Analysis Of Insanity Developed By Cohen And Coffin

1094 words - 4 pages

The media effects coupled with predisposers, precipitants and facilitators can have dire consequences on their own, but the last subject for mass murderer that demands attention is mental illness. In order to distinguish between the various kinds of mental illness and criminal culpability, this paper will analyze the criteria for ‘insanity’ developed by Cohen and Coffin. The victim is innocent and there is no reasonable way the perpetrator should consider them an enemy. The motive is unintelligible, delusional, unrealistic, and inappropriate for the nature of the murder. The method is ill-planned and often requires a situational weapon such as a blunt or sharp object. No attempt for secrecy, concealment, to avoid guilt, or to evade capture. And there should be queer behaviour illustrated before and after the fact such as depression, suicide attempts, etc. This point does not mean to convey that mass murderers and serial killers are insane by the same definition for they are usually calculating, patient, pursue the most prolific and in some cases sadistic methods, and realize their actions are wrong. However, it is important to recognize that they are clearly exploring sociological deviance and their mental instability is a contributing part. Teams of socio-scientists researching Jonesboro and Paducah cases found the shooters were: socially marginalized from bullying/teasing, had family problems, failed to attract attention from authority figures, had an availability of guns, and suffered from mental illnesses making them more vulnerable than other youths. Perhaps the media would not have such a far reaching and tight grip on people’s lives if it were not for the culture where children are reared. The weapons that are most often chosen by mass murderers are logically the ones that can accomplish the most murder which also happen to be the most popular toys; guns. In a paper by Ralph Banay, which focuses on homicide in general but will be applied to mass murder for the purposes of this paper, he identifies three levels that encourage murder: sub-culture, culture, and superculture. Subculture is the thoughts and actions the individual is accustomed to, and perhaps, is incapable of changing. Subculture would be included as a predisposer, encompasses family and community who may contribute to dulling or not actively developing the child’s ethics. Culture is another predisposer and describes people who are considered to be ‘normal’ with sufficient mental attributes, possibly come from supportive family, and are assumed to submit to the rule of law. However, these people are growing and learning in an environment of predisposers to fantasize, trivialize, and as shown before sexualize murder as a topic for amusement. The last level is ‘superculture’ where people in the upper-middle to upper classes that are economically and socially gifted have no natural outlet for their aggressive impulses. This leads to their suppressed anger...

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