This missive about the nature of the criminal mind came to mind when thinking about some of the barbarity happening in Milwaukee recently.
The true professional criminal, either because of his nature or his desire, has renounced society. He fights society by committing crimes. He does not wish to be part of society; he loves his crime – his “profession.” He knows the feeling of belonging only out of necessity, and also because he submits to it – just like the relationship of a prostitute to her pimp, no matter how badly he treats her. Moral values such as loyalty and trust are laughable to him, and so is the idea of personal property. His sentence and his imprisonment are just a streak of bad luck in his trade; a business mishap, a blunder – nothing else. He tries to make his imprisonment as short as possible… I do not think that he is able to conjure up any tender feelings in his heart. Any attempt to educate him, any attempt to lead him back to the right path through kindness is rejected, even though now and then he pretends to be a remorseful sinner in order to get paroled. Generally, he is coarse and mean, and it gives him pleasure when he can trample down the things that others hold sacred.
This accurately describes the mindset of the hardcore crooks who are driving Milwaukee into the gutter with their crimes. They are depraved and beyond reform or hope. They lack a moral code and can’t be reformed. The only thing we can do is lock them away from civilized society. The problem is that the leaders of Milwaukee, from the Mayor to the D.A. to the police chief, lack the will to do so. The crooks are hard. The politicians are not. And the crooks are winning.
Incidentally, that quote was written by one of the greatest mass murderers in history. It is from the autobiography of Rudolf Hoss, the longest serving Kommandant of Auschwitz, who spent 6 years as an inmate of a prison before running the Nazi genocide machine.
If my positions on criminality and punishment aligned with an SS commander I would rethink them. There are certainly more studied and better researched investigations into the workings of the criminal mind available out there.
Watching “The Wire” is a great short cut and highly entertaining.