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SAS hero Andy McNab describes how it feels to kill as a 'functioning psychopath'

SAS hero Andy McNab describes how it feels to kill as a 'functioning psychopath'

"Everything's like a game"

Former SAS soldier and writer Andy McNab has opened up about being a 'functioning psychopath' and how it's given him the ability to kill and 'not worry about it too much'.

Psychopathy is a neuropsychiatric disorder, and though it is marked by traits many people see as negative such as deficient emotional responses and a lack of empathy, it is a widely misunderstood condition.

LADbible previously spoke with a diagnosed psychopath, whose story is one of many demonstrating that they can be beneficial to society and, in the case of McNab, a necessity.

McNab, who co-wrote The Good Psychopath's Guide to Success, has had somewhat of an eventful military career.

As well as spending some time being tortured and interrogated in captivity in Iraq, the 63-year-old led the famous 'Bravo Two Zero' mission, about which he wrote a successful book.

And it's safe to say thank ranking high up on the psychopathy scale has helped him throughout these experiences.

Speaking on a recent episode of Andy Coulson’s Crisis What Crisis? podcast, he explained that he first received the diagnosis in 2010 after taking part in a psychological study at Oxford University.

Andy McNab has written a number of successful books since his military career.
PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Coulson raised a previous quote in which McNab revealed that while he's 'perfectly happy' with his regular life as a husband, writer and father, if it all went wrong, he could kill for money.

"The difficult bit would not be the killing, but the getting away with it," he said at the time.

When asked if that's really how he feels, McNab replied: "Yes, and still now. It's pretty clear cut. I know I've got the ability to kill people and not worry about it too much, so that's fine.

"One of the problems with psychopathy - well, it's a problem within society, it's not for people who register high on the spectrum - it's not as flippant as a game, but everything's like a game."

He presented a scenario in which he described the various stages of what's involved with killing a person for money, starting off with the financial side.

"You ask how much is it worth to the guy who's going to pay you? If it's worth $1 billion, say, you want 10 percent of that.

"So that's all the pre-work that you've got to do. Then you've got to do the job and, most importantly, of course, is get away with it."

Cleary trying to make sense of his comments from an empathetic standpoint, Coulson then asked if he had a 'barrier' that would prevent him from killing another person.

The former SAS soldier said he can kill and 'not worry about it too much'.
APFootage/Alamy Stock Photo

"No, the amygdala [the part of the brain responsible for emotional behaviour] doesn’t work," explained McNab.

"It's an interesting thing where it's not in a cold-hearted way of 'kill, kill, kill', it's not about that... You've got to be really basic about it - is it interesting enough? Are they paying me enough? Does it appeal enough?"

For final clarification, Coulson said: "You really are saying that if the circumstances of your life led you there, that emotional calculation just simply would not exist for you," to which McNab replied: "No."

He described his feelings towards the death of, for example, those in his regiment, as 'tribal', adding: "If they're not part of my tribe, why do I care?"

And that, friends, is one of many reasons McNab was able to find such success in the SAS.

Featured Image Credit: john angerson / Alamy / Andy McNab

Topics: Army, News