The Psychobabble of Murder

Here is something one never hears:

Every time an adolescent or young adult is murdered in Britain these days (as one was yesterday), my internet server or my newspaper tells me that tributes have been paid to him or her, as though being the victim of a murder were some kind of achievement. The young person murdered is almost always ‘brilliant,’ ‘bubbly’ or ‘beautiful,’ or, if male, a talented footballer. No really bad person, or even one of doubtful character, it seems, is ever murdered: which certainly does not accord with my experience of murder victims, that I think I may fairly claim to be above average.

This will sound harsh at first to some ears, but keep reading.

17 thoughts on “The Psychobabble of Murder

  1. Louise

    ‘No really bad person, or even one of doubtful character, it seems, is ever murdered: which certainly does not accord with my experience of murder victims, that I think I may fairly claim to be above average.’

    ‘does not accord with my experience of murder victims,’

    Is this supposed to be funny because it is absolutely hilarious? A spiritualist, a phrenologist and a psychiatrist. Is their no beginning to the good doctor’s talents?

    Look, sweetie, you got ‘out as early as you could and you didn’t have any kids yourself’. I think that, given your heartbreaking family background, you made the right decision. But you must have suspected that there might be a price to be paid for it.

    Reply
    1. Mary

      How about a painful accurate observation about the gap between the claims and the reality?

      Perhaps most nealty summarized by pointing out that Philadelphia is unlikely to have been atypical, and when they did a study, they concluded that a third of all murder victims in that city had longer rap sheets than their killers.

      Reply
      1. Alphonsus Jr.

        Louise has launched a manic one-woman crusade against Theodore Dalrymple. It’s very strange.

        Reply
        1. Louise

          Alphonsus Jr has launched a ‘manic’ on man crusade in defence of Theodore Dalrymple. It’s very strange. (or so they thought on the fish eaters forum).

          Reply
        1. Louise

          My reply was to Mary. Just another question: You claimed that when ‘ when they did a study, they concluded that a third of all murder victims in that city had longer rap sheets than their killers.’

          Who is ‘they’ and do you have a link to this study? Thank you in advance.

          Although, I must say, I hadn’t realised that among his many careers that Dalrymple had been a coroner in Philadelphia. Now, that is impressive.

          In which other context would Dalrymple have encountered murder victims?

          Again, thank you in advance.

          Reply
        2. Mary

          Have you got another? One that demonstrates that most murder victims are indeed good, upstanding citizens?

          Reply
  2. Alphonsus Jr.

    “What goes without saying should surely go unsaid.”
    Dalrymple is a master of the peripheral observation. This is a great part of the joy in reading him.

    As for Louise, well, it should surely go unsaid.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Murder Victims, You Brought This Upon Yourselves | So Sick of Drowning

  4. Henry Reardon

    There’s nothing new about praising the dead. A boy in my school was killed through misadventure when I was in Grade 7. (I’m Canadian.) He and a friend were crossing a river on a railroad bridge when the train came along. (It may help to think of the train scene in the film Stand By Me.) Jim managed to find a spot on the bridge that was off the tracks but Stephen didn’t and was hit by the train and killed. I remember an announcement at school the next day and a tribute in the yearbook that talked about what a wonderful boy he was and how all his classmates liked him. I didn’t know him but I seem to recall hearing friends say he was a bully and few people like bullies.

    I suppose no one wants to tell the parents that little Johnny was a jerk – or worse – so they indulge in the polite fiction that he was a very good boy who was loved by all. That quickly becomes the public story of who this individual was, regardless of reality.

    Reply

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