Criminal profiling-also known as Criminal Investigative Analysis-has longÊbeen admired since its conception in the early 1800s. Even now, shows like "Law and Order", "Criminal Intent" and "Profiler" glorify criminal profilers as delphic seekers of truth that use almost god-like investigation skills to bust criminals. In November of 2007, Malcolm Gladwell had an article published in the New Yorker titled, "Dangerous Minds: Criminal Profiling Made Easy". At first glance, this is a typical piece of literature that worships the feats of notable criminal profilers. The article begins with the story of the elusive Mad Bomber and the futile effort to catch him. That was until they consulted James Brussel, a psychiatrist known for helping the F.B.I. with counter espionage work. Through close analysis, Brussel picked up clues and made assumptions that ultimately led to the arrest of Geroge Metesky, otherwise known as the Mad Bomber. We continue with this pattern of praise for various successful psycho-analysts until page seven which was about the middle of the article. Ê
Gladwell starts to allude that maybe ciminal profiling is not always accurate. He continues on with cases in which criminal profiling had been off by a mile and was basically useless. We then later hit page eleven which finally states the thesis. Gladwell keeps us running to the right and then slingshots us to the left after pages of supposed admiration for criminal profilers. On page 11, he writes, "...if you make a great number of predictions, the ones that were wrong will be forgotten, and the ones that turn out to be true willÊ make you famous. The Hedunit is not a triumoh of forensic analysis. It's a party trick." Readers get caught up in the fast paced and exciting world of profiling only to be told later that it is all a "party trick". From there on out, the party's over. Ê
In "Dangerous Minds: Criminal Profiling Made Easy", Gladwell...