In watching the Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah Winfrey, one portion stood out to me.
It wasn’t the admission that he had taken banned substances to help him win seven Tour de France titles (the second-least-surprising confession of the week, behind Jodie Foster acknowledging that she’s a lesbian).
It wasn’t that he had bullied people who told the truth about him or wouldn’t go along with his lies.
It wasn’t that he can’t remember the names of the people he sued for slander and libel because there were so many.
It wasn’t that with nearly everything he said, he managed to ruin his public image further by coming off as even less likable and more scummy.
It was this exchange, which revealed him to have been a psychopath — a person with no sense of right and wrong, no remorse for doing wrong, and no qualms about cheating, because he didn’t see that as wrong:
Oprah: Was it a big deal to you? Did it feel wrong?
Lance: At the time? No.
Oprah: It did not even feel wrong?
Lance: No. Scary.
Oprah: Did you feel bad about it?
Lance: No. Even scarier.
Oprah: Did you feel in any way that you were cheating?
Lance: No. Scariest.
Oprah: You did not feel that you were cheating taking banned drugs?
Lance: At the time, no.
I don’t know what brought Armstrong to the point where he felt it was time to confess his sins (although it’s clear he wasn’t honest about everything in his sit-down with Oprah), but what stunned me was his cool lack of remorse — not just in the past, when he was breaking the rules, but in the present tense, too.
That’s the definition of a psychopath.