Petty theft, as opposed to treason, which is a high crime performed for the most egregiously venal motive, personal financial gain, is almost always pathological. When Winona Ryder was caught shoplifting, the news organizations trumpeted the headlines all over the world. But have you heard the one about Claude Allen, though? Claude Allen was President Bush's domestic policy advisor. He was a White House intimate, a person who advised the most powerful man on earth. Claude Allen is also an alleged petty criminal, who allegedly swindled Target out of more than $5,000 worth of merchandise.
What makes otherwise successful people resort to this kind of public indecency, this maladaptive and apparently uncontrollable urge to behave in deplorable ways? What makes them flirt with discovery, and the public humiliation and destruction of one's reputation which inevitably follow? Like bulimia, masturbation or self-mutilation, it hides in secret. It's a festering miasma of hidden rage, deep and gangrenous. Like a reservoir of pus it lurks under the surface, growing hotter and more pestilent, until it expresses itself in the only way it can: an eruption of self-destructive conduct.
It is the desire to be caught, to flirt with danger, but also to be caught, to get away with it for a while, but also to be caught, that drives such a deeply disturbed, proto-psychopathic mind. The only difference between such a one and Theodore Robert Bundy is scale.