In the field of sociology, deviance will refer broadly to any behavior that can be considered to wrong or undesirable in a particular social context. Deviance behavior will include behavior such as, minor breaches of etiquette this breach will be meet with disapproving frowns and reactions that cause other people to talk about the behavior. There are also the bizarre behaviors which lead to psychiatric intervention and others that are in themselves criminal acts which call for the intervention of the state to sanction the behavior. The most distinguishing characteristic of any deviance behavior is that it always elicits a negative reaction from a social audience. The negative reaction is referred to as the social control. All of the society has elements of deviance and every society has its own social control. The deviance and social control take many different forms from time to time and from place to place. Example of deviance behavior includes murder, rape, having sex with animals, alcoholism and other forms of wrong behaviors (Goldberg 2005).
Serial killing used to be a rare occurrence in America but today it is increasing to become a common place. There are now 2 or 3 serial killing incidences in the United States. Some of the largest serial killing incidences have taken place in the recent past. People want to know why and what will make an individual to kill (Vronsky 2004). Sociologists claim that contrary to popular assumptions, serial killers do not just become crazy or go insane. It has been found that their killing sprees are extremely well planned and in a methodical way, they also have a motive behind what they are doing. Serial killers murderers will seek revenge against people they think are responsible for their misery and problems. Serial Killers can be depressed, despondent, disillusioned or desperate, but most of them are not deranged.
For one to understand a deviant behavior one need to study the cultural and social norms. Norms vary from one culture to another culture. A behavior that is considered to be polite or is expected and allowed in one culture may be rude or considered to be inappropriate in another culture example is committing suicide in the American society is inappropriate and a criminal offence but in some communities in Japan it is regarded as a heroic act. Study of norms include looking at the history of the norms, the occurred evolution of the norms over a period of time and also the study of changes which have occurred to the norms caused by the shifts in the society. Like it was a social norm in the past to wear gloves in public for ladies in most of the Western world, but today they are considered slightly eccentric and only widely accepted in cold weather only.
Deviance behavior can either be viewed from psychological, biological or sociological perspectives. Sociology perspective social issues such economic class can play a role in manifestation of a particular deviant behavior to an individual. Example is theft which is a common deviant behavior this can be caused or driven by sociological pressures like poverty. Biological perspective is interested in various variations in the brain that lead to an individual expressing deviance and also the biological motivations for normal behavior. The psychological perspective is interested in the thought processes that are behind a normal and a particular deviant behavior, this can range from depression, that may cause people to behave and act the way they do, the study goes to look at issues such as early childhood development, that can help to explain how people learn behavioral and limits.
There are various theories on deviant behavior that give a number of possible explanations and reasons. Most of these theories reflect on an interdisciplinary approach that acknowledges there being many factors that will come together and influence behavior. Theories have over time changed have had an influence on the approach of issues such as criminal justice, law enforcement, and treatment of the mentally ill. In the past the unemployed were forced into workhouses so as to motivate them into being with the norm that expects people to work, this is not a practice that is used today, but it was popularly and very much embraced in the 19th century.
Social control refers to as the societal and also political mechanisms and processes that are used to regulate behavior of either a group or individuals. Social controls lead to compliance and conformity to the rules of a given society or a particular social group. All the mechanisms that are employed for social control are cross-cultural, they are used to control and prevent establishment of chaos or even anomie. Social controls are also referred to as regulations that help individuals to conform to the societal expectations. Sociologists have identified two forms of social controls these are; the Internalization of society norms and its values, and the external sanctions that have been put by the society, the external sanctions can either be reward or punishments, or positive or negative. Social controls can be enforced either formally or informally. Sociologists argue that the belief systems exert a big control on human behavior other than the laws that have been imposed by government.
Social values individuals exhibit are a manifestation of informal social control. This is exercised through society without being explicitly stated by these rules and is usually expressed by the norms, customs, and morals. People are socialized by consciously or subconsciously in the society. Informal sanctions such as ridicule and ostracism will avoid people from straying and doing against the norms. In the informal social control people internalizes society morals and norms. In the traditional society the use of informal social control was embedded in the customary culture that heavily relied on socialization of the people in the community so as to establish the social order. Also Religion is has been seen by people as historically used as a form of informal social control. In the rigid structured societies social control was placed on formal mechanisms (Clarke 2007).
Some of the informal sanctions include disapproval, ridicule, shame and sarcasm others include sanctions such as expulsion, exclusion and social discrimination. Social control has more effect on a person because it becomes internalized and becomes part of one’s personality. The informal sanctions will check any form of deviant behavior.
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Formal social control is usually manifested by the use of statues, rules, regulations as well as laws on a particular deviant behavior. This is conducted by the use of authorities and organizations that can enforce this rules, statues, laws and regulations. Formal sanctions include fines, forced labor in form of community service and imprisonment. In societies that are guided by democratic principles, the goals and mechanisms that are used for formal social control are determined through the use of legislation by those representatives who have been elected and therefore enjoy wide support of the population and a voluntary compliance by the populace (Clinard and Meier 2008).
It has been found that are two types of multiple homicides. There are the mass killings; this is where an individual kills a number of people at a short period of time. This can be done by the killer at the last place he was employed, in a restaurant, at home or in the streets. There is also the Serial killer who instead of killing in a violent outburst like a mass killer, the serial killer murders one victim at a time, this is done over a couple of days, in weeks, years and even decades.
A serial killer is one who kills others and their motivation for killing being psychological gratification. In most serial killing cases there is often, an element of sexual involvement either rape or sodomy with these killings, but the motives of these killings include anger, fantasy, seeking attention, financial gain and thrill. The killers will attempt or completed kill using a similar fashion and victims the murders; this can be, occupation, sex, appearance, race or age.
Studies have shown that serial killers in the America have a tendency to share some general characteristics, and this include; most of the serial killers are white males, who are from a either the middle class or poor backgrounds and most of them are in their twenties and others in their thirties. Most of these people came from broken families where their fathers abandoned them and were raised by their overbearing and domineering mothers. There is also history of criminal activities in their families, alcoholism and other deviant activities by members of their families. Most of the serial killers have problems being employed, they are not able to keep jobs and they work in menial job. They are also very intelligent individuals who are bright. Also serial killer, most of them have made attempts to commit suicide, they love sadistic activities, torturing animals, and love fire. Also most of this people while they were young they were bullied by others and wet their beds even after they are beyond the age of 12 years. Before they became serial killers most of them have had instances where they were involved in fraud, theft and other petty crimes (Schechter 2004). But there are exceptional serial killers who do not have the above characteristics.
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Most serial killers take a prolonged period of frustration for them to produce the kind of rage, hatred and anger that is necessary for this type of brutal behavior. Serial killers have had miserable lives for many years; they do not have good relationships with other people. The serial killers try surviving with their many problems, but a bad event happens and puts them over the edge. They start Killing and soon it becomes a pleasurable end in itself. Soon thereafter killing gives the serial killer a feeling of power. Serial killers have a great need for control and dominance, this they satisfy by killing and torturing their victims. Most serial killers will not use a gun; this is because they feel they want physical contact with the victim as they kill them.
It is wrong to refer Serial killers as being insane. Serial killers know what they are doing is wrong and the consequences, they just simply decide not care. Most serial killers do not feel guilty about their actions. On the face of it serial killers do not look like monsters that they are and this is the secret to their success. They are well thoroughly and familiar with the rules and laws that govern the society, but they disobey this rules and laws and have a feeling that they do not apply to them.
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Mass murders and serial murders are a rare phenomenon but they are increasing everyday in the society. About 500 people die each year at the hand of a serial killer. Can serial killers be rehabilitated? No it is next to impossible for serial killers to be rehabilitated, this are people who have committed serious heinous crimes on the innocent. They kill the innocent with a lot of brutality for them quest their animalistic passions For as long as serial killers are alone with their fantasies and also their private thoughts. The serial killers will be able to maintain a myth that their victims deserved to die. Then after they are caught they are forced to confront truth and reality that they killed human beings, not objects. It is then that they may be overcome by guilt for the horrible crimes they committed and confess.
Most serial killers are beyond redemption. This is because they did not develop the capacity for empathy and affection early in their life. Therefore they lack the internal the mechanisms that inhibits hurtful behavior and selfish tendencies. Most serial killers are well aware of the wrongfulness of their animalistic behavior. But unlike the normal people, they understand the behaviors are wrong only at an intellectual level: but the emotional component is absent in them. Therefore serial killers cannot be rehabilitated at all. They were not able to develop a conscience when they were growing, and it is hard to develop a conscience when one is old. Also some other serial killers are driven by strong urges of sexual sadism, sexual dominance and pedophilia tendencies and this are very hard to rehabilitate (Fox and Levin 2005). Therefore the best social control measure for this people is by employing the death sentence.
The most severe of sentences is that of death, which is also known as capital punishment. Death penalty is the most severe method of corporal punishment it requires law enforcers to kill an offender. Many countries have banned it, but in America, a move that had eliminated death penalty was reversed. Today more and more states in America are using death penalty to punish serious offences. Today, there is a big debate on death penalty, whether it is effective or not. Use of the death penalty has declined significantly in the Western World from the 19th century when it was very rampant. In 1972, a movement in America went to court to have the death penalty declared unconstitutional and while during the case of Furman v. Georgia, it was declared that the death penalty was very cruel and an unusual punishment. This did not go for long and in 1975 the Supreme Court made a decision in the case of Gregg v. Georgia, in which the court ruled that death penalty did not violate the eighth Amendment, from then on executions returned.
There are 4 major debate issues on the death penalty, the first is deterrence. The purpose of death penalty is to deter future criminal activities. The deterrence theory believes one who is rational person will not engage in criminal activities if the severity of the punishment for the crime outweighs the benefits of the criminal conduct. People believe that fear of death will deters criminals from committing crimes. Most criminals would think twice before committing murder if they knew their own lives was at stake (Gerber Johnson, 2007). Studies on the deterrence effect of the death penalty have been done for many years, and all with varying results. Most of the studies have not produced any evidence to prove that the death penalty deters criminal behavior. One of the reasons found for this was that few people are executed and so it cannot be an effective deterrent. If death penalty was to carried out more it would deter crime, as during the publicized death penalty cases murder cases go down, but rise after the case.
Retribution is the second issue of debate; this is the need for the society to condemn inhuman acts. Those who support the death penalty argue that, a proper response to heinous crimes such as murder should be the most severe form of punishment available (Asimow and Mader, 2004). Those who oppose the death penalty disagree that the society should express its outrage on a heinous crime by inflicting death penalty. They claim that what the society is doing is showing outrage by killing another person.
Arbitrariness is also an issue; arbitrariness can be determined arises from impulse or whim and not reason or judgment. The rules of fairness dictate that people who break the same law should be dealt equally and face the same consequences. It has however been proven that the system of justice has not been consistent as Statistics show, a black man who murders a white person has 11 times likely to be convicted of death penalty than a white man who murders a black person (White 1991). A black who murders a black has a far less likely hood of getting the death sentence.
Another issue of debate is Wrongful Conviction, this is in case there is a mistake and an innocent person is convicted of death penalty. There have been incidences in the past where people were wrongfully executed and yet they were innocent and after the execution the actual murderer confesses to the crime in order to elevate his or her guilty conscience. Former Judge T. Marshall said that, "No matter how careful courts are, the possibility of perjured testimony, mistaken honest testimony, and human error remain all too real. We have no way of judging how many innocent persons have been executed, but we can be certain there were some." (Fridell 2004)
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People may think it is immoral and wrong to kill another person no matter what crime they have committed. In my opinion, the best way to serve justice to the criminals such as serial killers is to have them pay for their evil deeds with their life. A lot of people believe that death penalty has been passed by time and it is not civilized. I personally believe we need it because the society we live in is not civilized, if the society was civilized there would be no crime. Today killings happen each and every day, a lot of the criminal get away with it and those who are caught at one time are released from prison. The streets are full of murderers who make people to live in constant fear. They should be executed as no executed killer has ever killed again.