Just as the practice of law isn’t at all like law school, real crimes aren’t at all like the ones depicted in movies and TV series. The people are a lot less attractive, and the motives aren’t nearly as complicated. Things tend to boil down to money, sex, or power. The best documentaries bring a deft touch to these human stories that forms them into a narrative but never loses sight of the fact that these atrocious things happened to real people, and that real people have to pay the price or go free. They should be required viewing for law students to help them understand what’s really waiting for them when they get out of school. They’re as close as you can get to the real thing.
- The Staircase: The Staircase is a riveting police procedural and courtroom thriller that plays like a tightly written mystery. Writer-director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade had ridiculous access to author Michael Peterson, who in 2001 was arraigned for the murder of his wife, discovered in a pool of blood at the base of the staircase in their family home. Filmed as a documentary for French TV, this riveting eight-part film runs six hours but barely feels like two.
- The Thin Blue Line: Errol Morris’s documentaries never fail to illuminate some of the darker and more compelling parts of the human experience — The Fog of War is a brilliant example of how hubris leads nations to battle — and The Thin Blue Line is fantastic for the way it examines the real-life application of the law. Revolving around the murder of a Dallas police officer and the subsequent investigation, the documentary demonstrates how easy it is for the wrong man (or men) to become implicated in a crime they didn’t commit if the legal system turns against them.
- Cocaine Cowboys: The Miami drug wars of the 1970s and 1980s were terrifying for the way they gave organized crime an even stronger foothold in the area and pushed law enforcement to the limit in their attempts to stem the flow of coke into the country. This incisive documentary also explores how the town benefitted economically from the additional cash, as dirty money was laundered to fund a variety of modern landmarks. Granted, it’s not as if fictional films make this life look like a non-stop party: sooner or later, the feds always come calling. But this doc gets even closer to the action by offering interviews with former criminals and cops, putting the viewer in the middle.
- Deliver Us From Evil: Critically lauded for its skillful execution of a difficult story, Deliver Us From Evil tells the tale of Father Oliver O’Grady, a Catholic priest who molested and raped a number of young children from the 1970s to the 1990s and who was moved to various parishes around the country by church officials in an attempt to cover up the crimes. A heartbreaking, devastating look at the cancer that’s eating the Catholic Church in America.
- The Trials of Darryl Hunt: In 1984, Darryl Hunt, a black man in North Carolina, was convicted of raping the white Deborah Sykes. There was just one problem: he didn’t do it. He served almost 20 years before DNA technology was able to exonerate him, and this penetrating doc captures the legal system in a warts-and-all manner that’s bound to be eye-opening for students convinced of the law’s flawlessness.
- American Pimp: The protestations of Kid Rock notwithstanding, a pimp is probably not something one should aspire to be. Directed by the Hughes Brothers, who also helmed Menace II Society, American Pimp strips the cheesy glamour and dubious reputation from the pimp subculture by showing just how deluded (and illegal) these men are. It gets even darker when it touches on the women who have died living the prostitute life.
- Witch Hunt: This one’s well below the radar for most people, but that’s all the more reason to seek it out. Narrated by Sean Penn, this 2008 documentary deals with the dozens of men and women in California’s Kern County who were wrongly convicted for committing sexual crimes against children. Despite the mountain of evidence that the children were coerced into lying, the district attorney remained in office by boasting of his impressive conviction rate. A harrowing look at how the legal system can be manipulated by the wrong person.
- Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father: Writer-director Kurt Kuenne’s documentary is a stunning story of twisted love and sick betrayal. Kuenne’s best friend, Andrew Bagby, was shot and killed by Shirley Turner after Bagby broke up with her. Shortly after, she revealed she was pregnant with Bagby’s child. Kuenne’s film is a letter to the infant that attempts to piece together Bagby’s life and death as a letter for the son who would never know him. Wrenching and unforgettable.
- The Iceman Tapes: Conversations with a Killer: Richard Kuklinski was an enforcer for the Gambino crime family, a brutal job that eventually landed him in prison. In this 1992 documentary (and its 2002 follow-up, The Iceman Confesses: Secrets of a Mafia Hitman), he speaks frankly about the people he killed and the life he lived. It’s a stunning look at a man seemingly immune to all violence, and the weird calm with which he discusses his jobs is unnerving.
- Scottsboro: An American Tragedy: It’s not hard to see why stories of wrongful conviction make up so much of the crime documentary field: there’s something about the stories that expresses the worst (miscarriages of justice) and the best (hard-won salvation) of the American legal system. The tale of the Scottsboro Boys (pictured above) is a sad one born of racism and anger, in which a group of nine young black men in 1931 were sent to prison for raping a pair of white women, despite the fact that no evidence was presented. The case was a landmark in the development of rights for the accused, and this documentary is a stirring reminder of the high cost and higher responsibility of fighting for the people.
Recent events have revealed just how rampant and cruel the bullying problem has become. The days of letting kids work things out by themselves or encouraging them to hash things out by the playground are long gone, as these strategies are proving to be much more dangerous than they once were. One thing is certain — parents play a huge role in the school bullying solution. Whether your kid is the aggressor or the victim, your words and support may be the most important tools in solving the problem. Here are 10 ways parents can prevent bullying:
- Talk to Your Kids: You may talk to your kids about homework, grades and school activities every day, but there are bigger issues happening in school that deserve to be discussed, as well. Bullying is a serious topic that parents and kids seem to skirt over far too often. An effective way to prevent bullying is to talk to your children about bullying. Depending on your relationship with your child and their willingness to share, you may have to wait until they approach you instead of prying information out of them. It takes a great deal of courage for your child to tell you that he or she is being bullied, so it’s important that you take it seriously and keep your emotions in check. Reiterate to your child that you want to help end the bullying and prevent it from happening again. Don’t hold back from asking your son or daughter who was involved, how it happened, and where each bullying incident has taken place. The more details you can obtain about the bullying episodes, the greater the chance of putting an end to the abuse when you contact school officials.
- Listen to Your Kids: Once you’ve established an open line of communication with your child, it’s so important that you listen intently to what he or she is saying. Listen to the details of your child’s bullying episodes so you can report these facts to school officials. Bullying is a sensitive subject for both the child and parent. You may be tempted to lash out at the bully’s parents or give the school a piece of your mind, but this irrational behavior could make matters worse. Before jumping to action, allow your child to share his or her experiences and simply listen. If your kid hasn’t opened up about being bullied or bullying others, give them a chance to tell you first, but always keep your ears open for anything that’s out of the norm or worrisome.
- Look for Signs: Children of all ages have a way of keeping things from their parents, especially when they are being bullied. Your son or daughter may hold back from telling you because they are embarrassed, don’t want to be a "tattletale" or are afraid that you might intervene and make it worse. If you think something could be wrong but your child’s lips are sealed, you should be on the lookout for signs of bullying. You may not necessarily see your child crying or sulking, but there are almost always signs that something is wrong. Victims of bullying often display signs of depression, loneliness and feel sick more than ever. Be observant of any unusual behavior, attitude changes and avoidance of social activities, and gently approach your child about these issues to see if bullying is the cause.
- Stop Bullying in Progress: Many adults stay out of bullying incidents because they want kids to work it out together. The problem is kids usually don’t work things out and the bullying only continues to get worse when left alone. Parents can’t be afraid to stop bullying incidents in progress and break things up. Even children can prevent or stop bullying incidents in progress by verbally or physically defending the victim and displaying their moral engagement. Intervening in a bullying incident gives parents a chance to set things straight with both children and protect the victim from further harm. Most bullying incidents take place after school, so a parent might be able to observe a confrontation at this time. Parents should encourage their kids to stop bullying in progress, whether they interject or get a school official to. No one should turn their back on a bullying incident. Period.
- Do Not Encourage Physical Retaliation: Never encourage physical retaliation as a means to prevent bullying. No matter how mad you are that your child has been bullied, you can’t fight abuse with abuse. Not only does fighting completely contradict this moral lesson, but it could also get your son or daughter suspended, expelled or make the situation worse. Teach your child to ignore bullies and walk away before anyone gets physical, then report the event to a school official or someone of authority.
- Contact School Officials: One surefire way to prevent bullying is to bring it to the school’s attention. Parents should contact school officials, such as teachers, principals and school counselors and give them factual information about the bullying events. It’s important to emphasize that you expect the bullying to stop and will work closely with the school staff to find a solution for your child and other victims of bullying. School officials will contact the parents of the child who was bullying to make them aware of the issue and set up parent-teacher conferences if need be.
- Help Your Child be Resilient: As you work with your child and school officials to put an end to the bullying incidents, you can help your child become more resilient to bullying. Shifting their attention towards something positive will help them overcome the emotional effects of being bullied. You should encourage your kids to develop new talents or participate in positive activities, such as art, sports or music to highlight their positive attributes and help them make new friends outside of class.
- Teach Moral Values and Give Love at Home: As a parent, you have a direct influence on your child’s social behavior, beliefs and treatment of others. Children who bully generally come from homes that lack warmth, supervision and parent involvement, and emphasize harsh, physical discipline and bullying. It’s never too late for parents to teach moral values and ethical behavior to their kids. Children should feel safe and loved in their home, and there should always be open lines of communication between parents and their children. In order to prevent bullying, you can’t allow bullying in your household either.
- Set Clear Rules in Your House: If your son or daughter bullies other children, you need to take this issue very seriously and nip it in the bud before it worsens. Parents of bullies should take an active role to stop bullying and prevent it. One way to curb bullying is to set clear rules in your house and make it clear that bullying will not be tolerated under any circumstances. In addition, teach children about genuine empathy and help them understand the impact of their behavior.
- Join or Start a Bullying Prevention Group: Parents can stay involved in the school’s efforts to prevent bullying and take a proactive stance on this serious issue. You can do so by joining or starting a bullying prevention group that puts this real life issue into perspective for parents. No one person can stop bullying alone, nor should it be the sole responsibility of a school official. Parents, teachers, principals, administrators and counselors should work together to prevent bullying at schools. They can meet to discuss bullying issues at the school and report incidents, as well as plan bullying prevention rules, policies and activities that will make a difference in the culture of the school.
Lives are lost every day to senseless acts of murder. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, 13,636 people were murdered in 2009, and out of these murders, most were committed during arguments (including romantic triangles), felony circumstances, and the rest are unknown. Their motives to kill may vary, but there is never a good enough reason to take an innocent life. If we can learn anything from these gruesome murders it is that we need to report warning signs and any bizarre behavior to authorities before a murderer claims his or her next victim. Here are the 10 most senseless acts of murder:
- Columbine High School Massacre: The Columbine High School shooting in Columbine, Colorado, will forever be engrained in our minds as one of the most disturbing events to ever happen at an American high school. On April 20, 1999, high school seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went on a shooting spree inside their school, killing 12 students and one teacher and injuring about 21 students before committing suicide in the school library. Journal entries and homemade videos documented the shooters’ carefully planned massacre that included setting off bombs in the cafeteria during lunchtime, which they hoped would kill hundreds of students and they’d shoot survivors as they ran out of the school. Their original plan failed because the explosives didn’t detonate, causing the boys to enter the school shooting. Harris and Klebold were known as outcasts and were often bullied. Although there is no clear cut reason behind the horrific massacre, the boys were angry with society and wanted to kill those who annoyed them.
- Virginia Tech Massacre: Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, was turned upside down when a gunmen, senior Seung-Hui Cho, opened fire in a residence hall and classrooms, killing 32 people and wounding several others before committing suicide on April 16, 2007. Cho had been diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder and was declared mentally ill after he was accused of stalking two female students. He received therapy and special education support in secondary school, but Virginia Tech was not notified of his previous diagnosis and accommodations due to federal privacy laws. Cho left behind a suicide note that talked about "rich kids," "debauchery" and "deceitful charlatans," as well as 27 video recordings, an 1,800-word manifesto and photos that were mailed to NBC News in between his shooting attacks. Cho compared himself to Jesus Christ and expressed his hatred for the wealthy, which he claimed drove him to kill. It was the deadliest peacetime shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history.
- Luby’s Massacre: The Luby’s massacre in Killeen, Texas, was one of the most horrific shooting rampages of all time. On October 16, 1991, George Jo Hennard drove his pickup truck into the front window of a Luby’s Cafeteria and began shooting staff and customers, killing 23 people and wounding 20 others before ending his own life in the restaurant. Before Hennard opened fire, survivors said that he yelled, "This is what Bell County has done to me!" About 80 people were in the restaurant at the time of the shootings and it was particularly crowded because it was National Boss’s Day and many were out for lunch. There was no known motive for Hennard’s brutal killings, and it was the deadliest shooting rampage in history until the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007.
- University of Texas Sniper Massacre: The University of Texas sniper massacre on August 1, 1966, in Austin, Texas, was one of the most shocking events to ever happen on a college campus. Charles Whitman, a UT student and former Marine, killed 16 people and wounded 32 others from the observation deck of the University’s tower. Prior to the tower shootings, Whitman murdered his mother and wife and left a suicide note admitting to killing his loved ones and what should be done with his life savings, requesting that after his debts are paid off to donate the rest to a mental health foundation. He did not mention his future attacks at the university in his note. After many attempts to subdue the shooter, police finally shot and killed Whitman. In his autopsy, a brain tumor was found which may have contributed to his erratic behavior and emotional struggles.
- The Clutter Family Killings: The 1959 killings of the Clutter family shook the town of Holcomb, Kansas, and the rest of the country. The quadruple murder was committed by Richard "Dick" Hickock and Perry Smith, who originally planned to rob the Clutters, take their money and flee, but when Smith discovered there was no money he became angered and slit Herb Clutter’s throat, shot him in the head, and shot the wife and two children in the head. Although the men pleaded temporary insanity, the local practitioners evaluated them and determined that they were sane. Both men spent five years on death row before being executed on 1965 in Lansing, Kansas. The small town murder became widely known because of Truman Capote’s nonfiction novel that examines the crime and the two parolees.
- San Ysidro McDonald’s Massacre: The San Ysidro McDonald’s massacre shocked the country when James Oliver Huberty casually walked into a McDonald’s restaurant on July 18, 1984, in the San Ysidro section of San Diego, California, and started shooting customers and employees. Huberty killed 21 people, ranging in age from 8 months to 74 years, and wounded 19 others, before he was fatally shot by a SWAT team sniper. His victims were predominantly Mexican and Mexican-American. Huberty had a history of violent behavior and he was a known survivalist, who believed that America was in deep trouble and the government was behind economic problems and unemployment rates, so he stocked up food, guns and provisioned his house in preparation for the breakdown of society. Right before the incident, Huberty told his wife he was "hunting humans" and "society had its chance."
- Westroads Mall Shooting: The Westroads Mall shooting occurred on December 5, 2007, in Omaha, Nebraska, where 19-year-old Robert A. Hawkins walked into the Von Maur department store and opened fire on shoppers and employees. Hawkins killed nine people and wounded four before turning the gun on himself inside. Hawkins was a troubled young man with a history of violent threats and psychiatric problems. Two weeks prior to the incident, Hawkins was fired for stealing $17 at his McDonald’s job and was depressed after separating from his girlfriend. He left behind a suicide note that stated he was going to take some lives and described how famous he would be.
- Murder of Derrion Albert: On September 24, 2009, 16-year-old high school honor student Derrion Albert was brutally beaten to death by a group of students near Christian Fenger Academy High School on Chicago’s South Side. The incident was captured on tape, as Albert was unintentionally caught in between a gang-related fight from two neighborhoods. Eugene Riley, Silvanus Shannon, Eric Carson and Lapoleon Colbert were arrested by police and charged with first-degree murder.
- Diane Downs’ Killings: The well-known case of Diane Downs goes down as one of the most senseless acts of murder. On May 19, 1983, Downs shot her three children, killing one, and lied to the police that a stranger had tried to carjack her, shot her in the arm and her three kids near Springfield, Oregon. She drove to the McKenzie-Willamette Hospital with her children in the back and her middle child was already dead. Downs had been shot in her left forearm, which was later determined to be a self inflicted wound used to support her original story. Downs behavior was suspicious and her manner was too calm for such a traumatic event. She was even recorded laughing during police videotapes of describing the gruesome events. Police discovered that Downs was involved with a man in Arizona named Robert Knickerbocker, who did not want children in his life. Prosecutors believed that Downs attempted to kill her kids so she could continue her affair with Knickerbocker, but it was the testimony of her daughter Christie that finally determined Downs’ guilt and she was sentenced to life in prison.
- Beltway Sniper Attacks: The Beltway sniper attacks occurred in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia during a three-week killing spree in October 2002. Led by John Allen Muhammad and a minor, Lee Boyd Malyo, they killed 10 people and critically injured three others throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area. They traveled using the Capital Beltway and created utter chaos and fear throughout communities, in which children were kept indoors for their protection. The two shooters were found sleeping in their car at a rest stop and were arrested on federal weapons charges. Although few motives were firmly established, Muhammad was guilty of killing "pursuant to the direction or order" of terrorism, according to a Virginia court. Malyo testified that they killed people in hopes of kidnapping children to extort money from the government and teach them how to terrorize cities. In 2003, Muhammad was sentenced to death and Malyo was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences without parole.
The words "based on a true story" are so overused in movies that they usually don’t mean anything other than, "Something like this kind of happened, but this is the version we settled on." (Some movies present themselves as inspired by true accounts when they’re actually completely fictional.) But there are a few films that rise above the rest, notably in the true-crime genre, that take actual cases and shape them into arresting narratives to re-create the very real havoc that their characters wreaked. Mobsters, serial killers, and misguided thugs tend to make it to the big screen relatively intact because their stories are just that interesting. These movies aren’t the only ones that qualify, just the best.
- Bonnie and Clyde: Arthur Penn’s 1967 classic (part of a class of movies that caused a sea change in Hollywood) streamlines the tale of Depression-era bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow without losing any of their danger or charisma. The sex and violence were revolutionary and helped change the way movies were made and marketed, and it remains one of the most engaging crime stories ever told.
- In Cold Blood: Truman Capote’s legendary book about a murdered family in Kansas was a pioneering work of true-crime journalism, and the resulting film adaptation was just as powerful. Shot in stark black and white, this classic film from Richard Brooks re-creates the killings, the trial, and the execution of the murderers with fantastic devotion. Robert Blake’s performance as killer Perry Smith was rightly praised by critics.
- Dog Day Afternoon: In August 1972, John Wojtowicz and Sal Naturile held up a Chase Manhattan Bank in Brooklyn, took some hostages, and were eventually taken down by police. A Life article entitled "The Boys in the Bank" recounted their story and became the basis for 1975′s Dog Day Afternoon. The film features flawless performances by Al Pacino and John Cazale as it marches toward a tense but inevitable conclusion.
- Goodfellas: Martin Scorsese’s mythic gangster film is easily one of the best ever to be based on real events. Drawn from crime reporter Nicholas Pileggi’s Wiseguy, the film recounts the story of Henry Hill, a player in the New York mafia who gave evidence against his fellow gangsters and entered the Witness Protection Program. A major part of the plot revolves around the 1978 Lufthansa heist at JFK Airport, at the time the largest cash robbery in U.S. history.
- Donnie Brasco: FBI agent Joseph Pistone spent six years undercover infiltrating organized crime families in New York using the alias Donnie Brasco. He recounted his work in a book that became the basis for Mike Newell’s fantastic but often overlooked 1997 drama starring Johnny Depp as Pistone, Al Pacino as Benjamin "Lefty" Ruggiero, and Michael Madsen as Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano. An amazing look at what it takes to go undercover.
- Catch Me If You Can: Time for a mental health break: Steven Spielberg’s film is about a criminal, but it’s also far more light-hearted than the rest on this list, thanks to the nature of the crimes. Frank Abagnale, Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) discovers a talent for forging checks and other IDs and hops from career to career, ripping off multiple companies and eluding FBI fraud agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks). He’s just a kid, though, trying to pursue a fantasy life he could never have at home.
- Monster: Aileen Wuornos was a prostitute and serial killer who killed seven johns in Florida between 1989 and 1990, claiming they’d been attempted to rape her. She was convicted of the murders and sentenced to death, dying by lethal injection in October 2002. The 2003 film Monster is a graphic and unflinching adaptation of her story, from her history of abuse to her relationship with another woman. A gripping film, and often hard to watch.
- Alpha Dog: Based on the life and times of Jesse James Hollywood (real name!), Alpha Dog follows a young drug dealer named Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch) who kidnaps the younger brother of a rival and eventually has the boy murdered. The film was first screened in 2006 and released in January 2007, before Jesse was captured and sentenced to life without parole.
- Zodiac: Another sadly overlooked film, David Fincher’s 2007 masterpiece Zodiac is a harrowing examination of the Zodiac serial killer and the way his mythos gripped the nation and sent investigators into often obsessive tailspins. Easily one of the most chilling thrillers of the past 25 years, and doubly so for being based on real events.
- M: Fritz Lang’s first sound film, 1931′s M is considered one of the best films of the black-and-white era. It was also the first major starring role for Peter Lorre, who played Hans Beckert, a serial killer and pedophile. An eerie and unforgettable film, the story was largely inspired by the case of Peter Kurten, aka the "Vampire of Dusseldorf," who committed a number of child murders in 1929.
Playing video games is such a universal college practice that schools might as well issue minors in gameplay. And for most people, gaming is a great way to unwind, kill time, or hang out with friends. Yet for some — the few, the proud, the mentally unbalanced — video games are the spark held to the powder keg that sets them off. Not every death tied by the media to video games is actually related to them (the Columbine killings are a good example of this), but the ones on this list make for gruesome exceptions. It’s worth reiterating that most gamers are the rational sort, and those who are pushed over the edge by games are usually already falling and just looking for an excuse to lose control.
- Alayiah Turman: Tyrone Spellman is one of the worst people you’ll ever read about. A man in love with his Xbox, Spellman went apopleptic when his 17-month-old daughter, Alayiah, accidentally pulled the cords out of the wall. Rather than ensure the child’s safety or just fix things and move on, Spellman cracked her skull repeatedly, killing her. He got up to 47 years in prison for the crime.
- Shawn Woolley: Online RPGs are known for their addictive qualities — players get so obsessed that they devote all their time to the game, often at the expense of a social life — but rarely have they had an effect like they did on Shawn Woolley. He killed himself in the fall of 2001, and his mother attributes the death to a lack of reality and socialization encouraged by Everquest.
- Ace Mealer, James Crump, Arnold Strickland: In June 2003, a teenager named Devin Moore, who was a big fan of the Grand Theft Auto series, went on a killing spree. He’d been brought to a police station on suspicion of stealing a car, at which point he grabbed a gun, shot two officers and a 911 dispatcher, and grabbed a set of car keys as he made a speedy exit. He drove off in a police cruiser but was quickly captured. When caught, he reportedly said, Life is like a video game. Everybody’s got to die sometime." Classy guy.
- Aaron Hamel: Chalk up another one for Grand Theft Auto (it’s understandable why so many critics complain of the game’s cop-killing stories): Aaron Hamel was killed and Kimberly Bede was injured when two stepbrothers in Tennessee, aged 14 and 16, opened fire with rifles they’d found in their home. The boys cited Grand Theft Auto III as the inspiration for their real-life destruction.
- Zhu Caoyuan: In 2004, Shanghai gamer Zhu Caoyuan was murdered by fellow player Qiu Chengwei in a dispute over a "cyber-weapon." Qiu won the weapon in the online game Legend of Mir III and loaned it to Zhu to use in the game, after which Zhu turned around and sold it. Jerk move, to be sure, but when cops told Qiu they couldn’t help him because the stolen property wasn’t real, Qiu confronted Zhu and stabbed him in the chest, killing him. Qiu earned a death sentence with the possibility of having it commuted to life if he behaved.
- An unnamed Russian man: Lineage II is a pretty typical MMORPG, which means it’s capable of inspiring pointless feuds that bleed over into real life. Case in point: when a pair of Russian guilds got into an online shouting match over the killing of one of their characters, the players opted to settle the score on their own. They met for a fight that got so bloody one man died of his injuries on the way to the hospital.
- Dylan Lee Edmondson: Dylan Lee Edmondson was 3 years old when he died in October 2010. His mother, Alexandra Tobias, was a FarmVille junkie who was engrossed in the popular Facebook game when her son started crying. She shook him several times, likely hitting his head, causing his death. She could get 25 years in prison.
- Xiao Yi: Another disheartening suicide: Xiao Yi was 13 when he jumepd from the roof of a 24-story building. According to notes he left, the boy was entranced by the world of Warcraft III and hoped to reunite with his online friends in the afterlife.
- Mai Thi Mau: Dinh The Dan, 13, strangled and killed Mai Thi Mau, 81, in order to get money for video games. He used a piece of rope to choke her before robbing her and burying her in a pile of sand at his house. He wanted the money to pay for his online video game habit, so he decided to rob and kill someone to get it. The boy was sent to a "reeducation camp" in hopes of changing his behavior.
- An unnamed Chinese man: Even by the standards of this list, this is a creepy, sad entry. In 2007, a Chinese man played online video games for three days straight in an Internet cafe. That’s 72 hours of consecutive gaming. Even assuming breaks for food and relief, that can only end badly, and it did: after three days, the man dropped dead from exhaustion. Why did he do it? What was he playing? Did he have nowhere else to go? Horrible questions with no answers.
The internet has enabled people to become a little less stodgy and more comfortable with their sexuality. They can gather- anonymously or not- to discuss a myriad of subjects related to sex on sites and blogs, forgetting about the supposed norms, rights and wrongs that society has imposed on them. After all, to each their own, right? The new sexual freedom has resulted in the surfacing of new fetishes, or fetishes that were previously unknown by most people. Several have gained relatively large online followings despite their unusualness. The 10 fetishes below may not be considered "normal" or healthy by people who don’t understand their appeal, but they’ve certainly earned their own niches. Please note: the list was generated on the premise that foot and underwear fetishes are the only ones that aren’t unusual. It’s a prude world.
- Plushophilia: The "furry scene" has taken off in recent years, attracting a generation of people who presumably had childhood crushes on Rebecca Cunningham from "Tail Spin." These so-called "plushies" love teddy bears and other furry creatures that aren’t real. Some even like to dress up as animals, ascribing them human qualities; cartoon characters in particular are popular choices. The goal is to find a level of cuteness that stimulates arousal, and depending on the animal imitated, the imitator may also become much more cuddly.
- Autoandrophilia: Both homosexual and heterosexual women have been known to imitate men and adopt their sexual roles as an extracurricular activity in the bedroom. Whether it’s their goal to assume a more dominant role, or simply to dress up, it’s not always the easiest topic to broach with a partner, especially if that partner happens to be a guy.
- Agalmatophilia: Ain’t nothing like the real thing- unless, of course, your sexual fulfillment comes from mannequins or statues. And who can blame you? Most mannequins are quite attractive, which is why they’re so prominently displayed in the windows of department stores and boutiques. Statues can be sexy too, especially when they’re created by sculptors like Michelangelo who mastered the human form.
- Paraphilic Infantilism: Perhaps Freud could have offered further insight on paraphilic infantilism, the desire to wear diapers and be treated as a baby. Mostly men acquire this fetish, though not all of them exhibit the same behavior when they’re partaking in it. Some adult babies play the entire role of a baby, including using cribs, toys and bottles, while others act their age despite wearing disposable underpants. Psychologists have hypothesized that many AB/DLs (Adult Baby/Diaper Lovers) desire a lack of control and power.
- Maschalagnia: Believe it or not, armpit odor is an aphrodisiac for some people. The smell acts as a muscular stimulant, naturally encouraging arousal, reminding armpit lovers of their favorite part of the opposite sex’s body. Compared to other fetishes, it’s not that weird. But don’t tell that to people in Singapore, where an armpit-loving man was recently sentenced to sentenced to 14 years in jail and 18 strokes of the cane.
- Hematolagnia: Given the popularity of the "Twilight" saga and the deathly combination of teenage impressionability and hormones, it might not come as a surprise that hematolagnia- blood fetishism- has seen a recent spike in popularity. Wannabe Bella Swans and Edward Cullens have taken to fantasizing about blood, biting each other’s necks as they partake in forbidden love. In most cases, the drinking of blood isn’t involved despite the association of the fetish with vampires.
- Odaxelagnia: Odaxelagnia goes hand-in-hand, or maybe mouth-to-neck, with hematolagnia. The fetish is experienced when arousal is stimulated from biting a partner or being bitten by a partner. So if your lover ever tells you "bite me," don’t fret because he or she may actually mean it. Take solace in the fact that your lover could say many, many more disturbing things than that.
- Algolagnia: With algolagnia, pleasure and pain are one in the same. This highly popular fetish is characterized by inflicting or receiving sensations, typically in the erogenous zone, in order to heighten the sexual experience. Psychologists have paid close attention to algolagnia through the years, studying the brain’s interpretation of pain signals and the patient’s ability or inability to control their subsequent behaviors. The previously held perception that the fetish leads to greater violence has essentially been disproven due to a lack of evidence.
- Dacryphilia: Dacryphiliacs, or dacryphiles, are dispensers of pain, gaining arousal as they cause their partner to cry. They may also engage in algolagnia, odaxelagnia and hematolagnia, completing the superfecta of dark fetishes that are unusual to common folks but popular to the sexually adventurous, particularly those in the BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Domination and Submission, Sadism and Masochism) community.
- Somnophilia: Intruding on someone’s sleep is downright rude. Intruding on someone’s sleep to, well, have your way with them is downright perverted. But hey, if it’s two consenting adults, one pre-consenting, then who is anyone to judge? Somnophilia can range from erotically caressing a person while they’re sleeping to intercourse, so it’s not narrowly defined by a single activity.
Unsolved crimes take on a whole new level of eerie attraction when it comes to missing-person cases: instead of the stone-cold whodunit murder with a body and clues, they revolve around unexplained disappearances and thus feel more puzzling than other crimes. Circumstantial evidence often presents itself later, allowing family, friends, and investigators to mostly piece together what happened, but the lack of finality makes an unsolved missing-person case feel like a situation that will never be resolved, no matter what’s learned.
- The Springfield Three: In June 1992, three women went missing in Springfield, Missouri, and were never seen again. Fresh high school grads Stacy McCall and Suzanne Streeter attended a party on June 6, and planned to spend the night at the home of Suzanne’s mother, Sherrill Leavitt. When friends came by the house the afternoon of the 7th, the women were gone. The porch light was broken, but some friends cleaned it up, not knowing that the act and their subsequent entrance into the house was contaminating the crime scene. The women’s cars were still there, as were their valuables. No trace of the women has ever been found, though some investigators believe they may have been buried beneath a parking garage.
- Maura Murray: UMass student Maura Murray had begun acting strangely before vanishing altogether on February 9, 2004. She told her teachers she’d be out for a week because of a death in the family, though no one had died. She took almost $300 out of an ATM, bought some alcohol, and drove away. She was involved in a car accident that night on Route 112 in New Hampshire, though she left the scene before cops could arrive. Her credit cards and cell phone were never used again. Searches turned up empty. Volunteer private investigators are still working the cold case, but the cause of Maura’s disappearance and her final destination have never been discovered.
- Natalee Holloway: One of the most infamous and media-saturated disappearances in recent years — Greta Van Susteren and Nancy Grace pretty much made camp on the story — Natalee Holloway disappeared in May 2005 while vacationing in Aruba as a part of a trip to celebrate graduating high school. The last time she was seen, she was in the presence of local residents Joran van der Sloot and brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe. Each man would eventually be arrested multiple times in connection with the disappearance, but they’ve always been released because of a lack of evidence. The investigation into Natalee’s disappearance kicked off shortly after she didn’t show up for her flight home, and the subsequent searches have never turned up a body. The entire case is pretty detailed, but the fact remains that she’s missing, likely dead, and nowhere to be found.
- D.B. Cooper: Long before being ignominiously referenced as a folk hero by Kid Rock, D.B. Cooper was a legend for hijacking a plane, stealing $200,000, and vanishing. On November 24, 1971, a man traveling as Dan Cooper hijacked a flight traveling from Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington. He claimed he had a bomb. The plane landed, booted the passengers, and collected Cooper’s ransom money before taking off for Nevada. Shortly thereafter, Cooper popped a rear door and parachuted out into the night, never to be seen again. It was a rainy night, and no one tracked his descent. In 1980, a young boy found some of Cooper’s ransom cash outside Vancouver, Washington. Authorities don’t believe Cooper survived, but no other trace of him has been found.
- The Beaumont Children: The three Beaumont Children — Jane, 9; Anna, 7; and Grant, 4 — went missing near Adelaide, South Australia, in January 1966. They were playing on the beach and spotted by witnesses hanging out with an unidentified man, tall and blond. They were last noticed by a postman around 3 p.m., walking alone; after that, no one knows anything. Reports surfaced of a man seen with children that night, and later investigations would yield a few suspects (including the sadistic child murderer Bevan Spencer von Einem, but nothing ever panned out.
- Ambrose Bierce: In a weird twist, an author remembered for a haunting story of death and illusion was himself the victim of circumstances beyond his control. In addition to "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge" and "The Difficulty of Crossing a Field", Bierce was also a journalist. That roving spirit led him to journey to Mexico in his 70s and travel as an observer with Pancho Villa’s forces. He wrote a letter to a friend dated December 26, 1913, in which he wrote, "I leave here tomorrow for an unknown destination." He was right. After that, no one ever saw him again. Rumors abound, but the truth remains unknown.
- Percy and Jack Fawcett: On the hunt for the Lost City of Z, explorer Percy Fawcett and his son, Jack, went missing with a third man, Raleigh Rimmell, in the uncharted Brazilian jungles in 1925. He had actually left behind instructions for people not to search for him if he went missing, since he didn’t want anyone else to suffer whatever had befallen him. The men were never found, and the cause of their disappearance and their ultimate fate — whether murdered by local tribes or just dead from starvation or injury — was never learned.
- Joseph Crater: Judge Joseph Crater sparked one of the biggest manhunts of the early 20th century when he up and vanished without a trace in 1930. Leaving a wife vacationing in Maine, Crater returned home to New York City to do some business and see his mistress, Sally Lou Ritz. He bought a ticket (just one) to a show but instead went to dinner on August 6, with Sally and some friends. Earlier that day he’d cashed some substantial checks. After dinner, his friends watched him enter a cab and drive away, and that was the last anyone saw of him. Even more unsettling, Ritz disappeared a few weeks later, also never to be seen again. Some believe Crater was killed as a result of his ties to Tammany Hall.
- Michael Rockefeller: Explorers naturally run a higher risk of going missing; think of Amelia Earhart. Michael Rockefeller, a fourth-generation member of the family, was with a Dutch anthropologist and a couple of tour guides off the coast of New Guinea in 1961 when their pontoon boat tipped over. The guides left for help, but it didn’t come for a long time. After a while, Rockefeller decided to try and make it to shore, three miles away. He swam off and was never seen again. The anthropologist was rescued the next day. No proof of his fate or evidence of his journey was found. Three years later, he was declared legally dead.
- The Roanoke Colony: Not just one person or a group of people, this infamous unsolved case involves an entire town. The British colony of Roanoke was located in what’s now North Carolina. After struggling to make it there, a group settled in 1587 but was unable to receive timely resupplies because of the Anglo-Spanish War. When John White, a friend of Sir Walter Raleigh’s, finally returned in 1590, he and his crew found the colony totally deserted. There were no signs of a struggle and no messages left to show that the colonists had been forced out. Only the word "Croatoan" carved into a post at the fort and the fragment "Cro" carved on a tree remained, and those clues were more puzzling than not having any clues at all. Many theories formed about the colonists’ fate — maybe the assimilated with the natives, or struck out for home and died at sea — but their fate is officially a mystery.
Homeland security officers are responsible for ensuring the continued safety of the United States of America and its citizens and visitors. Depending on the exact position worked, homeland security officers may work in an office tracking, evaluating, and following up on terrorist threats or in the field checking for illegal immigrants at the country’s borders or patrolling the perimeter at major airports and shipping terminals. With globalization making the world smaller and smaller, the need for homeland security officers is at an all-time high to keep the country safe from threats to national security.
Degree Requirements to Become a Homeland Security Officer:
To prepare for a career in homeland security in the criminal justice field, you will need to earn a degree in a field related to the type of work you desire to pursue. For example, if you wish to work in homeland security as a law enforcement officer, you will need to earn a degree in law enforcement and receive the proper graduate training. On the other hand, if you wish to work in homeland security as an intelligence coordinator, you will need to earn a degree in computer science or another related field. In many cases, a degree in criminal justice is a great way to enter the field.
Duties of a Homeland Security Officer: What are the Duties / Traits of a Successful Homeland Security Officer?
As a homeland security officer, your chief duty will be to protect the country from terrorist threats. You will patrol a designated area and look out for suspicious items as well as evaluate potential terror threats posed by people or the cargo they are carrying. You will also look over tips of security threats from the public and determine which are legitimate and which are fake. Some may even work in ensuring that all the official documents for people entering the country are authentic. When there is a plausible terror threat, you must work with other officers and officials to neutralize the threat in order to maintain national security.
Homeland Security Officer Salary: How Much Does a Homeland Security Officer Make?
The earnings of homeland security officers vary depending on where they work. For example, those who work specifically in emergency management earned a median salary of $45,670 annually in 2004, the most recent information available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the other hand, border patrol agents earn about $25,195 to $31,209 annually with regular pay increases as they gain more experience.