“Badge of delusion”


Most people who read the editorial in the Friday March 27th Dallas Morning News will totally relate to the indignation toward the abusive behavior of a Dallas police officer, Robert Powell.  He showed such a lack of empathic understanding and social intelligence that it challenges our faith in mankind.


Most people will also feel at least some comfort as the editor did in the conclusion that although he will probably keep his job at least he will have to live forever with the self-knowledge “that in a matter of life and death, he screwed over a fellow human being just because he could.”


Unfortunately, this is living in a fantasy world where deep down everybody is a good person.  In my 42 years of practicing psychiatry I have never had an abusive person come in and say, “I am an insensitive, self-absorbed, abusive person and I really feel bad about it.  I suffer from guilt and shame and I want to do whatever I can do to atone for my bad behavior.  I know it’s wrong to get high on power trips and watching people squirm – I know it’s wrong to feel smug and righteous using the letter of the law to ignore extenuating circumstances, while jacking people around.”  And they also don’t say, “I know I should care what other people think of me, I should be able to put myself in other people’s shoes and be able to see things from their perspective.  I know I should have at least some spiritual connections and values outside of myself.  I shouldn’t rationalize and blame the victim when there’s a bad outcome.  I have to be true to myself – I was doing my job – the dude broke the law – everybody has an excuse.”


Reality is that it’s only those that are abused and victimized that live with the memory and pain forever.  

 See editorial http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/editorials/stories/DN-cop_0327edi.7341749c.html


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