The topic of the paper is murder, and its mission is to discuss the crimes of Jeffrey Dahmer and relating this crime with the three categories of crime causation. Murder is the deliberate taking of another person life. Murder can be first-degree and second-degree murder where in the first degree both the intention and the killing is planned (Brown et al, 2010). This paper will also discuss how Jeffery Dahmer killed people deliberately out of ill will.
The paper will address the crime of murder and will discuss the life of an American serial killer and sex offender Jeffrey Dahmer who was born on May 21, 1960. At the age of Jeffrey Dahmer was subjected to hernia operation twice that severely affected his developing personality. During his childhood Dahmer acted differently by not associating with his age mates and rarely talked to anyone. He scoured roadsides animals and the end he became good at dissecting road kill animals. Dahmer teenage years were all about alcohol and drugs which made him drift further away from his friends and the divorce of his parents in 1978 caused him to hide deeper into himself (Weston, 2010).
After spending his money, Dahmer sold the few possessions he had in order to buy alcohol and food. Dahmer end up selling blood to get his need and the only option was to enlist himself into the army where he was later hounded by punishment from his superiors because of alcohol. After some time Dahmer was discharged from his duties and he returned to live with his grandmother and that is where he start the crime of killing people (Hockfield, 2011). After he was discharged from the army Dahmer went to his father to borrow his car to go and buy a movie but instead he drove to the countryside. In the process he gave a lift to a young man 19 year old named Steve Hicks where he took him to his grandmother house for drinks. This is where the wrath of killing began, in a span of three years Dahmer had killed 17 victims.
During this time Dahmer became more fascinated with death where he obtained a sexual fetish for death. Each victim in the hands of Dahmer would be stripped and placed in different positions, taking photos of each stage of dismemberment and sleeping with the bodies. Dahmer became a rapist, cannibal and necrophiliac and he could no longer feel alone anymore. Dahmer was beaten to death on November 28, 1994, by a prisoner at the Columbia Correctional Institution, where he had been locked up. There has been evolution of crime in the American history from the beginning of medieval knight, greed driven pirates to the gunslingers of old American and today’s white collar silent criminals (Blundell, 2011).
Rational Choice Theory
The theory deals on the fundamental tenet of classical criminology. It holds that people are free to choose what they desire to be in life. People evaluate their choices of actions in reaction to their ability to get advantage, pleasure, and happiness (Blundell, 2011). The theory delivers a micro perception in why individual offenders decide to commit particular crimes. People can decide to commit a crime because it can be rewarding, easy, satisfying and for fun. The main principle of this theory is that people are rational beings whose behavior can be controlled or modified by a fear of punishment. The rational theory is based on a number of assumptions in this case the offender Dahmer sees himself as individual and decides to maximize his goals of killing people (Weston, 2010). Dahmer is self-interested in that he decides to carry out his mission without considering the consequences of the crime. Dahmer choose the behavior based on his rational calculation and, pleasure versus the pain and the outcome. Dahmer committed the crime knowing the punishment related to violation of social good, and the social contract.
Trait’s theory states that personal traits can influence someone into committing a crime Agnew (2006). This theory further states that criminal is a throwback to a more primitive state of humanity, both physically and psychologically. It’s based on a combination of biological and environmental factors, and individual goes through and sometimes not all criminals are responsible for their illegal acts. Trait theory supported the individual’s explanation to the cause of their illegal behavior. Trait theorists argue that the individual’s environmental background, economic opportunities or family background is responsible for the emergence of criminal traits within an individual (Weston, 2010). Dahmer has differential values which make him strain and the social facts competes his individual daily life. Dahmer experience discrepancy between his inspiration and reality which make him to strain ending up committing the crimes. The larger the discrepancy between the reality and the aspirations the more Dahmer strained.
Social Structure Theory
This theory places people in socioeconomic structure that may influence their chance of becoming criminals. People living in poverty are at higher risk of engaging in criminal acts as a way to get their daily basic desires. Poor persons are likely to obligate crimes since they are impotent to realize both social and monetary success in any way. The theory has three institutes of thought i.e. social strain, social disorganization, and traditional deviancy models. Social disorganization theory has suggested that people living in slums commonly violate laws and regulations since there are no proper security control and measures in these areas. So this theory generally concludes that Jeffrey Dahmer was more conducive to leading a life of crime due to his socio economic background although the manner in which he selected his victims was arbitrary to say the least.
The messy areas manifest by divergent ideals and provisional population produce criminals although this is again arguable. Strain theory attitude crime as subsequent from anger and the inability of people to accomplish genuine communal and economic achievement. These concepts clamp that people have same beliefs and values but differ on how to handle them. Cultural deviance theory holds that a unique value system develops in lower class areas. The lower class values approve the behavior like being tough, fearless, and defying the authority and that their chances for success are less as compared to people with high life (Blundell, 2011). Dahmer was fearless at his teenage age, and he even defied that authority when he was enlisted in the army which led to his removal from the discipline force. This fearless character contributed to the life of Dahmer in that he did not see any problem of killing people.
Dahmer Jeffrey activities are captured in all the theories of crime causation that is the rational choice theory, social structure, and trait theory (Weston, 2010). Understanding all theories is it important when considering reasons that lead people committing these criminal activities. In relation to trait theory, the criminal behavior comes from biological or psychological conditions of the criminal himself. The theories are very important in that it generates provides useful insight and prediction of every crime.
The implication of Trait theory is that the individual’s environmental background, economic opportunities or family are responsible for the emergence of criminal traits within an individual. The inability of people to achieves social and economic success lead people to committing crimes. These theories hold that people have common values and beliefs but the ability to achieve them differentiates their social structure.
Agnew, R. (2006). Pressured into Crime: An Overview of General Strain Theory. Los Angeles, Calif: Roxbury Pub.
Blundell, N. (2011). Serial Killers. Havertown: Pen and Sword.
Brown, S. E., Esbensen, F.-A., Geis, G., & ScienceDirect (Online service). (2010). Criminology: Explaining crime and its context. New Providence, NJ: LexisNexis/Anderson Pub.
Hockfield, V. (2011). Meet America's 20 most notorious serial killers: Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Dennis Rader, John Wayne Gacy and more.
Weston, T. (2010). America's bloodiest serial killers: from Jeffrey Dahmer to the Boston Strangler. Swordbooks.