David Berkowitz

Welcome to Discussion 7.1! David Berkowitz was known as the “Son of Sam”. He was a serial killer in the NYC area during the span of 1976-1977. Prior to his apprehension, the media coverage of the events were at a fever pitch. The newspapers, to some degree, sensationalized the events and aided in spreading a panic across the city. People were scared, curfews were observed and it made a significant social impact. This week, we’ll explore the effect of serial killers on society and on criminological policy. Address the following prompts:

• What are the Son of Sam Laws and how did this case influence them? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Son_of_Sam_law)
• In your opinion, what kind of social and psychological pressure/effects did these crimes have on the surrounding area? http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/07/nyregion/07sam.html?rref=collection/ti&_r=0)
• What is “Rational Hedonism”? How does this contradict the actions of a serial killer? (http://www.rationalhedonism.org/ethics.html)
• We know that formal and informal social controls keep society in check. For serial killers, do these “work”? Why/Why not?

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