BY ANDREW MOODY
The tragic knife murder of 17 year old Girl Scout Jodie Chesney by an assailant who, without saying a word, stabbed her in the back, has sparked off a series of frenzied media reports of teen knife murders. After a young man was stabbed in Tottenham the number of murders and man slaughters in December 2018 rose to 131. This has only increased as 2019 slithers into its bloody opening months.
As a long time psychiatric patient I have met murderers and young men (typically homophobic, sexist and, depending on their colour, racist) who have spent time in prison for knife crime resulting in GBH. They are always immature, drug takers, and consumed with self pity. Each and every one was a psychopath, as was the murderer of Jodie Chesney.
There have been reports that due to Theresa May’s extensive police cuts, the recent spate of knife murders could see Labour win the next general election with Corbyn’s pledge to significantly increase boots on the street.
But the question remains: how do you prevent an impulsive, disorganised psychopath from attacking a random stranger for no reason? The fact is it is best not to see these attackers as normal human beings with rational feelings and emotions.
The standard blame for knife murder is focused on council estate poverty, gang affiliation, drill music, fractured families or an incomplete or poor schooling. You can pick your favourite excuse and blame the crimes on it, but all or none could be involved in creating the teenage psychopath. Prison too acts as no deterrent. In fact every ex convict I’ve known remembers their time behind the door fondly: smoking, TV, Xbox, pot noodles and the ability to learn how to refine their criminal activities.
There are only two major types of anti-social personality disorders (the DSM descriptor for the psychopath).
- Cleckleyan psychopathy: bold, dis-inhibited behaviour and feckless disregard.
- Criminal Psychopathy: meaner, more aggressive and dis-inhibited conception explicitly entailing persistent and sometimes serious criminal behaviour.
The reason Jodie’s attacker did not utter a word to her was because he was depersonalising her, unable to understand she had an interior life every bit as real as his.
Yes, it’s vital to increase the level of security on the streets of our cities, but it’s impossible to cure the psychopath of their rage.
On July 24th 2018 at around 1am I was checking my bank balance next to Bromley McDonald’s before walking over to the restaurant to see if I could get a cup of water. Of course the restaurant was closed. I was locked out of my flat and had a long night ahead of me seeing as my bank balance was zero. I was approached by two youths – one holding a bottle of Budweiser and with blood caked around his nose. Either he’d been fighting or, more likely, he’d been hitting the cocaine. For some reason (mental illness does this to a man) given how dodgy they looked, I asked them for a glass of water.
“Water?” one of them yelled, “I ain’t got no f**king water. Got beer though.”
There was a pause. The boy with the bottle smiled and whispered: “Look into my eyes…”
They could only be described as demonic. And then he struck the right side of my head with the bottle. I went down, then jumped straight back up and got him in a head lock, while I was bleeding profusely. They shook me off and escaped down the road and I sank to the floor outside the entrance of the restaurant, blood gushing from my wound. The two boys were immediately arrested by a police van around the corner, and an ambulance picked me up. In the back, I asked if I was going to die.
“Listen,” I said, losing consciousness, “if I’m going to die, don’t tell me, just rest the bed back and let me die like a soldier. Those two boys? They’re little more than Nazis. There’s nothing you can do to save them when they’re that turned on by murder.”
The policeman in the ambulance wiped away a tear from my face, but thank God for the morphine, the surgery, and the all-clear brain scan.
Every time I walk past Bromley McDonald’s I make the sign of the cross. I appreciate it wasn’t a knife attack which is the topic of this article, but even the dimmest bulb reading can see the connection. The reality is that psychopathy may not be either as common or as uncommon as it’s ever been, but there are hundreds of potential killers on our streets; be they part of organised crime or disorganised criminality.
The sad fact is that there is no cure for psychopathy, and there can be no cure for knife crime unless we ban knives. The police and ambulance services saved my life, and there needs to be as much funding for our emergency services as possible. Mrs May is having enough trouble with Brexit, so let’s not allow Corbyn to sneak in the back door with funding promises he can’t keep, which will lead to more knife crime and more psychopaths on the street.
Follow Andrew Moody on Twitter @VoguishFiction