Thursday, November 3, 2011

Summary and Response to Chapter 8 & 9 of The Psychopath Test

In Chapter 8 titled The Madness of David Shayler, Ronson describes the story of Rachel North, a survivor of a terrorist attack on a train in London, and David Shayler, a former MI5, who believes the terrorist attacks were planned by the government. After 7/7/05 when the terrorist attacks happened, Rachel North started blogging about her experience and began to connect with other survivors of the attacks. Conspiracy theorists, including David Shayler, profiled North as a fake person planted by the government because they believe one person couldn't have possibly blogged that much in the amount of time she had. Ronson interviewed North about this after he had found an article about himself written by the same conspiracy theorists mentioning her in the text. He then emailed Shayler for an interview who agreed and met with him several times throughout the years. Ronson found Shayler to be the "wrong sort of mad" because he believed that 9/11 was also set up by the government, he claimed himself to be the Messiah, cross dressed (which is found in the DSM-IV to be a mental disorder) and more. He concludes the chapter with the idea that everyone has a sort of madness about them, but when we see others who we consider to be more mad than us we then feel better about ourselves.

I've never understood why conspiracy theorists believe that terrorist attacks are planted by their government, especially the attacks of 9/11. I find it to be a pathetic paranoia and unfathomable how they can have a lack of empathy for the survivors who experienced it and the people who died because of it. I can't imagine what it would have been like for Rachel North to be told she wasn't real and that what she went through was all a lie. It makes me angry just thinking about it! I'm a very patriotic person and plan on serving in the military so when someone criticizes my country and government saying they intentionally want to hurt people I get all worked up. In chapter 9, I was happy to finally hear Ronson AND Hare both say that the psychopath checklist can be bad in the wrong hands. Also, I found that the way the undercover cop, Lizzie, acted was almost ethically wrong. I felt that her, and the team of investigators, were trying to get Colin Stagg to confess to the murder in a forceful way, as if they knew for a fact it was him who murdered Rachel Nickell when they didn't.

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