Teaching philosophy

Why We Kill is based on the principle that the stories and words of those who have committed violence, think about or have thought about doing so are key ways through which we can come to understand violence.

The excerpts here come from a case study from the book The Creation of Dangerous Violent Criminals, by criminologist Professor Lonnie Athens.

Professor Athens interviewed who he described as 'dangerously violent' individuals.

Read each excerpt and then click on the bold text to get a flavour of the teaching philosophy behind Why We Kill.

Click here to begin reading the excerpts.

One night I was woken up by loud voices coming from my parent’s bedroom. I got a drink of water from the bathroom so I could find out what was going on. As I walked to the bathroom, I heard my mother say, ‘No, I told you not to do that, I don’t like it.’ I thought to myself, ‘What could he be doing to her?’ I started listening as hard as I could.
 

My mother said, ‘Please don’t do that any more to me, it hurts’, but he said, ‘I don’t care whether it hurts or not.’ I heard noises which sounded like scuffling and my mother screamed, ‘Please stop, it hurts, it hurts bad, please stop now, no more, stop, stop.’ She would cry for a while, scream out in pain and then start crying again.

My mother said, ‘Please don’t do that any more to me, it hurts’, but he said, ‘I don’t care whether it hurts or not.’ I heard noises which sounded like scuffling and my mother screamed, ‘Please stop, it hurts, it hurts bad, please stop now, no more, stop, stop.’ She would cry for a while, scream out in pain and then start crying again.

 

As I walked back to my room, I knew that he must be hurting her awful bad to make her scream like that. It got me so mad and angry that I wanted to kill him. I thought about going in there, pulling him off her and kicking his ass good, but he was too big for me to handle. I knew there was nothing I could do. I wished he would stop, but he wouldn’t.

 

As I heard her crying from my bed, I felt bad because I couldn’t do anything to help her. I wanted to get him off her and hurt him, but I was too afraid. I kept telling myself that I was just a little sissy.

 

Then I tried to fall back to sleep and pretend it was all a bad dream.