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Inside the Criminal Mind


Not “cogito ergo sum,” but “I think; therefore it is so.”

Let’s see now. What was that guy’s name, the psychologist whose area of expertise was the criminal personality? I attended his lecture a couple of decades ago when I was working on my master’s. He presented a fascinating study of convicts and the way their minds operate. Stanton. Yes, Stanton, but Stanton what? I had not thought of him in years, yet when George Bush was delivering his State of the Union speech, the quote, “I think; therefore it is so,” kept appeared in my head, especially, when the president said, “On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the outcome of this battle. Let us find our resolve and turn events toward victory.” Especially when George talked about Iraq, terrorism, and the enemy.

So, I did what any inquisitive person would do-I used “The Google.” I typed Stanton+criminal+mind and clicked “search.”

This yielded Samenow-Stanton Samenow, Ph.D and plenty of sites.

“I think; therefore it is so.” This, according to Samenow, characterizes the mind of a criminal. “I think; therefore it is so” characterizes the mind of George W. Bush.

It is a cognitive error that compels the president to inflict his will even after the electorate has spoken in loud repudiation. He is resolute, a quality we could admire if his actions produced great gains for humanity. But they don’t. Instead, Bush has unleashed chaos across this country and in the Middle East.

Samenow says: ‘Criminals often function on the basis of assumptions. They see themselves as the hub of the wheel around which all else revolves. There is no need to seek facts or weigh alternatives if a person believes he or she already knows it all.’

That’s an accurate assessment of George Bush. And so is this:

Thinking something is what matters. The criminal does not see any need to justify this. He operates on the basis of his own premise without checking it out. Of course, if he were to do this while committing a crime, he would likely jeopardize himself. So, he is fully capable of ascertaining facts when it suits his purpose. The ‘I think; therefore it is so’ is part of his attempt to impose his will upon others, to exercise power, and control. It provides graphic evidence of his failure to put himself in the place of others and to empathize. The costs of this thinking error are often devastating to innocent people.

Certainly, the thinking errors of George Bush have been devastating. My family’s loss of Marine Lance Cpl. Chase Comley in Iraq makes us a casualty of the president’s criminal mind. But all of us here at home are his casualties. . Think about military families, the people of New Orleans, the poor and middle class. Even those who haven’t realized it yet are casualties. Bush’s domestic hit list is long. And so is his foreign; the Iraqi population and the Iraqi culture.

Additional, appropriate Samenow findings: ‘Most criminals have idealist visions. They long for large cash retirements and dream of going to heaven. Many, too, are religious, and look at themselves as better people because of it. However, these visions all exist on their own terms.’

There’s more: ‘Despite having a decent self-concept, the criminal’s self-image is very tenuous. His self-esteem is veritably frail. When he is not immediately gratified, he is likely to become irate.’

We might as well substitute the proper noun Bush for the pronouns ‘his’ and ‘he’ and the common noun ‘criminals.’

He feels no obligation to anyone except his own interests. He has no understanding of responsible decision making, having prejudged situations. He has a daily struggle with “Murphy’s Law”. That is, where something is bound to go wrong, it probably will. Criminals cannot cope with this obstacle well.

Yep, this is G. W. Bush. Things were bound to go wrong in Iraq. Over and over, wrong has prevailed. But, now, George Bush wants another opportunity for his “new” strategy which, in reality, is his old strategy. “I think; therefore it is so.”

We must remove this criminal from our house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and charge him with breaking and entering. He has broken everything he’s touched during his tenure as president. And his plan is to continue breaking and entering. Iran is in his sights. Nonbinding resolutions won’t stop George Bush. He’s told us this. “I think; therefore it is so.”

“Book him, Dano.”

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at:



Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

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