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When discussing assaults, people often express surprise and even disbelief.

Who does that?

Why would someone do that?

I can’t believe it?

What kind of person could do that?

It is a natural response. Most of us, possessing some modicum of ethics, conscience, and civil awareness, could not commit such acts. We are, in many ways, moral animals.  

When it comes to the people who abduct, rape, randomly assault, and murder, we are often talking about a different kind of animal. An animal without empathy, remorse, or guilt. These are words they might use from time to time, but they are disconnected from authentic feelings.  

In short, they don’t care.  

At the very least, they don’t care about the target of the assault. As Stanton E Samenow writes in his book Inside the Criminal Mind (2014), criminals rarely think about the consequence of their behaviour, “shutting off consideration of conscience to do whatever they want and experience no lasting remorse.” (128) Whether it is damaging property, stealing, sexual abuse, or murder, this person is not inhibited by conscience and certainly not the consequences for a victim. 

For Samenow, the answer to the “Why would someone do that?” is quite simple.  The purpose, he writes, is to achieve a sense of sheer power, control, and excitement.” (128). Very simple.  

Criminology continues to evolve and make new discoveries. There is much more to learn. From a self-defence perspective, we don’t need to understand the nuances of the criminal mind.  We do, however, need to recognize that there are people who will commit assaults for no reason that meshes with our civilized minds.  

He is a different kind of animal. Train accordingly.  

Samenow, Stanton E. Inside the Criminal Mind. New York: Broadway Books, 2014.


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