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Raymond Manfredi

AP Eng Lang. Per. 1

Mrs. Hampsey

18 December 2012

New York Times Vocabulary

“What Drives Suicidal Mass Killers” by Adam Lankford

I. Vocabulary
Aggrieved- afflicted, depressed, disturbed, grieving
Brazen- audacious, barefaced, blatant, bold
Martyrdom- sacrifice, torment, torture, unselfishness

II. This article is shaped by three words: rampage, fame, and fantasized. Rampage, denotes a state of violent anger or excited behavior. The connotation from this definition will vary depending on personal experiences. A personal association is with the game Rampage! on Nintendo 64. The premise of the game was simple—pick an ugly monster (usually like a giant lizard or dinosaur) and use them to demolish buildings, helicopters, people, cars, etc. By breaking things, you gain points; whoever destroys the most things at the end of the round, wins. Here rampage does not suggest buildings being crushed or people being eaten, it suggest an unruly baby locked up in a playpen. As a philosopher, Lankford questions every preconceived notion that the audience has; for example, the denotation of fame, which means widespread reputation. Lankford is clever in specifically choosing the word fame, a positive connotation of recognition, as a desire of people who became infamous for negative actions. He is implying that the actions of murder-suicide killers contradicted their positive beliefs; beliefs that were overridden by feelings of isolation and neglect. He does not question the definition of the word, but he does challenge our connotations of the word. He assumes that the majority of us believe murder suicide is “the desire to acquire fame and glory through killing.” But just as a scientist would provide evidence to a religious fanatic who doesn’t believe in evolution, Dr. Lankford uses indisputable evidence to support the contrary: most murder-suicides are not for fame (more than 70 percent take place at home). Calmly, like a psychiatrist...
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