Back in June, 2009, scientists discovered the “gangsta gene,” now known as the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene. People with a particular form of MAOA gene are twice as likely to join a gang or engage in other violent criminal behavior, compared to those with other forms of the gene.
The MAOA gene is located on the X chromosome, and the enzyme it produces breaks down important neurotransmitters such as: serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. This renders them inactive. These neurotransmitters control mood, aggression, and pleasure.
Scientific research into the causation of self destructive and/or violently antisocial behavior is worthwhile. It had in the past been assumed that people turned to drugs, gangs, violence, and general thuggery solely due to environmental factors. Discovering that some of the thugs were just “born bad,” or at least with a genetic predilection for bad behavior is extremely useful data; it allows society to level set its expectations.
A lot of Liberals in America won’t like these findings or this post. Oddly and hypocritically, they’re the same one lauding any study that says homosexuality is genetically caused.
Of course some people who look to provide and/or invent excuses for thuggishness and criminal behavior have misused these findings. Recently an Italian court reduced the sentence of a convicted murderer because he had this genetic deficiency.
Abdelmalek Bayout, an Algerian citizen who has lived in Italy since 1993, admitted in 2007 to stabbing and killing Walter Felipe Novoa Perez on 10 March. Perez, a Colombian living in Italy, had, according to Bayout’s testimony, insulted him over the kohl eye make-up the Algerian was wearing. Bayout, a Muslim, claims he wore the make-up for religious reasons.
During the trial, Bayout’s lawyer, Tania Cattarossi, asked the court to take into account that her client may have been mentally ill at the time of the murder. After considering three psychiatric reports, the judge, Paolo Alessio Vernì, partially agreed that Bayout’s psychiatric illness was a mitigating factor and sentenced him to 9 years and 2 months in prison — around three years less than Bayout would have received had he been deemed to be of sound mind.
But at an appeal hearing in May this year, Pier Valerio Reinotti, a judge of the Court of Appeal in Trieste, asked forensic scientists for a new independent psychiatric report to decide whether he should commute the sentence further.
For the new report, Pietro Pietrini, a molecular neuroscientist at Italy’s University of Pisa, and Giuseppe Sartori, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Padova, conducted a series of tests and found abnormalities in brain-imaging scans and in five genes that have been linked to violent behaviour — including the gene encoding the neurotransmitter-metabolizing enzyme monoamine oxidase A (MAOA). A 2002 study led by Terrie Moffitt, a geneticist at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, had found low levels of MAOA expression to be associated with aggressiveness and criminal conduct of young boys raised in abusive environments.
In the report, Pietrini and Sartori concluded that Bayout’s genes would make him more prone to behaving violently if provoked. “There’s increasing evidence that some genes together with a particular environmental insult may predispose people to certain behaviour,” says Pietrini.
On the basis of the genetic tests, Judge Reinotti docked a further year off the defendant’s sentence, arguing that the defendant’s genes “would make him particularly aggressive in stressful situations”. Giving his verdict, Reinotti said he had found the MAOA evidence particularly compelling.
Thankfully, this foolishness was perpetrated by an Italian court, not an American one so the wrong-headed precedent that it sets won’t immediately have an adverse effect upon the American court system. Sadly though, it’s only a matter of time before some Liberal judge in America reaches the same dangerous conclusion, most likely somewhere on the Left Coast. 🙁
If these people are genetically deficient in such a way that they are far more prone to violent antisocial behavior, then releasing them back into society sooner is just wrong. It’s obvious to anyone with a brain that they’d be extremely prone to recidivism. Instead of using their mutation as an excuse for them, it should be grounds for lengthier incarceration and behavioral therapy.