Sling Blade was a really interesting movie and it allowed for us to see a different side to what we as a society term the criminally insane. Karl was deemed fit and released from the mental hospital he grew up in after murdering his mother and her lover at the age of 12. In my opinion the criminogenic factors in his life completely influence his decision to commit the crimes. He was abused and neglected as a child and taunted and teased by the children his age because of his mental disability. He didn’t interact much with others and was kind of shunned away from his family because he wasn’t normal.
At a young his parents had him dispose of his younger brother’s body and he felt like he was responsible for it. I think he considered himself a monster after that and turned into even more of a hermit. The boy that his mother was having an affair with was a boy that constantly taunted him, so he already had some anger towards him. When he heard what was going he believed that his mother was in danger and that she was being raped, so he went in to kill him. Then when finding out that his mother was a willing participant, he killed her too.
I don’t believe that he was a psychopath because he was aware of what he did and he knew that it was wrong. He was antisocial when he was younger, but that was only because he was mentally disabled and was harassed a lot, so he stayed to himself. In order to be a psychopath, you must lack empathy and he did have empathy in my opinion. He said that he wished he hadn’t killed his mother, but he did it anyway. He paid his dues after making that mistake and was able to have significant relationships. Although he did commit another act of violence my killing Doyle, he felt like it was necessary because he was defending those that he loved.
I think that he does belong in a mental institution because a prison would not be suited for his mental disability. He does have a disability and that is evident throughout the film. Even though he is very smart and is able to fix things at the repair shop, he is delayed in some way. I do believe that his father is a psychopath. He caused him all that harm and had him dispose of his younger brother without any remorse. And even when Karl went to confront him, he didn’t show any remorse or empathy at all.