Criminal Thinking

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Tori Kelly
16 January 2011
Ethical and Critical Thinking
Ms. Aisha Sanders


CRIMINAL THINKING What motivates a person to commit murder? Why an individual is violent hinges on two opposing theories. Berry-Dee and Morris (How to Make a Serial Killer, 2008) conclude that it is a matter of nature and nurture. Conversely, Samenow (Inside the Criminal Mind, 2004) argues that it is a matter of choice, influenced by their thought process. This controversial issue can affect the sentence in a murder case in that an insanity plea can lessen the sentence whereas if the murderer is held responsible for his own actions, he will get the maximum penalty Berry-Dee and Morris differ from Samenow in their theory, background, influences, perceptions, use of language and evidence to argue the reasons why killers commit murder. Berry-Dee and Morris state that killers come from a long history of abuse and parental distortion (2008). According to the FBI (2008), recent research indicates that how an adult relates to society is dependent on the quality of attachment with their parents and caregivers, and the extent of violence they were exposed to as children. Their findings indicate that “a child’s adverse upbringing can increase the risk of problems with self-control” (2008), or that the killer was insane during the act of murder. Samenow argues that violent criminals chose to commit murder, and know right from wrong; their crimes require detailed planning, logic and self control. Most children with these same backgrounds do not become criminals (2004), while many who had a very stable childhood did. Christopher Berry-Dee is an author, former Special Forces HM Royal Marines Commando ‘Green Beret’ Intelligence Officer, Director of ‘The Criminology Research Institute’ and owner of ‘The New Criminologist’, the oldest (45 years) and most prestigious criminology journal in the world....
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