Today’s news could be called Sociopath News, thanks to scheming politicians and bureaucrats, scary athletes, sex-crazed illegal aliens, and more.
Officially, there’s no such thing as a “sociopath.” Sociopath is just lay person shorthand for someone with an antisocial personality disorder. So that we’re all on the same page here when I use the term sociopath, I’m relying on a definition I pulled off of WebMD:
Symptoms usually include antisocial behavior in which there is little concern for the rights of others such as indifference to the moral or legal standards of the region or community. Behavior patterns usually include excessive drinking, fighting and irresponsibility. A key to the disorder is long lasting, persistent, manipulative, exploitive actions and manners that determinedly ignore others.
There’s actually more to the definition, stuff about age of onset or proper diagnosis, but I’m skipping those parts. What I want to focus on in this round-up post are individuals or cultures that have “little concern for the rights of others,” are “indifferen[t] to the moral or legal standards of the region or community,” and who engage in “long lasting, persistent, manipulative, exploitive actions and manners that determinedly ignore others.” To the extent that don’t care about morals, their own physical or mental needs define the boundaries of their thoughts and conduct.
Athletes without conscience. I got stuck on the sociopath shtick yesterday when I was watching Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel. It’s pay TV, so I can’t put a video here, but I’ll tell you briefly about the segment that triggered my thoughts about sociopathy. If you follow baseball, which I don’t, this story is probably already familiar to you:
Matt Bush entered professional baseball at 18. He got a big salary and started drinking with abandon. He was arrested repeatedly for all sorts of awful drunken behavior, but always apologized, got little wet noodle slaps, and walked away.
In 2012, while driving drunk, Bush ran over motorcyclist Tony Tufano, crushing Tufano’s entire upper body, including his face. It’s a miracle that Tufano is alive. In seconds, he went from being an active, engaged 72-year old to becoming an overweight, drug dependent, pain-ridden, deeply depressed recluse. Bush, meanwhile, drove away from the scene of his crime, only to be caught later.
Bush was sent to prison, then to a halfway house, and then ended up on the Texas Rangers because his escapades had left his throwing arm unimpaired. The Rangers exert control over him: He can’t drink, he can’t drive, and he has to live with this father. Fair enough. I believe in remorse, repentance, and redemption.
Except that as I watched the Real Sports segment, it appeared to me that Bush’s remorse was limited to the damage he did to his own life. To the extent he repented, it was to be sorry that he’d screwed himself up. Redemption? Well, you don’t get there from where he seems to be. This certainly could have been a nasty hit job through HBO’s selective editing (the media has been known to do this), but Bush as framed didn’t show one iota of sorrow for Tufano.
One got the feeling that Bush believes Tufano was at fault for getting under the wheels of Bush’s car. To the extent Bush has cleaned up his act, Tufano served as a useful device for triggering that change, but at no point did Bush acknowledge Tufano’s pain and suffering, nor did he seem to feel under any moral obligation to Tufano. Bush was satisfied that, having read the Bible in prison, God had forgiven him, and everything else was past history.
To me, that’s pure sociopath.
But it turns out that Bush is, if you’ll pardon the pun, Bush-league when it comes to sociopaths and sports. Only when you read about Bruno Fernandes de Souza will you fully understand the sociopath athlete: