We gave it an A
Gun massacres are getting to be routine in this country, and so is the media language that accompanies them — ”senseless killings,” ”he just snapped,” etc. Dr. Lonnie Athens, the maverick criminologist championed by Rhodes in Why They Kill: The Discoveries of a Maverick Criminologist, has subverted these cliches and with them a lot of sociological and psychological received wisdom. Athens has spent his career talking to imprisoned violent felons about their crimes. The result is a theory that sees most violent crime as a deliberate, not deranged, act produced by a worldview (formed out of repeated early experiences) that justifies and demands a belligerent response to life. Rhodes weaves together case histories with excerpts from Athens’ work to make a mind-changing book that runs against both liberal and conservative assumptions about crime.