Roy Exum on Horse Soring: FBI to Study “Lickers”

ROY EXUM. Source image.
ROY EXUM. Source image.

Cross-posted from The Chattanoogan »

About 25 years ago there was a terrifying movie called “The Silence of the Lambs.” It was so good it won the Academy Awards in all five categories – Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Adapted Screenplay. Further, Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster were brilliant, but do you remember the third “star?” Scott Glenn played a character named “Jack Crawford,” the brilliant head of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit.

Believe it or not, there really is a “Jack Crawford.” His real name is John Douglas. He is now retired from the bureau but in a detailed interview published earlier this week in the Powell, Wyo., newspaper, the masterful criminal profiler talked about the extensive research the FBI has done on the ways criminal minds think.

Douglas has done extensive interviews with people like Charles Manson, David “Son of Sam” Horowitz, Ted Bundy and Seattle’s Green River killer, Gary Ridgway, who pleaded guilty to 49 murders. He worked the Tylenol case, the Unabomber, and his biography, “Mind Hunter” is a classic.

Here is part of what he told Powell Tribune reporter Ilene Olson, and pay particular attention to the last three paragraphs of this excerpt:

* * *

“I conducted the research, not from a rehabilitation perspective, but from an investigative perspective,” he said. “It was considered innovative, but to me, it was basic. If you want to learn about violent crime, talk to the experts: the criminals perpetrating rapes, arsons and serial homicides.

“Once I got into this stuff, I started teaching the students…If someone was in the class who worked the investigation, I would be able to say, ‘I interviewed him, and this is what I learned.’ It became a very popular class.”

It didn’t take long to see roots and patterns of behavior emerging from his research, Douglas said.

“Most of the people we interviewed came from some type of a dysfunctional family,” such as a passive or absent father, domineering mother and physical and/or psychological abuse.

However, not all people who experienced those traumas went on to become violent criminals, he said.

Douglas said his research indicated a direct correlation between animal cruelty and human violence. “Not just curious, doing it once, but where they find sadistic pleasure from torturing,” he said.

Cruelty to animals was one of three factors he identified in what he termed “the homicidal triangle,” which he said can predict violent tendencies. The other two are bedwetting as a child, beyond the normal age, and setting fires.

“Of the three, that (animal cruelty) is the one that really stands out; it’s really a good predictor,” he said.

All of Douglas’ research helped him develop a method of criminal profiling, which, in turn, ultimately enabled him to list likely characteristics of the perpetrator after visiting or viewing photos of violent crime scenes, helping aim investigations more effectively.

* * *

The quite-pointed reason I bring up “animal abuse” is quite obvious — Tennessee is a hotbed for it with the “Big Lickers” in Shelbyville both well-known and nationally recognized today for soring animals. “Big Lick” horses are now being banned from certain shows. It appears two “Lickers” will go to trial this summer that could put them in jail and public contempt has never been as high. Yet horse soring is very prevalent and the “Big Lickers” will do almost anything to preserve it.

The reason I mentioned the FBI and show its research arm is because there is suddenly a new interest in people who would purposely rub caustic chemicals on a horse’s forelegs or drive nails into a horse’s front hooves. That is why the Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently in the process of making animal abuse a Group A felony. This is the last year it will be listed among “All Other Offenses.” In February of 2016, abuse of a Tennessee Walking Horse, or dogs and cats, will rank right up there with homicide, car bombing, and arson, among others.

More of this excellent report »

3 thoughts on “Roy Exum on Horse Soring: FBI to Study “Lickers””

  1. This some of the best news I have heard in years. This is what I have always said about this cruelty throw them in prison and throw away the key. This just might be what puts a lot of the trainers out of business and shuts down their big lick shows. No more slaps on the wrist next time it will a set of handcuffs and shoved in the back of a police paddy wagon.


  2. These people who sore horses are not people. They are sadistic torturers who intentionally inflict pain on a sentiment being. This is a blatant display of animal abuse, cruelty, pain, and suffering. Only a heartless, ignorant, demented idiot could perpetrate such pain, and suffering on a defenceless, voiceless horse. Moreover, people who inflict this pain, support this pain by attending shows, and supporting personnel such as vets, farriers, and grooms should all be jailed. Shame in Republicam Mitch McConnell who refused to pass the Soring Act – you are a piece of trash. Shame on anybody who remains silent. This is a disgusting display of animal abuse. It’s unacceptable. There isn’t anything or any excuses as to why this is still going on. Shame on these sadistic, demented horse abusers.


  3. It’s about time that animal abuse was a felony…..I recently participated in a protest against soring in Nashville, TN. …”Big Lick Big Lies” and so many cars honked and gave us the thumbs up now if everyone would stand united in the fight against animal cruelty we can accomplish good things together….Horse soring is truly TORTURE and the offenders need to be stopped….I know many of these trainers and some that come to mind are evil, men that I’m sure feel inferior to society….One man comes to mind that has a criminal past and many years ago was wanted by the U.S. Marshalls for cattle theft, he is now judging numerous Big Lick shows this should tell us all the character or lack of character of these people….. The whole industry are low life SCUM!!!!!!!!


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