Oscar Pistorius——not mentally disabled, but a psychopath?

No mental when fired shots.

It’s been a month since various media shouted the news that didn’t have a mental disability when he killed his girlfriend. So technically, he has only one disability, his amputated legs. However, it’s been over a year (Feb 2013) when I speculated that might be a psychopath along the lines of fallen and disgraced sports heroes like Lance Armstrong and O.J. Simpson.

Pistorius in track suit waving to crowds.

Oscar Pistorius ’11 WikiCmns

I’d have to say the “jury is still out” regarding whether Pistorius yet possesses a second disability—the mental disorder, not illness, “psychopathy.”But, I can’t say the jury is out. South Africa prosecutes defendants  in front of judges, not juries. (For business reasons alone, my good friend, a jury consultant, doesn’t like this fact!)   South African Judge T. M. Masipa, advised by two assessors, will ultimately decide Pistorius’ fate. Her reasoning  will go a long way toward answering the question of Pistorius’ psychopathy quotient.

Pistorius, an Olympic and para Olympic track star,  showed signs of the typical psychopath on occasion before the killing on Feb. 14, 2013 of his live-in girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp:

-He relies on guns and carries them,

-He has threatened men and women alike (simple assault cases which have been dropped), mostly around affairs of the heart, and

-He almost shot a friend when a gun he was holding accidentally discharged in a restaurant.

Man running on long black, springy blades.

Pistorius in action. WikiCmns

What is a psychopath?

Psychopathy is a complex disorder which can be fueled by childhood traumas such as Pistorius faced with the double-amputation of his legs below the knees. But it may be brought to fruition by the adulation that star athletes like Pistorius and O.J. Simpson experience. When people never say “No” to you because of your talent and celebrity, then the first “No’s” or rejection can send you into a rageful tailspin.

Prosecutors contend Pistorius murdered the attractive 29 year-old Steenkamp in a jealous rage after an argument.

O.J. developed rickets as a child and wore braces on his legs until the age of five. His parents divorced. He grew up in the projects in San Francisco, ran with a street gang, and had a history of violence before making his name in football. He was found guilty in a civil trial of the “wrongful deaths” of his  ex wife,  Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman. 

Closeup of Pistorius' steel blades.

Bladerunner’s secret.WikiCmns

International—South African?—Psychopathy.

Psychopathy is also called sociopathy, but psychologists and clinicians call it Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) as defined in the  APA‘s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). I summarized the definition of antisocial personality disorder in the current DSM-V in my prior-mentioned blog. Since I’m unfamiliar with South Africa’s terminology, their version of ASPD is likely defined just like dissocial personality disorder in the  International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD). According to Wiki,

“Dissocial personality disorder is characterized by at least 3 of the following:

  1. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others;
  2. Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations;
  3. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them;
  4. Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence;
  5. Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment;
  6. Marked readiness to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.”

The last two traits—and the resulting “lies”—may be givens whenever one is fighting for one’s freedom (sometimes, life) in a court trial. One’s lawyers may also play a part. The traits more likely are developed in one’s youth and accentuated when one is celebrated, as many elite athletes are, as a superstar for whom the rules don’t apply.

Black man, OJ Simpson, seated in white shirt & slacks.

O.J. ’90 WikiCmns