Rituals and it’s Effects on People: A Quick Study of People’s Temple and Jonestown

How did People’s Temple leader Jim Jones convince his followers to commit mass suicide? In total over 900 people in that religious organization committed murder/ suicide in 1978 (Richardson 1980). Using sources I have gathered, I believe rituals have a deep effect on people’s lives. Ritual’s as defined by Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary as “done in accordance with social custom or normal protocol”(www.merriam-webster.com). It 1) usually has some significance to the ritual executers and/ or 2) it is done repeatedly. Jim Jones knew well that in rituals behavior exists or is of presence before belief (Richardson 1980). That is the action of the ritual is learned and that once learned they will not lose the ritual. The significance of the ritual comes second. For example, children were told not to bully others but to respect them instead. The children just did as told, and when they hear don’t be mean/ don’t bully they know not to and respect others. They lost the deep significance of why not to bully others. Rather, it became a drill. Jim Jones drilled his followers to drink liquids filled with poison over and over and when the time came to commit the real act. It seemed natural. 

Mass Deceptions by Scott A. Bonn Book Review

As a student interested in Sociology (specialized in Criminology) I am particularly fond of Mass Deception: moral panic on Iraq (2010) written by Scott A. Bonn, a prolific author and professor of Sociology at Drew University. The author eloquently wrote about how the Bush Administration rallied support for the War on Iraq. He argues that Bush capitalized on a threat [9/11] to stir public unrest by blaming Iraq for the alleged WMDs and an utopian society would arise by deposing S. Hussein. The world would also somehow be free of terrorist attacks. I argue that at that time the public believed Bush because they want to just blame somebody for the attacks and destroy them, just for their comfort. At that time, nobody really considered that there were no links between ‘bin Laden’ and Iraq leader S. Hussein, nor did they consider the validity of WMDs.

The reason why this particular book was so good is because he presented it in ‘English’, the common folk language. This book was informative, but not stuffed with complex terms that no one would be able to decipher! He also ends it strong with a quote for the reader to ponder.

This book is a re read! Very well done.

Can Murder be Reduced to Manslaughter?

Manslaughter is not murder (murder in general). Manslaughter is a non intended killing of one individual caused by a heat of passion, whereas murder is planned and usually has a reason. An example of manslaughter is if Johnny Appleseed goes in to a bar and has a heated argument with John Doe and Appleseed kills Doe with a broken glass in a heat of passion. However, interestingly enough embedded in this example are several flaws that may turn a D.A. to charge the defendant with murder. Though farfetched, the D.A. could argue that Appleseed planned this event. Appleseed could have invited John Doe to the bar and planned to kill Doe there out of hatred; Appleseed planned to argue with Doe and killed him then and there.

However, with that said, there are several ways, though we will only discuss one way to mitigate murder to manslaughter. First, a reasonable person would act the same way Appleseed did in that situation (under the same circumstances) (Emory Law Journal 2012). Would a reasonable person in that situation be in a heat of passion and if so would the reasonable person kill in heat of passion. For example, If Mrs. Lee (or any other reasonable person) killed Mr. Lee (or any other person)  because of the same or similar argument Appleseed and Doe had then manslaughter applies. If not then murder applies.

How the Media Facilitates Fear of Crime

It is quite interesting that people (that I have asked) think that crime has stayed the same or gone up despite facts proving that it has gone down. Then why does this belief that crime is at an all time high still hold true and why do people still fear the thought of getting killed?I believe that the media facilitates the fear of ‘getting killed’. According to studies done in the recent past the media is a factor in facilitating moral panic on it’s viewers (Kohm, Waid- Lindberg, Weinrath, Shelley, and Dobbs 2012). Moral panic can be defined as making an exaggerating claim about a problem to cause fear (Bonn 2010).  For example, we see on the news, like the 5 o’clock news, “someone shot, you can be the next victim tune in  to watch more on how to protect yourself at 5”. These tag lines cause people to think that crime is every where and happens every day! This model that the media uses is known as the ‘in direct victimization model’ which states in simple terms, though you are not the direct victim of crime news media report crime so often that you think you could be the next victim (Kohm, Waid- Lindberg, Weinrath, Shelley, and Dobbs 2012). Why do the media companies do that… give us false information? They want ratings and viewings. They know the public likes drama and crime thus they broadcast that to us. Nevertheless,    crime happens and occurs sporadically, but it has gone down. 

Agenda Setting: Spin Doctor

As I was surfing the web today, I just happen to stumble across a story about how this girl gave Michelle Obama her dad’s resume upon meeting Obama. As I looked at NBC and a conservative web blog the same story was talked about in much different ways. We all know the difference in tone is because of one network being liberal and the other being conservative. However, I wondered why this political “spin” happens in news networks. News networks in my opinion and by the mere fact that news networks care about ratings and viewings rather than to state the facts. Rather than saying “x happened today” they put a spin on it to tailor to their audience to get views. This leads me to my final question. Is there real news out there? Depends who you ask; but it is hard to find a news without the spin. Yes there is one news that is real news without the spin. The weather

The Desire for Fame and Self Affirmation on the Web

As a person who is interested in criminology and why people commit crimes. In essence, I like to study the motives of criminals. Thus for my writing class I chose to study why homophobic cyber bullies commit the heinous acts. One might expect that their political and religious beliefs have something to do with it, yes it does somewhat. What I have found, not just with homophobic cyber bullying, but with all types of cyber bullying is that fame and self affirmation is the key reason why bullies bully. Now the question of why the desire fame and self affirmation is because of self esteem. Studies have shown that bullies have rather low self esteems and feel unimportant in society. They put down the victim because they feel the thrill of controlling others and being “the boss” will raise their self esteem because they feel they are superior to others and that makes them feel important and listened to. Now why so they facilitate their acts online. Well, there are many many people online. According to one study about 50 million ppl used social media, and that was in 2006! By posting an exaggerated claim to cause moral panic among the users of social media, the tormentors will get quick access to fame for the worst, everyone that is online will get engaged in the bullies’ post somehow.

Now knowing that pattern among bullies, how do we prevent it? According to the social learning theory ppls behavior is not fixed rather it is subject to change depending on the circumstances. It also presupposes that ppl are inherently evil and with guidance and positive influences can turn to good people. Thus, that said, psychologists and sociologists can develop programs and lessons that can be used to turn behavioral issues around