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Criminal Minds

Every week we have the chance to spend 40 or so minutes inside a criminal’s mind. His name is Dexter and if he wasn’t a fictional character, bad guys would have to run for their lives. Even if he is made up, the psychology behind his character is exceptionally well depicted and for a while you get to see what goes on in the heads of criminals. Not all criminals are like him. If you think about it, he is actually a modern superhero, saving the world from the genuine delinquents. In real life, murderers are not so noble. Just like in Dexter, you may know one very well, but not knowing their true nature and what they do in their free time.

The Case of Amy Bishop

Amy Bishop was a neurobiologist, who shot six colleagues on the afternoon of February 12th in 2010 and killed three. At first, the police and colleagues thought the root of this 44 year old ambitious woman's anger was the failed job promotion. Later, everyone realized that in her mind, criminal activities were brewing long before the shooting. She shot her brother when she was 21 years old, even though he saved her life in one occasion, when she was about to fall off a cliff. She told the police, the gun fired by accident and the state didn’t file any charges against her, despite the fact that her brother died almost immediately.

These two cases are not the only criminal attempts Amy Bishop had in her lifetime. She got married to James Anderson and enrolled for a PhD program in genetics at the Harvard University. The family with their four children moved in Ipswich, Massachusetts, where good relations with their neighbors were never established. One of their neighbors, Paul Rosenberg, who was a doctor at Amy’s hospital, reported her behavior as violent, mentally unstable and arrogant. After he and his wife got back from a vacation, a pipe bomb was waiting for them in their mailbox. Rosenberg called the police and told the authorities that he suspects Amy or her husband to be the responsible party for the intimidation attempt. The police impounded Amy’s computer and notebook, and handwriting samples were requested. A novel was found in Amy’s computer with murderous content, about a Harvard Student, who murders her brother and tries to redeem herself by becoming a famous scientist. The couple refused to comply for a polygraph test, and after the investigation hit a dead end, a letter was sent to the Bishop/Anderson family, saying they are exculpated from the attempted bombing case. In 2002, Amy Bishop attacked a woman in a pancake house for taking a high chair from her table. The court found her guilty of two charges: disorderly conduct and assault and battery, for which she got a sentence of 6 months probation and a mandatory anger management course. She never took the anger management course. Items like epoxy, that could have been used for making a pipe bomb were not taken into consideration and at last, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives doesn't have a custom to send letters to alleged criminals to rule out their malfeasance.

The Criminal Mind of Amy Bishop and Her Accomplices

Amy Bishop was an introverted girl in high school, rarely seen out of her comfort zone, which was the company of her older brother Seth. They lived an idyllic life in Braintree Massachusetts, where they were encouraged by their parents to pursue their dreams. On the day Amy shot her brother, the sources say, she and her father had a fight. Her mother, Judith called off a tea party because of the family dispute and later, while Amy was investigated about the shooting, she intervened when she shouldn’t have crossed the front police desk, according to police procedures. She walked into the interrogation room and asked her daughter to stop answering further questions. The first police questioning happened 11 days after the actual shooting, allegedly because of the family’s vulnerable state. The detective who is in charge of questioning suspects during highly emotional crisis didn’t question Amy or her parents, he wasn’t at the homicide scene or in the police station. The police today, states that the case was handled professionally and according to their regularities, but the case of Seth Bishop has more holes in it than all of Amy’s victims together. The procedure suggests that a ballistics expert, crime scene analysts, a photographer, and an assistant district attorney should be on the scene during cases like this one. Unfortunately, none of these experts were in the Bishops house on the day of the homicide. The medical examiner who made the autopsy had declared the Seth Bishop's death an accident, without the assistance of a ballistic expert from the police. If Amy hasn’t shoot her colleagues at the university and hasn’t been charged for assault, maybe we would all think of her as an angry adolescent girl, who in her rage, killed her brother. However, a murderer is never born, but made.

In the Head of Criminal Minds

Many times scientists, criminal experts and behavioral psychologists have tried to determine what it is that forces people to commit crimes. In the 60’s we thought social environment makes people desperate. Poverty was considered to be the trigger that pushes people toward violence and criminal activities. But many people live in poor countries, they struggle to survive and still choose other options than crime. Later, we supposed that video games, rap music and other violent scenes depicted all over the media contribute to aggressive behavior. And at last, we thought genetics have something to do with the way we behave. If people who had a parent, who died of prostate cancer, live happy and healthy lives, there is no logical reason to make us believe we are able to kill someone, just because our late grandfather killed a couple people during the world wars. Many legal representative use the term “emotionally immature” to save their clients from prison, but we all know we learn to distinguish right from wrong in kindergarten. We all know since kids that we earn trust mostly from honesty and decency, so these pseudo-scientific expressions, like emotionally immature or undeveloped are simply, misleading and demeaning.

All people who have committed some sort of crime have deep seeded emotional problems. If you look at homicide records, you will come across to the more or less the same profile or archetype. People predisposed to criminal conducts are always angry. Even if they don’t seem that way, their rage is hidden somewhere inside. Life taught them that showing their anger will get them in trouble, so they have learnt to hide it until it bursts. Like the case of Amy and her colleagues. A lucky survivor of the shooting said, she was sitting calmly for 40 minutes during the meeting and at one point, she got up and start shooting her coworkers one by one, starting with the nearest one and going in a row. A student from her earlier lecture the same day stated she acted very normal. Rarely someone liked her. She removed the neighbors basketball hoop, constantly called the police about loud noises complains and even her students signed petitions about her tenure disapproval. Her coworkers called her arrogant and emotionally unbalanced, while her book club hopefuls couldn’t stand her bragging about her Harvard diploma. Criminal minds perceive anger differently. Normal people think of everyday adversity as an inevitability. Criminal minds take every challenge personally. Almost all criminal minds have ego issues. Their self-esteem is either very fragile and they build their strength with illicit demeanors, or their egos are too big that regular activities are simply too ordinary. In the case of Amy Bishop, Amy is not the only criminal. Her entire criminal history is completely mishandled from the day she shot her brother, to the unfortunate incident at the University.

Detectives, cops, judges and other authority figures can also be weighed as criminals. Every police officer is obliged to service his or her community, yet we read stories about police corruption almost every day. This is the occupation where most of the criminal minds dwell. There was a study made at the St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, where convicted offenders were asked to tell what they wanted to be before they started their lives as criminals. More than 50 percent of them aspired to have careers in law enforcement. The magic was in the badge, the uniform, the fast police cruiser and catching the bad guys, but most of all in the absolute power that comes with this job. Of course, not everyone serving their country thinks with a criminal mind, but those that do, know the way to beat the system. They’ve seen many illegal cases and understand the law, so any criminal activity will be easy to conduct. Drew Walter Peterson is a police sergeant from Illinois, whose four wives disappeared, but he wasn’t convicted of any crime until his third wife went missing and was later found dead. The second occupation where criminal minds find their autonomy is in the justice system, as ironic as that may seem. The United States of America has the most corrupt justice system in the world, but this land of freedom hides the facts very well with the help of the corporate-owned media. Of course, they don’t get their hands dirty like regular criminals and because they have the money and connections to assist them in bending the law and finding loops in the commandments.

Sadly, when you combine all of these polluted political, economic, legal and social realms, you will get the case of Amy Bishop. With consistent psychological support, the mental and emotional imbalance that inhabits any criminal mindset can be eliminated. Criminal minds do exist, but they are not a diagnosis. From petty crimes to serial killers, maybe one day this modern civilization will come to the conclusion that every criminal is actually a victim.

Crime Law


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