The award-winning documentary, Why They Kill, written and directed by Professor Giuseppe M. Fazari of the Department of Criminal Justice was recently screened for cadets and faculty at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Following the screening, Fazari discussed the major points of the "violentization theory" – the premise of the film – with the audience and applied it to the work of Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman, author of On Combat and On Killing. Grateful for his insights at the famed institution, Fazari was honored by Captain Grant B. Pinkston and Lt. Colonel Joshua Keena, Ph.D. with "The Key to West Point." "It was an unexpected honor," Fazari commented. "It was candidly one of the most humbling experiences of my career because it is not ever lost on me that the grass is green in America because of the sacrifices of the brave men and women in our military."
Pinkston noted, "Dr. Fazari has matched the innovative research of Dr. Athens with his own innovation – releasing a renowned theory in the form of a documentary and, in so doing, making research accessible to laymen and academics alike. More than that, Dr. Fazari has threaded the toughest of creative needles by producing a work that is both utilitarian and alluring. And, unfortunately, timely – may everyone concerned about violence in this very violent contemporary world of ours see this film."
Keena added in stating that "Dr. Fazari's documentary and follow-up discussion gave our cadets a unique perspective on a compelling theory as to why individuals may commit criminal acts of violence. In sharing details on the process and production of a documentary, he was also able to illustrate how this medium can be an effective means of conveying academic content to a broader audience."
Fazari has been traveling extensively following a series of invitations to screen the film. Prior to the screening at West Point, the film was featured and discussed at the World Bank in Washington D.C. as a part of their Global Solutions Group Stability, Peace and Security Lecture Series. At the World Bank, Fazari's perspective was eagerly sought and received given the financial implications of violence and the destabilizing affect it can have on local and national economies.
Why They Kill is based on the critically acclaimed book of the same name written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes. The book was based on the research of Seton Hall Criminal Justice Professor Lonnie H. Athens.
The documentary takes an in-depth look at why some men, women, and even children assault, batter, rape, mutilate, and murder through the lens of Professor Athens' breakthrough research and singular theory which the New York Times noted, "offers a commanding perspective on human violence."
Known as the "Violentization Theory," Athens' work uses his interviews with killers as a basis to explain how violent criminals develop, how violent communities are created and transformed, and how violent acts are committed and prevented.
The theory is fleshed out within the documentary through a series of case study dramatizations depicting the stream of consciousness of some of the country's most violent criminals, the homicide detectives who pursue them and the lawyers charged with their prosecution.
Already screened at locations throughout the United States and broadcast by Fox TV in Alaska, Why They Kill has become a widespread teaching tool for a number of organizations. An upcoming screening of the documentary is scheduled for the annual conference of the National Association for Court Management in Las Vegas, Nevada where Fazari will discuss the "phantom community" construct in the film vis-à-vis the court's role and responsibilities in sentencing defendants.
Categories: Arts and Culture