All across America, protests against the death of George Floyd while in police custody have devolved into riots, looting, arson and vandalism. I am willing to bet that many of the rioters are sociopaths, or followers of sociopaths.
Atlantic City, New Jersey, where I live, was targeted. I went for a walk on the Boardwalk last Monday morning, as I do once or twice a week. I passed multiple stores that were boarded up — one of them after windows were smashed.
The Boardwalk has been desolate since March, ever since the coronavirus closed all the casinos, restaurants and stores. Things have been eerily quite, but nothing was boarded up. That all changed when rioters came to Atlantic City — smashing windows, looting stores and throwing Molotov cocktails.
Who are these people and why are they doing this?
What you need to understand about sociopaths
At Lovefraud, we usually talk about sociopaths, meaning people with antisocial, narcissistic, borderline, histrionic or psychopathic personality disorders, and the problems they cause in relationships. But sociopaths, especially those with antisocial and psychopathic personality disorders, create havoc in all areas of life.
Here’s the critical point you need to understand: Sociopaths are fundamentally different from the rest of us. Because they are so different, they are able to engage in the type of behavior that we’ve all been watching on TV for the past 10 days.
How are sociopaths different? They do not have the ability to love. They do not have the ability to authentically care about the wellbeing of others. Yes, they make terrible romantic partners, but the issue is far bigger than that. Let me explain.
Sociopaths and social motivations
As humans, we experience four social motivations, which are internal drives that affect how we interact with other people. Three of the social motivations are specifically related to romantic love. They are:
- Attachment — the desire to be with a special person
- Sex — for closeness and procreation
- Caregiving — we want to take care of the important people in our lives
These are the components of our ability to love. There is a fourth social motivation:
- Dominance — our desire for power
The power motivation isn’t necessarily a bad thing — it’s what makes us want to succeed, become a leader, do well in business, buy a hot car, etc. But sometimes the power motivation morphs into aggression.
Our ability to love is what enables us to feel empathy and develop a conscience. Therefore, the ability to love nudges us to put the brakes on behavior that harms others. Because sociopaths cannot love, they have no brakes on their dominance behavior.
In sociopaths, the desire for dominance and power spirals out of control and takes over their personalities. For someone with antisocial, narcissistic or psychopathic personality disorders, love means nothing. These people only feel satisfaction from power and domination.
That’s the base problem — sociopaths have no ability to love, and an out-of-control dominance motivation. These issues result in the personality traits and behavior that we’ve all seen in sociopaths, such as:
- An outrageous sense of entitlement
- The belief that the rules do not apply to them
- Aggression and hostility
- Impulsiveness, irresponsibility and risk taking
- Need for stimulation and proneness to boredom
- Pathological lying
- Poor behavior controls
- A parasitic lifestyle
- Lack of remorse or shame
You can see how these traits and behaviors contribute to the riots.
Inciting incident — death of George Floyd
I see the fingerprints of sociopaths all over this national tragedy, starting with the incident that set everything off — the Minneapolis cop, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck until he suffocated.
Floyd repeatedly told the officer he couldn’t breathe. Yet Chauvin stayed there, with his knee on Floyd’s neck, for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
Who does that? Floyd was handcuffed — he wasn’t going anywhere. Who forcibly subdues a helpless prisoner until he dies? My answer is that only someone who gets a charge out of power and control would behave in this way. I haven’t seen any official diagnosis of a personality disorder for Derek Chauvin, but only someone with no empathy could have done what that cop did.
Derek Chauvin’s behavior was an outrage, and I totally get the anger and pain of the people who have been protesting. I get that many, many people of color have been subjected to police brutality, and they are fed up.
They should demand change. They should demonstrate.
But sociopaths living among us have used this tragedy as an excuse smash windows, loot stores and burn businesses to the ground. Their objective is not social justice. They just want the thrill of dominance, of getting something for nothing, of terrorizing others and getting away with it.
Riot in Atlantic City
Here in Atlantic City, a protest on Sunday afternoon, May 31, started out peacefully, but eventually turned into a riot. We have an outlet shopping center in the middle of town with factory stores like Ralph Lauren, Guess, Nike and more. Rioters smashed the windows and looted 20 stores.
One reporter captured a video of looters going into a Vans store. First you see a white girl in shorts and a bathing suit top standing casually in front of the store, holding a shirt that was obviously stolen from somewhere. She steps through a broken window.
At that moment, another white girl in shorts exits the store holding stolen clothes, followed by a skinny white boy clutching four boxes of shoes. When cops approach they turn and run, dropping everything they’ve stolen. Watch the video for yourself. It’s only 17 seconds.
Looting at Vans in Atlantic City pic.twitter.com/GI1THoTnbG
— Amy S. Rosenberg (@amysrosenberg) May 31, 2020
So, were these white kids stealing clothes from a Vans store in order to protest for social justice? I don’t think so.
Another reporter posted a photo that shows a car with New York license plates backed up to a store. People were stealing merchandise and piling it into the car.
Someone got a great shot of the NY license plate of people loading their car with Nikes, @AtlanticCityPD … https://t.co/sptPcCuEpo @AtlanticCity911 @911__ICE @NJSP @nyspolice @BreakingAC @SJNtv pic.twitter.com/StRxjNTYdC
— Lynda Cohen (@LyndaCohen) June 1, 2020
According to the Press of Atlantic City, Carlos A. Matchett, 30, was charged with crimes for his rioting. He stood in the middle of the road near the outlet stores, shouting obscenities at law enforcement and instigating people to join in the looting. Police arrested him, and in his backpack they found a knife, hatchet and a jar filled with gasoline. Shortly before his arrest, he posted on Facebook, “LET’S START A RIOT.”
Rioters are sociopaths, and sociopaths are opportunists
What does theft and firebombing have to do with social justice? Here in Atlantic City, along with the big-name stores, small community businesses were broken into and vandalized. In Minneapolis, many of the 308 wrecked businesses were owned by ethnic minorities. They lost their property, their investments and their livelihoods. Where is the social justice in that?
So how did this happen?
Sociopaths are opportunists. The run-of-the-mill looters saw an opportunity wreak havoc, steal what they wanted, and get away with their crime. What could be more exciting? Remember, these people crave stimulation, and the entire country has been locked down for almost three months. They can easily justify their behavior in their own minds because life has been so boring recently. They feel entitled to have some fun.
Now, I don’t think every looter is a sociopath. Some people may have been followers, or may have gotten swept up in mass behavior. This is called “contagion theory,” explains Barry Latzer, professor emeritus at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in the Wall Street Journal. He wrote:
Youths, who played a major role in the turbulence, are particularly susceptible to peer pressure. Consequently, when teenagers and young men begin rampaging, the situation often quickly escalates. No one wants to miss the party. As more young people join in, what begins as a manageable event can rapidly spiral out of control.
Antifa, anarchists and radicals foment riots
The most frightening rioters are those who engaged in calculated destruction. Attorney General William Barr said on June 4, 2020, that the Department of Justice has evidence that the far-left extremist organization Antifa and similar groups have instigated riots to push their violent agenda.
In multiple cities, bricks were pre-staged during the day, in preparation for looting and rioting at night. In Dallas, San Francisco, and Fayetteville North Carolina, pallets of bricks were dropped off in areas where there was no construction going on. When things got heated, rioters threw them. Obviously, this was a plan. The destruction was intentional.
Who is calling the shots in these extremist groups? My guess is that the leaders are sociopaths who have convinced their followers to go along with the destructive agendas. They probably run these groups like cults. All cult leaders are sociopaths.
Anarchists want to tear down our society. Think this isn’t happening? Check out the website for the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement. These anarchists have a document called 10 points of action. It is a list of their goals. Here are some of them:
#1. “Liberation will be won by any means necessary.”
#2. “We will destroy the state, police, military, corporations and all those who run the American plantation.”
#10. “Militant networks will defend our revolutionary communities. Liberation begins where America dies.”
They serious about their agenda.
What to do when rioters are sociopaths
So if sociopaths caused much of the destruction of the past few days, what does that mean for dealing with the situation? Here’s what I think:
First, our society needs to understand that sociopaths exist. Some people are evil.
Next, understand that negotiation and mediation do not work with sociopaths. You may know this first hand from trying to divorce a sociopath, or if you’ve been in some other legal battle. You can’t explain to sociopaths how hurtful their behavior is and expect them to stop. They feel totally justified in what they are doing, and they will keep doing it until they are stopped. Therefore, they must be stopped.
- Cops who engage in brutality must be stopped.
- Criminals who break windows and steal must be stopped.
- Agitators who engage in domestic terrorism must be stopped.
As for the rest of us, we need to recognize that sociopaths are willing to do anything to get what they want, no matter who gets hurt. We need to protect ourselves from them, and when necessary, unite against them.
I believe that we need to listen to people who have been wronged, and address legitimate grievances. But we also need to understand that plenty of the rioters are sociopaths, and sociopaths consider the rest of us to be stupid marks, just waiting to be exploited.
This information was originally presented in my Lovefraud Live show, Understanding sociopaths and riots.