Yesterday's post describing the behavior of various serial killers included a fairly graphic description of Edmund Kemper's crimes.
There are a lot of people who worry that they're not nice people, because they said something rude (which they later regretted). Or, because they feel schadenfreude, and wonder if that means they're evil. But these things simply mean they're human.
And if you actually worry about whether you're a decent human being, you're probably not a sociopath anyway. (Sociopaths don't waste their time fretting over such trivialities as right and wrong.)
To get a sense of the utter inhumanity of a sociopath, imagine yourself with your mother's severed head. (Never mind that you were the one who just killed her and cut it off.) How would you react? Would it make you sexually aroused? And would you then want to stick your erection into her lifeless mouth and pump away until you had an orgasm?
Okay, that may be setting the bar for human decency awfully low, and even most sociopaths wouldn't do that. But to get a sense of how utterly without humanity sociopaths are, you have to imagine what it was like to be Edmund Kemper.
The reason so many sociopaths get away with their perfidies is because non-sociopaths can't even conceive of how utterly without remorse or sympathy sociopaths are. Most people simply assume that everybody else is more or less like them. (Which, by the way, is also why most sociopaths often suspect the worst about others.)
Also, note what Kemper said about why he shot his grandparents. Every now and then you hear of a killer who pulled the trigger "just to see what it was like." No one ever believes them because they can't conceive of themselves ever taking a human life out of a mild sense of curiosity.
Normal people, when they hear that, will always assume there was some burning reason the sociopath had that he wants to keep secret. But a sociopath actually will kill out of mild curiosity, simply because they assign zero value to other's lives. (I wrote about this phenomenon here, in 2009.)
Kemper, by the way, is an anomaly among serial killers. After he killed his mother and her friend, he turned himself in to the police. I can't think of another serial killer who's ever done that.
Also, his mother was a horrific woman. She was an abusive alcoholic who forced Edmund, from a very young age, to sleep in the basement by himself, even though he was terrified by the noises that the boilers made. No one deserves her fate. But if anybody did, it would be a monster who creates another monster by forcing a little boy to sleep alone, locked away in a place that terrifies him.