Roy Exum: FBI To Study ‘Lickers’

Sunday, April 26, 2015 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

About 25 years ago there was a terrifying movie called “The Silence of the Lambs.” It was so good it won the Academy Awards in all five categories – Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Adapted Screenplay. Further, Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster were brilliant, but do you remember the third “star?” Scott Glenn played a character named “Jack Crawford,” the brilliant head of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit.

Believe it or not, there really is a “Jack Crawford.” His real name is John Douglas. He is now retired from the bureau but in a detailed interview published earlier this week in the Powell, Wyo., newspaper, the masterful criminal profiler talked about the extensive research the FBI has done on the ways criminal minds think.

Douglas has done extensive interviews with people like Charles Manson, David “Son of Sam” Horowitz, Ted Bundy and Seattle’s Green River killer, Gary Ridgway, who pleaded guilty to 49 murders. He worked the Tylenol case, the Unabomber, and his biography, “Mind Hunter” is a classic.

Here is part of what he told Powell Tribune reporter Ilene Olson, and pay particular attention to the last three paragraphs of this excerpt:

* * *

“I conducted the research, not from a rehabilitation perspective, but from an investigative perspective,” he said. “It was considered innovative, but to me, it was basic. If you want to learn about violent crime, talk to the experts: the criminals perpetrating rapes, arsons and serial homicides.

“Once I got into this stuff, I started teaching the students...If someone was in the class who worked the investigation, I would be able to say, ‘I interviewed him, and this is what I learned.’ It became a very popular class.”

It didn’t take long to see roots and patterns of behavior emerging from his research, Douglas said.

“Most of the people we interviewed came from some type of a dysfunctional family,” such as a passive or absent father, domineering mother and physical and/or psychological abuse.

However, not all people who experienced those traumas went on to become violent criminals, he said.

Douglas said his research indicated a direct correlation between animal cruelty and human violence. “Not just curious, doing it once, but where they find sadistic pleasure from torturing,” he said.

Cruelty to animals was one of three factors he identified in what he termed “the homicidal triangle,” which he said can predict violent tendencies. The other two are bedwetting as a child, beyond the normal age, and setting fires.

“Of the three, that (animal cruelty) is the one that really stands out; it’s really a good predictor,” he said.

All of Douglas’ research helped him develop a method of criminal profiling, which, in turn, ultimately enabled him to list likely characteristics of the perpetrator after visiting or viewing photos of violent crime scenes, helping aim investigations more effectively.

* * *

The quite-pointed reason I bring up “animal abuse” is quite obvious -- Tennessee is a hotbed for it with the “Big Lickers” in Shelbyville both well-known and nationally recognized today for soring animals. “Big Lick” horses are now being banned from certain shows. It appears two “Lickers” will go to trial this summer that could put them in jail and public contempt has never been as high. Yet horse soring is very prevalent and the “Big Lickers” will do almost anything to preserve it.

The reason I mentioned the FBI and show its research arm is because there is suddenly a new interest in people who would purposely rub caustic chemicals on a horse’s forelegs or drive nails into a horse’s front hooves. That is why the Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently in the process of making animal abuse a Group A felony. This is the last year it will be listed among “All Other Offenses.” In February of 2016, abuse of a Tennessee Walking Horse, or dogs and cats, will rank right up there with homicide, car bombing, and arson, among others.

Say, did you know Jeffery Dahmer, the serial killer who raped, killed and dismembered 17 men between 1978 and 1991, loved to torture animals? By abusing animals, Dahmer learned how to preserve the skeletons of people he killed. After the FBI helped catch him, he was declared sane and was sent to prison with 16 life sentences. There, he was soon beaten to death with an iron bar.

Madeline Bernstein, a former New York prosecutor who heads the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Los Angeles, said the bureau’s involvement will change the whole landscape of animal abuse. “It will help get better sentences, sway juries and make for better plea bargains,” she explained.

Animal advocates say the Michael Vick dog-fighting bust in 2007 triggered public awareness to animal abuse. The graphic video of Tennessee Hall of Fame trainer Jackie McConnell clubbing a defenseless Walking Horse brought far-better notoriety. The undercover tape has been seen all around the world since it first appeared on ABC News show, Nightline. McConnell was sentenced in a Chattanooga federal court but did no jail time. Since then, horse abuse has become a felony in the state of Tennessee.

With the FBI making it a top tier felony, some believe the cheaters in the seedy “Big Lick” portion of the horse industry may someday sleep in the same prison unit at Leavenworth that housed Vick in his two-year confinement. Many ‘sound horse’ organizations (where horses are clean) hope that is exactly what will happen and that the Tennessee Walking Horse breed will finally outlive the sadistic torture that has done insufferable damage to the horse, the people, and the state of Tennessee.

royexum@aol.com


True Revenue Situation

My honorable and respected friend Roy Exum tells us again today, “It has been 12 years since the county fathers have approved a tax increase ... .” I’ll take his word for that, but want some more information. “No tax increase for 12 years” is just the chorus; I want to hear the rest of the song, the specific verses that really tell the tale. The fact is, although Roy’s bare ... (click for more)

Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to  news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

Judge Walter Williams May Go Back On The Bench As Administrative Hearing Officer

One of the city's most colorful judges may go back on the bench. The City Council on Tuesday is set to vote on the nomination of former City Court Judge Walter Williams as administrative hearing officer - a new city position. The law license of the former judge was transferred to disability inactive status in August of 2015 after he suffered a stroke early in the year.  ... (click for more)

Body Believed To Be That Of McCallie Student Jackson Standefer Recovered In Colorado River

A body believed to be that of a McCallie School student who was swept away in a creek in the Grand Canyon was recovered on Friday. The Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center said it was notified by a commercial river trip that they located a body on the Colorado River at River Mile 152. Park rangers responded and recovered the body, which was transported to the rim ... (click for more)

Morgan, Smith, Parrott Pace Lady Pounders Past Bearettes 6-0

Maybe Central softball coach LeeAnne Shurette won’t nag her Lady Pounders so much in the coming days. Central collected eight hits, including two-run singles by Tatum Morgan and Janara Smith, on Friday to back Brooke Parrott’s three-hitter and the Lady Pounders defeated Bradley Central 6-0 in the East Hamilton tournament at The Summit. “Shurette has been nagging, maybe ... (click for more)

McCallie Earns 3-1 Soccer Win Over Rival Baylor

When his team needed him the most, McCallie senior Drew Viscomi did what he does best. Two minutes after the Blue Tornado allowed an equalizer to rival Baylor in the Division II Mid-East Region soccer match on the Red Raiders’ home field, Viscomi’s strike put his team back on top. Five minutes later, the All-American and school single-season scoring leader ... (click for more)