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Homicide Trends in the United States Analysis Research Paper

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Updated: Oct 13th, 2021

Introduction

Homicide is among the many forms of crime. But homicide in itself is a very vague concept. The act of doing it alone can be of many different ways. In the same manner that the processes of killings presented by the judiciaries (or those in the legal system) versus the processes presented by the bible is also evidently different. It is for this reason that the whole concept of homicide (or in layman’s terms, killing) is said to be worth studying.

Homicide as Defined by the Law

In the legal system, homicide is always considered synonymous with murder. But technically speaking, murder is just a form of criminal homicide, and homicide, in general, may consist of both criminal acts and non-criminal acts or those that are coined as justified or excusable homicides (‘Homicide’, 2008). A homicide is said to be justified or excusable in cases where a person had to defend himself and resulted in killing somebody. Another form of justified homicide is when a person is forced or had to kill somebody who has threatened his life or had caused serious injury. And the last case of justified or excusable homicide is done when a person is duly authorized by law to kill a person, he may be part of the police or military force, and killing crime offenders is just part of his responsibility.

Meanwhile, during the early common legislations, criminal homicide is believed to be of two categories: felonious and non-felonious homicide. It is said to be a felonious homicide when the act of killing is planned or premeditated. For example, a person has been proven (through witnesses and a series of evidence) that he has been keeping grudges towards the victim. This grudge made him plan and do drastic acts that resulted in killing (even accidentally) the person. This is the very reason why felonious homicide is more commonly called murder. Non-felonious homicide, on the other hand, is the non-criminal killing such as the justified and the excusable homicide. Normally, justifiable homicide can result in the offender being given a pardon by the judge while excusable homicide is normally not considered as a crime (‘Homicide’, 2008).

Now, with more modern law, criminal homicide is has been divided into two categories: murder and manslaughter. Murder has two degrees or levels: the ‘premeditated intent to kill’ as the first degree and the act which ‘does not involved premeditated intent to kill’ as the second degree. Manslaughter, on the other hand normally consists of unintentional killing caused by a ‘person’s criminal negligence or reckless disregard for human life’ (‘Homicide’, 2008).

Homicide is defined by the Bible

The kinds of homicide as categorized by the law seems to be exactly like the kinds of homicide distinguished by the bible and these are all presented in various passages of the bible. In the bible, there is also called justifiable homicide. Homicide can be considered justifiable when the victim is already condemned by law.

Leviticus 24:16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the LORD, shall be put to death.”

Also, justifiable homicides, according to the bible are those acts of killing against a thief, against the enemies in the battle, and ‘killing a manslayer by next of kin’ (“Homicide in the Bible’, 2007). It should be noted that during those early times, there are a number of wars and killings that happened across all nations. These killings are caused by the difference in beliefs and prompted by a number of cults or religious sectors. More so, killing a thief was almost considered a normal incident as there were a number of instances wherein people would commit theft just to earn a living and/or provide for the family. These are the very reasons why the kinds of homicides enumerated above are considered justifiable in the bible.

There are also forms of criminal or non-justifiable homicides presented in the bible. These are (“Homicide in the Bible’, 2007):

  1. Killing without hostility

It is worth noting that killing or homicide normally takes place when a person has an ill feeling towards another person. However, if a person was killed and the perpetrator had no reason for doing so, it is extremely unjustifiable.

  1. ‘Killing without lying in wait

‘Without lying in wait can be inferred as without even thinking about it. This means like any decision-making person, a person should think ten times before committing any act. Thus, before even thinking of committing homicide, the person should think about why he needs to do it, what the pros and cons should be, and the likes. If he does not even pause to think about these matters, then the act of homicide he has done is clearly unjustifiable.

In the bible, homicide is the act of killing. Whatever the reason may be, homicide is, and will always be viewed as an act that resulted in death. Whatever the reasons may be, it is immoral and the act itself is prohibited by God.

Homicide as a Deviant Behavior

Can we consider homicide (whatever for it may be) as an act of deviance? According to the statistics given by the FBI, there are actually three types of crimes being committed. First, crimes against the person – or violent crimes – are defined as crimes against people that involve violence or the threat of violence. Examples are murder, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery. Secondly, crimes against property – or property crimes – are defined as crimes that involve the theft of property belonging to others. Examples are burglary, larceny-theft, auto theft, and arson. A third category, victimless crimes, is defined, as violations of law in which there are no readily apparent victims. Examples are gambling, prostitution, and the use of illegal drugs (2004). Such classification of crimes is a form of deviant behavior that adults, teenagers, and even youngsters sometimes do. and this clearly reflects that homicide is part of the so-called deviance.

  • • The incident when John Mohammed and John Malvo, obtained an M-16 rifle and used it in killing nine victims, injured two and stroked fear into a nation (Lluncor, 2003).
  • • The Columbine tragedy resulted in the distraught of students, who, with guns in their possession, were able to forcefully exhibit their rage. Opponents argue that these boys were inspired by hateful music or pushed to the edge by insensitive bullies. Yet, without guns, these boys would not have been able to end the lives of classmates nor ravage the psyche of America (Lluncor, 2003).
  • • Alcohol alone kills 10,000 young adults each year. Drug and alcohol abuse can also lead to other risky behaviors, such as drunk driving, unprotected sex, date rape, suicide, and violence (2004).

These are just some of the facts and figures serving a very good example of deviant behaviors. What is quite alarming is that these deviant behaviors are becoming highly prevalent, bringing more and bigger problems to society.

All these statistics and studies are printed and/or published not only to inform the public about the events but also to highlight that the number of crimes committed nowadays is tremendously increasing.

Deviance is defined as the recognized violation of cultural norms. One familiar type of deviance is a crime or the violation of norms a society formally enacts into criminal law. Meanwhile, juvenile delinquency is under the sub-category of deviance. Deviance encompasses a wide range of other acts of nonconformity, from variations in hairstyles to murder (2004).

Freud’s theory or the so-called psychological theory of personality is commonly used in the studies such as this. Freud believed that much of the unconscious content that affects humans is made up of inherited primal fantasies based on phylogenic experiences that are fantasies that are species-based, not individual based. Freud’s main interests lay in understanding how personal experience shaped and formed the unconscious mind. It was his assertion that this formative pressure occurred through a process known as repression. Freud’s “hedonic hypothesis” stipulated that people seek pleasure and avoid pain (Bethel, 2004).

The said theory plays a significant role in understanding the personality and characteristics of adolescents and the very reasons why they have been committing such deviant behaviors. Explanations of deviance are concentrated on individual abnormalities involving personality.

What all deviant behaviors have in common is that perceived violations bring about a response from a formal criminal justice system. It must be noted that as a response to the quoted deviant or criminal behaviors above, the government has established a criminal justice system, which aimed at upholding the law and eventually minimizes the crime rate. The criminal justice system is composed of three components – the police, the courts, and the punishment of convicted offenders. The police represent the point of contact between the public and the criminal justice system. They are responsible for maintaining public order by uniformly enforcing the law. The courts, on the other hand, determine a person’s guilt or innocence (http://www.geocities.com/tdeddins/deviance.htm, 2004).

Obviously, the US government is not tolerating these crimes (homicide or not) or these deviant behaviors. The laws and the judicial system can attest to that. And establishing more and stricter laws is neither the only solution in preventing these continuously increasing deviant behaviors nor putting up stricter standards of behavior because these will make the situation worst.

Conclusion

Homicide is clearly a form of deviant behavior. However good the intention is, it is still an act of ending somebody else’s life. Both the bible and the laws have been clear about it. Because of this, this act should not be legally and socially accepted.

In some instances, homicide is in itself has the intention which is good, but the manner of doing it is not. It may sometimes aim at ending the suffering of a person or of a society. It may also be intended to finally give an ending to the suffering of the loved ones who or oneself who is threatened and/or seriously injured and could not live peacefully as a result of such threats. Or homicide may sometimes aim to end the emotional sufferings of both the person himself. But homicide is not the only way of doing it.

References

Bethel, Jonathan. Psychological Models – Freud. 2004. 1stHolistic.com. Web.

Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2007. “Homicide Trends in the US”. [online]. Web.

2008. [online]. Web.

. 2007. Biblie-topics.com. Web.

Lluncor, Ben. Gun Control In America. 2003. The Pen. [online]. Web.

The Economist. Home on the Range. 1994. [online]. Web.

Treatment for Adolescent Depression. 2004. [online]. Web.

What is Deviance? [online]. Web.

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