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Sample Murder Definition Essay

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My Essay Examples: Murder at the Margin

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“Murder at the Margin,” by Marshall Jevons, is a well written mystery novel that depicts the relationship between economics and everyday life. It shows how we make use of economic reasoning and decisions based on economic ideals that some might have no idea about. Economic theory and reasoning are used to solve a murder that traditional methods were unable to decipher. “Murder at the Margin” is not an economic textbook by any means, it is a classical detective story with all the ingredients to interest even the most avid of mystery enthusiasts.


Professor Henry Spearman, an academician at Harvard University, taught economic reasoning to his students. He took is job seriously and spent more time researching economics than he did preparing lectures for his students. Professor Spearman and his wife, Pidge, took a well-needed vacation from work and were headed to a place called Cinnamon Bay Plantation on St. John, an ideal Caribbean getaway. On the ferry to the island, Professor Spearman and his wife ran into his Harvard colleague, the celebrated theologian Professor Matthew Dyke.


While at the island the Spearman’s met many different characters of people. They met Justice Foote, a former senator from a Midwestern state and then went on to the Supreme Court where he retired, and his wife. Then they met Felicia Doakes, cousin of General Hudson T. Decker (Ret.) whose daily breakfast was plotted out like a battlefield and every detail was attended to, down to the opaqueness of the bacon. Jay Pruitt and his wife were also introduced in the dining room during breakfast. A black man named Ricky Lemans led the nightly band that played at the Hotel, the Raiders. While Professor Spearman was at the beach, he ran into Dr. Doug and Judy Clark. They like going to dance clubs on the other islands and seemed to be the party type of people.


Franklin Vincent was the detective on the Cruz Bay police force. He was investigating the death of General Decker who had been poisoned after leaving the Hotel. A disgruntled man named Fitzhugh was thought to have drowned while swimming in the bay. Also, Justice Foote was also murdered on one of the famous hiking trails around the island. The investigation progressed and pointed to the leaders of a Black power group led by Ricky Lemans and General Decker’s waiter.


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While Investigator Vincent is off chasing uncultivated leads, Professor Spearman is conducting his own investigation from the economic aspect. He takes notes of the guest’s trends and follows the patterns that people either choose to follow or claim to follow. He takes note of how the guest select their food and analyzes what their opportunity cost might be and then this evolves into noticing how the guest use their free time and economic decisions they make during their stay. He observes how the General’s cousin retires early to read or work on her own projects. Professor Spearmen remembered how the Clark’s sent their children home so they could be by themselves and spend less money and stay at a better hotel. They also mentioned they love dancing and now they wouldn’t have to travel to the other islands, Cruz bay, to do this. He takes note as to where people travel such as the archeologist Laura Burke as well as Justice Foote. Henry is so accustomed with demand, questioning not why people do things, but instead what makes people do things. He analyzes choices people make and trade-off’s they encounter. He also ponders why the band plays some days and not on others where they could make the same, if not more money.


Henry’s keen sense of what makes people do things that allows him to slowly eliminate people from his list of possible suspects. Professor Spearman concluded that the Clarks had killed the general because he proved that even with their children, they were spending less at their other hotel. After they sent their children home, they went to the Cinnamon hotel claiming it was cheaper and nicer. It was a non-economical decision and this pointed the finger at them. Such odd behaviors as this also led the Professor to solve the other murders. He proved that the two suspects that had signed confessions were innocent proving that they made a microeconomic decision during questioning. He explained that with all the coincidental evidence that pointed at them, they were better off confessing than to take it to trial. The signed confessions would get them a lesser term, so they made a trade-off.


He also figured that Ricky Lemans, the bandleader, did not play for three hundred dollars because something that Saturday was worth more to him than his normal performance. He again used economic reasoning to conclude that he could have made the money for playing, and just commit his crimes on another night, doubling his profit, so Lemans was innocent. Professor Spearman began to look at Mr. Fitzhugh. He remembered how he was accustomed to cutting every corner, and saved all his pennies he could. He gave the clerk a hard time when he was told it was a thirty dollar deposit to rent the fins, and he tried to buy them off of her, even though he would get his thirty dollars in return of the snorkeling fins. He also noticed that for a man that saved every penny, it was odd that the cap on the suntan lotion was left open. It seemed he would have closed it and this was another non-systematic behavior if Mr. Fitzhugh. He was a very strong swimmer also, how would he have drowned in the same water that the Professor was swimming in, not being a good swimmer himself. He reasoned that this man could reach a secluded island off the bay to hide out for a little while. When Professor Spearman took his wife to the island they ran into Mr. Fitzhugh, which turned out to be Dr. Doug Clark’s brother. This put everything in place.


Supply and Demand was the bread and butter for Henry Spearman’s total existence and everything in life rolled through this one principle. Other main economic laws Professor Spearman used were the law of negative returns, opportunity cost, supply cost, and utility. Supply and Demand and also supply costing was used when Professor Spearman explained why Felicia Doakes chose her price for her cookbook. The Law of negative returns helped the Professor to realize that it was odd that Mr. Fitzhugh still paid for the fin rentals even though his tightness with his money would get him a negative return from the use of the fins, yet he paid for them anyway, as to show he really needed the use of the fins.


Professor Spearman solved the mysteries through is expertise in economic reasoning. The novel demonstrated how everyday decisions we make are based off of economic laws such as opportunity cost, and utility. Down to the way Professor Dyke had purchased more drinks during happy hour and even offered to buy others drinks, yet he bought substantially less during the full price times. This novel was very interesting and for me, surprisingly entertaining considering that some people do not deem microeconomics a very interesting subject, and would find it hard to read a book on it. After reading, “Murder at the Margin,” it seemed I would think about the decisions I have just made and put it into economic reasoning. I sincerely believe that this novel changed the way I perceive the choices we make. I would recommend this novel to anyone interested in economics or not, and also the avid mystery enthusiasts.

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Analysis of Bible - s 10 Commandments - A Good Definition or Not

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Analysis of Bible’s 10 Commandments – A Good Definition or Not?

In the Bible, one of the Ten Commandments states: “Thou shalt not kill.” Regardless of religious preferences and beliefs, everyone knows of this Supreme command; but do they know what it means? Consider this: does “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thou shalt not murder” mean the same thing? By its common definition, to “murder” means to kill unlawfully or at least unjustifiably. However, centuries ago, the Ten Commandments handed to Moses simply mentioned "kill". There was no mention at all whether “to kill” distinguished between the lawful or unlawful taking of a life, or for that matter if the life even had to be that of a human. In today’s society, it appears “Thou shalt not murder” is more appropriate than “Thou shalt not kill,” as “kill” denotes a just and lawful reason to take a life.

It then becomes clear that the way each person defines a certain word affects the meaning and intent of a statement or discussion. It is essential that a word be defined in a way that clearly illustrates its true essence. To make a definition successful, three criteria must be followed to avoid confusion. Possibly the most difficult condition to preserve when explaining a word’s meaning to someone is to not give that person only examples of the word. When an example is the only source of knowledge of a word’s meaning, a problem occurs. One must take into account that those examples could encompass ideas other than the true nature of the word, or perhaps not fully cover other characteristics of the word. This leads to the second criterion of a successful definition. A definition cannot be too general, yet at the same time it cannot be too limited. Finally, the third condition of a successful definition dictates that a form of the word or an equally obscure word cannot be used to redefine the word. To break the cycle, terms more familiar than the one being defined must be used. Though these three conditions are not absolute, they do lead to a clearer, less vague definition of words.

As seen in the initial example, “murder” is commonly defined as killing unlawfully or unjustifiably. However, it is not specified if this definition is dependent on what is being killed or what is actually killing. Perhaps it means only living things, for example people and animals, can murder or be murdered. It is also accepted that something such as an idea or belief can be killed through doubt. For example, if the government bans free speech of ideas of change or revolution these ideas were killed by unconstitutional means. Despite the method, these ideas are dead; but does that mean that they were murdered? By the accepted understanding of murder, an idea is not usually thought of as the target of murder, yet it appears from the definition given that an idea can be murdered. This definition “to kill unlawfully or unjustifiably” is therefore too broad as the meaning of “murder” encompasses more. At the same time, this definition also appears to be too narrow. Is it really murder if the act was committed without intent or if it was an accident? Again, by the accepted understanding, a murder only occurs if it is committed with malicious and criminal intent. In this case, “to kill unlawfully or unjustifiably” is too narrow a definition.

The sun is yellow. The business section of the phone book is yellow. The second light of a stoplight is yellow. Granted, these are all examples that describe yellow, yet, in reality, they mean so much more. Some would argue that the sun is in fact orange, and at times even described as red or white. The “yellow pages” of the phone book also have other colors such as black, red, or blue. Perhaps the second light of the stoplight in a normal lane of traffic is “yellow,” but consider a turn lane with 5 different signals on it. Does “second” instantly mean second from the top, or could it be second from the bottom? In this case, it is possible that the light is in fact “green” or “red.” Though sometimes these examples all point to “yellow,” it is also seen that “red” can be common to all as well. Simply giving examples of a word leads to a flawed understanding of said word.

A game is a sport. A sport is football. Football is a game. The word has been defined, but in such a way that it essentially has not. The full circle is complete and one is no closer to truly understanding the extent of what a game can be; essential the word is being defined with itself. This definition, in fact, appears to fail all three criteria of a good definition. Only examples are given thus leading to too narrow a definition of what a game is. Because there are several denotations of “game,” this method only provides a “definition” of an athletic game. This method of defining game is clearly flawed in many ways.

A good definition is sometimes hard to create. Returning to the first example and attempting to define “murder” does not seem like too difficult a task. Murder is an intended, unlawful and criminal act of one human killing another human without provocation or justification. For the most part, this definition fulfills criterion one; it is not an example. Secondly, this appears to get at the heart of what a murder is: not too broad, or too narrow. The third criterion is also met, all the words used are relatively familiar. For the most part, the definition captures the essence of the word “murder” in its most common use. That, however, is where the problem lies; the definition is only good for the common use of “murder.” It can be seen that one must follow these three conditions of a definition to gain true knowledge and understanding of what a word means. It is also evident that multiple definitions of a word are required to truly encompass its full meaning and uses.

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9 July 2014. Author: Criticism

Definition of murder and what makes a murderer

Definition of murder and what makes a murderer

Published: 23rd March, 2015 Last Edited: 23rd March, 2015

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

What makes the murder is the wilful killing of a human being by another human being. There are many people killed each year and in different ways which has developed different type of murderer's with similar punishments for each one. The different types are

A one off murder - A "one off" murder that happens to a person that doesn't necessarily have the psychological profile of the average murderer but under difficult circumstances or situations becomes one. An example being Ronnie sulivans dad [1 ]

Murder by defence - In defending himself or her, the murderer protects himself from his victim's attacks. In response he attacks back and results in killing him by accident while trying to escape. Majority of cases such as these, the murder is found innocent as it matter of defending your own safety.

Mass murder - A mass murderer would be a murderer whereby he has killed five and more people at one spot at any certain period of time from anywhere between a few minutes to a few days.

Spree killers are the type of murderers where after killing a few victims they pass to another location where they keep killing more victims without any cooling-off period. Usually the killing constitutes a single event, although it can last for a short bit of time. Colombia case

Serial killer - Usually kill victims on separate occasions. Unlike mass murderers and spree types, serial killers tend to select a certain type of victim who fulfils a role in the killer's fantasies. For this type of murder they usually have cooling-off periods between their murders, which instance gives them time to think of a more cunning murder. An example would be Harold Shipman

Recorded crime statistics for overall murders in the twenty century counted at:

2002 - 2003 = 1,047 including the 172 attributed to Harold Shipman

2003 - 2004 = 904

2004 - 2005 = 868

2005 - 2006 = 764 including the 54 victims of the July bombings in London

2006 - 2007Â =Â 758

2008 - 2009 657 being the lowest for 20 years

2009 - 2010 = 615 [2 ]

Focusing on the serial killer, i.e. Harold shipman. Harold was a convicted English serial killer. A doctor by profession, he is one of the most dangerous serial killers ever with a staggering 250+Â murders and still counting to his name. He was arrested in September 1998 being charged with the murder of Mrs Kathleen Grundy aged 81.

Shipman was born in Nottingham. Shipman was said to be relatively close to his mum, to who passed away when he was a child. In the manner that she died, it soon later began to be Harold's own method of operating. His mother had cancer and relating to the final stage of her death, she was given morphine by a home doctor. At that point Harold viewed his mother's pain disappeared while she passed away in June 1963.

There are however four types of serial killers

The visionary type has visions ordering him to commit certain acts, to kill certain victims. It can even be he or she hears voices in their head to kill certain people.

The mission-oriented type sees a certain crowd as people unworthy to live and seeks to murder them. Murdering them resulting in a better world. This type is un-recognisable and is described usually as a normal individual.

The hedonistic type simply enjoys killing victim and has a taste for the buzz.

The power-oriented type is the type whom enjoys power over the people he is going to kill. They seem to can't help themselves when kidnapping and controlling their victims so they do as they say.

Harold shipman would most likely be the hedonistic. Harold seem to get a thrill of watching his victim die; in his eyes it seem to give him control over life and death. Also mission-oriented type as people who knew him did not suspect a thing even police officers.

However a close friend of Harold shipman disagreed with this and stated that Shipman had anxiety issues, perhaps one that Shipman did not know about.

The Characteristics of a murderer of this this type usually is due to the Childhood.

Childhood violence being, it is highly unlikely a serial killer suddenly at 40 changes from a normal person and turns into a disruptive murderous behaviour. The behavior that is used when the murder is committing the act would have been with him or her for a very long time, since childhood.

In some instances it is not always the serial killer is brought up in an unstable home, it can be that the serial killer started life as a big happy family where everything was steady and satisfactory and instead later come across serious emotional abuse during their childhoods. Developing into a dysfunctional adult where not being able to sustain relationships with others.

Serious emotional abuse for Harold shipman seeing his mother dying. And by pills

From birth to teenage years, the mother is seen as the more vital adult in a child's life and to where there is a period the child learns what love is. Where there have been situations that the mother was distant and neglectful to the child, the child has been deprived of his mother's love.

Harold shipman losing his mum no love.

The emotional abuse targeted at the children was mental and physical. The child would be in an environment where his actions were ignored and limitations on behaviour were not set. Harold shipman having no limitations on childhood, gave him the chance to kill, kill

Another characteristic is the murderer's Fantasies

Usually murderers believe in effect that they could control the world. In their childhood sustain all the repetitive abuse compensates for them carrying out their action to fulfil their fantasy. Their Fantasy being a happenstance which usually cannot happen in normal life. A normal individual learns to place limits on their behaviour whereas the person who has lacked limitations on his behaviour from his childhood thinks he is able to act out his fantasy and nobody is able to stop him.

Harold shipman's childhood, would consisted of no one laying down limitations on his behaviour causing him to believe he can act his fantasy where he can kill people as he pleases. After many murderous acts, Harold then seems to believe he is somewhat invincible and never be caught.

Contrasting the serial killer to a One off murder "spur of the moment", the characteristics are much different.

Senior Sullivan set upon Mr Bryan and his brother Kelvin, allegedly hurling racist abuse at the pair, who is black. Pulling out a six-inch hunting knife, O'Sullivan stabbed Bruce Bryan to death.

His son Ronnie O Sullivan, snooker star stated "He was in the wrong place at the wrong time and it certainly wasn't a murder, it certainly wasn't premeditated murder."

Looking at this type of murder, characteristics such as Childhood would not be relevant to Senior O Sullivan. It seems Mr O Sullivan came from a normal, average childhood and simply lost control the night he murdered Bryan. Mindless murder such as these are harder to explain, it may be the result of O Sullivan binge drinking under the influence of Alcohol it made more prone to act fantasies out such as brutal stabbing. Even so, beforehand there were rarely any acts of violence where Senior O Sullivan lacked in behaviour control.

During the years, people have testing out different theories in order to predict criminality by looking at factors of an individual's personality

Lombrosso, (1836 - 1909) a criminal scientist, regarded that some people are born with an innate predisposition to criminality and anti-social behaviour (Savitz 1972). This leading to the Biological theory, such as brain pathology and hormone and chromosome theories. Biochemical Explanations show that Intelligence and Crime are linked. Criminals were 70 per cent in theory of being feeble mind out of a 100. Goddard 1914.

However applying this theory towards a serial killer such as Harold, it is quite the opposite. Harold had quite the knowledge being a doctor, so clearly he was cable of understanding the consequences of murdering someone. This shows biological theory is not really accurate in predicting the criminal.

For The theory of the functionalist the development of anomie theory involved the work of two scholars, Émile Durkheim and Robert K. Merton. According to Durkheim, crime has functional or positive consequences. It is impossible for all people to be alike and to hold the same moral consciousness. Some individuals differ from others and usually include criminal behaviour. It was later developed by Robert k Merton whom prior to his approach on explaining the effect of anomie presented five types of adaptations to this criminal behaviour, Conformity, Innovation, Ritualism, Retreatism and Rebellion. Using ritualism in relating to serial killer Harold Shipman, it seems to fit that he lose sight of the reasons for doing his crime, such as

Killing people day to day continue his approved method making a lifestyle out of the method. But even so this theory may be critique when considering this theory on the one off murders, it does not explain mindless murders such as senior o Sullivan and in what adaption he may have been in.

For the Society structure theory, it has been outlined that so some sociologists are able to show that specific approach to why a person commits a crime. For example binge drinking. Using drugs, aggression have been found when under the right amount can constitute problem behaviour. Scholars have found that problem behaviour is related to environmental and personality factors. For instance when considering Senior O Sullivan particular at the time, he was using specific approach such as binge drinking running up to the amount he was using problematic behaviour. The environment being a club where fights are likely to happen making it related.

Relating to the topic of the victims of a murder, when determining the relationship between suspect and victim it is said to be that the female victim was more likely to be killed by someone she knew. Whereas for the male victim, they were more likely to be killed by a stranger. The figure for female victim was at 54 per cent whom knew their suspect and of that 54 per cent, 61 per cent was their partner, ex-partner or lover. Whereas for a male victim, 38 per cent knew their main suspect and as a result only 12 per cent were killed from the partner, ex-partner or lover. As for being killed by a stranger, the 2005 - 2006 stated it was 44 per cent.

For victims under the age of sixteen, it is said that 44 per cent were killed by their own parents during the period of 2005-2006, which is shocking.

it was said that during the last couple of years, the method of killing most commonly used was the sharp instrument to kill the victim. The percentage was 28, splitting it up to gender, the male were 31 per cent more likely to die from a sharp instrument and a female being 23 per cent.

For the second common method of killing a victim, it is different between the two genders. For a male victim the second common method was involved hitting or kicking where as for the female they were more likely to be strangled. Also to add, just alone the effect of the London bombings alone amounted to 7 per cent.

Comparing it to the Harold's staggering murder rampage, from the previous thirty years the method of killing them with pills seem to have decreased to the present years.

The majority of what the murder or homicide was based on was quarrelling and loss of temper. So 33 per cent of victims died as a result of an argument or someone losing their temper in the period between 2005 and 2006.

On the topic murder it was stated that the age group under 1 the infancy was most likely to be reported as homicide, male being the most likely victim.

For suspects, on being convicted for murder it is said to be in the period of 2005-2006 it is half of how many suspects were convicted in 2003-2004. The figure being 199 suspects comparison to 606 suspects for the period of 2003-2004.

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