Ethics Philosophy Paper

Topics: Death Penalty, Crime, Human brain Pages: 5 (1716 words) Published: April 7, 2013
Peters 1
According to a study done by “Wholesome Words Worldwide” in 2011 there were approximately seven billion people on this planet, and the death rate was approximately nine deaths per one thousand people a year. This works out to be roughly fifty six million people dying every year. There are many causes for death including road accidents, heart attacks, old age or sickness but the most unnecessary cause of death is murder. (Ross, 1-2) In some circumstances there are mass killings, which are intentional killing of a massive number of non-combatants. Victims of mass killings may be members of any kind of group (ethnic, political, religious, etc.) as long as they are noncombatants and as long as their deaths were caused intentionally. What causes people to commit crimes such as the “Aurora Shooting” where twelve innocent people were killed and fifty-eight were injured during a midnight screening of the Dark Knight? Is it because they are mentally ill and have no control over their actions? What are their motives and what consequences will they face? (Valentino, 10) At midnight during showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 20th, 2012, James Holmes entered the theatre wearing a gas mask and opened fire on the audience leaving fifty-eight people injured and twelve dead. When taking a glance at the man held responsible for the “Aurora Shooting” you would not assume he would be someone that would commit such a crime. He looks like an everyday average man incapable of taking the lives of an individual never mind that many people. Holmes’s lawyers claim that he is mentally ill. Does the fact that he was Peters 2

mentally ill preclude him from being held accountable for the horrific measures that his body carried out. James Holmes should be held accountable for the crimes that he committed. On the other hand many governments believe that they should give psychopaths a break due to the fact that their brains function differently. (Lane, 2-3) According to a 2010 National Public Radio publication entitled “Inside A Psychopath’s Brain” a man named Kent Kiehl has done studies on hundreds of psychopaths. Kiehl is one of the world’s leading investigators and is a professor at the University of New Mexico. Kiehl has a test that measures traits such as the inability to feel empathy or remorse, pathological lying or impulsivity. The scores range from zero (being normal) to forty (being abnormal); the average person in the community will score about a four or five. The average inmate generates a score average of twenty-two. A psychopathic individual is typically described to score thirty or above. Kiehl also studied the activity of the brain of a psychopath compared to an average normal person during an activity where different photographs were shown to the individual. He wanted to know how their brain reacted . An average person would have an energetic amount of brain activity when a gruesome picture was shown to them. A person who is a psychopath would generate no brain activity whatsoever. His studies concluded that some mental illnesses will cause one’s brains to react differently or in other words not react at all. They do not feel the emotions that an everyday average normal person feels and that may be the leading reason as to why they commit such crimes. (Hagerty 1,3)

Peters 3
Now that we know that there is research to prove that the brains of psychopaths do in fact work differently than ours, what are the motives of the people held accountable for crimes such as the “Aurora Shooting”. According to a news article “How Serial Killers Work” by Shanna Freeman, there are four different types of killers, lust, thrill, gain and power-seeking killers. Lust killers seek sexual pleasure from killing. Thrill killers get a sort of adrenaline rush while ending someone’s life. Gain Killers will kill people thinking that they will profit from it in the future. Power killers tend to think they are in the control of life. The...
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