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Outlaws

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Al Jassas View Drop Down
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    Posted: 09 Sep 2009 at 12:23
Hello to you all
 
Just seen a documentry about Ned Kelly and it game an idea for a thread.
 
For years, outlaws like Ned Kelly, Billy the Kid, Jesse James and others have captured the imagination of people around the world even today with films and documentries given to people who simply murderers and thugs.
 
I was wondering, why are people so interested in these outlaws and why did they achieve a revered status even though it was the poor who suffered from their crimes. In many of the narratives, ballads, songs and even newspaper reporting those outlaws were portrayed as the ultimate good guys and the Police as the bad guys.
 
This phenomenon isn't just in the US or Australia, outlaws particularly in Balkans and the middle east are still seen as freedom fighters and as heroes despite the fact they killed more of their own people than the occupier.
 
Why do people glorify outlaws so much? Is it because they challange a corrupt government at that time and thus are seen as "freedom loving" people, or because of other reasons?
 
Please join the discussion.
 
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Omar al Hashim View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Sep 2009 at 18:54
At the time Ned Kelly wasn't popular at all. He became so later. I'm not sure why really, but the first movie about him was in 1906 so it happened less than 25 years after his death.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Sep 2009 at 06:03
Outlaws... i could never understand their appeal while they lived or the morphed mythology of their heroic status surrounding their deaths. They were after all, selfish cold blooded killers first and foremost in real life! I suppose it starts with a sympathetic press and blossoms from there into some warped romanticism of what ever cause they got stuck with in the public imagination?




Edited by Panther - 11 Sep 2009 at 06:03
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Windemere Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Sep 2009 at 06:43
Ever since Robin Hood, some outlaws have had a mystique about them, the idea of rebelling against an oppressive (though legal) authority, and robbing the rich, to give to the poor. This appeals to a great many people, who identify more closely with the outlaw than with official authority figures. The outlaw carries out the deeds that they secretly admire but which they themselves aren't in any position to accomplish.
 
Most outlaws, of course, don't rob the rich and give to the poor. They break the law for their own benefit. But probably a lot of people consider them to be the underdogs, going up against a powerful but not very popular authority structure, and people secretly admire them for that.


Edited by Windemere - 11 Sep 2009 at 06:44
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Zeila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Sep 2009 at 10:56
The popular underdog figure Robin Hood was atleast noble as an outlaw, the individuals Al Jassas mentioned were basically glamourized murderers and robbers. I think the latter group appeals to the rebellious side of humans.  I can understand why people would glorify Chicago mobsters during the Great depression, but why later generations living in better times would do the same makes no sense to me. Bonnie & Clyde atleast have the romantic factor going for them so i can understand their popularity, but there is nothing heroic about characters like Al Capone or the individual Denzel Washington played in American Gangster.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2009 at 21:11
Do you realise you just posted a link to this thread?

A bit of description might be nice too!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2009 at 21:49
There are several type of outlaws; in my personal opinion, they can divided between "rebels" and "criminals".
 
"Rebels" are those who rebel against an established order or a system with the ideal to create a better world. They could be revolutionaries, renegades, or deserters. One of the Roman historical firgures that I admire the most was Quintus Sertorius; who was effectively a Roman general who turned into an outlaw after he openly declared himself against the dictatorship of Sulla.
In a similar manner, in recent history, Garibaldi, the Bolshevik revolutionaries, Pancho Villa, and Emilio Zapata had all been "outlaws" in their own sense. Even Joseph Stalin was an outlaw prior to the Bolshevik revolutions.
 
"Criminals" are those who operate "outside" the system for their own benefit. These include bank robbers, gangsters, mafiosi, and sect leaders. Figures like Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Pablo Escobar, and John Gotti might be admirable for the intelligence, cunningness, and business genious; but there is nothing admirable about their morality or the¡r personal values.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2009 at 02:19
Ned Kelly's armour was pretty awesome though, you must admit we should give him credit for his inventiveness
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AksumVanguard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2009 at 18:51
Its unethical and unwise to admire a group of outlaws who did nothing but prey upon those who were unfortunate as most were. Outlaws have been polarized for many entertainment purposes, and the nostalgia of having a certain freedom is sort of misperceived.People are also obsessed with animals who are very deadly,carnal, and vicious hunters of the wild. I guess its all symbolism of the story of outlaws as with that of beastly animals in the wild,have a survived and are withstanding to to uttermost danger.

Criminals are often made folk heroes by some cultures who have previously had a cultural background being shunned upon and periods when people who felt defiance and authoritative opposition was a testament of freedom. But the reality is that most of these Outlaws rob and are menacing to some of their own kindred .

People love to hear tall tales, and some have a tendancy to admire brute strenghth since our competitive nature requires us to take notice in the illusion of power viewed by the public to some Outlaws.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scourge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2009 at 07:45
They do this with all famous criminals. Serial Killers, Gangsters, ETC... Its cause they are seen as horrible and interesting at the same time. When thieves are on the run stealing to survive many see them as fighting the machine and living manly or what have you. They live vicariously through these criminals. Though on occasion criminals are often extremely interested in other criminals. Like a Serial Killer would more than likely know everything about other previously captured Serial Killers.


Edited by Scourge - 17 Dec 2009 at 07:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2009 at 08:49
Too much Hollywood and not enough factual history as to the actual role of these individuals within their contemporary societies. No one thought "pirates" fascinating in the 17th century and I dare say no one looks upon their current manifestation as "romantic" in the least.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scourge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2009 at 10:57
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Too much Hollywood and not enough factual history as to the actual role of these individuals within their contemporary societies. No one thought "pirates" fascinating in the 17th century and I dare say no one looks upon their current manifestation as "romantic" in the least.


That depends cause that guy scott peterson still gets hundreds of letters every day from women who think they love him.
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If we are to measure civilization by human stupidity, we are indeed lost!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scourge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2009 at 11:19
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

If we are to measure civilization by human stupidity, we are indeed lost!


Some criminals aren't stupid and some psychopaths who have committed heinous crimes have tested with IQs of 130-150. Though yeah to measure a society by criminals is ridiculous at best though to say criminality equals stupidity isn't true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2009 at 11:29
You are confusing the sociopath [who certainly knows the art of manipulation] for the fools. The madman might believe in his genius but society has its own rules for survival and violence and deceit are not part of them. There are some who still belive Hitler an astute politician, but such does not make him one since preying upon the weak is hardly laudatory. To believe one's self as capable of fooling everyone no matter the hubris involved is still stupid!

Edited by drgonzaga - 17 Dec 2009 at 11:30
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2009 at 11:30
People like @**holes. It's that simple. For some reason there is always a misguided section of our society which loves to see people being rebellious, selfish, dramatic and just getting their own way with scant regard for others. Never mind that people get hurt and killed, never mind that everyone else seems to manage just fine with obeying the rules and coexisting harmoniously with eachother. Let's all pay attention to and idolise the violent, egocentric maniac.

Australians are some of the worst, too. Ned Kelly was one thing. And even though he had no right to stop the policeman apprehending his sister, one can't help but feel some sympathy for a bloke who was just discharging his masculine obligations to take care of his little sister. But the amount of awe that some people hold such scumbags as Mark "Chopper" Read in is an absolute disgrace. The guy was a murderer, brutalised women, paranoid to the point he maimed and killed people who had done nothing to deserve it, and just an all round b@stard.

And yet so many people in this country think he's pretty cool just because he is 'tough' and he dispensed vigilante murders to people he thought deserved it. Any one else think that a heavily drug addicted, paranoid, violent maniac probably isn't the best person to arbitrate on who should and should not be allowed to live?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scourge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2009 at 11:57
You guys are both right in a sense but morality is governed by the self and what you perceive to the world. So in a sense everybody could be wrong or their isn't a such thing as truth and truth is only a made up idea. It depends on how you view the topic. If I was a Serial Killer per say I would think that I was right and what I was doing was valid and not wrong in anyway. I may know that everybody else thinks its wrong but it still doesn't change the fact that its a particular persons world view on something and crime is a behavior that is governed by impulsive behaviors and morality.

Though in the sense that people like assholes. Everybody knows the robin hood story. Well there you go.


Edited by Scourge - 17 Dec 2009 at 11:58
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scourge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2009 at 12:01
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

You are confusing the sociopath [who certainly knows the art of manipulation] for the fools. The madman might believe in his genius but society has its own rules for survival and violence and deceit are not part of them. There are some who still belive Hitler an astute politician, but such does not make him one since preying upon the weak is hardly laudatory. To believe one's self as capable of fooling everyone no matter the hubris involved is still stupid!


Yeah but a madman is inherently crazy and aren't necessarily considered criminals like another offender who may or may not be a psychopath. Though psychopathic criminals who commit crimes with intelligence are far more dangerous when it comes to crime than any insane person will ever be and to classify a person who is a psychopath as insane is only underestimating them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2009 at 15:38
Perhaps you are parsing too choppily. Insanity at law requires the condition of non compos mentis, that is the inability to discern between right and wrong and that capacity is not a "failing" of the sociopath. Likewise, going back to the jargon, a psychopath is a sociopath totally devoid of either remorse or empathy and while one might claim such is a mental illness, there is no physical incapacity or neuropathology! Mental incompetence is de rigueur and it does not take a rocket scientist to discern the absence of a capacity for reason. Regardless the clever lawyer and the appeal to diminished reason as a consequence of intoxication, at law such does not fly as an "insanity" defense. Under any stretch, a criminal is a sociopath--that is he knows the bounds of proper social conduct and disregards them as a consequence of dysfunctional egotism. A sociopath becomes a psychopath solely through the absence of any and all empathy or remorse; neither are considered insane at law.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2009 at 15:40
Hello Doc
 
Well judging by the number of ballads written about outlaws and highwaymen who mostly preyed on the commoners back in the 17th and on those people did have a fanbase. Of course most of the people hate them but after their deaths, many of the outlaws turn into legends.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2009 at 16:13
Well, Al Jassas, one might say that ballads and tales over these sociopaths are really but the common man's means to engage in a bit of "epater le bourgeois"...or the marginalized artiste desiring attention to his calling. I can not help but think of John Gay's 18th century opus, The Beggars Opera and its underlying theme of overall corruption. In a sense, we still have this romantic notion that crime itself is but a symptom of overall social corruption. After all, we still debate it today from the premise of Nature vs. Nurture. Unfortunately such is little more than Utopic thinking and the perennial search for a terrestrial heaven. The idea of a caped crusader stepping beyond the law so as to right it is the purview of comic books and scatter-brains--a les barricades mes amis!
 
Better to conclude, the devil made them do it and move on...after administering swift punishment, for the sake of discipline naturallyEvil Smile
 
By the way, idealists are the most efficient in the administration of punishment...just ask Chairman Mao or Robespierre.


Edited by drgonzaga - 17 Dec 2009 at 17:20
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2009 at 16:32
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Hello Doc
 
Well judging by the number of ballads written about outlaws and highwaymen who mostly preyed on the commoners back in the 17th and on those people did have a fanbase. Of course most of the people hate them but after their deaths, many of the outlaws turn into legends.
 
AL-Jassas
 
First of all, you need to realize that  those people in power at those time including "police" were very ofthen nothing more than hypocratic oppressors who enjoyed robbing the others hiding under the illusion of decency, supremacy and pseudo legitimacy.
 
Although those famous criminals preyed on the commoners as well, but at the same time they were brave enough to challenge that hated top of the society, "exploitators" in Marx's terminology. That made them the legend, despite all the dark deeds the earned a fame of being rude with those who were hated by the weak.
 
And that applies not only to individual criminals but the whole "pirate societes" like, for example, Ukrainian Cossacks that robberred and killed whenefer they saw benefit. And now they are mythologized to the point of always being "national heros", etc...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dolphin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2009 at 21:35
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Perhaps you are parsing too choppily. Insanity at law requires the condition of non compos mentis, that is the inability to discern between right and wrong and that capacity is not a "failing" of the sociopath. Likewise, going back to the jargon, a psychopath is a sociopath totally devoid of either remorse or empathy and while one might claim such is a mental illness, there is no physical incapacity or neuropathology! Mental incompetence is de rigueur and it does not take a rocket scientist to discern the absence of a capacity for reason. Regardless the clever lawyer and the appeal to diminished reason as a consequence of intoxication, at law such does not fly as an "insanity" defense. Under any stretch, a criminal is a sociopath--that is he knows the bounds of proper social conduct and disregards them as a consequence of dysfunctional egotism. A sociopath becomes a psychopath solely through the absence of any and all empathy or remorse; neither are considered insane at law.

I don't totally agree. The definition of psychopathic personality disorder is strictly defined in psychology, and despite attempts to replace it a couple of years back with sociopathic personality disorder due to the widespread abuse of the term in the media, and also to highlight the social impact of the disorder, the term has remained as a psychological (or, more accurately, psychiatric) diagnosis. Even more confusing, antisocial personality disorder has been a term bandied about the past couple of years as a suitable replacement for both! 

I do agree with your distinction between the disorder and criminality. There is a widespread public perception that a vast proportion of criminals are psychopathic, but the most recent data from England states that of the 3300 mentally disordered offenders (a legal term for the meeting of mental illness and crime) currently incarcerated, 13% meet the criteria for psychopathic disorder. On top of this, studies of captive populations, such as this one, only give data for the people who have come into contact with the police, and do not account for the individuals who have a mental illness, even if it is undiagnosed, who can successfully, or at least adequately, interact with society.

With regard to a criminal being a sociopath, I would venture to say that it depends on how you define the term. If the term is taken to indicate a mental illness, then every criminal is not sociopathic, as every criminal would be deemed to lack the mens rea necessary for conviction. If you use the term colloquially (pardon the affront), then an individual would at least seem sociopathic. A more accurate diagnosis, at least based on studies of in-patient and prisoner populations, is that of conduct disorder, a clumsy, catch-all term that encapsulates a persistent violation of the rights and privacy of others. In other words, sociopathy as a term to define criminal behaviour, or as a term to define mentally disorder behaviour, is largely inadequate, at least for the time being.

Finally, with regard to the lack of physical incapacity or neuropathology in individuals with psychopathic personality disorder, again it depends on what you mean by physical incapacity. Do you mean - observable physical symptoms? Personality disorders are notoriously hard to characterise, and are really only terms used to describe a collection of behaviours observable consistently across individuals, timescales, and cultures. By definition, a person with a personality disorder does not have any 'tell-tale' physical symptoms, such as is found with schizophrenics in their gait and speech patterns, but behavioural maladaptations are more than enough. I'll copy and paste the PCL-R checklist to save time:

Factor1: Personality "Aggressive narcissism"

  • Glibness/superficial charm
  • Grandiose sense of self-worth
  • Pathological lying
  • Conning/manipulative
  • Lack of remorse or guilt
  • Shallow affect
  • Callous/lack of empathy
  • Failure to accept responsibility for own actions

Factor2: Case history "Socially deviant lifestyle"

  • Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
  • Parasitic lifestyle
  • Poor behavioral control
  • Promiscuous sexual behavior
  • Lack of realistic, long-term goals
  • Impulsivity
  • Irresponsibility
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Early behavior problems
  • Revocation of conditional release

Traits not correlated with either factor

  • Many short-term marital relationships
  • Criminal versatility


A score of thirty or more out of forty is deemed psychopathic. Although not perfect, the checklist has been an accurate predictor of future criminal behaviour, and has remained stable over time and between individuals, so I would assert that either one is psychopathic or one isn't, and it (thankfully) doesn't boil down to the legal profession to decide either way. 

I hope this made a little sense, because I've been up all night doing an essay, and this was a welcome distraction!
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