Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The headlines are all too familiar. “Bored local youths vandalize synagogues.” “Gang ‘wilding' leaves rape victims near death. A further reading reveals no compelling reason for the crimes. The youths are from upstanding families; the teens have never been in trouble with the law; the gang members are neither poverty-stricken nor cognitively impaired. All of the usual lenses through which we examine criminal behavior fail to provide a working model to explain the offenses. There are only the suspects' own words, such as these from Brenda Spenser, a sixteenyear-old mass murderer: “I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day. I just started shooting for the fun of it” (Meloy 1997: 110). With respect to the vast majority of criminal offenses, intent is easily understood, or at least easily categorized. When a drug addict sticks up a convenience store or a woman kills her husband for the insurance money, the ...