Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Do Women Commit Mass Murder?

I was doing some research for a paper I am writing on school violence and came across this Newsweek article on the Virginia Tech Shooting. A forensic psychologist from John Jay Criminal College is interviewed:

Still, psychologists can say a few things with certainly about who is more likely to commit the most serious of crimes. Over 90 percent of killers are male, and the same holds for mass murderers—“I can’t think of a single case where a woman has done this,” says Schlesinger—partly because men tend to have more access to guns, which are usually the weapons of choice.


Perhaps Dr. Schlesinger has a poor memory, because if she thought about it, she would know that the famous song by the BoomTown Rats entitled, "I Don't Like Mondays" was written about "non-existent" (at least to some experts) Brenda Spencer. Spencer was a seventeen-year-old high school senior in San Diego who in January of 1979 opened fire into a crowded elementary school across the street from her home. She killed the principal and a janitor and injured a police officer and eight children. Her reason? "I don't like Mondays. Mondays always get me down."

In the Lillelid mass murder that I have mentioned here numerous times, three of the perpetrators were women, but I guess women just don't do serious crimes like mass murder. Maybe someone should tell that to the victims of Jennifer San Marco who last year killed her neighbor and then six people at a mail processing plant. Do women kill less often than men? Of course, but to say that you can't think of any women who commit mass murder means that you must not be looking too hard.

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86 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would this be an example of the availability bias/heuristic?

8:21 PM, May 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laurie Dann

http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/lauriedann.html

8:28 PM, May 02, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Anonymous 8:28:

Laurie Dann, I know that case. It always fascinated me that prior to Columbine, during the late 1990's school shootings, the articles would discuss how only men committed these murders, yet on the school shooting time lines, they would have the two school shooters, Spencer and Dann and not even acknowledge that these were women.

8:39 PM, May 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People in Chicago at that time won't forget Laurie Dann. That it happened in Winnetka was even more amazing. Mental illness affects all economic classes and sexes. Access to guns and denying warning signs are common in her shooting, Columbine, and VTU. I worry that in pushing for mentally ill handgun controls, we won't distinguish between types of mental illnesses and look for signs of violence.

Reports said she was taking medications for her mental troubles, so that too is similar. Maybe the pills don't help so much as we like to think.

8:53 PM, May 02, 2007  
Blogger Eric said...

This is not meant as a sexist indictment of women as mass murderers, but the "Manson girls" come to mind. While Manson was the leader of the gang, it's often forgotten that Manson wasn't physically present when they committed the actual crimes.

Or how about Ilse Koch, the she wolf of the SS? Does she count?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilse_Koch

9:09 PM, May 02, 2007  
Blogger Eric said...

And don't forget Erzebet Bathory, who tortured and killed over 600 people, mostly to drink their blood.

http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/women/women1/2.html

But this is nothing compared to many famous male murderers in history.

9:26 PM, May 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lizzie Borden took an axe
Gave her parents 40 whacks...

9:34 PM, May 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Schlesinger couldn't think of any women mass murderers--for an article about Cho in which the question about women mass murderers was probably tangential? Gee, he's just not as smart as you are, Helen. They should have interviewed you instead. You could have talked about your documentary.

10:12 PM, May 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would also like to mention Laurie Dann who rampaged through the Chicago suburbs in the 80's.

10:16 PM, May 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Helen would have been a better interviewee. Since she actually knows what she's talking about. And judging by the way she deals with trollish commenters on her blog, she also has the patience of a saint.

10:22 PM, May 02, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

I was told the stats are 1 in 7 for female offender mass murder; seems to me to be in the right area.

As for people in the press not knowing any female offenders, that's just inbuilt sexism, just the misandry of society trying to put all the blame on males.

3:17 AM, May 03, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

well lizzie borden was found not guilty, by the law.

there was aileen wournos, mass killer, a lot of the female killers are either angels of death, nurses, ending suffering, who may or may not suffer from muchaussens by proxy,

Diane Downs, Darlie Routier, Marybeth Tinning, Marie Hilley, nanny doss, velma barfield, anna marie hahn, madeline smith, Beverley Allitt, Celeste Beard, Bambi Bembenek, Joyce Lemay Cohen,Kathleen Folbigg, Antoinette Frank, Dana Sue Gray, Belle Gunness, Genene Jones, Winnie Ruth Judd, Katherine Knight, Dorothea Puente, Gertrude Baniszewski and many more.

they generally use poison, over a longer time and they get away with it for years, compared to men.

Sue Basso Depraved woman traps mentally handicapped man so she can use him as slave and kill him for insurance

Mary Ann Cotton Murdered between 15-21 of her close relatives by arsenic poisoning. Why? For money, personal dislike or they got in her way over something she wanted.

and he couldnt find any women.

4:45 AM, May 03, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

not to mention the couple killers, myra hindley, and ian brady, fred and rose west, and others, where the woman took part.

4:51 AM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Madame Popova killed hundreds (kind of as a hit-woman for wives who wanted their husband's money but not their live bodies around the house).

Caril Fugate (who went on a rampage in 1958 or so with Charles Starkweather) was portrayed as kind of the weak-willed go-along victim of him, although the jury didn't believe that he held her hostage. Many facts came out later that she was not only a willing participant, she had killed some of the victims herself. She also was the person hepping up Charles to kill people, not the other way around.

She was smart to portray herself as a victim - he got the electric chair, she got some prison time and is now (reportedly) working as a nurse or hospital aid in East Lansing, Michigan.

5:25 AM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like her commenters have spurred discussion here of women killers she had forgotten.

Maybe they could interview the commenters, instead of "Dr." anti-women Helen. Heh.

well lizzie borden was found not guilty, by the law.


So was OJ.
Regardless, later facts and studies have conclusively recorded where the legal system got it wrong. Science helps out years later, so don't rest too easy on your false acquittals if you're guilty, eh?.

6:40 AM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Define troll anyway.

Someone who embarrasses the blog hostess with facts and objections to her pro-male tint? SOmeone who posts early and often? Or someone who doesnt bow to he Helen and Glenn show as the most informative piece of work out there.

I like their set up, the content not so much. He's empty especially on the war, and she is glommed on closely to him, and has the anti-woman pro-male slant trying to make a niche. Not too impressive to intellectuals, but they apparently turn a quick buck or two.

6:43 AM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A forensic psychologist makes an assertion about a topic relevant to his field of expertise. Dr. Helen and her commenters make statements refuting said statement.

The statement specifically associated egregious crime with the male gender, so, anonytroll, you fabricate the idea that trivially presenting evidence to the contrary is somehow "anti-woman" and evidence of "pro-male tint"?

There's a reason most of this country uses the word, "intellectual", with an overwhelming sense of irony.

9:02 AM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a reason most of this country uses the word, "intellectual", with an overwhelming sense of irony.

"Doctor" too.

you fabricate the idea that trivially presenting evidence to the contrary is somehow "anti-woman" and evidence of "pro-male tint"?

Not been reading this blog work long, eh?

9:26 AM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JW wrote: "As for people in the press not knowing any female offenders, that's just inbuilt sexism, just the misandry of society trying to put all the blame on males."

I think it is something else too. It is too frightening to think of women as possible dangerous sociopaths and too comforting to think of them as incapable of sadistic violence.

Neglect kills more children than abuse, and neglect is the primary domain of women child killers. But as a society we are shocked to learn that women kill ore children than men. It is too scarry to hold.

And anon, in your case, a troll is someone who hides their antagonism and vitriol behind a thin veneer of reason and criticism.

Someone who insults behind anonymity and calls names instead of sharing ideas.

Trollish, childish, cowardly.

Trey

9:35 AM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article is quite clear that women do commit mass murder, but that most mass murderers are men. Is that true or not? Discussing women mass murderers is interesting, no doubt. If the interviewer had interviewed Schlesinger about women mass murderers, I'd bet he could come up with a list --but why beat up the guy because he couldn't think of a name in the middle of a discussion about something else? Why pretend that his "can't think of a name" is anything more than it is? I don't think that good-forensic-psychologist necessarily equals encyclopedic-memory. Helen likes to remind her readers that women can be bad and finds reason for that reminder quite often. That's her gig, and we get some interesting discussions from that. Helen also gets increased hits from a good old fashioned troll war. Probably not as many hits as she gets from instapundit linking to her blog, though.

10:08 AM, May 03, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

AC 10:12

Schlesinger is a forensic psych. For him not to be able to "think of a single case" either makes him ignorant in his own field or unwilling to say there are many examples of female mass murderers.

"...question about women mass murderers was probably tangential?"

Perhaps, then, he shouldn't have introduced the topic with such an ignorant statement?

10:12 AM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trollish, childish, cowardly.

I know you are but what am I?

Honestly, the level of discussion seems to fall in here every time "Dr." Trey opens his yapper.

10:27 AM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well his 'access to guns' rationalization is sufficient reason to discount any of his other claims.

11:04 AM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, it is a gift! I don't even try! Nice quote on the "Dr" by the way. That is so infuriating! Ouch! I throw that around all the time, how dare you doubt my superiority.

Snore.

Try again, you can do better.

Trey

11:05 AM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

psst. "Dr." Trey:
It's not always about you.

Shush up now about your personal attention needs, repeat: it's not about you, or me for that matter.

I repeat: the discussion drops a bit every time you open your mouth and try to make it about you.

11:26 AM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mercurior wrote: "angels of death, nurses, ending suffering, who may or may not suffer from muchaussens by proxy."

Angels of death is an interesting phrase, full of ambivelence. I wonder if it refers to their denial, telling themselves "I am doing this for their own good, I am ending suffering" or the contrast between a nurses intended, stated mission and those women's murders, or both?

Maybe it refers to our ambivelence as well.

Trey

11:32 AM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, so let's make this a war between trolls. I LIKE TREY. LEAVE HIM ALONE. His comments are civil (usually) and he is one of the few who is willing to admit that he learned something from another poster. Helen doesn't do that.

11:33 AM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that Dr. Helen is taking the true feminist view. There won't be equality until there is equal responsibility being taken for our behavior. Even all other things being equal, the system always defaults in favor of the woman on the false presumption that women aren't as depraved as men.

11:37 AM, May 03, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Happy troll, I really should be civil all the time. Sorry. It is not my best quality when I get snippy or mean. But I have attracted some intense negative interest, and it is interesting to deal with if not a little boring for the rest of you to read.

I do learn things here. How cool is that! And sometimes I learn from responding to attacks, which is also cool. But I will try to remain more polite in the future, and I appreciate your honest assessment of my imperfect civility. I learned something again.

Trey

11:45 AM, May 03, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Anon wrote: "I think that Dr. Helen is taking the true feminist view. There won't be equality until there is equal responsibility being taken for our behavior."

We agree, well said. So is true and effective feminism in fact humanism?

"Even all other things being equal, the system always defaults in favor of the woman on the false presumption that women aren't as depraved as men."

I do not agree with "always," but change it to usually and we agree. Maybe it is not depraved, maybe it is the presumption that women are not as dangerous as men.

Trey

11:47 AM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't be concerned, the troll is only Rosie. She's a light weight.

12:30 PM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rosie is a lot of things. But not light weight.

I think the troll is really a Dr. Helen fan, trying to make her look good by making her opponents look like complete, blithering idiots.

It's working, too.

12:43 PM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jiang Qing comes to mind as a female mass murderer that most male mass murderers couldn't hold a candle to....

12:48 PM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Trey as well and find his comments insightful and honest. I don't know why this one certain Anon has such an issue with Trey or Dr. Helen. Why come to this blog he is so unhappy about it?

12:50 PM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I do learn things here.


Like wipe your own little one's asses, and not bitch when some older lady objects to doing it on class time??

12:51 PM, May 03, 2007  
Blogger Der Hahn said...

Andrea Yates

1:23 PM, May 03, 2007  
Blogger Difster said...

Der Hahn,

I was just about to mention her as I was reading the rest of the comments.

What is the requirement for mass murder? 3 more more? Yates qualifies for that.

We don't think of women murdering family members as being mass murderers.

1:30 PM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helen:
It always fascinated me that prior to Columbine, during the late 1990's school shootings, the articles would discuss how only men committed these murders,

I think this is largely due to stereotyping.

A stereotype says that women are kinder than men.

Another stereotype says that women are less rational than men.

The catch is that the people who most strongly object to the second stereotype still have reason to promote the first. So it is a bit more persistent, and rare events are likely to be interpreted in accordance with it.

1:50 PM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon wrote: "I think that Dr. Helen is taking the true feminist view. There won't be equality until there is equal responsibility being taken for our behavior."

In context, Helen is a stronger defender of "feminism" than the vagina-friendly, liberal professor who was quoted. If Helen has the honest ability to spot the water damage before a liberal professor can paint over it, maybe the wall of feminism can be salvaged.

2:08 PM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote: "I do learn things here."

And my new harasser (is that even a word?)wrote:

"Like wipe your own little one's asses, and not bitch when some older lady objects to doing it on class time??"

No, I wipped lots of asses before today! Goodness, I wonder how many? The cool thing about triplets is that you get your ass wiping done in a shorter amount of time. The less cool thing is you spend more time per day wiping asses. (OK, there is another ass wipe comment that I am not going to make because I promised to be more civil. Do I break it by this parenthetical comment?)

For the record, the woman in question was in her early 20s, and no ass wiping was required from her or asked of her! Urination, the voiding of record as reported here repeatedly, does not require wiping. Handwashing is requested and encouraged, but since urine is sterile and has disenfectant qualities, not absolutley required.

No dear anon, I am learning how to respond to unhinged criticism and attacks on my family and myself in a cheerful, effective manner. Thanks for doing your part.

Trey

2:13 PM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trey:
Again, this is not about you.
What part of "get yourself a support group" do you not understand?

2:35 PM, May 03, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Cool article, it starts here:
http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/mass/female_mass_murderer/1.html

A good excerpt asks why women mass murderers get less attention: "That may be due, at least in part, to an American myth about "female virtue," as Patricia Pearson hypothesizes in her book, When She Was Bad: How and Why Women Get Away With Murder. Pearson points out that while people in general tend to view women as non-aggressive, in fact, "women commit the majority of child homicides in the United States, a greater share of physical child abuse, an equal rate of sibling violence and assaults on the elderly, about a quarter of child sexual abuse, an overwhelming share of the killing of newborns, and a fair preponderance of spousal assaults."

Whoa, I did not know about the physical child abuse statistic. An FBI guy talks about the stereotype of women as nurturers, but nobody got to how scarry it is to think of women as being the main abusers and killers of children.

All in all, a good overview of the topic from a good source.

Trey

3:09 PM, May 03, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

and it wasnt really dr helen, who said the comment, about not knowing female killers it was John Jay.

and how most of the information focuses on men, when as i stated there are women killers.

its all about the perception, that violence is only ever caused by men, well we who know that there are evil women out there, how about a bit of equality, not all women are angels, some are devils.

i like trey as well, we may not agree on some things, but he is intelligent, and i have learned things from his comments.

a troll is someone who insults others by hiding behind anonymous names

3:26 PM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think Andrea Yates counts as a "mass murderer". She was temporarily insane and it was a one time event (a psychotic episode in a moment of delusion while on severe meds). Are pre-meditation, sanity, and multiple events parts of the "mass murderer" definition, as opposed to the temporarily deranged? Seems like two different words/phrases are needed here.

Another example: the Oklahoma city bomber is premeditated, while Yates and even Cho seem to have just temporarily flipped out in a severe psychotic moment.

Does the legal system have different definitions, and hence punishments? Same question for the mental health system.

5:23 PM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read that most in the mental health fields need 4 dead for the murders to count as a "mass murder." Andrea killed her 5 children, so she would qualify.

I do not think that mental problems or insanity give you a pass on meeting the criteria, so Andrea Yates would indeed be considered a mass murderer as would the VT killer.

Trey

5:53 PM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one word:

infanticide

6:13 PM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There have been a number of female suicide-bombers among the Chechens. A team of them brought-down 2 airplanes in August 2004; others blew-up trains in the Moscow subway.

In fact, it's even been suggested that females are a majority of Chechen suicide bombers.

6:17 PM, May 03, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

To all,

Mass murder when committed by an individual(s) is the killing of several people in one setting. The definition of mass murder varies by state, here in Tennessee, it is the killing of three or more persons in a single incidence. A mass murderer generally differs from a serial killer who kills one person at a time and then has a cooling off period and kills again, usually more for sexual reasons, such as Ted Bundy. The motivations for these types of murders are generally different.

6:53 PM, May 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 5:23,

Cho bringing chains to bar doors is not "premeditated"?

Perhaps you need to be pre-medicated.

10:59 PM, May 03, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

tmink said: "I think it is something else too. It is too frightening to think of women as possible dangerous sociopaths and too comforting to think of them as incapable of sadistic violence."

Yes, I quite agree. This too is a form of sexism. It is a view of the female which is unrealisticly pure, holy and kind. In other words, sexism in favor of the female which is a thing that often hurts the male.

BTW: In reference to the statistics on parents abusing / killing kids.

The group 'single mothers' includes a fair sized group who are not like the rest. When these women are added to the general women's statistics, it distorts the women's data. I've long thought it grossly unfair to compare the lone mother - lone father data due to the size of the "doesn't fit" group in the lone mother data, (although I have done it to annoy a misandrous person).

Adding true equality to our legal and social systems would fix the problem and save a fair number of children's lives.

4:00 AM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

then there are people who beleive they re doing right, or gods work, but there reasoning, is based of false information.

they dont "know" its wrong, because of the self justification.

andrea yates, "beleived" she was sending her children to a better place(heaven before they could sin), so in her mind, I STRESS HER MIND, she was justified in doing it. when it was very wrong in reality. she knew right from wrong, but thats just a personal opinion, based on pre existing ideas.

the witch trials that burned and hanged people, to them it was logical, when in reality it was dumb.

"the mass murderer kills groups of people at once, whereas the serial killer individualizes his or her murders. The serial killer continues to hurt and murder victims" http://www.serialhomicide.com/defining-serial-killers.htm

a persons beleif defines who they are, if they beleive they are sending old and sick people to relieve their suffering, in their minds they are justified in doing it. like harold shipman a doctor who probably killed over 200 elderly men and women.

its wrong, but insanity, knowing right from wrong is a very very grey area.

4:07 AM, May 04, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

heres an interesting site about female serial killers

http://faculty.ncwc.edu/toconnor/428/428lect11.htm

Hickey's (2002) subsample of 62 females out of 399 serial killers used the following methods and motives.

Methods Motives
1. Poison (80%)
2. Shooting (20%)
3. Bludgeoning (16%)
4. Suffocation (16%)
5. Stabbing (11%)
6. Drowning (5%)

4:15 AM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Virginia has a limit of one gun per month, so Cho bought one, waited 30 days, and bought a second one. Hardly "flipped out one moment."

6:16 AM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

News outlets that would never hesitate to neuter a man in the saving professions by referring to him as a firefighter instead of as a fireman or police officer instead of as a policeman were uninhibited about calling attention to Cho's sex by naming him a "gunman" instead of a "shooter," "triggerman" rather than "attacker," or "bad guy" instead of "criminal".

The prevalence of such sexist language in media reports of crime clouds and biases the thinking of even sophisticated people.

8:14 AM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

michael i illustrates the glories of the comments on this blog: the longer they go on, the crazier the men-as-victims crowd gets.

8:55 AM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell me, anon 8:55, what's the boundary between claiming victimhood and demanding justice? It seems to me that the boundary moves depending the gender of the claimant.

Rusty.

10:28 AM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No gender so much as class and race.

You're late to this pity party

11:01 AM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"michael i illustrates the glories of the comments on this blog: the longer they go on, the crazier the men-as-victims crowd gets."

He has a long, long way to go to mauch the silliness of the women-as-victims crowd for that last 5,000 years.

12:17 PM, May 04, 2007  
Blogger Cham said...

They say that 90% of prison inmates have some sort of psychological problem. I agree. I doubt anyone aspires to be a murderer or a mass murderer, so most of them have issues be it Andrea Yates, Ted Bundy or Mary Winkler.

Yes, most serial killers are men, but every once in a while a woman will do more than a few kills, I don't think anyone disputes that. Woman are more likely to perform a passive aggressive crime (as discussed before in this blog) as prisons are filled with bad check writing women. Some woman killers wil poison their victims.

But let's get back to Mary Winkler and Andrea Yates for a minute. I get the feeling that neither one of these ladies felt they were committing a crime when they killed. My guess is that they felt they would get a free pass not only because they were female but also because they were "christian" church-going mothers. Our culture tends to put these types on a pedestal, hence the attitude from both of them that they couldn't possibly be breaking a law or doing wrong.

12:38 PM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He has a long, long way to go to mauch the silliness of the women-as-victims crowd for that last 5,000 years."

Some of the comments on this blog are sure trying to hurry it along, though, arent' they? If women-as-victims is so silly, why would you encourage men-as-victims?

12:55 PM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cham, my apologies for being slow, but I'm still having trouble figuring out what you're getting at. Making excuses for one's own improper behavior is not, I don't think, recognized as a mental illness in itself. On that basis, I don't think that either Mary Winkler or Andrea Yates deserve a pass. They had both demonstrated in the past that they knew right from wrong, so the fact that they may have lost it for a moment does not, to me, resolve them of either legal or moral guilt. (And it's complicated by the fact that the criminal defense industry has become highly proficient at training defendants to mimic the symptoms of various mental illnesses; we don't know the extent to which Winkler or Yates were coached in this regard.) But maybe that's the very point you were trying to make; if so, my apologies.

Of course, there is a difference between the medical diagnosis and the legal treatment. There are in fact many things that can cause people to temporarily lose what we would consider their sanity. However, most states no longer permit "temporary insanity" as a defense. In part, this is probably because that defense has been so widely abused, but I think the other part of it is that there was never really a solid concept of what defensible insanity actually was. And more to the point, if someone did suffer such a condition, what do you do with them? The prison system is clearly not meant to be a mental health treatment system. But, even assuming that such a thing really exists (which I have my doubts about), a person who can lose their ability to tell right from wrong to the extent that they could commit a murder without realizing that what they are doing is wrong, is a person who is too dangerous to be allowed out in society. At some point, protection of the public has to be considered.

So what do you do with such people? The legal authority to confine them for life is murky at best, and so many of them are often freed after a few years. And we have the principle (a well-founded principle, in general) that no person can be forced to accept a treatment against their will. So, like Cho, they get various medicines prescribed, but they either abuse them or they don't take them. And they get appointments with therapists, but like Cho, they don't show up.

I just wonder what can be done with it. And within the constraints of our existing laws, I'm drawing a blank. The only thing I can come up is, to put it nicely, involuntarily administered treatment. But there's a lot of danger in going down that path.

2:02 PM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, this anonytroll is making the whole blog unreadable. We've got one person on here who comes in anonymously, is generally the first person to post on every topic, and never does anything other than insult the blog host and the other commeters. Repeatedly. As in 10=15 posts in a row. It's a little creepy, if you ask me.

2:04 PM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

helen said:

"Do women kill less often than men? Of course..."

And what is the reason for this, helen?

2:08 PM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cousin Dave wrote: "And it's complicated by the fact that the criminal defense industry has become highly proficient at training defendants to mimic the symptoms of various mental illnesses."

Agreed. Also, too many people in the psychology field have become court whores. Psychology is a wonderful tool for understanding why someone acts the way they do, but it is misused in excusing people's behavior in my opinion.

The abuse excuse is a prime example. Most people who are sexually, physically or emotionally abused do not respond with violence. Most domestic violence survivors do not kill their perp either, but in the public's eye these histories have become acceptable reasons for vicious acting out or even murder.

It is a real problem.

Trey

2:25 PM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One person, Cousin Dave? Nae...multi-trolls. If you really don't see what the multi-trolls poke fun at, maybe it's because you're a man. As this blog so eagerly points out, men are different from women. Women seem to read this blog differently than men do. You men, you're just all so busy with your testosterone that you miss some clues.

2:27 PM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://wjz.com/topstories/local_story_123141818.html

An article from today about a pair of junior high girls who have been arrested with bomb making materials.

I must be getting old. I just can't imagine how a pair of junior high aged girls not only conceives such a plot, but get access to materials to carry it out. Scary times we live in.

3:15 PM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But can you conceive of junior high boys doing that?

3:24 PM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Firecrackers in the toilet? Yes. Phoning in a false scare to amuse themselves with the excitement of an evacuation? Yes. Either gender.

Something like this? No. Not the boys either. How do they even get their hands on bomb making materials?

3:50 PM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trey: James Randi made the point multiple times that scientists in general are not very good at detecting hoaxes. The usual explanation for this is the nature of what they study: subatomic particles may be difficult to understand, but they do not tell lies. I had written on a previous thread that, as far as I know, therapists are generally not trained to recognize deliberate deception in patients.

And yes, there are too many therapists who are all too willing to make excuses for anyone's behavior as long as they are well paid for it. The scary thing is that such therapists seem to be able to delude themselves, and others, that they are providing a valuable service. Part of the answer to this has to be to establish some standards for such examinations. But I don't know how that will ever be accomplished -- the psychiatric industry seems disinclined to do so, and most legal people don't have enough expertise in the subject to know how to go about it.

4:12 PM, May 04, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

To All,

Please do not feed the trolls such as anonymous 2:27. I do not want to turn on moderation but will if this "concerned" troll continues. Thanks to all the regular commenters and newcomers who are here to hold a decent conversation. However, there are those who will always try to hijack threads to suit their purposes. Let's try not to play along.

4:18 PM, May 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of the six comments following 2:27, Helen is the only one to mention that comment.

10:09 PM, May 04, 2007  
Blogger Cham said...

Cousin Dave, my apologies but I have a lot going on at the moment and don't have time to write an indepth response to you. Perhaps I was a little vague but the gist of what I was saying is that I am getting sick and tired of the good-christian-mother-as-victim killer. Perhaps if these types were actuallly treated like everyone else instead of something special they would be less likely to break the law, or do harm to someone else.

12:54 AM, May 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do they even get their hands on bomb making materials?


The local hardware store, usually.

Its not that hard to do. Back in high school, my friends and I made our own firecrackers using gun powder, cardboard tubes, glue, and some fuses from smaller firecrackers or model rocket engines.

Harmless fun in the 1980s. Acts of terrorism today, probably.

4:35 PM, May 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every couple of years or so, boys are found out to be building pipe bombs in their garage. An explosion is usually the tip off. I imagine that the boys are thinking about the BOOM, not necessarily about hurting someone. Stupid boys not to think ahead, but still just boys.

6:32 PM, May 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole problem with this debate is the definition of "mass" -- as in murder.

If it is necessary to directly kill multiple persons, then of course women will always look innocent.

Women learn as girls how to do their dirty work through indirect violence, passive-aggression, third-party surrogates, etc.

Queen Isabela of Spain sent off Christopher Columbus to find her riches in the Indies. Four million Caribs and Amerindians died for her vanity. (Yeah, ancient Herstory, who cares?)

During WWI, women paraded with white flowers to shame the men who had not already enlisted in the great slaughter to "volunteer" ...

Over 99% of current Iraq war casualties are men. Because women are not required to register for selective service, and, if volunteering, are typically in non-combat posts, this amounts to another form of indirect female violence against men.

As long as the code of Chivalry exists, women will have their stealth weapon for serial killing, and they will continue to use it, while appearing innocent.

I'm sure that Dr. Helen experienced her girlfriend-wars during her adolescence ... all the rumor-mongering, reputation slamming, steal her boyfriend, ostracize her, lie about her... etc.

Women in general do not need to commit mass murder.

Their sophisticated psychological warfare tactics make it unnecessary, because their prey self-destruct long before direct physical violence is required.

Hence, male suicide rates are seven times greater than the fairer sex.

I would expect any reputable forensic psychologist to acknowledge the different and subtle gendered modes of violence leading to mass mortality.

10:17 PM, May 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Women in general do not need to commit mass murder."

Well who really needs to? I think your point is that women are so crafty and sinister that they just torture people to death using their wimmenly wiles. Replacing one set of gender stereotypes with another is not very helpful I think.

Being on average, less physically strong than males, women have had to develop many laternatives to physical fights. But I have never blamed male suicide on women. We males tend to do things in dramatic, straightforward ways. Good for baseball, not so good for attempting suicide because we complete it more. But I think it has much more to do with testosterone than women.

Trey

12:37 AM, May 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I imagine a lot of differences are simply due to contingency.

If direct aggression is more effective for males than females, and indirect aggression is more effective for females than males, people are going to learn some pretty obvious lessons.

It seems unrealistic to complain about people being sensible.

10:55 AM, May 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, this anonytroll is making the whole blog unreadable. We've got one person on here who comes in anonymously, is generally the first person to post on every topic, and never does anything other than insult the blog host and the other commeters. Repeatedly. As in 10=15 posts in a row. It's a little creepy, if you ask me.

Um...
you've got a multi-troll invasion going on here. Trust me.

11:58 AM, May 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon wrote: "It seems unrealistic to complain about people being sensible."

That struck me as funny! Funny hah hah, not funny peculiar. It is certainly unrealistic to complain about people being sensible when they are indeed being sensible. And it is unrealistic when so few people are sensible.

Trey

12:22 PM, May 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry should have stuck this in with the last post: Anon further wrote: "If direct aggression is more effective for males than females, and indirect aggression is more effective for females than males, people are going to learn some pretty obvious lessons."

I just read a cool quote on the subject. Allow me please. "In a sense the brain was selected by culture. It is not that the human brain came first and culture, or rather man's capacity for culture, emanated from it; and this carries the additional implication that the human brain probably could not effectively function outside of culture. (Miller, States of Mind.)"

So gender based behavioral and brain differences interact with culture and they shape each other. In the broader view as suggested by Miller, brain differences are ultimately sensible, or they die out.

Perhaps we are in a cultural change that is out of synch with the brain changes or vice versa. I bet on culture as it seems to change more rapidly with faster communication of cultural ideas while the brain is still stuck with death and reproduction, a slow process.

Trey

12:29 PM, May 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Culture, schmultzure. Girls have cooties. Who needs 'em?

Except Dr. Helen, of course. She's nice...

5:42 PM, May 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

helen said:

"Do women kill less often than men? Of course..."

And what is the reason for this, helen?


Why do you never answer this question, helen? I asked the same thing on a previous related post of yours.

5:51 PM, May 09, 2007  
Blogger Jeff with one 'f' said...

I highly recommend Murder of Innocence, the definitive account of Laurie Dann's life and crimes. The really impressive thingf about the book is that it details her odd behavior and warning signs in the years before her murder spree. Well written and unjustly neglected!

2:40 PM, May 10, 2007  
Blogger jolynna said...

I enjoyed your article. I also appreciate Mercurior's links, information and stats.

I have read that more women are responsible for the deaths of children than men, but would like a link to a definitive study or authority.

Thanks to anyone who can help.

9:55 PM, February 18, 2008  
Blogger DvntWriter said...

I recently wrote a blog asking the question: Why you think so many are turning to guns as their means of solving their issues. One comment mentioned several plausible reasons, and asked if I could think of any female mass murders who used guns (and were not suffering from some form of mental illness or fulfilling a dependency role).

I know there have been cases of female mass murders in the past, but are there present day cases who do not suffer from mental disturbance or dependency - who are say, like recent high school/college shooters? Young, "normal," have friends, are doing well, etc.?

So far in my Google search, I'm not finding any...

11:50 AM, March 06, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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語‧,最一件事,就。好,你西.........................................................................................................................................................................................

9:28 AM, March 16, 2009  

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