Monstrous Crimes, Framing, and the Preventive State: The Moral Failure of Forensic Psychiatry

  • John Douard
  • Pamela D. Schultz
Chapter
Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 53)

Abstract

Monsters and predators frighten, entertain, and disgust us. The idea of a creature that is a volatile mixture of human and animal parts (the monster) triggers our visual and visceral imagination perhaps more than any other image. The fear of predation – literally, eating another’s flesh – disgusts and repels, but like rubberneckers who slow down to witness accidents, our voyeurism seems unconstrained by shame. The monster and the predator threaten us by threatening to rend the social fabric and bring about a state of nature in which, as Hobbes famously wrote, we are engaged in a war of all against all, and life is nasty, brutish and short. We demand that the government and its legal process protect us from the monsters and predators in our midst, which has resulted in a quest for security at the expense of the protection of the rights of citizens that runs parallel with the quest for protection from “terrorists,” as reflected in the epigram to this book. The referent of the “terrorist,” however, is often simply somebody who looks, acts, or talks in a way that is vaguely Middle-Eastern. Similarly, people who look, act, or talk like our vaguely sketched stereotype of what constitutes a sex offender, an image that has come to constitute a monstrous predator, trigger a panic as well (Lancaster 2011a, b).

Keywords

Personality Disorder Child Sexual Abuse Criminal Justice System Moral Panic Public Health Approach 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Douard
    • 1
  • Pamela D. Schultz
    • 2
  1. 1.New BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.AlfredUSA

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