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Yubi Guti
Feb 09, 2021
In General discussions
They were not born evil': inside a troubling film on why people kill In Alex Gibney’s documentary Crazy, Not Insane, the career of clinical psychiatrist Dr Dorothy Otnow Lewis is explored, from her work with Ted Bundy to Arthur Shawcross Defense lawyer Thomas Cocuzzi questions Dr Dorothy Otnow Lewis about her interviews with Arthur Shawcross in 1990. Photograph: Kevin Higley/Democrat and Chronicle-USA TODAY NETWORK/Imagn Content Services, LLC Adrian Horton @adrian_hortonTue 17 Nov 2020 16.38 GMTLast modified on Tue 17 Nov 2020 18.20 GMT 238 Dr Dorothy Otnow Lewis knows her way around a dicey interview. Lewis, a clinical psychiatrist, has interviewed, by her count, over a hundred murderers, death row inmates and some of America’s most notorious serial killers, including Arthur Shawcross and Ted Bundy. She has testified at numerous death sentence hearings for inveterate, indisputable killers – almost always on behalf of the defense’s plea of insanity, leading to New Yorker profiles and at times derision. As outlined in Crazy, Not Insane, an HBO documentary from the impossibly busy Alex Gibney (Totally Under Control, Agents of Chaos, both from earlier this year) Lewis has plumbed an abyss few would dare or consider to approach. She seeks neither condemnation nor vengeance, but information: an empirical sketch of the darkest capacities of the human psyche, the bounds of empathy for the sickest minds. 'They refused to act': inside a chilling documentary on Trump's bungled Covid-19 response Read more Lewis, now in her 80s, is petite, sprightly and measured; on camera, she pores over old records with an unmitigated curiosity and residual anxiety over potential missed diagnoses from years before in a career credited with upending understandings of criminality in America, and in particular illustrating the confluence of factors – a “recipe for violence”, as she puts it – that make a killer. The film couples the evolution of Lewis’s research with her philosophical conclusions from years of examining murderous individuals: first and foremost, a belief against inherent evil. “You realize that when you are talking with these people who have done some really extraordinarily violent acts, that there’s an environment that created that,” she told the Guardian. “These people were not born dangerous. They were not born evil.
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