Thoughts on Pyschopaths: We Need To Talk About Kevin

By Cathy H - 6:20 AM

I just finished watching this film, and it gave me legit chills. It is totally my kind of movie, with a intriguing dark storyline and characters that ask the audience to reflect on their upbringings and the way they came to be. It focuses on the strained relationship of a mother whom does not embrace motherhood or being a good parent to her son, Kevin who was a strange child that eventually went on a killing rampage at his school as well as killing both his sister and her husband. The amount of hateful behaviour that Kevin has exhibited in this video, all the way until the end is both repulsing yet fascinating. This movie totally made me think of everything I studied in criminology on human behaviour and psychopathy.

I think this film totally shows that psychopaths are created from both nature and nurture:

1. Nurture: it's evident that Kevin was an outcast at his high school, in his family and especially knowing how uncomfortable his mom is around him to due his hateful actions. I think psychopaths are never brought up in a normal setting. 
For example, Robert Pickton who was brought on a slaughter pig farm ended up killing Vancouver prostitutes and burying them all over his pig farm. Growing up, Pickton had a very isolated childhood being surrounded by blood and gut and watching many animals he raised being put through the slaughterhouse. Growing up in this environment along with his strict mother and a lack of normal childhood away from the stink of slaughter farm again, this caused him to become more desensitized to the sight of blood and thought of  killing as he aided his mother with slaughtering animals from a young age. What if Pickton had grew up in a suburbs, surrounded by children with parents working in the business industry? He would not only be much more connected to his childhood, but he wouldn't have the environment in the first place to bury as many dead bodies as he did.

Another example is Ed Gein who killed many women he lured into his house and made their body parts to everyday household items which is a psychopathic tendency called "taking trophies" from their victims to give them a sense of accomplishment. Gein had also come from a troubled background, who was not very bright and often got bullied at school. On top of that, his family environment was hostile with parents that had a strained relationship and mother teaching her kids that all women were innately evil and manipulative. It's just like children that grow up in different kinds of cultures who learns different kinds of languages. Being taught to adopt this view of women obviously led him to  believe that women were inferior and deserved what he did to them. 

2. Nature: Aside from nurture, it is also evident that Kevin exhibited many signs of not being a "normal child" from a early age, in which his mother took him to the doctor and had him checked for autism as well as still being in a diaper past the toddler age. Also, killing his sister's pets and of course ultimately killing both his schoolmates and family in the end. 
A few examples I can think of is ofcourse Ted Bundy, whom was notorious for his high IQ and charming looks that he used to his advantage. I remember in a criminology course I took that children who exhibit a "triangle of behaviours" consisting of setting things on fire, torturing animals, and wetting the bed constantly are more prone to being psychopaths when they grow up. 

This reminds me of Luka Magnotta who killed and ate his roommate and was diagnosed with so many antisocial personality disorders that there wasn't even a proper "title" for his diagnosis. Pyschopaths, according to the HARE psychopath checklist are very narcissistic in nature and often have a different brainwave than normal people as they tend to get more restless and bored. Thus, they resort to more extreme and thrilling things that accumulate over time to ultimately killing people. I believe that people like Luka totally had innate tendencies exhibiting pyschopathy as he was known for having a wide range of social media accounts pretending to be different identities and seeking attention by being extremely focused on his outer appearance and trying to get famous by constantly auditioning for T.V. shows. Also like Kevin, he started with killing kittens in a vacuum bag and posting the video of that online for attention. Thus, I believe it is in the psychopath's nature to do extreme acts that draw attention and give them a sense of accomplishment and power because it is like entertainment to them. 

Overall, I think that many people have constructed the image of a psychopath as a despicable, strange, "satanic" human being that was born into the world ready to commit acts of evil. But I believe that without a context for them to exhibit their psychopathic behaviour, it would not be possible to act in the way they do. On the other hand, without inherent instincts and personalities such as a tendency for thrill seeking- even growing up with very loving parents and in a good environment can not completely stop them from committing these evil acts. I don't know if it's the fact that I've studied crime and criminals for the past 4 years, but I don't believe anyone is inherently evil. That no matter what vicious acts these people have committed, there is always a reason behind it. 

On the side note, this movie kind of confirms the struggles of motherhood and how I don't want to have kids ever. here are plenty of woman out there with maternal instincts and love for children out there, but some like me just don't really feel the whole children thing. The mother in this film just reminds me of how you can affect your child's life very badly if you are not prepared and bring another human into this world without knowing exactly what to do with him/her. Overall, I'd give this movie a 10/10! It has absolutely stunning cinematography, a intriguing story, and a very good take on the nature vs. nurture argument in psychology.

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