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Dangerous Kindness

Date: 04-23-11
Host: Ian Punnett
Guests: Barbara Oakley, Katherine Ramsland

Prof. Barbara Oakley joined Ian Punnett to discuss how some people may be too kind for their own good - eventually causing great pain and tragedy for themselves and their loved ones. As an example, Oakley described a compassionate mother who buys 'clean' heroin for her drug-addicted daughter, so her child won't potentially die from a bad batch of the drug. Such a well-meaning act could have the exact opposite effect of what was intended, and actually be based more on a dangerous co-dependency than kindness, she explained. Continuing, Oakley noted the importance of feeling compassion and sympathy for someone who is hurting, such as a depressed sibling, instead of empathy. It is important to help others, but not climb down into the hole with them, she added.

Oakley also spoke about people whose apparent compassion seems to serve only themselves. One such person is Carole Alden, the subject of Oakley's book Cold-Blooded Kindness. On the surface, Alden appeared to be a woman who loved her children and adored animals, yet this same person murdered her husband. Alden claimed it was self-defense against a husband who was brutalizing her, but forensic evidence showed she shot him in the back and then when he was down point blank in the head. According to Oakley, the real Alden was known as the 'Queen of Sado-Masochism' in Salt Lake City, affiliated with drug addicts, and played the role of victim for her own selfish benefit. Oakley suggested Alden's internal wiring was problematic, perhaps in part due to genetic predisposition.

Serial Killers & Murderers

In the first hour, forensic psychology expert Dr. Katherine Ramsland commented on the killings in Long Island, where police have found as many as 10 sets of human remains, including four identified as women who advertised prostitution services on Craigslist. She said it would be difficult to make a profile at this stage in the case, as investigators do not yet know how old the remains are, or even how many killers were involved. Ramsland also talked about her new book, The Mind of a Murderer, which explores what insiders have learned about some of modern history's most notorious mass murderers and serial killers.

News segment guest: Tracy Twyman

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