Bullets in Victim’s Head: Hate Crime or Parking Space

A Look into the Rational Choice Theory of Criminality

Killing someone over a parking space is as absurd as receiving a death penalty for a stealing a bag of peanuts. Similarly, something is terribly wrong when experienced police officers with criminology background, succumbed to its potential as a motive for killing not one but three college students. This is because it is quite evident that the two victims were helpless female. The suspect, a college student who lived next door, describing himself as “Anti-theist”, deliberately shot them all in the head. These are clear evidence of motive but surprisingly ignored.

It is irrational because the motive is contradictory to the fact that the duty to kill or not to kill is grounded on human morality, a norm of righteousness on which the evil of taking someone’s life is deeply ingrained. In other words, people by nature avoid wicked acts and unlikely to see any duty to end someone’s life for worthless things like a car parking space.

Academic literature of human behavior suggests that there is an inherent, immeasurable and undiminished moral value attached to human life. In other words, human lives are priceless, equal in value and deserving of respect. Everyone, therefore, should honor the sanctity of human life regardless of race, religion, economic condition, and so on. This simple powerful moral truth about the value of life that most of us accept and embed in our conscience is actually moral reason preventing us from hurting or killing anyone. It should be All Lives Matter rather than #MuslimLivesMatter.

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Most Criminals Plan and Make Rational Choices

Considering the punishment and life implications of killing someone, it is very likely that a person who deliberately killed someone has an excellent and adequate reason. There is an indefinite variety of reason for people to kill other people but not all of them are justifiable. For example, a man who murdered his friend and later tells the court “My reason for killing him was that he broke my DVD player” is senseless and definitely not acceptable. If his reason was “He said to that my mother was a whore”, then perhaps for many, such reason is sufficient to kill someone. The problem, however, is that we are not living in a world in which aggression is an acceptable response to negative emotive language.

In criminology, a rational person planning to commit a petty crime such as shoplifting, initially weigh the cost (arrest, imprisonment, shame, loss of job, etc.) and benefit (money, property, thrill, respect of peers, etc.) of the crime. Now, if the benefit is greater than the cost then a crime will be committed. Murder or killing someone is a different story, as violence does not necessary involves outrage, mental illness, or economic desperation. Murder for instance often involves planning, preparation, and making a rational choice.

In real life, criminals are rational killers and far from those who randomly victimizing innocent people in movies. They normally carry and use their guns for more rational reasons such as self-protection, dangerous illegal activities, and so on. In fact, even in senseless killings, criminals have conscious motives such as revenge and they pick their targets with care.

Although some killings are the result of anger and aggression, most offenders plan and make rational choices such as getting rid of witnesses, to avoid retaliation, and others. Clearly, killing three students by putting a bullet in their heads, women with Islamic headscarves, and executed by an Anti-theist, is beyond parking space dispute but rational motives.



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