Critical Thinking Analysis (50 points)
Mental Disorder and Social Control
TCOs: 1: Defining deviance, types of deviance
4: Criminal behavior
7: Physical characteristics (extends to mental disorders)
Case: Obsessed With Trains
Note: Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are the most common neurological disorders affecting children and are one of the most common developmental disabilities in our society. ASDs change the way the brain processes information and can affect all aspects of a person's development. Asperger’s syndrome, often described as high-functioning autism, is characterized by social awkwardness and behaviors perceived as eccentric by normal standards, including obsessive interests that make people with the disorder stick out in society.
In November 2006, the New York Times reported a story with this headline: “Man Obsessed With Trains Again Runs Afoul of the Law.” Daniel McCollum, 41, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, had already been arrested many times over the previous 25 years for train-related offences, including impersonating transit workers, taking busses and subway trains for joy rides, tripping emergency brakes, entering subway control towers, and trying to steal a Long Island Railway locomotive.
In June 2006, Mr. McCollum was conditionally released from Sing Sing Prison, where he was serving a term for burglary and forgery, to live with his parents in Winston-Salem, NC. By November, he had grown bored with North Carolina and disappeared, violating the terms of his parole. Authorities believed it was likely that he would return to New York City, and the transit police were told to be on the lookout for an imposter posing as a transit worker.
In August 2006, in response to a plea from police asking companies to be watchful for purchases that might be used in terrorist activities, a public safety equipment company contacted the New York police to advise them that a man was trying to buy a transit-style badge. The individual was identified as Mr. McCollum, whose purchase attempt violated another condition of his parole. Three months later, the police were able to reach him on his cell phone, convinced him to turn himself in, and arrested him.
His latest offense is for criminal impersonation; when police arrested him, he was in possession of an official-looking transit authority ID badge, construction hat, and train conductor manuals, which violated the terms of his parole for earlier offences. When he appeared in court after his arrest, Mr. McCollum admitted that he found trains irresistible, and even though he knew that the terms of his parole prohibited him from any involvement with transit trains in New York, he still had an overwhelming desire to be in a train yard or train. Advocates for Mr. McCollum argue that the legal system failed him because he is different in a way that is typically reflected in obsessive behavior.
Assignment: Analyze this case using course concepts. Write an essay that contains answers to these three questions: how deviance occurred, what kind(s) of deviance occurred, and at least one theoretical perspective on social control that you think has good explanatory power with respect to this case.
- If you use the text or external resources remember to use APA citations in the body of your essay and in the corresponding references section at the end of the essay. Reminder: You cannot use Wikipedia or the websites of other universities.
- Create a Microsoft Word document, using double-spacing, paragraphs, and subheadings for each component.
- There is no set length for your essay, although 750 words or more will probably be needed to provide sound analysis.
- Carefully edit your essay for grammar and spelling errors and for presentation style.
This assignment is due by 1 minute before midnight on the last Sunday of Week 7. Please submit it through the Week 7 Dropbox. Note: No late submissions are permitted for Week 7 assignments unless you meet DeVry’s policy for emergency conditions.
Quality of analysis (use of course concepts and reasoning) 40 points
Quality of editing (APA citations, free from spelling and grammar errors) 6 points
Quality of presentation (subheadings and paragraphing) 4 points
Total points available 50 points