Link to What's New This Week UWP Commentary on Recent Lectures:Week of September 29, 2002

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UWP Commentary from Lectures - Week of September 29, 2002

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: September 6, 2002
Latest Update: October 5a, 2002

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Site Teaching Modules UWP Commentary on Recent Lectures:
Week of September 29, 2002

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, September 2002.
"Fair use" encouraged.

* * * * *
Comments grouped by course.
Subject of comment in green.
susan's commentaries in bright blue. Template:

  • Student Name: CRMJ/SOCA 233 - Criminology, CRMJ/SOCA 363 Corrections, CRMJ/SOCA 365 Race, Crime, Law

    For All UWP classes:

    On Wednesday, October 2, 2002, Nick Contreras wrote:
    On Reports of Learning

    I appreciate the time you took evaluating everyone's grades. A lot of teachers will merely look at a few scores and put a grade, or just mark the average of the tests/homework/attendance/etc. But you really took the time to evaluate each and every student, and that's really appreciated by everyone in the class, im' sure.

    nick -- you're very welcome. and thanks for noticing. there's lots of learning going on and the extra time and effort on my part is well worth it!!

    On xxxday, September xx, 2002, xxx wrote:



    From CRMJ/SOCA 233: Criminology

    On Sunday, September 29, 2002, Tony Ciardo wrote:
    About the Nebraska bank robbery

    I read the artilce about the four robber's that killed the five innocent and well know people of theU.S. Bank. Thoughts are still going through the communities mind about it. All four murders are arrested for 1st degree murder, and even probably sentenced to the death penalty. But a police officer who killed himself because he had stopped one of the robbers that week before for having a concealed weapon and messed up on the serial number and later found out it was stolened. He said if he would have arrested him, this thing would have never happened. Sometimes practice for the police fails. But people like the roober's who murdered the bank tellers had that choice to kill them. So I think that they should get the death penalty because of all the witnesses seeing them, and they don't any evidence that would say that they couldn't get the death penalty.

    tony -- present this as a current event in class. also see if you can apply classical school to this.

    On Sunday, September 29, 2002, Tony Ciardo responded:
    Nebraska bank robbery

    The robber's pleasure should be related to the pain that they should face. It was their free will to do this horrible event and there pleasure should equal their pain. The type of crime should be punished to its maximum punishment.

    tony -- but what do beccaria and bentham say about harsh punishment? what kind of punishment works according to beccaria and bentham?

    On Monday, September 30th, Heidi Schneider wrote:
    Reactions to Biological Theories

    As far as the validity of the Biological teroy of criminals, I think its really just an early version of racially profiling.. I think that the rules that we made up are for people to design a criminal then eliminate anyone who looks like that.. which is not valid becuase of free will and enviornmental influences on behavior.

    heidi -- interesting point! in fact, we'll be talking about Herrnstein and Wilson's Crime and Human Nature on Wednesday in class. In my race, crime, law class, we spent last week focusing on "what is race?"

    On Wednesday, October 2, 2002, LaShay Holley wrote:
    On Class Discussion of Mob Violence in Milwaukee

    Responding todays topic. I think that you cant just say that the children should get charge with murder, even though they did kill the man, but he hit a 10 year old boy I'll be a fool to stay that I wouldn't have jump in if I seen a man hit my cousin and he was about 36 years old. And people in the class said that it is there parents problem but it isn't because its the environment that you live in. I pretty sure that many of the people in class can come live over there. I know that it is bad but what person wouldn't have did something, and the one lady in class said that people in the neighborhood should have did something where they live you mine your own business.

    On Wednesday, October 2, 2002, Ryan Linker wrote:
    On Class Discussion of Mob Violence in Milwaukee

    i really liked the talk we had about the kids beating the man to death. the thing that made me mad was that no one seemed to talk about the kid who threw the egg. i dont care who you are or what town you live in, you should know that you cant throw an egg at a person and not get in trouble for it. the man had a good reason for hitting the boy. the kids where out of hand and deserve everything that comes to them!

    LaShay and Ryan -- your points are well taken. certainly there are numerous perspectives on this incident. As we discussed in class, there are some closer to the situation than others. Each of us sees the world differently based on our life experiences, observations, "blinders", and all the variety of differences and diversity (i.e., age, race, ethnicity, social class, gender). We may agree to disagree, but we do need to listen to the perspective of the Other. Sharing and trying to understand each other is important. Certainly there are several groups involved -- the kids, the parents, the neighbors, the police, the district attorney, the media, and so forth. It will be interesting to watch how this case unfolds. Finally, the other issue discussed is the phenomenon of "mob violence" might be something someone might want to research.

    On Thursday, October 3, 2002, Pam Zielsdorf wrote:
    On Class Discussion of Mob Violence in Milwaukee

    At the end of her comment, LaShay said "and the one lady in class said that people in the neighborhood should have done something where they live mine (sic) your business." Well, unfortunately, when a violent, tragic story (on many fronts, not just the victim, but the kids involved and the plight of the neighborhood itself) hits the national news media and is in heavy rotation, it does become everyone's business. It's easy to do "Monday morning quarterbacking" on things, but I don't think that's what the lady meant to be doing. She told her opinion and backed it up with the actions she takes in her not-so-great neighborhood. It's called caring about your fellow human beings enough to try to do something positive, not poking your nose into something that's not your business. It takes a village to raise a child, and that's why she does what she does. This small token of caring might make a positive difference in some child in her neighborhood's life.

    There's a movie out called The Boondock Saints, where in the beginning a priest is giving a homily about bystander/community apathy and crime. He used the Kitty Genovese case in NY back in the 60s as a background to the following comment: "We must always fear the wicked. But there is another kind of evil that we must fear the most and that is the indifference of good men." I think this applies to this story, too. I don't live in that neighborhood, so I can't possibly understand how things are. And I can only somewhat understand LaShay's frustration and anger about all the attention to this case and all the well-meaning folks who offer all sorts of pat solutions to take regarding a situation that is more complex than the news can possibly portray in a sound bytes. But imagine what it would be like if this story was treated with complete indifference. What if no one cared? When people care, things change. Maybe all this attention will lead to positive

    pamela -- yes, there are numerous sides to the story, but we need to listen in good faith to each other's validity claims. [btw, try to keep to 25 words or less, next time]

    On Friday, October 4, 2002, Chamika Ellis wrote:
    On Class Discussion of Mob Violence in Milwaukee

    In regards to the beating of the 36 year old man.....I agree with some of the students that stated that the neighborhood in which the kids live plays a role in their behavior...I'm not saying that they were right, but its just that adults in that area tend to mind their own business. Alot of adults are too afraid to really discipline other peoples kids because alot happens there...I'm very familar with the area and no one wants to be a witness to any type of crim because of the fear that they will be discovered if they testify. Another thing.... I read that the parents are going to be punished;in regards to that issue, I think that the parents should be punished because there is no way that your child should be out at 11 p.m. on a school night. However some parents in that area are on W-2, which requires you too get a job. Sometimes the only jobs available are 3rd shift jobs, which makes it hard to find childcare that even runs that late. I was thinking that maybe if that was the case with some of the parents of the children, they sholdn't get such a harsh punishement as the media makes it seem. What do you think?

    chamika -- this case is so complicated with so many factors to consider. it will be fascinating to watch how this case unfolds.

    On Saturday, October 5, 2002, Krista Lindemann wrote:
    On Class Discussion of Mob Violence in Milwaukee

    Also, my family and I were discussing the mob violence attack that occured in Milwaukee. I brought up some points that we discussed in class the other day. I brought up the classical school perspective. None of them were familiar with Beccaria and his philosohies. I think this mob violence in Milwaukee fits Beccaria's classical school. As it is stated on pg. 2 of the Criminology Theory book, people should behave according to the calculations of pleasure and pain they expected to recieve as a result of their actions. This fits perfectly with the case. The kids threw the egg,the man retaliated adn the kids attacked him. These kids should realize that their actions are going to get them in trouble. Being up to 17 years in age, they know if they do something wrong, they will be punished. I think they should be tried as adults, all of them. As Bentham stated about punishment,it will deter individuals from commiting crimes of the same manner. Lets say these kids don't recieve any punishment. Then, kids who witness this will think that if these kids got a way with it, they can too!

    krista -- good application of the classical school. now, can you apply the other theories to this case -- psychological, biological and social learning?

    On Wednesday, October 2, 2002, Nick Contreras wrote:
    On television, video games and violence

    IN class today, we were discussing how video games might be a factor in children's aggressions. I don't think "vids" have that much to do with why kids do what they do. They're merely an outlet that children can use to spend their free time on. Sure, most games are violent, but what else could we do? Even Mario Bros. had killing when mario jumped on a mushroom man. I think if a parent doesn't want their children playing games like, "doom" or "Area 51", they should monitor what they buy/play. If they're that bent out of shape about it, they should see what their friend's parents are doing about the topic as well. Killing on the TV doesn't influence our children, our society, and our surroundings do. Your children will only do what they learn, and video games don't teach harm.

    On Wednesday, October 2, 2002, Anel Garza wrote:
    On television, video games and violence

    I personally don't think that video games can lead someone to kill someone. If it does then there has to be something more behind that, video games would just be a bad excuse. I have an 11 year old brother who loves playing video games and hes has games like 007 where he has to kill people, I bought it for him. I don't see how anyone would think that playing a video game with a controller would lead a child to pick up a gun?

    nick and anel -- might want to research the arguments on both sides of this issue?

    On Saturday, October 5, 2002, Katie Kuiper wrote:
    On the American Taliban

    I also want to bring to your attention, if you didnt already hear, that they charged John Walker Lindt, the American with the Taliban, with only 20 years in prison. His punishment doesnt really fit the crime.

    katie -- what kind of punishment would fit the crime? why

  • From CRMJ/SOCA 363: Corrections

    Jamie Thomas wrote on Monday, September 30, 2002:
    On Prevention and Corrections

    everyone is saying how we should be at the start of the problem with the kids. The best thing that anyone can do to help is become a big brother or a big sister. They have their own website and the desparatley need volunteers. All thats required is 4-6 hours a month. Everyone says something should be done but how many are actually out there doing something to help?

    jamie -- excellent point! i'll post this on the site.

    April Puryear wrote on Monday, September 30, 2002:
    On Prevention and Corrections

    EDUCATION instead of building more prisons is the answer to me. If we know that illiteracy is high amongst prisoners, than shouldn't we try to combat it.

    april -- good point. are you interested in researching the issue of education?or, how about prisoner illiteracy?

    Jill Kayon wrote on Monday, September 30, 2002:
    On the Cost per Day to Eat

    susan, went through how much money I spend a day alone on food and it averages about 8 to 9 dollars a day. That is just for my self. That is very weird because I never really looked at like this.

    jill -- interesting exercise, isn't it? when do you tend to spend less? why. when do you tend to spend more than $9 per day? why. (special note to those not familiar with our class discussion: in class today we were discussing how hassine in life without parole stated that the penitentiary spent $2.75 per inmate per day on meals and i asked the class how much is spent in one day on meals).

    Julia Starr wrote on Monday, September 30, 2002:
    On the Cost per day to eat

    hello again. also wanted to let you know that i have calculated my spending for what i have eaten today, and what i am going to eat tonight. it totals up to 17.15...and all i had to eat was a salad, some pretzels, bottled water, and chicken fried rice. interesting huh?

    julia -- yes, it's interesting! do you consider the $17 economizing or splurging? why?

    On Monday, September 30, 2002, Julia Starr wrote:
    On Theory, Policy, Practice & Prisons

    i do want to tell you that after finishing hassien and discussing it in class, i am mostly appalled at what our prison system has amounted to today. someway, somehow, they really need to take a step back in their "practice", review their "policies", and possibly create new "theories". its absurd that it has gotten this bad.

    julia -- do you think anyone is doing anything to make prisons better? might want to find out?

    On Monday, September 30, 2002, Rachel Smith wrote:
    Theory, Policy, Practice & Prisons

    I really enjoyed todays class about discussing the book. I was surprised that people did not know prisoners got paid to sit there. In theory we are supposed to be helping prisoners get back on there feet put in practice we are paying them and some prisoners want to go back to prison because they cannot function properly.

    rachel -- does make you wonder about the interrelationshp between "theory, policy, practice" when it comes to corrections, doesn't it?

    On Monday, September 30, 2002, Veronica Ramirez wrote:
    Theory, Policy, Practice & Prisons

    You know I really enjoyed reading Hassine's book, and was really disturbed by the story of the Dancing Man. It's really sad that prisoners will go so far as to act in such an inhumane way, but what was more disturbing were the C.O.s who are supposed to keep order. Yes, they might have gotten hurt, but isn't that a part of their job? Isn't that what they get paid to do? It's like a researcher of AIDS. He wants to find a cure to help the sick and get paid in the process, but does not want to deal with the patients that are actually infected for fear that he may also be infected.

    veronica -- i'm glad you liked the book. if you're interested in other prison autobiographies, i've got more books listed on this week's class page.

    On Wednesday, October 1, 2002, Charity Briggs-Harris wrote:
    On reactions to Monday's class discussion

    Class on Monday this week was good I really liked the discussions that we had. One thing that I dont like is when people talk stright from book smarts and not really knowing what is it like for some one in there families to be in some of the situations that we talk about. It is as though they dont seem to care about how they make others feel by what they say . . .

    charity -- your point is well taken. we must learn to listen in good faith, trying to understand the perspective of the Other. your point is a good reminder for all of us to consider that we're coming to these issues from a variety of perspectives; some very "close to home" and others from a distance. Either way, by sharing our thoughts and perspectives, the more we will all learn. thanks for the reminder!

    On Friday, October 4, 2002, Caroline Zires wrote:
    On Reactions to "Quiet Rage"

    I just wanted to comment about the video today in class, I really think it was an excellent idea. It was so weird how these everyday people adapted to this situation. i mean these were just college students and my the end of the video i saw them as actuall inmates and guards. it made me think about how i would feel if i choose to be a guard. will i become as mean and violent, or will i feel sorry for these inmates? i also thought that the shy clinic was really interesting. i am a shy person but have never look at myself as internally inprisoning myself.

    caroline -- good observations! what does this documentary tell us about "theory, policy, practice" in prisons? why.

    On Saturday, October 5, 2002, Michelle Sims Zires wrote:
    On Reactions to "Quiet Rage"

    On Friday, it was very interesting for me to learn about the Stanford Prison Experiment. After I watched this, I was thinking about why they had to end the experiment early. In real life I think that a lot of prison react to prison the same way the "prisoners" in the experiment did. The only difference is they have to deal wih it. I think to them prison is a very unjust place.

    michelle -- yes, it does make you wonder all that's going on inside today's prison, doesn't it?

    On xxxday, September xx, 2002, xxx wrote:



    From CRMJ/SOCA 365: Race, Crime and Law

    On Sunday, September 29, 2002, Sarah Galewski wrote:
    Friday's groupwork on the concept of race

    I thought that class on Friday was very interesting when we went into our groups and talked about what is race? I thought it was neat because I was able to hear what other people think race is and whether race matters or not.

    sarah -- good! i'm glad. i noticed a lot of sharing of viewpoints in the small groups, too.

    On Monday, September 30, 2002, Tim Mostowik wrote:
    On reactions to the Dalai Lama documentary

    today we started to watch a movie on the dali lama. the thing that i was most surprised by is that he seems such like a normal person. he was laughing and having fun. when i pictured him i thought of him being real serious and quiet.

    tim -- why did you think he would be "real serious and quiet?"

    On Monday, September 30, 2002, Tracy Blauser wrote:
    On reactions to the Dalai Lama documentary

    I have researched recent happenings in Tibet, In Sep. two of the Dalai's represenative visited Bejing. In August Russia refused to allow him into the country to meet with the buddhists saying they were Concerned about his hidden agenda. It is important to look at things from other perspectives, here is a website against the Dalai Lama- interesting.

    tracy -- why do you think some are against the dalai lama? does he have a hidden agenda? why? might want to do a website review.

    On Monday, September 30, 2002, Kim Dexter wrote:
    On reactions to the Dalai Lama documentary

    Last week there was some reference made to the nature v. nurture issue. Whenever this issue comes up, I think "Why does it have to be one or the other? Can't it be a combination of both?" I believe the documentary on the 14th Dalai Lama showed that there can be both. It is in the Dalai Lama's nature to be kind and peaceful; there was also mention of "Enlightement"-the realization that one is part of the universe and nature. But the Dalai Lama also said (in favor of the nurture argument) that "everyone has the responsibilty to shape the future of humanity." We all need to be more active in that responsibilty.

    kim -- your points and observations are well taken and i especially liked how you connected earlier class discussions to this afternoon's documentary. you raise an important issue as to why we are trapped in such dualities -- right/wrong, either/or?

    On Wednesday, October 2, 2002, Amanda Heflin wrote:
    On Fellman and Adversarial Rituals

    Today in class we talked examples of adversarial rituals. One girl said that competition is a ritual and can be found even in kids movies. My roommate was watching Monsters Inc. the other night and that whole movie is based on winning. The monsters compete to scare the most number of children. I started thinking that this is the reason why the world is so competitive. We teach children (I know a 2 year old who loves the movie) that everything is about winning. But by the time they grow up it is deeply embedded and very difficult to uproot.

    amanda -- i saw that movie when i first came out and never thought to relate it to fellman but i can see your interpretation here! but, are there examples of mutualism in the movie, too?

    On Wednesday, October 2, 2002, Sarah Rekenthaler wrote:
    On Fellman and Adversarial Rituals

    I just wanted to say that the discussion questions today were very interesting. My group talked about questions number two, about Fellman and his views on war. I totally agree with him that war has become really impersonal and so full of technology. The soldiers don't know who the heck they are shooting/bombing at all. I just wanted to share my thoughts.

    sarah -- good point. can you relate fellman to the latest threat of war?

    On Thursday, October 3, 2002, Tracy Blauser wrote:
    On Fellman and Adversarial Rituals

    intersting news article(tv), the house will only condone Bush attacking Iran if all of his efforts with UN diplomatic efforts have been exhausted. This is a good effort on the houses part to encourage mutuality, dialogue discussion instead of resorting to violence whenever Bush wants, but how much of an effort is Bush really going to make in a mutualistic kind of way? Unfortuanlatly not much.

    tracy -- good question!

    On Friday, October 4, 2002, Rosalio Gutierrez wrote:
    On Rambo & Fellman

    I just want to comment on question 3. The way Fellman describes "Rambo" is true, but he's also describing the U.S. as well. The whole theme of the movie "Rambo" is basicly how most of society feels towards the "War on Terrorism" kill them all, revenge, hatered. So I feel that "Rambo" is a symbol for most of the characters in the U.S.

    rosalio -- why is the U.S. so rambo-like? can you think of examples of the U.S. more dalai lama-like?

    On Friday, October 4, 2002, Brian Schenning wrote:
    On Milwaukee's mob violence & Randall Kennedy

    Mr. Kennedy's Idea of Under-enforcement of laws can, in part, explain the rational of the children involved in the mob killing in Milwaukee. Perhaps if the children involved believed they could go to an authority figure in reaction to the victim's violence against them, they might not have retaliated in the way they did.

    brian -- it will be interesting to follow this case and see how things unfold. do you plan to do that?

    On Friday, October 4, 2002, Maggie Cronin wrote:
    On Milwaukee's mob violence & Randall Kennedy

    In class we were discussing that some neighborhoods are so bad that the police won't respond to calls in the area. I think in Milwaukee they should try some community policing. At least the cops would already be there and in some cases may even be able to stop the crime before it happens.

    maggie -- might want to find out if milwaukee has community policing or not.