Central to the criminal's self-esteem is building himself up at the expense of others. He cases people out for their vulnerability and then preys upon them. The criminal sniffs out weakness anywhere and takes full advantage. He may approach his "target" through deception, intimidation ("bullying"), or by brute force.

Bullying is a manifestation of criminal conduct. A youth finds what he senses is a weakness in a peer or even in someone he never met before and capitalizes on it. He may pick on a boy or girl with a physical handicap or some other disability. One youngster whom I interviewed had teased unmercifully a boy who had a severe tremor when he tried to raise an ice cream cone to his mouth. Bullying another person by citing his appearance, sexual orientation, mannerisms, or virtually any other feature that sets that youngster apart from others is what the criminal does repeatedly.

Repeated bullying is an expression of a developing criminal personality. Bullying should not be excused, explained, or minimized both with respect to the impact on the victim and the need for the perpetrator to be held accountable.

Recent Posts in Inside the Criminal Mind

The Criminal's Highs and Lows: Not a "Mood Disorder"

Leveling off emotional peaks and draining emotional swamps

"The Boys in the Boat"

A stark contrast to the criminal personality

Criminals as Counselors: A Clarification

Criminals can change, then help others do the same

A Postscript to the Baltimore Riots

Crime flourishes when deterrence is low

The Environment and Deterrence of Criminality

The environment does not "cause" crime, but it may allow it to flourish