People who do Crazy Things are not Necessarily Crazy

Every human being faces at least one affliction in his or her life that leads him or her to behave in an unusual manner. While some people obtain support from others and learn how to handle situations correctly, others fight their battles alone and find themselves committing unthinkable acts. One taking a dispositional view would allegedly reach the conclusion that those who perform these unthinkable acts must suffer from insanity. With an opposing outlook, social psychologists observe how certain individuals react to difficult circumstances and determine why particular escapades occur as a result of distinct settings.
They understand that “occasionally, these natural situations become focused into pressures so great that they can cause people to behave in ways easily classifiable as abnormal” (Aronson). Humankind should strive to fathom the depth of human behavior, and simply labeling these people as psychotic only decreases the chances of doing so. Some murder trials, after examination, will prove certain individuals to be psychotic, while other proceedings linger in the mind as an obscurity.
Often times, people do not want to accept the fact that not all murderers are demented. Szasz argued that we often prefer to attribute antisocial deeds to a person’s mental illness rather than to his or her intent or choice. It is difficult to accept the idea that sane people could willingly commit atrocities” (Kleinke). Thus, it remains crucial that we recognize how grievous conditions can generate one to become an eloquently volatile being. Two defined groups of individuals that account for a number of the enraged acts suggested as being “crazy” are: vulnerable persons dealing with agonizing treatment by the public and helpless minors growing up in unpleasant homes that lack affection.

Considering the backgrounds of people who act deceivingly will allow society to better understand the reasons why unwanted deeds are committed and how they can be avoided. Just a few weeks ago I watched a showing on television called “Too Young to Kill: 15 Shocking Crimes” in which Eric Smith earned the second spot on the list. Smith had a full head of red hair, a face covered by red freckles to match and a thick pair of glasses for his bad eyesight. At age thirteen, this appearance never seems to be the most popular when trying to make friends.
Kids continually mocked the redheaded loner and rejected his friendship. Since no one wanted to be seen spending time with the outsider, Smith exhausted most of his time bike riding in the small town he lived in. Eric Smith represents the vulnerable individual who put up with too much overwhelming treatment from his peers. Eventually, he had to cope with his anger, and he did so in a horrifying manner. One particular morning, as Smith did his routine bike ride around the town, a four year old named Derrick Robie asked his mother if he could walk alone to a summer camp that he attended just a few blocks down.
Hesitantly, she agreed, only because the neighborhood was known to be exceptionally safe. Smith, riding his bicycle to the same camp, passed Robie along the way and decided to lure him into an unseen area. Smith said he saw Robie as an easy target; he knew the young boy stood defenseless. Robie was brought into a wooded area where he was brutally beaten and smashed over the head with a large rock. Smith even sodomized young Derrick by shoving a stick up his butt hole in order to stab his heart and confirm the preschooler’s death.
A defense psychiatrist tried to blame the murder on Intermittent Explosive Disorder, which literally means deadly rage and anger. It is “currently categorized in theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as an impulse control disorder” (Wikipedia). However, when involved in many murder case trials, one finds that “consciously or unconsciously, people who are the subject of social science research may skew results” (Levant). Since the rare disorder is seldom seen at age thirteen, jurors demanded that Smith undergo extensive medical testing.
Results proved that his brain function and hormone levels were normal and had nothing to do with his sadistic behavior. A person suffering from psychosis often loses contact with reality and contains no control of his or her actions in painstaking moments. Smith confessed that he influenced naive Derrick to follow him into the woods in order to kill him in private. He knew exactly what he was doing and entirely understood the implications of his behavior. Furthermore, throughout the initial trial, he did not once apologize for killing an innocent child. Even after the crime was over with, Smith felt little remorse.
It was not until the succeeding trial over a decade later that he acknowledged his wrongdoing and asked for forgiveness. Finally, he attempted to clearly answer the question that everyone had been waiting for a response to: “why did he do it? ” Smith avows that he now has morals, something that he did not previously have. He asserts that no matter how minuscule an abuse situation, it all combines together to create a much larger issue for the one being bullied. Eventually, the individual will not be able to endure anymore pain and could potentially be driven to kill.
Bullying can lead to a victim craving revenge and taking out anger on someone seen as less significant. Smith himself explains this behavior in his testimony by alleging that: “it is not because they’re evil or satanic little kids; it’s because they want the abuse to stop and it’s the only way they know how to. ” He is aware that his actions were not a result of some form of psychosis. Instead, it was the unpleasant situation that instigated Eric Smith to act in a crazy way. Certainly he remains guilty; though, if the conditions at his school had been different, he would not have committed that terrifying crime.
An even more shocking murder case than that of Eric Smith’s is the one known as “The Beltway Sniper Attacks,” which involves the juvenile known as John Lee Malvo. Fatherless throughout life, Malvo felt a strong connection at age fourteen to a man he and his mother met, John Allen Muhammad. Malvo’s mother left him with Muhammad for a long period of time until she was able to smuggle him over to Miami with her, but only as an illegal alien. Border Patrol caught them both and brought them into jail. After about a month, young Malvo was released on bail. Naturally, he longed to be in the care of the only other person he trusted: Muhammad.
John Muhammad gave Malvo purpose and he even enlisted Malvo into school as his son. When Muhammad’s ex-wife, Mildred, was granted full custody of their three daughters Muhammad went berserk. Knowing that the death of his ex-wife would gain him guardianship, he thought out a plan to murder Mildred with no one suspecting him as being involved. The arrangement consisted of a killing spree that had no connection between any of the victims. This way, when the shooting of Mildred would occur, she would just be another random victim of the unknown mass murderer.
Muhammad invited Malvo to participate in the homicides and told him that they could terrorize the nation together. Malvo admired Muhammad so, of course, he accepted the proposal and murdered ten innocent people as a result. Lee Boyd Malvo, holding the number one spot on the shocking crime’s list, epitomizes the deprived minor who yearns for a father figure. According to a forensic psychiatrist, Alexander E. Obolsky, the two snipers involved in the Maryland and Virginia shootings were narcissists who planned out their attacks.
Malvo and Muhammad gained an emotional high from the feeling of being in charge. This conduct does not automatically indicate that the two suffer from psychosis. Obolsky affirms, “the person [the sniper] is crazy only in the sense that he does not care about people the way typical people do” (Pustovar). In agreement, forensic psychologist Dr. Neal Dunsieth insists, “the sniper might have some particular personality traits or be predisposed to strange beliefs, but I haven’t seen a lot that points to a mental illness” (Pustovar).
Counselors and social workers have spent much of their time with Malvo during his nine years in prison. As reported by Carmeta Albarus-Lindo, who has absorbed over one hundred hours of her time with Malvo, Malvo has drastically turned his life around. He himself states that he habitually struggles with feelings of shame, guilt and repentance. Knowing she was just a few people away from being killed by Malvo, Mildred claims, “that boy was a victim before he even knew it. ” If shot, she would have wanted the full responsibility given to her ex-husband.
She fully realizes that he took complete advantage of the boy’s insecurities. Immature Malvo was just a child with a great deal of growing up to do when he first met Muhammad. Every young person needs an adult to help guide him or her through life. When growing up, people are taught that their parents know best; adolescents typically believe that this statement holds full truth. Sadly, Malvo happened to be hooked up with Muhammad as his guardian and he followed directly behind his footsteps. Lee Boyd Malvo, which is the boy’s real name, was cruelly brainwashed by the grown-up man whom he called “Father.
Calling Malvo by the name of “John Lee Malvo” symbolizes the circumstances in which John Muhammad took over Lee Boyd Malvo’s essence and independence. Simply accusing all murderers of possessing some major mental disorder will in no way explain the reasoning behind numerous homicides. When assuming that all killers are psychotic, we are fundamentally “defining insanity as a label we give to people when we cannot put ourselves ourselves in their position and understand their actions” (Rosenberg). People must realize that, often times, certain motives trigger a person to kill.
It is up to society to interpret the underlying incentives that are behind countless murders. It is much like Eric Smith’s attorney recently stated: “nothing will change what happened to Derrick. But maybe something can prevent what might happen to someone else’s child. ” Society must study the various causes of killings and find the deeper issues behind the killer so that future outbreaks might be stopped. This is important to do so because “people who do crazy things are not necessarily crazy” (Aronson). Any human being faced with a dreadful situation risks the chance of performing a spontaneous mistake.
Works Cited
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-did-eric-kill-30-06-2005/

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