Articles on Murder

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Family murder was understood as a sign of larger ills. Shutterstock

Familicides – how apartheid killed its own

During the 1980s, press coverage of South African family murders suggested that something was ‘wrong’ with white society – and with the white Afrikaans men who were usually seen as perpetrators.
Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius arrives at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, for his sentencing. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Oscar Pistorius sentence: you might not like it, but it is the law

Under South African law, murder carries a minimum sentence of 15 years for first-time offenders. But courts may deviate from this if they find ‘substantial and compelling circumstances’ to do so.
Supporters angered by the ANC’s choice of a mayoral candidate went on the rampage in Tshwane, South Africa, . Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Political violence in South Africa points to rising tensions in the ANC

The increase in rioting ahead of municipal elections in South Africa, such as that in Pretoria, suggests that the country's general election in 2019 could be more violent than previous elections.
For years, Talese’s subject, Gerald Foos, spied on his motel guests. 'Binoculars' via www.shutterstock.com

The murky ethics of Gay Talese’s ‘The Voyeur’s Motel’

When Gay Talese signed a confidentiality agreement with a motel-owning voyeur, he got access to the voyeur's journals and secret viewing perch. But he also allowed the spying to continue for over a decade.
All to often, true crime books have glorified male violence and reproduced crude sexist stereotypes. Jari Schroderus

True crime interrogates toxic masculinity, at last

The genre that brought us the writings of Mark "Chopper" Read isn't known for its impeccable gender politics. But two new books cast a critical eye on a culture of male violence.
Rumors abounded in the days after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Nick Lehr/The Conversation

Making sense of the Scalia conspiracy theory

How do rational people get sucked into believing conspiracies? According to research, we're more susceptible than you'd think.
In the Netflix series Making a Murderer, Brendan Dassey is subject to interrogation tactics known as the ‘Reid technique’. Netflix

Making a Murderer: why innocent people confess under interrogation

Innocent people do confess under interrogation to crimes they did not commit, even providing details about the crime. What leads them to falsely confess to very serious crimes?
A man walks among crosses outside Pretoria, South Africa, representing farmers killed in violent attacks. Reuters/Juda Ngwenya

Illegal guns fuel violent crime, wreak deadly havoc in South Africa

South Africa's homicide rates have declined consistently since democracy, but remain among the highest in the world. They are about four times the global average at more than 30 per 100,000 people.
Horror director Wes Craven was perhaps best known for his Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream series. Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Wes Craven: the scream of our times

His tombstone may say Craven, but the director carved a bold and memorable niche in the horror genre.
Killers who deliberately commit their acts in public places are often motivated by revenge. Reuters/Chris Keane

What motivates public place murders?

Classifying killers into particular types is intuitively appealing. It helps us make sense of what otherwise seems senseless. But this approach tells us only the smallest fraction of their motivation.

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