30% of Guatemalans are maybe sociopaths according to Government

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This is a strange article that appeared on the front page of Siglo 21 yesterday.  Based on studies from the National Institute of Forensic Sciences (Inacif) done on both crime victims and perpetrators, 30% of Guatemalans ¨could¨ be sociopaths. According to the article in a ¨normal society¨ 3% of people are sociopaths, in a country like Guatemala, this pathology could be 30%.

The article is creative in its use of the conditional. It never actually says that 30% of people are sociopaths, who are defined in the article as people whose ¨severe antisocial personality causes them to shun (rehuir) established norms.¨It just says they might be.

“When visiting schools, we encounter students who want to be the ones who rule, are always outside the rules, do damage and enjoy it,” says one of the researchers, who asked not to be named.

I’m not trying to make light of this. Well actually I am. I think you’d be hard pressed to visit any school in the world where you didn’t encounter at least a couple students who thought like that. But there is at least one voice of sanity in the article.

Marco Antonio Garavito, from the Mental Health League of Guatemala says that while he doesn’t have specific data, he is sure that 95% of crimes are committed not because somebody enjoys violence for the sake of it, not because people are sociopaths. They do it because they want money, or power, or something else, he said.  I’d have to agree on that one.

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