The Son of Sam Research Paper by RightRiters

The Son of Sam
A paper which examines the life and mind of serial killer, David Berkowitz.
# 23132 | 3,385 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Apr 01, 2003 in Law (Criminal) , Criminology (General)

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This paper discusses David Berkowitz whose reign of murderous terror gripped New York City from 1976 to 1977. David Berkowitz, known as the Son of Sam, was eventually arrested, tried and convicted for the series of gun-attacks that left six people dead, seven wounded and an entire city in fear. The paper shows that when caught, while there existed a potential for his being determined to be insane, Berkowitz pleaded guilty to the six murders and, under the sentencing rules of the time, was given twenty-five years to life. The paper examines how Berkowitz, while in jail, turned his crimes into profit by writing and authorizing books to be written about him. Outrage against this led to the "Son of Sam Law" which now disallows criminals in jail from profiting from their crimes while behind bars. Berkowitz has become an icon in the study of the psychology of murder, of serial killers and of the sociology of fear. This paper examines the life of David Berkowitz, the nature of his crimes and offers an analysis of the serial killer's mind.

From the Paper:

"People like David Berkowitz have been part of our human society since humanity began. Thomas Hobbes observed that communities form for the purpose of mutual protection and that they are a refuge from the Wild. For people like David Berkowitz, communities are, in essence, the wild and their psychopathology is the protection from that. The problem, however, is that the psychology of murder is one that cannot truly prevent such people from becoming murderers, it can only explain them once the horror has happened. David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam, terrorized a community that he had perceived as rejecting him. He retreated into a world of delusion, of fantasy, and of fear of the supernatural. Once in that world, he rationalized the destruction of human life and carried out his murders with the calmness and purposefulness of a mail carrier delivering a package. "I wasn't going to rob her, or touch her, or rape her. I was just going to kill her" (Berkowitz quoted in Chelser & Robb, 1996). What psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists have determined about people like David Berkowitz, is that they almost universally suffer from significant psychological breaks, traumas often suffered in childhood, that have changed the very nature of their thought process and moral structure."

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