1% of all humans born – no matter where, no matter what race, gender, group, etc. are psychopaths (meaning, at heart, they have no conscience). No technique, not psychotherapy, not medicine, not anything except two things work on them. The two things are: 1) scaring them and 2) avoiding them.
Where do you get the 1% figure? That means in my neighborhood of 40 houses, there are 2 or 3 born psychopaths. I'm not convinced. Also, I'm not convinced that all psychopaths, or sociopaths, which is the more accurate term, are born. I can believe that some are born, but it is possible to turn perfectly normal infants into sociopaths, if you neglect them profoundly enough. I have written about this in my books, especially Love and Economics
Also, there is an important distinction between the child without a conscience, who is the real sociopath, and the kind of delusional mentally ill person we saw at Virginia Tech. You are painting with too broad a brush here.
I see this problem at the root of wars, Virginia tech massacres, Enron, you name it. I advocate we monitor these people from children, and to be honest limit their constitutional rights, for our safety. That is preferable to numerous laws that limit behaviors for everyone (like Sarbanes Oxley for example).
There is something to this. A free society needs to be populated by people who can use their freedom without bothering other people too much. Again, that was the whole point of Love and Economics, whose subtitle is "Why the Laissez-Faire Family Doesn't Work." My libertarian friends never forgave me for that subtitle, I guess.
My solution has problems – such as false diagnosis of psychopaths, misdiagnosis (these people can fool others easily), since psychopaths break laws we have now, they will break these as well. Also, amending the constitution is not something you do in a four paragraph email, and we will have to have a different constitution for psychos, what a discussion that will bring. But we ought to think about some way to monitor them, limit the harm they can do, and protect others from them. We do a lot already – it could be worse, but acknowledging this problem might help us improve.
No kidding, your solution has problems. But, in effect, that is what we are now trying to do with sex offenders: monitor them for life, since we are so pessimistic about ever really changing them. And you are absolutely right that we have to acknowledge that we have a problem. That is where we are falling down on the job with the mentally ill. We keep trying to redefine them as a special case of something else, which they are not. We are treating them as if their civil liberties were more important to them and to us, than their sanity. See Carol Hawkins post below about how her mother, now in her right mind, sincerely wishes someone had honored her sanity more than her "freedom."
The only other advice is to follow the example of Jesus – do not be afraid of the devil (psychopaths)! Know what to look for, Face them, pushback from their nonsense when you see them in real life, and yes we all do see them.
Once again, you are painting with too broad a brush. We are dealing with multiple problems here. We can "push back" as you say, in the case of the person without a conscience, because they are extremely manipulative and go in for the juggular at the first display of weakness. But the families who are writing to me are dealing with something quite different.
There is one teaching of Jesus that we really have to be careful about applying correctly: turn the other cheek. We have no right to turn someone else's cheek: if we have any responsibility for protecting the public, we have no right to ask that someone else turn their cheek. And, in many cases, we aren't doing the person any favor by overlooking their behavior. For the truly mentally ill person, we need to confront their illness on its terms and deal with it. For the person without a conscience, we need to confront their behavior, set extremetly tight limits on it, with no excuses.
And you are right about this: we need to not be afraid.