|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Violence Forensic science Child abuse Criminal justice|
Criminology theories have been used to scientifically understand the crimes committed by different people under different instances. The theories can be used to manifest and explain a crime. These theories borrow significantly from other disciplines such as sociology, biology as well as psychology, to describe a behavior that ends up violating the set laws in a given society. To explain a particular crime, a combination of various theories is needed, for there is no single theory that can be used to describe all types of crimes. The purpose of this paper is to use some of the criminology theories to describe an incident where his parents killed an eight years old boy in cold blood.
Gabriel Fernandez is an eight-year-old boy who was murdered by his mother and her boyfriend in cold blood. According to Clair (2020), on the 23rd of May 2013, Fernandez's Mother called police 911 to report that the boy had stopped berating after falling and hitting on his head. When the police came, they got the boy naked in his bedroom with his skin bruised and burnt, three ribs broken, a cracked skull, two missing teeth, and BB gun pellets in his groin and lungs. On asking Aguirre, the mother's boyfriend, he admitted beating the child for lying and being gay. Two months later, the boy died.
This type of crime is referred to as homicide. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, (2011)This type of crime is prevalent in many countries and has recorded some exciting trends in countries such as the United States of America over the years. For instance, the rate of homicide cases increased by double between 1960 to the late 1970s in the U.S. The rate also increased by a significant percentage in 1980 and dropped in 1984. Towards the late 1980s, the rate raised again, and early 1990s. The rate also recorded a considerable drop between t 1990 and 2010. This type of crime is seen as one of the most serious types of violence. This crime is also the most reported and collected according to the statistics of law enforcement and criminal justice. This crime is grave and is recorded more effectively than any other crime. According to (UNDOC, 2019), the rates of homicides have remained high in America as compared to other countries. Young American men are the most common victims of this crime, while firearm-related homicides dominate most of these crimes. Furthermore, some of the drivers of killings in most parts of Central America reorganized crimes as well as gangs. The following are some of the theories that can explain the case of Gabriel's murder.
The psychodynamic theory
The psychodynamic theory is based on the works of Sigmund Freud (Bornstein, Maracic & Natoli, 2018. According to Sigmund, human behavior, including crimes, is based on unconscious forces within the mind of an individual. Besides, the individual's experiences in their early childhood lives have a significant impact on the later lives of an adolescent or an adult. A human personality is formed by three elements which are the ego, the superego and the identity. As a result, it is common to see criminal offenders driven by their concerns while disregarding the interests of others. This theory suggests that most individuals commit crimes such as homicide as a result of frustration and aggravation. These factors can be related to the past experiences of individuals' childhood. The study of past events of Gabriel's mother and her boyfriend can be used to help explain why the two committed the crime.
The cognitive theory
Human criminal behaviors can be explained within the framework of the conative theory. Psychologists, in this theory, focus on studying the individuals' mental processes. The theorists also focus on the intellectual and moral development perspective in the study of crimes. According to this theory, human moral development takes six stages. In the first stage, the only reason for individuals to obey laws is because of the fear of the consequences of not following. By the last step, people obey the law because they are obligated to do so and because they understand the importance of Justice and equity. (Hagan& Daigle, 2018). However, some people may have differences in the way they process information. The first step in information processing involves interpretation of the information, then searching for a corrective response, and finally, they take the appropriate action (Williams & Vincent, (2019). Thus, some people may misuse the information and end up making criminal decisions. This theory can be used to explain the reasons for Gabriel's murder under allegations that he was gay.
According to Wells, (2017), self-control can be used as a theoretical backdrop to explain violent offenses as well as homicide. The self-control theory is closely related to the social control theory. This theory suggests that individuals with characteristic low self-control are more likely to commit crimes. Children develop their self-control between the ages of seven and eight, and the level of their self-control may remain constant for the rest of their ages. Many people with low self-control are mostly focused on the present and find it difficult to delay gratification. They are, therefore, likely to act impulsively because they can't wait and rarely consider the impacts of their actions. They become risk-takers who may end up in crimes. Aguirre is likely to be a victim of low self-control, which led to the brutal murder of Gabriel.
In conclusion, the above theories could be used to explain the act of crime committed by Gabriel's parents. However, the most applicable theory to explain their action would be the cognitive theory. The two may have had a very negative perspective against homosexuality and could not afford to see their child grow up as a gay. They may also have misinterpreted the behaviors of the child to end up thinking that he was gay. That was possible since the boy was at a very young age.
Clair, J. (2020). 'The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez' May Be Netflix's Most Difficult Documentary to Watch. Retrieved from https://www.menshealth.com/entertainment/a31113762/trials-of-gabriel-fernandez-netflix-true-story/
Hagan, F. E., & Daigle, L. E. (2018). Introduction to criminology: Theories, methods, and criminal behavior. Sage Publications.
UNDOC. (2019). Global Study on Homicide. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/gsh/Booklet1.pdf
U.S. Department of Justice. (2011). Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008. Retrieved from https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/htus8008.pdf
Wells, L. E. (2017). Social control and self-control theories of crime and deviance. Routledge.
Williams, D. J., & Vincent, J. (2019). Application of the Serious Leisure Perspective to Intrinsically Motivated Serial Homicide. Deviant Behavior, 40(9), 1057-1067.
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