Saturday, October 24, 2015

Examining the Causation of Crime: Arrest in Murder of 21 Year Old in Montgomery County


The Washington Post (2015) depicts the murder of a transgender woman as a premeditated killing in which the murderer and the victim knew each other. Apparently the victim and defendant had a friendship that was revealed to others in the recent days previous to the shooting (Washington Post, 2015). The defendant was enraged after the relationship was revealed to others because he felt humiliated (Washington Post, 2015). His response to the humiliation was to put on a mask, hide behind a dumpster, and shoot the victim several times (Washington Post, 2015).

The defendant was described as having a previous criminal history (Washington Post, 2015). Allegedly he denied knowledge of the location of the town and mall where the crime occurred, even though he lived just outside that town for years (Washington Post, 2015). There is mention that the crime might be considered a hate crime, but so far has not been charged that way (Washington Post, 2015). As of now the charge is of first-degree murder and punishable by life in prison (Washington Post, 2015).

The purpose of the story is inform the public about the case facts, so they can make their own judgements. The criminal justice department or police are portrayed as heroes for getting the defendant on off the streets. The report made me feel bad for the transgender woman who was killed. I find it a bit strange that someone would engage in a relationship if they felt so humiliated about having it. The report mentions that there was a fight before the shooting in which the victim was being assaulted with a stick in an attempt to lure her into the alley (Washington Post, 2015). But also mentions that the shooter was behind the dumpster waiting to shoot the victim (Washington Post, 2015). This makes it unclear to me if there was more than one person involved with crime.

A theory that could explain this murder would be “doing gender” which indicates that gender socialization plays a large role in criminal behavior. This theory would indicate that men are more likely to engage in masculine scripts when they feel their manliness has been in questioned or they desire to reestablish character (Conklin, 2008, p. 162). Additionally this theory suggest that men engage in these masculine scripts to show people they are not feminine (Conklin, 2008, p. 162). In fact they desire to exude contempt for women when they engage in crimes like sexual assault, sexually harassment, and gay bashing (Conklin, 2008, p. 162).  I suggest this theory because I got the sense that the killing was because his masculinity was threatened when his relations with the transgender was revealed to others. This would account for the public and personal nature of the shooting, in which the transgender was shot in the genital area.

In addition to this, trait theory could apply to the causation of this crime as well. That is to say, because the defendant had a previous criminal history this could indicate that he overall lacked self-control. Self-control is a trait that would inhibit criminal proclivity through the use of mental restraint (Conklin, 2008, p. 119). Additionally a lack of self-control contributes to “impulsive, insensitive, physical (as opposed to mental), risk-taking, short sighted, and nonverbal behavior that can result in criminal and analogous acts (Conklin, 2008, p. 119). Lack of self-control would also account for the short sightedness of the defendant behavior. People with a lack of self-control reportedly are less likely to consider consequences of their behavior (Conklin, 2008, p. 119).

 

References

Conklin, J. E. (2008). Criminology, 10th Edition. Pearson Learning Solutions.

Schmalleger, F. J. (2014). Criminal Justice Today: An Introductory Text for the 21st Century, 13th Edition.

Washington Post. (2015). Arrest in Murder of 21 Year Old in Montgomery County. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/arrest-in-murder-of-21-year-old-in-montgomery-county/2015/10/17/57c431b2-74bd-11e5-8248-98e0f5a2e830_story.html

Whitely, J. (2015). Man Stabbed to Death on White Rock Trail In Dallas. ABCNews. Retrieved from http://www.wfaa.com/story/news/crime/2015/10/12/man-stabbed-death-white-rock-trail-dallas/73820196/