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Crime and Crime Theories


Crimeand Crime Theories

Crimeand Crime Theories


Therecent shooting person at the Fort Hood military base in Texas is acriminal act that shocked the public and colleague of the perpetratoralike (Garza, 2014). According to Ford (2014), an army specialistIvan Lopez opened fire aimlessly at people including his colleaguesat the military base and left four people dead including him. The 34year soldier had earlier purchased the gun he used to commit the rarecriminal act at a gun shop near the military base. According to theinvestigations done, there was no motive that was discovered for theshooting that also left sixteen other people nursing injuries ofvarious magnitudes (Ford, 2014).

Accordingto the CNN reports, the soldier had served in the American militaryengagement in Iraq (Garza, 2014). In addition, there was evidencethat the soldier had psychological problems but was not substantiatedas the causes of the incident. They were not substantiated as theproblems behind the motive to kill and cause terror at innocentpeople. Ford (2014) further reports that the incident did not showany motives of the conventional terrorism or any external link to themotives. According to the police investigation reports, there was nomotive, history or actions by the soldier that showed he had anylinks with external terrorists or any case of internal terrorism.After being engaged by the military police, the soldier shot himselfand died, while the injured were taken to hospital (Garza, 2014).

SocialControl Theory

Socialcontrol theory indicated that people engage in crime when the fourmain social controls are not enough to direct their behavior to abhorcrime. According to the theory, the four controls are direct controlthrough punishment, internal control through personal conscience,indirect control through peers and family and control by satisfactionof individual needs. Application of this theory on the crimediscussed above shows the circumstances that led to the shooting bythe soldier (Marsh,2007).The soldier had no control over his personal behavior, which was theresult of lack of strong social controls in regard to his life.

Dueto low controls in the behavior of the soldier and access to guns inthe society, the soldier was able to direct his poor self-control tothe uncontrolled society. If his behavior were monitored by himselfor his colleagues or the military authorities, then he would betreated and the situation would be rectified. The crime alsoindicates how the country has loose gun control mechanisms. AccordingGarza (2014), the soldier was attached to the military base where hecommitted the crime. It was later reported that he did not use thegun that was assigned to him for official purposes.

Dueto low social control, the soldier could access a gun at the gun shopfor the crime without difficulties. This means that the soldier wentto buy the gun with all the capacities of an outsider and notnecessarily with his capacity as a soldier. Even if the capacity of asoldier was invoked by the buyer, this action leaves a lot to bedesired of the American gun control laws. It clearly shows that thereis low control of the sale and buying of guns, making it unregulated.

Accordingto the social control theory, crime is committed by people when theyfind loopholes in the society where they can perpetrate their illmotive. In the case of the shooting, the soldier took advantage ofthe low control applied by the American laws to acquire the tool ofhis crime (Marsh,2007).This explains why he did not use the official gun, but found it easyto use a gun bought at the gun shop, just near the military base. Ifthe soldier had not purchased the gun at will, then he would not havecommitted the crime easily. This is because it would be difficultyfor him to use his official gun since there is some regulation atthe military center.

Byapplying the strain theory, the crime at Fort Hood can be explainedby exploring the motives of the soldier. As argued by Hagan (2014)the soldier may have committed the crime against his colleagues outof the need to gain some recognition. The recognition that thesoldier was seeking may not be clearly explained from the perspectiveof the public eye but a view of the soldier’s life can expose histhoughts. He had served for over ten years and had no history ofcrime. This explains that he might have sought for recognitionthrough the criminal act of shooting people aimlessly a crime heknew very well of its consequences.

However,it is the social control theory also sheds more light to the crime,especially on the side of the government’s and society’sresponsibility for arms control. In addition, the arguments of thesocial control theory can lead to the conclusion that there were nocontrols placed by military authorities to cater for the soldier’sindividual psychological needs (Marsh,2007).Through the arguments of the social control theory, the crimeportrays the importance of handling psychological needs andcontrolling arms in the society.


Garza,L. (2014). U.S.Army names Fort Hood shooter, says had mental illness.

Retrievedfrom Reuters,&lthttp://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/03/us-usa-shooting-forthood-idUSBREA3129C20140403&gtApril 18, 2014 Page 1

Hagan,F. E. (2010). Introductionto Criminology. NewYork:SAGE Publications, page 325 to


Ford,D. (2014). 4dead, including shooter, at Fort Hood.RetrievedFrom CNN,

&lthttp://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/02/us/fort-hood-shooting&gtApril 18, 2014 Page 1

Marsh,I. (2007). Theoriesof Crime.New York: Routledge, page 105 to 120