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This Essay Looks At Somnambulistic Crimes (Crimes Commited During Sleep). Examples And Bibliography Included.

1555 words - 6 pages

Courts of Law, all over the world, have returned "not guilty" verdictson men and women accused of a wide variety of crimes, although the peopleconcerned either admitted the act or were seen committing it. These peoplehave been involved with acts of reckless driving, shop-lifting, money thefts,and even first degree murder. Charges have been dismissed because theaccused have convinced judges and juries that, at the time of the offense,they were fast asleep.I would like to start off by taking a look at nightmares and sleepwalking crimes, also known as somnambulistic crimes. When a man isasleep, defenses of his mind are relaxed. All the rage, fear, and violentemotions he surpressed during the day, or might not even know exist, arenow free to roam out of their dark corners. The subconscience, which is stillplagued with the primitive urges of our ancestors, takes control, and theshackles of inhibition and convention are torn away.This is why so many sleep walkers display such startlinglyuncharacteristic behavior. Why a shy and respectable woman will walkdown a busy street naked and why a gentle and compassionate man canbecome a brutal killer.Page 2Sleep walking, which normally starts an hour or two after fallingasleep, is far more common then people realize. Britain has half a millionsufferers and America has two million. Children are far more prone to itthan adults. Five out of every hundred children will suffer from sleepwalking at one point in their life, as opposed to two out of every hundredadult.Two year old Craig Walsh was found blocks from his home, walkingin and out of cars during rush hour. He was found wearing only pajamas andrubber pants. Analysis of the sleep walking state reveals that the sleeper isinvariably grappling with some problem. But a child of only two?! Whatsort of inner turmoil could provoke such a young child to the act ofsomnambulism? The most common reason is that the child wants to escapefrom some situation, although it may seem trivial to an adult, may seemvery intolerable to him. Perhaps he feels he has been unfairly punished. Inhis sleep he dreams of escaping from the unfairness. Maybe his need forescape is so urgent that he acts it out, even if only in his dreams.In Lancaster England there was a more serious case. A seven year oldboy climbed into the crib of his slumbering newborn sister and lay on top ofher. The father found his son sleeping on top of his little sister and the babyPage 3girl suffocated to death. Upon hearing of the boys history of sleep walking,the local coroner and police wrote the case off as a "misadventure". Butwhat stimulated that misadventure? Unconscious jealousy of thenewly-arrived "intruder"? A burning desire, normally buried in the boyssubconscious, to return to his place as the baby of the family?Parents have also been killed by their own innocently sleepingchildren. Carl Kiger, a successful local government official, was shot fivetime by his 16 year old daughter Jo Ann. On the night of...

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