Task #2 Instructions: Once you selected a serial killer to research, answer the following four questions: Briefly describe the criminal and their crime.  Apply the characteristics of an antisocial personality disorder to the criminal and their crimes.  Is this person a psychopath or sociopath? Why? Explain by citing information from the textbook to substantiate your argument. Be sure to define these concepts by citing the course text.   How did this person go about committing crime, and how does this correspond to the traits of either a psychopath or sociopath? Explain by citing your external sources. 

DFDiscussion Forum #3

DF #3 Overview

The rationale behind DFs is to generate discussion among your classmates that would typically occur during group activities or class discussions held on-campus in honors classes. Thus, students are expected to submit four of the five main posts and reply to at least two peer posts for the four weeks they choose to participate. Main posts should be about 250+ words while peer responses are required to have a minimum of five complete sentences. At the bottom of every DF post (i.e., main posts and peer responses), state your word count.

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  1. Chapter 4
  2. Chapter 5


  1. Chapter 4 Lecture Notes.pdf



  1. Chapter 5 Lecture Notes.pdf




  1. Select ONE DF option and post your response below.
    • Your main DF Postshould be at least 3 paragraphs in length (250-words minimum).
    • Students may exceed the minimum word count; however, aim to write succinctly.
    • Answer your chosen prompt thoroughly, using the assigned readings to substantiate your arguments.
    • Be sure to indicate which option you chose by writing the option number and option title. 
    • Your two Peer Response Postsshould be at least five sentences—for each Peer Response.
    • Include a word countat the end of your main post and for your two Peer Response posts.
    • Note: There are several steps to complete your chosen DF option for this DF; therefore, please make sure to review your main post before you submit it.

Option #1: Caning for Deterrent Purposes

Overview: The criminal justice system in the U.S. is based off rational choice theory and deterrence. The criminal justice system emphasizes that criminals choose to commit crime, and thus they must be punished (Siegel 2011). This will then deter them from committing crime again. As chapter four notes, this belief is circumspect at best. Since certainty and swiftness are impossible in the U.S., the U.S. criminal justice system emphasizes severity. However, as chapter four highlights, severity is but one of the three elements of deterrence and some argue that it is the weakest.

Task #1: Watch the following YouTube clip titled, “Vandal Michael Fay Sentenced to Lashes by Cane in Singapore [1994]” [Closed captioned; 1:11 minutes in length.]

[Tip: make sure to select closed captioning if you need them]:

Task #2: Answer the following Option #1 prompt questions:

There are very fascinating punishments implemented all over the world. Research caning in Singapore and the Michael Fay case. Find out the following information: (1) when they use this type of punishment, (2) for what crimes, (3) who is subject to caning, (4) how it is done, and (5) whether it is effective in their society.

Using your own words, give a detailed description of (1) what caning is, (2) what is used for, (3) and its effectiveness. How does rational choice theory apply to this form of deterrence? What two concepts from chapter 4 can be applied to explain caning in Singapore? Do you think caning would reduce crimes based on the cost-benefit analysis? How effective would caning be on reducing recidivism rates?

Option #2: The Twinkie Defense

Overview: Explain what the Twinkie Defense is and research two contemporary examples.

Task #1 Instructions:

Define the Twinkie Defense from chapter five then reflect on this defense strategy. Are there other examples in which people have successfully argued that their responsibility for a crime was diminished due to biochemical conditions? Explain. Research and find at least two examples from news sources to substantiate your work.

Option #3: Trait Theories in the News

Overview: Select one theory from the trait theory chapter of your choice and research one recent example.

Task #1 Instructions:

Reflect on the various theories presented in chapter five and find one news article that relates to one of the theories. First, define your chosen theory then briefly discuss how your chosen theory helps explain the social phenomena described in the news article.

Option #4: Conduct Disorder in Adolescence

Overview: Perhaps last Halloween season you watched films featuring Michael Meyers from Halloween (1978) or Norman Bates from the film, Psycho (1960). Is it possible that some people are born “psychopaths?” Could it be that something in their genetics makes them cold and callous enough to murder other human beings without any remorse? If so, is it possible for our social environment to save these people—surely mental diseases are nothing therapists and a loving family cannot fix, right?

Thus, read the article through the required prompt article provided below to learn more about children who have been diagnosed as having severe psycho-social issues known as Conduct Disorder, or callous and unemotional traits that prevents them from feeling empathy toward others (Siegel 2011). You will also learn about their loving parents and doctors who do their best to provide a solution for these children.

Required prompt article link: When Your Child Is a Psychopath by Barbara Bradley Hagerty (2017) (Links to an external site.).

Instructions: After reading the article answer the following questions:

  1. What behaviors are associated with conduct disorder? Use information from the prompt article, textbook, and other resources (if you like) to develop your response, but make sure to cite your work to substantiate your argument.
  2. What did you find most interesting about the people portrayed in the article? Explain why.
  3. Apply at least two course concepts from chapter 5 to support your work.

Option #5: Serial Killer Case Study

Note: Due to the graphic nature of option #5, if you are sensitive to discussions of murder, sexual assault, violence, gore, or the like, then it is best to choose another option.

Overview: This option allows students to research infamous serial killers. Please note serial killer research selection is based on a “first come, first serve” basis. Thus, whoever posts about a specific serial killer first will be graded on their main post—subsequent main posts about the same serial killer will not be graded. Students cannot “save” a specific serial killer by submitting an incomplete main post draft, such as, “I choose to research Ed Gein. But, I will turn in my work tomorrow.” That does not count.

Task #1: Select one of following serial killers: (1) Charles Manson, (2) Ted Kaczynski, (3) Adam Lanza, (4) John Wayne Gacy, (5) Ted Bundy, (6) David Koresh, (7) Aileen Wournos, (8) Pablo Escobar, (9) Mark David Chapman, (10) Christopher Scarver, (11) Karla Homolka, (12) Todd Kohlhepp, (13) Jeffrey MacDonald, (14) Edmund Kemper, (15) Richard Ramirez – The Night Stalker, (16) Dennis Rader – BTK Killer, (17) Pedro López, (18) H.H. Holmes, (19) Gary Ridgway – Green River Killer, (20) Ed Gein, (21) Ronald Dominique, (22) Earle Leonard Nelson, (23) Juana Barraza, (24) Research another serial killer not listed here*

Task #2 Instructions: Once you selected a serial killer to research, answer the following four questions:

  1. Briefly describe the criminal and their crime.
  2. Apply the characteristics of an antisocial personality disorder to the criminal and their crimes.
  3. Is this person a psychopath or sociopath? Why? Explain by citing information from the textbook to substantiate your argument. Be sure to define these concepts by citing the course text.
  4. How did this person go about committing crime, and how does this correspond to the traits of either a psychopath or sociopath? Explain by citing your external sources.

Option #6: Mommy Dead and Dearest

Note: Due to the graphic nature of option #6, if you are sensitive to discussions of child abuse, murder, violence, gore, or the like, then it is best to choose another option. 

Overview: This option explores the interplay of Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy (MSBP), child abuse, and murder.

Task #1 Instructions: Do independent research on Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy (MSBP).

Task #2: View Mommy Dead and Dearest (2017):

[Tip: make sure to select closed captioning if you need them]:

CitationMommy Dead and Dearest [Streaming video file]. (2017). Retrieved Month Day, Year, from https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=97184&xtid=138084 (Links to an external site.)

Task #3: After you finish watching the documentary, answer the following questions:

Why did Gypsy Rose Blanchard feel that if her mother died, it would be her only way out? Apply Rational Choice Theory to your response. (Tip: Make sure to include a discussion of both offender-specific crime and offense-specific crime considerations).

  1. Do you think Gypsy Rose was coerced by her boyfriend, or was she complicit in the murder of her mother, or both? Why?
  2. Gypsy’s boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Asperger’s. He also said that he heard voices in his head and may have multiple personalities. Do you think that these mental health disorders limited his ability to make rational decisions?
  3. Some psychologists have claimed that Gypsy Rose shows signs of sociopathy. For example, her stepmother and father said, “they acted like two normal people. That’s what’s really freaky. How can you do that?” Some say that this could be because she was raised to be manipulative and dishonest. Do you agree with this? Why, or why not?
  4. Do you think Gypsy Rose is remorseful? Explain by discussing a few examples from the documentary.
  5. Do you think Gypsy Rose’s sentence is too harsh, not harsh enough, or just right? Why?


  1. Be sure to type-up your all your work on a separate Word document or Google Docs document and save your work periodically. Doing so will save you from losing your work due to technological failures or accidents.
  2. “A” students always substantiate their arguments using the course readings, lecture notes, chosen prompt materials, and the like by proper citing using either ASA, APA, MLA, Chicago Style, MLA, etcetera.
  3. Make sure to use proper grammar and punctuation in this honors-level course in all correspondence. Please avoid “text” or “Internet lingo” when corresponding.
  4. Students have the option to skip one week of the DFs of their choice.
  5. If you plan on completing this week’s DF, then you must also write two Peer Responses.
  6. If you plan on skipping it, then simply reply “skip” in this DF thread.

Important Information to Review

 Grading Rubrics

 Citations Help


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 ReplyReply to Discussion Forum #3


Collapse SubdiscussionAmelia Alim

Amelia Alim

Jun 28, 2021Jun 28 at 10:30am

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Option #6

After doing independent research on Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, I was able to understand the mother’s role in this situation, I was not able to accept it, but to hold a mere understanding. After viewing Mommy Dead and Dearest, I believe that Gypsy Rose Blanchard felt that if her mother died, that would be her only way out of this toxic lifestyle because her mother enforced this manipulative, fraudulent lifestyle upon her. Gypsy had no choice but to separate herself from her mother because her mother forced Gypsy to believe that she was ill.

Moreover, the rational choice theory elaborates on the decision-making process prior to committing a crime. The developing offer creates a pros and cons list to determine the value of their crime. As well as plan the event. Further, an offender-specific crime is a crime where the offender specifically assesses their skills, motive, needs, physical ability, and fears prior to the crime, which requires a thought-provoking process (Chapter 4 Lecture Notes). Also, the offender must determine that they have the financial resources for the supplies. While an offense-specific crime is where the offender reacts to the factors that are released from a specific criminal act.

With this knowledge, we are able to induce the fact that Gypsy Rose Blanchard committed an offender-specific crime (Chapter 4 Lecture Notes).

From my take on the documentary, I do not think that Gypsy Rose was coerced by her boyfriend, I believe Gypsy Rose was complicit in the murder of her mother. I feel as if she thought up the plan on her own and her boyfriend simply supported her due to his own sense of logical reasoning. As Gypsy’s boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Asperger’s, and since he said that he heard voices in his head and may have multiple personalities – I do think that these mental health disorders limited his ability to make rational decisions. I do agree that Gypsy Rose showed signs of sociopathy because she was raised to be manipulative and dishonest because environments are influential. I do think Gypsy Rose is remorseful because she is seen to show regret after murdering her mother, but she also did commit the murder with careful thought. She may be upset that she got caught, but she thought that her plan made full sense. I think that Gypsy Rose’s sentence is just right, I believe that it was considered an act of self-defense but she is also complicit.

414 words

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Collapse SubdiscussionJonathan Lee

Jonathan Lee

YesterdayJul 5 at 5:54pm

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Hi Amelia

While I have heard of this crime, it is a very sick and twisted story of manipulation and deception. While Gypsy and her boyfriend are serving time, I would say that it was a revenge crime. Both of them had carefully planned it out and discussed who would murder who. I think that Gypsy showed more relief than regret. To Gypsy, it was her only way out of the abusive cycle that her mother had put her through. While I think that Gypsy and Nicholas are justly punished, it is a shame that Nicholas is to serve a life sentence.

Words: 104

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Collapse SubdiscussionNathan Sun

Nathan Sun (He/Him/His)

YesterdayJul 5 at 9:12am

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Option 1: Caning practices in Singapore

The punishment of caning has a long and infamous tradition throughout parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. However, this procedure has gained much notoriety among Westerners due to several occurrences in Singapore. In that country, only males below the age of fifty are commonly punished with caning. Due to its efficacy and mostly non-lethal infliction of severe pain, caning has been used to address a wide variety of crimes, including drug possession, theft, and certain types of disorderly conduct. In a country that boasts the highest execution rates in the world, it is not surprising that other barbaric practices are common.

The process of caning is very straightforward. It involves only a four foot long bamboo rod known as a rattan and some means of securing the prisoner. In the past, the subject of this punishment would have simply been bound and laid on a table. But now, there exists a special apparatus suited for this purpose. It resembles a ladder with only two steps halfway up, and on either side. The unfortunate prisoner is made to strip naked, then lie facedown through the ladder-like device with his arms outstretched. The bamboo rattan is is then violently applied to the prisoner’s naked buttocks with an emphatic, lashing motion. The maximum amount of lashes is twenty-four.

Many of the victims of caning have used phrases such as “unbearable”, “excruciating”, “equivalent to getting hit by a lorry”, to describe its severity and psychological detriment. In his book Criminology: The Core, Larry Siegel explores the effects of the Rational Choice Theory, which states that criminals usually make informed decisions to commit crime by weighing the risk of failure against the rewards of success. The application of this theory applies well to this case. Any logical potential criminal would conclude that this punishment provides a healthy incentive to not commit crime. The concept of Risk Evaluation, as described by Mr. Siegel, demands that one assess the potential danger of any delinquent act.

Additionally, the concept of the penal trinity is evident as well. Mr. Siegel observes that laws depend upon punishments that are swift, severe, and certain in order to deter crime. While caning may not be especially swift or certain, it is absolutely severe, causing immense anguish in its recipients.

The low crime rate in Singapore can be greatly attributed to policies and punishments such as caning, which effectively deter many criminals of opportunity.

The concept of recidivism is even more interesting. there are cases of criminals who have abandoned crime after the application of caning. One can make a reasonable case that caning offers immediate fulfillment of justice, while the psychological aftershock ensures a mostly permanent reminder of the cost of criminal behavior.


494 words

Sources cited:

  1. Wikipedia page on Caning- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caning(Links to an external site.)
  2. Experiences of a Caning recipient- https://mothership.sg/2018/07/kim-whye-kee-potter-interview/(Links to an external site.)
  3. Wikipedia page on Singaporean Caning procedure- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caning_in_Singapore(Links to an external site.)
  4. Further descriptions on Caning- https://www.corpun.com/singfeat.htm#experience(Links to an external site.)
  5. Criminology: The Core– Siegel, Larry

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Collapse SubdiscussionAmelia Alim

Amelia Alim

YesterdayJul 5 at 12:50pm

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Hi Nathan,

Caning is an interesting topic. Thank you for writing about it. Also, I know that traditions in Asian countries are different because my family is from Asia. America has many different standards, so hearing about other countries is always a great learning experience. I can understand why the tradition of caning is infamous. I understand that discipline is required but at times, it also seems simply cruel to physically harm someone. I have never heard of a lorry before, which you used in one of your quotes. After looking it up, I am sensitive to the pain that those victims may feel.

Amelia Alim

104 words

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Collapse SubdiscussionJonathan Lee

Jonathan Lee

YesterdayJul 5 at 5:26pm

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Hi Nathan

Your research into caning is very interesting and brought many questions to mind. I had asked my parents about caning and was even more interesting in what they did. My parents have told me that caning was sentenced to a judge. Also, the caning is sentenced by a judge who determines how many hits the person must endure. To me, it is an old barbaric punishment given more modern handling. While it is considered barbaric, the pain is mostly injured in pride and soul. I liked your use of the word lorry, slang for truck, in your quote.

Words: 102

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Collapse SubdiscussionJonathan Lee

Jonathan Lee

YesterdayJul 5 at 5:14pm

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Option #5

Richard Ramirez was an infamous serial killer known as “The Night Stalker”. His father was an alcoholic and would fly into a raging temper and Rameriez suffered severe head injuries as a child. He was deeply influenced at a young age by his cousin who was a war veteran from Vietnam. Ramirez’s childhood became full of drugs and petty crime. He eventually moved to California and started a killing and raping spree that lasted a year. He was eventually caught and had a lengthy trial. The Crime Museum (2020) mentions his sentence was from thirteen counts of murder, five attempted murders, eleven sexual assault charges, and fourteen burglaries. Rameriez was sentenced to death by gas at San Quentin. Crime Museum (2020) comments that Rameriez died before his death sentence from cancer stemming from B-cell leukemia.

Rameriez was possibly influenced by antisocial personality disorder. The major factor that connects this was his childhood. Rameriez had an influential role model in his cousin, Miguel “Mike” Ramirez. Crime Museum (2020) reports that Miguel had told stories and shown pictures of multiple atrocities that Miguel and his squad had to commit during their time in Vietnam. He even witnessed his cousin murdering his wife after an argument and didn’t do anything to stop it. Rameriez is considered a psychopath for a couple of reasons. One example of his instant brain injuries as a child. Siegel (2011) mentions that most criminals have impairments in several parts of the brain that control emotion and impulses. It is very possible that the numerous head injuries from Ramieriez’s infancy brought many changes to his brain structure. Another reason is interaction with his family. While Rameriez was not very friendly with his mother or father, he was extremely close to his cousin, who was also deeply troubled. Siegel (2011) points out that people who do criminal acts are sometimes trained by others for acknowledgment or rewards. It is said, “ On afternoons, Miguel would train Ramirez in military tactics he learned while in Vietnam; how to be stealthy and how to kill another human being effectively were all lessons Miguel taught Richard.” (Sanchez 2019). Many of these training was used to omit Rameriez’s crime spree.

Rameriez’s crime was very brutal. Notably, his crimes would run parallel with what his cousin did. Rameriez’s calling card was usually his brutal murders. For example, “… Ramirez’s (then) first known murder on June 28, 1984; the victim was 79-year-old Jennie Vincow, who was sexually assaulted, stabbed and killed during a burglary in her own home.” (Biography.com Editors 2020). His murders even include Satanism rituals that disturbed the public even further. Biography.com Editors (2020) commented, “after Ramirez raped another woman at her home (and shot her fiance), the victim provided a detailed description of her assailant, who had forced her to swear her love for Satan.” This behavior marks Ramirez as a psychopath since his previous upbringing and injuries had made him a brutal and uncaring serial killer.


Words: 639



Siegel, Larry J. 2011. Criminology: The Core, 4th edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Crime Museum. 2021. Richard Ramirez: The Night Stalker – Crime Museum. [online] Available at: <https://www.crimemuseum.org/crime-library/serial-killers/richard-ramirez/> [Accessed 6 July 2021].

Biography. 2021. Richard Ramirez. [online] Available at: <https://www.biography.com/crime-figure/richard-ramirez> [Accessed 6 July 2021].

Mata, M., Garcia, C., Locke, S., Alba, N., Sanchez, K., Cadena, J., Leal, E., Medina, P., Solano, A., Garcia, A., Joseph, D., Vento, E., Thamm, N., Madrid, E., Sanchez, C., Hinojosa, M., Bennett, M., Vera, G., Ruiz, J., Villaseñor, V., Rodriguez, K., Paniagua, E., Uribe, A., Carney, A., McClinton, C., Maguire, M., Chandler, M., Diaz, K., Martinez, L., Rodriguez, R., Burch, N. and Lucero, D., 2021. Creating a Monster: Richard Ramirez, The Night Stalker – StMU History Media. [online] Stmuhistorymedia.org. Available at: <https://stmuhistorymedia.org/creating-a-monster-richard-ramirez-the-night-stalker/> [Accessed 6 July 2021].

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Collapse SubdiscussionNathan Sun

Nathan Sun (He/Him/His)

YesterdayJul 5 at 5:47pm

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Hello Jonathan,

That was an excellent analysis of Richard Ramirez. This was personally an appalling story, as I have several friends who used to live in one of the neighborhoods that he terrorized. After reading your post, I was able to better understand some of the possible reasons for his behavior. His abuse and neglect almost certainly influenced his actions. Because his father was so violent towards him, he picked up many of those same traits as well.  His mentally unstable cousin also worsened his condition. Do you know what his mother’s behavior was like towards him? While he was ultimately responsible for his own actions, it seems that his entire childhood scarred his psychological health, and promulgated his desire to abuse others.


124 words

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Collapse SubdiscussionTonian Tomlinson

Tonian Tomlinson

YesterdayJul 5 at 8:08pm

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Option #2: The Twinkie Defense 

The “Twinkie Defense” is a view of crime where antisocial behavior is influenced under biochemical conditions that are acquired genetically or through one’s diet and environment (Siegel 2011). The term “Twinkie Defense” stems from the 1979 trial where San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and City Councilman Harvey Milk were murdered by Dan White who, in his defense, claimed that his behavior for this crime was a result of “an addiction to sugar-laden junk foods” (Siegel 2011:110). White was successful in this trial as he received a 24-year prison sentence for manslaughter due to diminished mental functions rather than serving time for first-degree murder. It is believed that abnormal behavior patterns are a result of certain biochemical factors that can cause people to commit crimes (Chapter 5 Lecture Notes 2021).

Nicola Jane Owen began to exhibit extremely violent and destructive behaviors when she began puberty. She would self-harm, destroy things, chase her mother with a knife, and ingest any substance that she could use to bring harm upon herself, which resulted in her having to get her stomach pumped 27 times. Her parents took her to a psychiatrist, but nothing seemed to work, and before they knew it, she’d burned her family’s house down at the age of 17. As a result, she was charged with arson and sent to prison. She spent only two weeks in prison, then was admitted to a mental institution for about a month before returning home. At the age of 18, she burned the house down again while her mother who was inside at the time was lucky enough to escape. Nicola was charged with arson, endangering life, and intent to kill her mother. After being in solitary confinement for months and seeing multiple psychiatrists, Nicola was sent to a gynecologist who found that her violent behavior was a result of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS occurs when the “onset of menstrual cycle triggers amounts of female sex hormones, which stimulate antisocial, aggressive behavior among some women” (Chapter 5 Lecture Notes 2021:8). With the possibility of facing 12 to 15 years in prison, the biochemical condition of PMS was used in her defense. Nicola did not have to serve any additional time and was instead placed on a progesterone treatment which was effective in balancing her hormones and significantly improving her mood.

What would have been a five-year sentence was lessened to merely five months after Kenneth Sands, a 51-year old bus driver, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two women and three teenage girls at a high school volleyball game. During his trial, Sands argued that his unjustifiable behavior was caused by his history of bipolar disorder (manic depression), and “a combination of lack of sleep and too much caffeine.” It has been shown that people with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder tend to make inappropriate behavioral responses and some even lack the ability to logically examine their own behaviors (Siegel 2011). In Sands’ sentencing, his mental health and bipolar disorder were not taken into consideration. His bipolar disorder was not seen as a defense, and instead, the court focused on his oversupply of caffeine which triggered his psychotic behavior and caused him to act out of character. Biocriminologists have found that maintaining a healthy diet is key for normal brain functioning and the overconsumption or lack of chemicals and minerals such as mercury, potassium, calcium, and iron can lead to cognitive problems, depression, hyperactivity, and abnormal sexual activity (Siegel 2011).

Word Count: 587


Siegel, Larry J. 2011. Criminology: The Core, 4th edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning

Owen, Nikki. 2020. “I Set House on Fire While Mum was Inside. . .” Daily Mirror. Retrieved July 5, 2021 (https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/i-set-house-fire-mum-23040251 (Links to an external site.))

Schendel, Stephanie. 2012. “Rainier Bus Driver Sentenced to Five Months.” Centralia, WA: The Chronicle. Retrieved July 5, 2021 (https://www.chronline.com/stories/rainier-bus-driver-sentenced-to-five-months,134289 (Links to an external site.))

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Collapse SubdiscussionNathan Sun

Nathan Sun (He/Him/His)

YesterdayJul 5 at 9:44pm

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Hello Tonian,

That was an excellent summary of the so-called “twinkie defense”. It seems that while we are generally responsible for our actions, there are external forces that can cause an impairment in logic, leading us to commit crime. This is certainly an important factor to consider in criminal cases. Obviously, we must use our reasonable judgement to decide if these individuals were actually insane. But if, in your opinion, someone goes insane and causes harm to others, are they not a victim of unfavorable circumstances as well? Based off the evidence presented, they perpetrators seemed to be (at least) temporarily insane when they committed those crimes. If they were sentenced as murderers or arsonists, could they truly be held guilty of causing willful harm to others? It seems to me that that it is the responsibility of our legislators to ensure that we continue to maintain the distinction between deliberate murder and unintentional manslaughter.


157 words

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Collapse SubdiscussionRalph Ruan

Ralph Ruan

YesterdayJul 5 at 9:18pm

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Option #3: Trait Theories in the News

Trait theory is the view that criminality is a product of abnormal biological or psychological traits. (Siegel 2011, P. 108) Biological Trait Theories is a branch of contemporary trait theory that focuses on the biological conditions that control human behavior, which states human behaviors were influenced by social environment and personally unique. According to biological trait theories, offenders’ lifestyles and physical health are essential factors of crime. Some trait theorists believe that biochemical conditions, including those genetically predetermined and those acquired through diet and environment, influence antisocial behavior. (Siegel 2011, P. 110)

The CNN News reported a shooting case in Arizona; police arrested a 19-year-old man connected with eight shootings near Phoenix, Arizona, on Thursday. Four people were shot, including one fatally. Ashin Tricarico, 19, of Surprise, was arrested in connection with the string of crimes. Police reported that the first shooting case happened on June 16, and Ashin Tricarico shot a couple because they made him “get upset,” but no one was hurt in this case. The offender shot others because they made him feel not good that can apply the Biological Trait Theories.

According to the police research Ashin Tricarico not in good mental health, “Ashin thinks every vehicle and person he drives past is pointing a gun at him,” and he reportedly told police he thought people have been following him around for a week. Moreover, another police statement shows Ashin Tricarico shot a male customer outside of a reportedly intoxicated restaurant, where he worked as a licensed, armed security guard. Inadequate mental health is an abnormal biological signal from high pressure and an unregulated lifestyle. The case is still being investigated, and Tricarico told police he shot the man in “self-defense.” It is an excellent example to explain the Biological trait theories and the trait theory.

Word Count: 307

Work Cited

AZFamily, Timeline gives minute-by-minute details of West Valley shooting spree, June 18, 2021,


CNN, Police identify suspect in connection with multiple shootings near Phoenix, June 18, 2021,


SIEGEL, LARRY J, Chapter 1: Crime and Criminology, Criminology The Core.

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Collapse SubdiscussionYizhe Wang

Yizhe Wang

YesterdayJul 5 at 11:42pm

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Option 3

After reading all theories from chapter5 notes, I decided to explain Social Learning Theory. To begin with, we need to understand the main idea of the Social Learning Theory. According to chapter5 notes, Social Learning Theory maintains people learn to be aggressive by observing others acting aggressively to achieve some goal or being rewarded for violent acts. That is, people are not born with the ability to act violently. Rather, they learn to be aggressive through their life experiences. For example, children who suffer from domestic violence for a long time possibly model their behaviors after the violent acts of adults; children who are praised for fight tend to reinforce their violent behaviors. What’s worse is that the violence behaviors will become persistent.


I found a specific example which is Bandura Bobo Doll Experiment to explain the Social Learning Theory. Although the experiment is a project from 1961, it’s a very comprehensive instance to explain Social Learning Theory. Bandura believes that violent acts are learned through imitation. He argues that individuals do not inherit violent tendencies, but simulate them. In the other words, individuals, especially children, learn to respond aggressively when they observe others. Thus, Bandura did the Bandura Bobo Doll Experiment.


In the Bandura Bobo Doll Experiment, children were separated into two different groups with adult models and plenty of toys. One group with aggressive adult models and the other one with non-aggressive models. After observing the adult’s violent behaviors, children were asked to go into a room without any models and see if they mimicked the violent behaviors from the models they had seen earlier. As a result, the children in the violence-watching group tended to imitate the violent behaviors they saw. And the non-violent group of kids was less aggressive than the violent group. In another subsequent experiment conducted in 1965, Bandura found that children were more likely to imitate aggression when adult models praised their behavior.


In conclusion, when children beat the dolls in the same way in another room after observing the violent behaviors from adult models, it illustrates that one of the ideas of Social Learning Theory that is violent behaviors are learned by mimicking observation. Secondly, when children’s violent behaviors are rewarded or praised by adult models, the children will mimics more vigorously. As for the idea that violence will persist, I consider that the best example is domestic violence. After reading some recent news about domestic violence, I found that domestic violence always lasts for years.

WC: 420




Works Cited



Bandura Bobo Doll Experiment:  (Links to an external site.)

https://www.simplypsychology.org/bobo-doll.html (Links to an external site.), By Dr. Saul McLeod (Links to an external site.), updated 2014


The cases of domestic violence:


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