memoirs written by young female sociopaths, or is it? I did not follow the Amanda Knox trial while it was happening but after I heard about her book I was curious to see why why people think she's a coldblooded murderess. Mainly people's opinions of her guilt seem based on circumstantial evidence and the fact that she didn't respond the way that "normal" people (or at least normal, non guilty people) would react to being a murder suspect? But how would you react "normally"? Cry? Suffer some sort of emotional or nervous breakdown? Especially for someone who seems to not quite have a typical emotional palette (her memoir is described as being written with "brutal honesty, clarity, and conviction"), how was she expected to act?
Sometimes I imagine what it might be like to be a young, sociopathic Amanda Knox, who may not have killed her roommate (maybe it was a coincidence?), but now she is a suspect and she knows she's being watched. What sort of show should she put on? What sort of manual is there, or prior experiences to draw upon in knowing how to appropriately respond to be falsely accused of murder? A roommate that you hate and barely know gets killed in a foreign country while you are with some guy you just started dating. Even if she weren't a sociopath, I could see how she wouldn't be that broken up about the whole thing. It would be really hard to fake normal reactions in that situation, even if you were innocent.
In that same vein, "This American Life" features an odd story of an upstanding doctor in a rural town who brutally murdered his father -- Vince Gilmer. Even though he is serving a life sentence for the murder, everyone in the town had glowing stories to tell about him: "Generous to a fault." The show features many people trying to make their own determinations about what is the deal with Gilmer -- cold-blooded murderer? Or a man who finally snapped due to provocation from an incredibly abusive father. It was hard for people to tell because when questioned by the police, he was not manifesting authentic remorse or mental illness, but rather seemed to be "hamming it up." He would start crying, seemingly strategically: "either he was having tremendous mood swings, or he was trying to avoid the question." "So we set up a camera on the rec yard and invited the inmates to play . . . . And then we purposefully sent the officer . . . and Mr. Gilmer saw the officer he immediately began to shake his head and arm" as if he were suddenly sad. When the officer left the rec yard, Mr. Gilmer went back "It seemed as if the victim was exaggerating his symptoms" for the sake of the psychiatrist.
It's sort of odd hearing the people on "This American Life" discuss the Gilmer case or reading the followers of the Amanda Knox trial trying to suss out what is the truth based on what little anecdotal evidence they have to cling to. The judge in the Gilmer trial thought "it was clear" that the murder was premeditated and yet many still have doubts (it turned out that Gilmer had Huntington's disease, a neurological disease which his doctor said would explain his appearance of faking symptoms). Amanda Knox was acquitted, but the Italian appeals court reversed.
"I'm still confused about whether he was good or not."
Gilmer's doctor laments about his patient's poor treatment and why it took so long to get him properly diagnosed: "They have a pre-conceived idea about what's going on and that's it. They're inflexible. . . they have a stereotype . . . and they won't budge beyond that."