A Book of Remarkable Criminals

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    Saggistica, Criminologia

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    6,9 MB

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But do not let us flatter ourselves. DO not let us, in all the pomp and circumstance of stately history, blind ourselves to the fact that the crimes Of Frederick, or Napoleon, or their successors, are in essence no different from those Of Sheppard or Peace. We must not imagine that the bad man who happens to offend against those particular laws which constitute the criminal Code belongs to a peculiar or atavistic type, that he is a man set apart from the rest of his fellow-men by mental or physical peculiarities. That comforting theory of the Lombroso school has been exploded, and the ordinary inmate of our prisons shown to be only in a very slight degree below the average in mental and physical fitness of the normal man, a difference easily explained by the environment and conditions in which the ordinary criminal is bred. A certain English judge, asked as to the general Characteristics of the prisoners tried before him, said They are just like other people; in fact, I Often think that, but for different Opportunities and other accidents, the prisoner and I might very well be in one another's places. Greed, love of pleasure, writes a French judge, lust, idleness, anger, hatred, revenge, these are the chief causes of crime. These passions and desires are shared by rich and poor alike, by the educated and uneducated. They are inherent in human nature; the germ is in every man.

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