This is part one of the two part transcript of my radio interview with Mary Ellen O'Toole
R.K.: And welcome to the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show WNJC 1360 AM out of Washington Township reaching Metro Philly and South Jersey. Sponsored by opednews.com. My guest tonight is Mary Ellen O'Toole, PhD.
She spent her career studying the criminal mind. She was one of the most senior profilers of the FBI until her retirement in 2009. She has helped capture, interview, and understand some of the world's most infamous people and she is recognized as the FBI's leading expert in the area of psychopathy. Psychopaths. Welcome to the show.
M.O.: Thank you so much. My pleasure to be here with you.
R.K.: Well as I emailed you, I have been doing a series of articles and interviews about psychopaths and I was delighted to find you when I discovered an article on the FBI website titled, The Corporate Psychopath which you co-authored with Paul Babiak and even more delighted once I found out that you're the trainer who trains the people at the FBI about psychopaths. Tell me a story about psychopaths. I like to start off my interviews kind of throwing it out to you out of the blue. Tell me a story about psychopaths.
M.O.: Well I think this is a good story and it's not fiction. There was a serial killer operating in the northwest for a little over twenty five, probably even closer to thirty years and he was approaching women on the street and convincing them that he was safe to go with. They would get into the car, despite their street savvy and their knowledge that there was a serial killer operating, and they would go with him because he looked so normal and he came across as very non-threatening.
In the end, Gary Leon Ridgway was identified as the Green River Killer and he pled guilty to forty nine murders of women in one county, ONE county, in the state of Washington. I had the opportunity as we were investigating the case and attempting to locate all of the victims to interview Gary over a period of weeks.
And I can tell you, having interviewed a number of these individuals, he was, he came across as very normal, he's not out of touch with reality, knows right from wrong, had a sense of humor, a pleasure to talk to. He was very proud of being the Green River Killer, but absolutely had no remorse for what he did to the victims, or their families. He was a thrill seeker. He was very grandiose. He had all of the markings, all of the traits of psychopathy.
As I sat across the table and next to him, I thought no wonder you were able to elude law enforcement for more than thirty years. You look just like us.
R.K.: Yeah. That's the way it is with psychopaths, isn't it?
M.O.: It is the way it is. We're looking for people that Hollywood creates as monsters. Someone that we can just look at physically and tell that there is something very malevolent about this person, or ominous. Or if I meet a psychopath I know the hair on the back of my neck will stand up. Well guess what? That doesn't happen.
R.K.: So, reading, from what I've learned, psychopaths, it's the opposite of that. Psychopaths are turn-ons. They're charismatic, they're attractive, that's part of their camouflage, natural camouflage, like a chameleon changes colors, they make themselves look attractive.
M.O.: That's a good word that I use as well. Chameleon. For your audience, here is a thumbnail overview of someone who is a psychopath, or psychopathic is the disorder. These are individuals who are glib and charming, but they're very grandiose. They believe the world revolves around them. They are not crazy, it's not a mental illness. They are thrill seekers and attention seekers. Their hallmark is that they have no empathy. They don't bond with other people. They don't bond with their children, their spouses, and that's okay with them. They're not distraught about the fact that they don't bond. In fact, they view feelings like you and I have as almost a weakness.
Psychopaths exist in every culture, in every country in the world and always have. Most psychopaths are males. They're intelligence reflects the intelligence of the average person so most are average in intelligence, some are married some are single, some have families, some do not. Some live on the street homeless and some, as you read in the White Collar psychopath, can run a company.
They can be in politics, they can be lawyers, they can be drawn to law enforcement or medicine. Any career, so psychopaths exist among us and they always have been but, the beauty of the research that's been done on psychopathy which has been spearheaded by Dr. Robert Hare, spelled like the bunny, is that the twenty traits of psychopathy exist in every psychopath, so if you meet a psychopath from, let's say Ireland, (I say that because of my last name), that person will have the same traits as a psychopath who lives in Philadelphia.