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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/855

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831
ENRICO FERRI ON HOMICIDE.

the indifference to the number of their condemnation, and, in more direct mode, satisfaction in the crime consummated or remorse at not having achieved their aim; and, finally, in many cases the explicit confession that they feel no remorse or repentance. However, the lack of repugnance to crime and of remorse can not be said to be universal and to manifest itself in every direction of criminal activity, because, excepting in those criminals who have never had either the one or the other sentiment for any species of offense, there is often verified a kind of moral Daltonism which, though lacking in criminals who, having a very obtuse moral sense of certain crimes, on the other hand have a most delicate perception. One among many salient examples is that of a thief who has a horror of homicide, and of the homicide to whom the thought of theft is repellent. This moral Daltonism extends also to the impelling causes, and to the execution of the crime, that is committed for one reason and rejected for another. It extends itself to the very instruments used to commit the homicide. It may also arise from caste prejudices, as, for example, in the man who killed his brother because they were both in love with their housemaid, and who cried out in the court, "You had every right to kill me, but none to dishonor me!"

It is thus in cold blood, so to speak, that Ferri studies the psychological constitution of born homicides and the manifestation of their moral sense. He also examines their sentiments. Religious sentiment is extraneous to the genesis of crime, and hence moral and immoral men are found indifferently among atheists and believers, though the number of atheists is rare among homicides, who, as a rule, have the religious sentiment highly developed, a proof of which is found, among other things, in being tattooed with religious symbols, their superstitious piety, and lastly their true and real religious cultus, even to seeking a comfort in crime and to finding a convenient faith in pardon. As a general rule, indeed, nearly all delinquents are deeply pious. The egotistic sentiment of homicide may be resolved into the forms of amour propre and the sense of enjoyment, including under the latter heading pride, vanity, love of display, vendetta, covetousness, and prodigality. Homicidal thieves have also other characteristics of the true homicide, such as a reckless squandering of money acquired by murder, a passion for play, for women, and for alcohol. The ego-altruistic sentiments or those purely altruistic, such as love, family affection, etc., are not lacking in homicides when they are not in conflict with the egotistic. Murderers are even not incapable of noble actions, but their immoral temperament renders these unstable and contradictory, and thus it may occur that the same altruistic sentiment finds expression in their very crime.