The Second Golden Age of the Serial Killer

Serial killers are some of the most depraved criminals to ever exist, and their killings used to be sensationalized across the country. One would be hard pressed to find a household that had never heard the names Ted Bundy or Charles Manson both of whom are serial killers from the 1970’s. Since then, it seems that the number of Serial killers has dwindled dramatically. Has American law enforcement conquered these reprehensible human beings through advances in technology? No, in fact, the seeming dying out of the serial killer has nothing to do with the advancements in law enforcement, and all to do with the environment they are surrounded in. The serial killers of the 70’s and 80’s were products of the unstable atmosphere in America around that time, and the country is primed to see a huge increase in serial killings in the near future.

Over the last few decades, America has definitely had one thing going for it; serial killers have been declining. James Alan Fox, a criminology professor at Northwestern University, says that America has seen a serious decrease in serial killings in the last couple of decades. Before the 1960’s there were almost none, then they took off, 19 in the 1960’s, followed by 119 in the 70’s and 200 in the 80’s. In the 1990’s America still saw approximately 141 cases, but then in the 2000’s this number has shrunk to 61. In a sense, the 70’s and the 80’s was the “Golden Age of Serial Killers”,  James Alan Fox thinks that this shrink may have something to do with terrorism being the new serial killer of American interest (Slate). That serial killers don’t get covered in the news anymore, because Americans just aren’t interested in them, yet a lack of interest could hardly explain the number of serial killers themselves falling so sharply. Besides, a lack of interest hardly in serial killers hardly seems to be a problem among Americans, just look at what they are watching on television, Dexter, True Detective, Hannibal. Serial Killers still captivate the American mind. Violence is still sensationalized by American news outlets, terrorism has received rampant coverage for the last decade. So it might seem possible that the terrorism of the 2000’s has taken the fear and place in society that serial killings occupied before. Terrorists themselves not technically being serial killers either, under the FBI’s definition which is that “a serial killer is a person who murders three or more people, usually in service of abnormal psychological gratification, with the murders taking place over more than a month and including a significant break (a "cooling off period") between them.” (FBI) Yet terrorism is not a new phenomena, in fact there was rampant terrorism during the “Golden Age of Serial Killers”. In the 70’s there were actually hundreds of terrorist attacks throughout the country, bombings, shooting, and hijacks, while in the years since 9/11 there have only been about 2 dozen. (CNN) So it’s not interest that has dwindled, but serial killers themselves, along with surprisingly enough domestic terrorists.

The 60’s were not a calm time in American history, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, the assassination of both Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy, and the sexual revolution. The country went crazy in these years, and it caught up with us, in a big way, in the form of hundreds of serial killers and domestic terrorists. This wasn’t simply a matter of coincidence either, the atmosphere of a society can have a direct effect on the manifestations of an unstable mind. An article in the New Yorker references this occurrence “Grandiose schizophrenics from largely Christian countries often claim to be prophets or gods, but sufferers in Pakistan, a Muslim country, rarely do. In Shanghai, paranoid people report being pricked by poisoned needles; in Taipei, they are possessed by spirits.” (Marantz). The mind manifests delusion from its own environment, in fact this same article from the New Yorker is about a new kind of paranoid delusion; the Truman Show Effect. It’s an occurrence where a person believes they are part of a vast secret reality TV show, and are followed constantly by hidden cameras. Society manifests its events onto people, and this quickly begins to explain just how the 60’s had the impact it did on the country. The subsequent decade’s 119 serial killers were a result of the violent atmosphere of the previous decade, their crimes the result of the delusional manifestations of a country gone crazy.

A parallel can be drawn with the 2000’s. The United States in the last 8 years has bombed Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and Syria, that’s 7 countries in total. (CNN) America is currently going through one of the most politically divisive presidential cycles of all time, with Trump’s infamous race baiting and Hillary Clinton’s blatant corruption scandals. Race relations are deteriorating and as of August 26, 38 police officers had been killed in the line of duty, 58% more than last year, which in of itself is a manifestation of societal problems in the form of violence. (CNN)  The country is once again going through a time of great strife and the repercussions of this are going to be wide reaching, and if history shows anything, violent.

It might be difficult to see the connection between domestic violence and America attacking people in 7 countries across oceans, until one looks at one very telling trend. While serial killings and depraved murders might be on the decline in America in the 2000’s, one kind of violence has been on the rise: Mass shootings. According to a study by the FBI using their definition of an active shooter incident “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area” there have been 160 such incidents between 2000 and 2013 with a marked trend of increase. The first 7 years showing a rate of 6.4 incidents annually, the next 7 showing a rate of 16.4 annually. War is murder sanctioned by the government, and it is becoming apparent that this violence can not just stay overseas as  had been hoped. While mass shooters are not serial killers, they are a manifestation of a country that is quickly becoming more and more violent. In fact, mass shooters are not only products of larger societal ills in America, but add to the unstable atmosphere becoming prevalent through the country. As the number of mass shooters increases, it’s not unlike a pot slowly rolling to a boil, bringing the country closer and closer to the rebirth of the serial killer.

The 1960’s and the following decades show the kind of effect social upheaval and government sponsored violence can have on a country. This kind of violent atmosphere can not exist without affecting the peoples within it, It leads to violence at home in the form of serial killings, terrorism, and mass shootings. America is currently reaching a point of societal divisiveness and change not seen since the 1960’s, and the country is once again on the precipice of mass violence ranging from the political to the depraved, violence ranging from one coast to the other. The United States of America is about to enter the second Golden Age of the Serial Killer.

Works Cited:

Bergen, Peter. "The Golden Age of Terrorism." CNN. Cable News Network, 21 Aug. 2015. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/28/opinions/bergen-1970s-terrorism/


Beam, Christopher. "The Decline of the Serial Killer." Slate Magazine. Slate, 05 Jan. 2011. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2011/01/blood_loss.html


"FBI Releases Study on Active Shooter Incidents." FBI. FBI, 24 Sept. 2014. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.

https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/fbi-releases-study-on-active-shooter-incidents


"Countries Bombed by the U.S. under the Obama Administration." CNN. Cable News Network, 23 Sept. 2014. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/23/politics/countries-obama-bombed/


Hanna, Jason & Visser, Steve. "Fallen Officers: 38 Shot Dead This Year." CNN. Cable News Network, 26 Aug. 2016. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/14/us/police-officers-fatal-shooting-line-duty-nationwide/


Marantz, Andrew. “Unreality Star.” The New Yorker. The New Yorker, 9 Sep. 2013. Web. 2 Nov. 2016

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/09/16/unreality-star

Stay in bed and read, it's good for you!

Reading is a universal hobby anyone can enjoy at any time. There is a book for everyone, and so many more books than one person can ever read. Sadly, reading is not exactly a celebrated pastime.  In today’s culture, reading is often encouraged by teachers, and hated by students. They may find it pointless, and not understand the positive benefits that reading can have, not only on their grade, but their overall personal health. According to a Huffington Post and YouGov collaboration poll of 1,000 Americans,  28% of people had not read a book within the past year, and 25% had only read from 1-5 books. These statistics may come as a disappointing shock to some, especially given the fact that reading is so accessible for almost everyone. In fact, reading is a positive habit that more people should take up if they wish to benefit from its multiple proven positive effects on one’s mental health and fortitude ranging from being able to be more relaxed to preserving one’s memory.

Authors such as Maya Angelou, say  “Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him” But, how is this true? Sure, reading can take people to magical places, but so can movies. What are the actual benefits? According to a Harvard published family health guide, reading is a way keep people’s brain ‘younger’ and sharper. It plays into the factor of getting mental stimulation, a proven way to reduce age related mental decline. It keeps the mind sharp and active, with new vocabulary and ways of thinking, more so than other media types.  Reading goes hand in hand with obvious factors to decrease the risk of age related memory decline, such as not smoking, not drinking and improving bodily health. Reading has just as much effect on long term mental health as these important habits, but with the added benefit of being an entertaining way to spend one’s time.  

Not only are the health benefits later in life , but reading has a large impact on a child’s life in school and jobs. Strong reading improves a child’s overall education, and gives them the confidence to be intelligent. A website run by Nemours Children’s Health System stated that firstly reading is “ the foundation for education achievement.”A lack of reading can limit a child’s potential in overall success, and being able to be happy and healthy. It's not mystery that people who continue into higher education tend to make more money than those who don't. Being able to continue higher education is fundamental for financial success, and reading is a fundamental value of educational achievement. The Huffington Post says Reading can expand one’s vocabulary, thereby making them an articulate speaker an asset at any job; Reading even helps one empathize with other people, and other cultures.

Reading does not just help in reducing memory decay and help solidify success, it can also begin to reduce stress in everyday life.  According to a study done at the University of Sussex, “Reading can reduce stress levels by up to 68%. Reading worked best, reducing stress levels by 68%, said cognitive neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis. Subjects only needed to read, silently, for six minutes to slow down the heart rate and ease tension in the muscles, he found. In fact it got subjects to stress levels lower than before they started. Listening to music reduced the levels by 61%, have a cup of tea of coffee lowered them by 54 %and taking a walk by 42%. Playing video games brought them down by 21% from their highest level but still left the volunteers with heart rates above their starting point.” This shows that reading has yet another positive outcome, more so than any other form of entertainment it reduces stress rates by huge amounts. Reading for just six minutes allowed the participants to be more relaxed, making it a way to reduce and manage stress in daily life. Not through complex or expensive therapy techniques either, but simply by picking up a book and reading for a few minutes. Reading reduces stressors by allowing readers to escape and explore an author’s imagination.Reading reduces stressors by allowing readers to escape and explore an author’s imagination. When reading, people are submersed into a different world, free of their own stressors. People can see into other's minds, and build relationships with a person without the stress of actually meeting someone new.    

When asked teenagers might say that reading is only meant to make you smarter, when upon closer inspection they are unaware of the positive benefits that reading can have on their overall personal health. Through no fault of theirs, the positive benefits of reading are too often left unsaid. The same occurrence can be found in adults who also feel that reading is not important to their lives. Everyone should be made aware that it could have health benefits they are trying other means to reach. Reading is a simple, healthy and enjoyable hobby for anyone who can find a few minutes to get lost in the worlds hidden between the pages of the books all around them.


  Works Cited



Crum, Maddie. "POLL: 28 Percent Of Americans Have Not Read A Book In The Past Year." The Huffington Post. 07 Oct. 2013. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.


Harvard Health. "12 Ways to Keep Your Brain Young - Harvard Health." Harvard Health. N.p., June 2006. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.


"Health Benefits of Reading: Reading and Health Are Related - Nemours Reading BrightStart!" Nemours Reading BrightStart. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.


"Reading 'can Help Reduce Stress'" The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 30 Mar. 2009. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.

Weed Anyone

In modern day America, people have taken to various outlets as their source of both entertainment and pleasure, and that includes recreational drug use. One heavily favored happens to be that of Cannabis, commonly known as Marijuana. The increased use of this drug, and perceived danger by many medical and legal officials, has led to highly contentious marijuana laws throughout the country. In discussion of this issue, different camps focus primarily on the state of the marijuana users, not anybody else involved. However, they are ignoring the larger benefit that the marijuana industry can have on the general public. . Marijuana and more specifically medical marijuana should be legal in the United States because of its health benefits and potential economic impact.

In the United States, marijuana is primarily used recreationally, but  there are copious instances of people utilizing cannabis to aid medical difficulties. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, there are 1,246,170 medical marijuana users in the twenty five states where it is legal. It’s also estimated that there would be an approximate 2,604,079 medical cannabis users if it were legal in all fifty states. Users are those who suffer from various conditions such as: epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, cancer, tourette’s syndrome, schizophrenia, sickle cell anemia, and others. Both the National Institute of Health and Food and Drug Administration are currently researching and putting some support behind cannabis being use to as a medicine, primarily in the case of chronic pain. The support for medical marijuana is increasing, as its impact is being discovered. It has the ability to help a significant amount of people with various illnesses to cope with the side affects that their condition gives them. For example, Charlotte Figi is a 5 year old girl who since the young age of 7 months had been suffering from a rare form of epilepsy, Dravet Syndrome, that caused her to have long uncontrollable seizures. Dravet syndrome could not be controlled by medicine and as Charlotte grew older, her seizures and overall life become much worse. Out of options, her family heard of another boy with Dravet Syndrome who used used marijuana to treat his seizures and the symptoms. They tried this method of extracting the oil from marijuana, giving it to Charlotte and saw an immediate decrease in the amount and frequency of her seizures. Over the last three years Charlotte seizures has stopped with the help of medical marijuana. While there may be relief in other medicine, marijuana is easily accessible, can be taken in various forms, and poses an immediate solution. The government has the responsibility of serving and maintaining the wellbeing of the public, and marijuana showing itself as a viable aid, further proves why it should be legalized.

The industry and selling of marijuana is one that has been embraced by several cities across the United States due to the possible economic growth that could be stimulated. The U.S World and News Report states that the implementation of medical marijuana can save U.S taxpayers approximately 468.1 million dollars every year. According to the California State Board of Equalization, the state took in about $50 million in sales taxes from 1,623 medical marijuana dispensaries across California that registered with the state and filed taxes in 2014. Similarly, in Illinois, medical marijuana dispensaries have generated 23.5 million dollars. For the states where marijuana is legalized, the access money is used to supply different demands within the city. In various cities in Colorado, where both medical and recreational marijuana has became a lucrative business, they are using funds to better the community. For example, In Aurora 12.4 million is being spent to address homelessness, outreach programs for the needy, and to build a new recreation center. Similarly, in Adams County they have earmarked more than 500,000 dollars in scholarships for low-income students, while the rest of the income is used for things like repairing infrastructure, and education efforts. In a time where many cities are struggling to adequately fund themselves, a device such as medical marijuana could prove a great solution. As seen with numerous cities, recreational and medical marijuana are producing large incomes for cities, that can be spread across various counties to assist in different things to better the city. This goes beyond the sick patients to help everyone for the better.

Even though medical marijuana and marijuana as a whole have positive impacts, they are often overlooked by the possible negative aspects that can be had. While there are negative factors that could come along with the legalization of medical marijuana, they all will be outweighed by the benefits. The overall well being of people should always be the most important piece of any governmental decision, and marijuana a proven it has benefits to those suffering with various illnesses, diseases, and disorders. The various economic impacts that can provide relief to many cities, would also allow them to implement different projects to help everyone. Money that could go towards several projects aimed to better society. In conclusion, the legalization of medical cannabis will not hurt, but those who need it as well as the country.

The legalization of medical marijuana is one that is highly debated amongst health and governmental officials for various reasons. These can include the fact that marijuana is indeed a drug, it can have risks to those taking it for health reasons, and there are other already legal alternatives. However, marijuana despite being classified as a drug, does something other banned substances don’t do and that's actually help people and society. It has been proven to help those affected by different illnesses and disabilities cope with side effects. As well as increasing the economy of the individual cities, and the country as a whole, which would benefit people all over as this money would be used to help them. With the potential drawbacks, there’s significant benefits that outweigh any negatives.  In conclusion, medical cannabis should legalized in the United States because of the positive impact it will have on everyone.



Works Cited



"Medical Marijuana Patient Numbers." Medical Marijuana Project, 6 July 2016. Web. 13 Oct. 2016. <https://www.mpp.org/issues/medical-marijuana/state-by-state-medical-marijuana-laws/medical-marijuana-patient-numbers/>.


"PA.gov." Frequently Asked Questions. Pennsylvania Department of Health, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2016. <http://www.health.pa.gov/My%20Health/Diseases%20and%20Conditions/M-P/MedicalMarijuana/Pages/FAQ.aspx#general>


Leonard, Kimberely. "Study: Medical Marijuana Laws Cut Drug Spending." U.S News and World Report. U.S News and World Report, 27 July 2016. Web. 13 Oct. 2016. <http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-07-07/medical-marijuana-availability-saves-taxpayers-money>.


Cillescas@denverpost.com, By Carlos Illescas |. "Marijuana Sales Tax Revenue Huge Boon for Colorado Cities." The Denver Post. The Denver Post, 02 Oct. 2016. Web. 16 Oct. 2016. <http://www.denverpost.com/2016/05/26/marijuana-sales-tax-revenue-huge-boon-for-colorado-cities/>.



Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Science

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is an actual disease of its own. Many people in the general public, even doctors and professionals have a hard time determining if the patient does have Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, also known as the Todd’s Syndrome. Dr. John Todd, a British psychiatrist, was first to acknowledge AIWS in 1955. This syndrome have many triggers, such as migraines, stress, brain tumors, Epstein-Barr Virus infection, drug (cough medicine), etc. Dr. Sheena Aurora, Stanford Neurologist had performed an MRI brain scan (in 2008) on a 13 year old boy during the active cause of AIWS, and found Electrical activity caused abnormal blood flow in areas of brain that controls process texture, shape, and size and that rain activity of patients diagnosed with AIWS are different from those who are not. My sources are reliable, because I went to sources that are known to be trustworthy, and researches done by universities such as Stanford are considered one. All of the sources I had used to better understand this topic, were very similar in the causes and the symptoms


Society

People who are affected by this syndrome, have a hard time describing what they are going through, or keep grounded and feel sane, because with AIWS, it causes Object or environment to appear too big  (macropsia) or too small (micropsia) than they actually are. Things around the person are perceived to be farther or closer than they actually are or at times themselves or other people’s entire body or body part changed in shape and size. Which can play in their mind or whatever it is they are seeing, as to what is reality and what is the thing that only they can see. It affects people lives in a very negative way, knowing that there is no treatment or much research done on this disorder.


Self

I think it is a very interesting disorder that is actually very similar to the experience of a made up cartoon character’s adventure. Alice had experienced the same thing in wonderland, as if she was going delusional. So it is intesting yet scary to see how that applies in our real world, how someone can cope with AIWS, because it distort memory and experience from reality and what the person can only see. I think this disorder deserve more attention towards than what’s it's given now, because there are people who are affected by this, even though this is a rare syndrome, but it’s not so rare where not many to no people diagnosed with it, when there are quite a lot of people affected by this, but compared to the bigger population, it’s considered rare. I don’t think this can be a positive thing at all, nor is it fun and games, even though it’s interesting, it is something very scary and can be very serious depending on the place and situation the person who is diagnosed with this is in.


https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1bYNwIgiiZlY5fO22t4BwGVQzIL1_CPHFh4YZrHmg-Ns/edit

The Power Of Animation

Animated television has been a staple in households with children for decades. Cartoons  are known to teach children positivity but it's probably doing the opposite. In recent years shows like Family Guy and American Dad have taken cartoons from being innocent to being a delinquents favorite show. Animated TV shows opens young people’s minds to violence and negative behavior. However, when adults see the animated format they assume that it is automatically acceptable for children to watch.   

Shows like Family Guy and American Dad are shows that are animated but are not made for children. They have content about sex, drugs and other vulgar things, yet it’s watched heavily by young people because it’s animated and funny. According to the site USA Today and Nielsen Media research, Family Guy ranks at number 5 for the most watched show for people between the ages of 2-11. Among teens it's ranked as the second most watched television show. For the viewers it was made for, adults, it's ranked at no.18 for adults 18-49 and no.118 for adults 50 and over. When criticized by the parent groups, the executive producer says, “I think it's absolutely for adults, I don't let my kids watch it. They're 8 and 6. We're doing a show for us (the 14 writers). Most are over 30, a few over 40, but we all remember what we found funny.” Children are being exposed to things some people say they shouldn’t be exposed to. Because the show is animated and put on during the day, parents are being tricked into thinking it's okay to watch.

For people who think these shows are harmless, there is proof that they can impact behavior. In an article published by the Animation World Network (ANW), Dr. Ruebert gives cases in which children’s brains were altered by animation. One example was when a boy, by the name of Dickie Johnson, decided to take his family yacht on a spin in the lake. The boy crashed the yacht destroying the family dock. According to Dickie’s mother, after seeing The Mouse in theatres Dickie has became a “hellion” and wouldn’t stop torturing the family’s cat. The family sued Walt Disney for the corruption of a minor and inciting mischief. While on the stand, Dickie said, “I thought if a lowly, common mouse could drive a boat, surely I could too.”  This case proves that children are influenced to do things that they see on television, like Dickie, which takes over the child's mind and make things look fun.

The family of a boy by the name Devin Grimm sued Walt Disney, Fox, MGM, Warner Bros. and Universal for the mental abuse of their son. According to Devin Grimm's parents, between the ages of 2 and 17 Devin watched close to 21,000 hours of animation which eventually drove him to become a lunatic. In elementary school Devin developed split personality disorder,  where Devin would tie girls to tables and come back to save them after changing his leotards. Devin refused to take his cape off. Throughout his teen years Devin’s need for animation became so crazy he began stealing from video stores, until eventually he was banned. After he was banned from every store in town Devin came up with a plan to rob a store, which went wrong and caused an explosion. Devin was arrested and while going to trial was deemed unfit due to his obsession with animation. Devin was influenced by cartoons to do so many bad things that eventually led to him going to jail in his teens and becoming mentally unstable forever.

These examples show how and why animation affects young people. These young boys watched so much animation, that they thought they could do the things the characters did. Children are very curious and learn from what they see and know. Animation is not the same for every kid, but actually a unique experience for each one. Some children watch animation as a child and grow into healthy human beings who can look back and tell which tv show was there favorite and why. Some children grow into humans who need a little extra help because they're stuck in an animated world. The danger lies in the hands of the parents and what they expose their children to.


WORKS CITED

Dr. Ruebert Saturnine III. "The Adverse Effects of Cartoons on the Minds of Our Children."

Animation World Network, 1 April 2004. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.


Christopher, By. "Fox’s Family Guy: For Children?" N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.