both “real” and fiction may have helped in this regard.
Looking ahead, at Pluto in Aquarius, I imagine the collective violence to be ruthless and bloodless; machined.
What do you think?