Research

"The Anonymity of African American Serial Killers: From Slavery to Prisons, A Continuum of Negative Imagery"

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Abstract

This work suggest that the dangers of labeling aka criminal profiling as we have come to recognize it within the criminal justice system is often race based. Race is a social construct driven by biases to which few of us are immune. Therefore, we must illuminate falsehoods which create a dangerous paradigm, whereby law enforcement and the media leave citizens vulnerable to historic biases via their discourse. Available on Amazon.com

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... In fact, numerous black offenders have chosen primarily white victims (e.g., Derek Todd Lee, Coral Watts, and Kendall Francois), while the converse is also true regarding white serial murderers (e.g., Gary Ridgeway and Jeffrey Dahmer, among others, who killed nonwhites). As of this writing, few studies regarding specific black serial killers exist in general, and there is a lacuna of research based on interviews or a study of their victimology; such research might illuminate specific aspects of these murderers' psychologies and personal histories (Branson, 2016). A valid question within the context of intergenerational trauma is: Are crimes by African-Americans committed against whites' hate crimes? ...
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Forensic psychology plays an increasingly important role in criminal investigations and legal decision-making. The quantity and quality of empirical research studies and publications followed this trend to lend valuable scientific support and ensure the validity and reliability of methods and reasoning. However, there is still a need for conformity and standardization of sound protocols and approaches in the field that is based on improved knowledge and education to ensure fair and efficient criminal justice processes. This book is part of that effort on the journey to understand homicidal behavior and offenders better in order to prevent similar future crimes. Each chapter is a case study.
... In fact, numerous black offenders have chosen primarily white victims (e.g., Derek Todd Lee, Coral Watts, and Kendall Francois), while the converse is also true regarding white serial murderers (e.g., Gary Ridgeway and Jeffrey Dahmer, among others, who killed nonwhites). As of this writing, few studies regarding specific black serial killers exist in general, and there is a lacuna of research based on interviews or a study of their victimology; such research might illuminate specific aspects of these murderers' psychologies and personal histories (Branson, 2016). A valid question within the context of intergenerational trauma is: Are crimes by African-Americans committed against whites' hate crimes? ...
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‘Can you name an African American (black) serial killer?’ In the US, the answer is often silence. For those who can remember, it might be Wayne Williams, the so‐called ‘Atlanta child murderer’. More astute individuals could mention the more recent D.C. Snipers who, while not comparable to the traditional media portrayals of serial killers, do qualify as such, based on the FBI's assessment. The existence of African American serial killers is a fact that appears to have escaped the attention of the American public. Previous research has identified 90 black serial killers beginning in 1945, yet their notoriety and celebrity are absent from America's popular cultural landscape. Despite the fact that numerous television shows, news reports and films address serial murder in fictional and non‐fictional portrayals, there remains a dearth of information and portrayals regarding black serial killers. This is an interesting conundrum. The media show little reticence in portraying black males as low‐level criminals, but rarely portray them as serial killers. This article suggests that the unquestioned ethnocentric profile of the serial killer as a white male in the US was created by the FBI, and subsequent media portrayals have reinforced this myth. Consequently, the predominant media portrayals of serial murderers are white male perpetrators. The impact of race‐based assumptions among law enforcement agencies and the public regarding the criminality of any group poses a danger to that whole society.
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Serial killing has become big business. Over the past 15 years, popular culture has been flooded by true-life crime stories, biographies, best-selling fiction, video games and television documentaries devoted to this subject. Cinema is the cultural space in which this phenomenon is perhaps most conspicuous. The Internet Movie Database (imdb.com) lists over 1000 films featuring serial killers and most of the contributions to this sub-genre have been made since 1990. This article examines seminal examples of serial killer fiction and film including Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter novels and their cinematic adaptations, Bret Easton Ellis and Mary Harron's American Psycho (1991 and 2000) and David Fincher's Se7en (1995). The main contention is that the commodification of violence in popular culture is structurally integrated with the violence of commodification itself. Starting with the rather obvious ways in which violent crime is marketed as a spectacle to be consumed, this article then attempts to uncover less transparent links between the normal desires which circulate within consumer society and monstrous violence. In `Monsters Inc.', the serial killer is unmasked as a gothic double of the serial consumer.
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The aim of this article is (1) to posit a conceptual model for the way ideas, conceptions, or feelings are represented or ‘figured’ in memory with the help of the imagination, and (2) to use this model to begin to outline what I believe constitutes part of our culture’s ‘memory-image’ of the serial killer in both fact and fiction. Human memory is not simply a passive storehouse of information. It is an active process whereby relations are created by way of the imagination. The ‘memory image’ is connected to what we wish to remember, but also to other images stored in memory, and inscribes itself in a vast ‘figural network’. I show how a given metaphor – ‘capitalism as cannibalism’ – can find its way in a given figural network, that of our memory-image of the serial killer. I investigate the rhetorical network that surrounds cannibalism and examine how this network offers our imagination a topos for our memory-image of the serial killer. Finally, I look at two films that activate this topos in their representation of serial killing, even though they avoid any direct thematization of it. The absence of any act of cannibalism in these films makes its ‘presence’ in our experience of them all the more compelling.
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Results from this study challenge the assumption that animal abusers commonly “graduate” from violence against animals to violence against humans. The criminal records of 153 animal abusers and 153 control participants were tracked and compared. Animal abusers were more likely than control participants to be interpersonally violent, but they also were more likely to commit property offenses, drug offenses, and public disorder offenses. Thus, there was an association between animal abuse and a variety of antisocial behaviors, but not violence alone. Moreover, when the time order between official records of animal abuse and interpersonal violence was examined, animal abuse was no more likely to precede than follow violent offenses. Although these findings dispute the assumption that animal abuse inevitably leads to violence toward humans, they point to an association between animal abuse and a host of antisocial behaviors, including violence. Also discussed are the methodological problems of demonstrating sequential temporal relations between animal abuse and other antisocial behaviors.
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Basal cortisol levels were compared in prisoners convicted of violent crimes, in men previously convicted of violent crimes but currently not in prison, in non-violent alcoholics, and in randomly selected control males. Most of the violent men were diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder (DSM-UI-R 301.70). Morning, afternoon, and evening levels of plasma cortisol were assessed after a minimum alcohol abstinence of 24 h. The imprisoned violent men had significantly lower cortisol levels than the unimprisoned, which may reflect their prolonged alcohol abstinence and/or habituation to chronic stress. The unimprisoned violent men were heavy drinkers and their elevated sober-state cortisol may reflect temporary alcohol withdrawal or acute stress. We suggest that variations in basal cortisol are influenced more by environmental factors than by violent predisposition or antisocial personality disorder.
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Psychopathy, as measured by the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), has emerged as one of the most important factors in understanding and predicting adult criminal behavior, including sex offending. The authors used extensive file information to score a youth version of the PCL-R (the PCL:YV) for 220 adolescent males in an outpatient sex offender treatment program. The authors coded charges and convictions for an average of 55 months following cessation of treatment. The PCL:YV was positively and significantly related to total, violent, and nonviolent reoffense rates. Offenders with a high PCL:YV score and penile plethysmographic evidence of deviant sexual arousal prior to treatment were at very high risk for general reoffending. The results suggest that psychopathy may have much the same implications for the criminal justice system in adolescent offenders as it does in adult offenders.
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Although growth in the U.S. prison population over the past twenty-five years has been widely discussed, few studies examine changes in inequality in imprisonment. We study penal inequality by estimating lifetime risks of imprisonment for black and white men at different levels of education. Combining administrative, survey, and census data, we estimate that among men born between 1965 and 1969, 3 percent of whites and 20 percent of blacks had served time in prison by their early thirties. The risks of incarceration are highly stratified by education. Among black men born during this period, 30 percent of those without college education and nearly 60 percent of high school dropouts went to prison by 1999. The novel pervasiveness of imprisonment indicates the emergence of incarceration as a new stage in the life course of young low-skill black men.
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At least twenty-nine black children and young adults were murdered by an Atlanta serial killer between the summer of 1979 and the spring of 1981. Drawing national media attention, the Atlanta tragedy, as it became known, was immediately labeled a hate crime. However, when a young black man was arrested and convicted for the killings, public attention quickly shifted. Noted criminologist Bernard Headley was in Atlanta as the tragedy unfolded and provides here a thoughtful exploration of the social and political implications of the case both locally and nationally. Focusing on a singular historical event, Headley exposes broader tensions of race and class in contemporary America."
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This book is about differences in intellectual capacity among people and groups and what those differences mean for America's future.(preface) The major purpose of this book] is to reveal the dramatic transformation that is currently in process in American society---a process that has created a new kind of class structure led by a "cognitive elite," itself a result of concentration and self-selection in those social pools well endowed with cognitive abilities. Herrnstein and Murray explore] the ways that low intelligence, independent of social, economic, or ethnic background, lies at the root of many of our social problems. The authors also demonstrate the truth of another taboo fact: that intelligence levels differ among ethnic groups. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)(jacket)
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The relationship between a severe variant of narcissistic personality disorder (namely malignant narcissism) and the motivation to murder is presented in the case of a British spree serial killer. The case illustrates the development of this form of psychopathology and its association with the underlying inner narrative generated in the murderer's mind. The relationship between the pathology of narcissism, psychopathic disorder, dissociation and the phenomena of serial murder is analyzed. The present case is considered with reference to Hickey's Trauma Control Model of serial murder (1991).
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An examination of the place of exploration in the social sciences
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E. P. Thompson once said, I forget where, that the most difficult part of writing was the opening sentence since that set the tone, or the `voice', for the whole piece. I think of his words almost every time I start a new piece, reminding myself that a morning spent playing with openings is not wasted, although it may feel so at the time. The problem of a starting point seems even more difficult when being asked to revisit something (co)written over 30 years ago, a time that has seen enormous changes in the theoretical landscape, in the state of the world, and, inevitably, in my own personal life. Given all this, I feel that the best I can manage is to tell the story, heavily edited of course and with the broadest of broad brushes, of how it was then and of how (with appropriate nods to serendipity, contingency and chance) I got from there to here. This will entail sticking with those elements of my work — namely, policing, masculinity, fear of crime and racism — that most resonate with the themes of Policing the Crisis (PTC) (Hall et al., 1978).
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This article focusses on enhancing communication between investigative officers assigned to serial murder cases and their psychiatric consultants. In view of the interdisciplinary interest in this topic, it must be pointed out that my purpose in presenting this article is not for the validation of psychiatric diagnosis of psychodynamic formulations. For those who are primarily interested in the validity of psychiatric formulations as applied to violent crime and predictions of dangerousness, standard texts are recommended where metapsychological issues are thoroughly discussed, and the very important issues of the validity of psychiatry. The reader, if not already acquainted with the literature of "Antipsychiatry", of Laing (1967), and the literature of Szasz (1961) can read these authors concerning the issues of validity in the field of psychiatric consultation to the criminal justice system. A well-known dilemma in clinical psychiatry is the retrograde reconstruction of clinical material, both fantasy and behavior, to presumed etiological antecedents. A definitive, unitary psychological model for serial murder does not exist today. Hence, this is an attempt to assist in communications between law enforcement personnel with the duty of investigating serial murder and their psychiatric consultants. The article is divided into three sections: 1) Overview, 2) Psychological Formulation of Serial Murder, 3) Profiling.
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When a serial killer is present, the media and local authorities often claim that public attitudes and behaviors change sharply, usually becoming more fearful and less outgoing. Unfortunately, much of the evidence on this score is either speculative or anecdotal. This study reports quantified results from a series of surveys conducted over the course of a serial killing spree in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The temporal trend in fear of crime is punctuated by a moderate increase during the serial killing spree, and a sharp decline after the apprehension of the serial killer. Moreover, post apprehension data reveal that nearly 56% of respondents report experiencing an increase in their fear of crime specifically in response to the serial killer. This was fairly evenly distributed across races and marital statuses, but, as expected, females and younger people were more likely to report increases in fear. Additionally, 46% of respondents took the extra step of implementing some sort of protective measure, with the most frequent being carrying mace or pepper spray or adding a security device to their home. In the latter case, respondents were motivated by a mix of concern over their own safety and that of their family.
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Two studies were conducted to increase our knowledge of cross-race recognition of White and Oriental faces and to test the hypothesis that the "cross-race effect" (inferior facial recognition of other races) is due to lack of contact with the other race. In Experiment 1, White (n = 60) and Oriental (n = 60) university students in Canada attempted to recognize White and Oriental faces in a standard facial recognition paradigin. Although the cross-race effect was replicated for false alarms and d', neither perceived similarity nor self-rated contact predicted recognition accuracy. In Experiment 2, White (n = 92) and Oriental (n = 115) students from Singapore and Canada were tested. Contact with Whites and Orientals differed significantly for students in Singapore versus Canada but was not related to facial recognition even though the cross-race effect was replicated. On average, 6 predicted effects of the cross-race effect from the two experiments accounted for 10.83% of the variance, whereas the 18 predicted effects based on the contact hypothesis on average accounted for only 0.89% of the variance in facial recognition. The "contact hypothesis" is not a viable explanation of the results in studies of cross-race facial recognition. The cross-race effect remains unexplained.
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Despite a lengthy inquiry, why the serial killer, Harold Shipman, committed his crimes remains a puzzle. However, the issue still needs to be confronted. This article tries to move beyond the usual individualistic explanations of serial killing towards a wider analysis that embraces a more structural approach whereby we can begin to understand the meaning of serial killing at a societal level. Sadly, we argue that the actions of serial killers can be used to identify social breakdowns.
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A number of recent high-profile criminal cases have served as vehicles for public debates about race, gender, and class prejudice. What are the implications of these cases for the legal system and for the political activists who become involved with them?
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This article aims at giving crime-film research a stronger sense of purpose by asking: How do crime films relate to criminology? Using the example of recent films about sex crimes, I argue that crime films should be conceptualized as an aspect of popular criminology, and popular criminology as an aspect of criminology itself. If we define criminology as the study of crime and criminals, it becomes clear that film is one of the primary sources through which people get their ideas about the nature of crime. Some of those ideas echo academic criminology, while others bring to bear ethical, philosophical and psychological perspectives beyond the scope of academic research. By recognizing that popular criminology is integral to criminology, we can invigorate the study of crime films—and criminology itself.
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The B.T.K. Strangler confounded residents of Wichita, Kansas, as he killed and communicated from 1974 until 2005. This study examines the media relations of the serial murderer and the Wichita Police Department (W.P.D.). Also considered is the attempt of W.P.D. to use subliminal advertising to reach the killer, by a Wichita TV station working with the police. The serial murderer performed basic media relations rather effectively. But W.P.D. did not. Subliminal persuasion was unsuccessful in influencing B.T.K. to surrender.
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Media coverage of serial murder is both sensational and exhaustive. This article examines the "trajectories" of several high profile serial murder cases within the Canadian news media. The murder cases identified are considered mega-murder cases because they are highly publicized and frequently presented within various media forms. There are three predominantly media driven murder cases in Canadian history, which include: the Clifford Olson case, the Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka case, and the Robert Pickton case. Overall, these cases create fear within the public, reinforce the need for increased police and police resources, exhibit how victims are selected for news stories, and replicate the good/evil dichotomy that is present in media forms. The article also reveals that reporters create cases, in the form of "dramatic articulation"
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To explain the astounding over-representation of blacks behind bars that has driven mass imprisonment in the United States, one must break out of the `crime-and-punishment' paradigm to reckon the extra-penological function of the criminal justice system as instrument for the management of dispossessed and dishonored groups. This article places the prison in the historical sequence of `peculiar institutions' that have shouldered the task of defining and confining African Americans, alongside slavery, the Jim Crow regime, and the ghetto. The recent upsurge in black incarceration results from the crisis of the ghetto as device for caste control and the correlative need for a substitute apparatus for the containment of lower-class African Americans. In the post-Civil Rights era, the vestiges of the dark ghetto and the expanding prison system have become linked by a triple relationship of functional equivalency, structural homology, and cultural fusion, spawning a carceral continuum that entraps a population of younger black men rejected by the deregulated wage-labor market. This carceral mesh has been solidified by changes that have reshaped the urban `Black Belt' of mid-century so as to make the ghetto more like a prison and undermined the `inmate society' residing in U.S. penitentiaries in ways that make the prison more like a ghetto. The resulting symbiosis between ghetto and prison not only perpetuates the socioeconomic marginality and symbolic taint of the black subproletariat, feeding the runaway growth of the carceral system. It also plays a pivotal role in the remaking of `race', the redefinition of the citizenry via the production of a racialized public culture of vilification of criminals, and the construction of a post-Keynesian state that replaces the social-welfare treatment of poverty by its penal management.