Social Justice and Punishment for Murder

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Murder can be looked at many different ways. Murder is defined as “the unlawful killing of another human without justification or valid excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought”. Murder devastates all of the people connected to the crime including the victim and the perpetrator. In most studies it is shown that murder can also lead to other dangerous acts such as burglary, arson, rape, or kidnapping. If murder is allowed, then other crimes become acceptable which can result in a breakdown in society and becomes survival of the fittest. This results in the bullies taking over and it is not always the strongest that are the smartest. Every society lives by some type of moral code. Murder therefore becomes a break down in society. In our society murder is considered immoral and is not good to take ones life.

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Almost all societies consider murder to be a serious crime and believe the person that is being charged should receive harsh punishment by facing a long-term prison sentence or in some cases the death penalty. “Punishment for murder was considered necessary for any culture to justly function. Any structured society needs retributive justice and deterrent action to serve as a consequence to murder, for murder is not just a crime against the one killed, but also against the state and mankind. Citizens look to the state to take action against the murderer, not only to impose upon him what he justly deserves, but also to keep others from following in his footsteps.” Like the quote states, the citizens look up to the state to do something about the murderer(s) and take action. People want to feel safe where they live. If they don’t feel safe where they live and work they will search out a new place that they hope will be safe for their family. Murder also affects the economy of a city, town or village. The area that is left behind is left with the people that commit crimes and the people that don’t have moved away so the concentration of people committing crimes is now greater, and is open for more crimes to be committed. For a society to be viable we need a balance, there will always be an element of crime but the good should balance the bad.

Crime happens every day, all over the world but no other crime is as serious as homicide. Murder is a serious challenge to the criminal justice system. It is scary, causes extreme fear and anxiety throughout society and is often an uncontrollable part of life today. “There has never been a period in record history when homicide was not considered the most serious and troubling of human behaviors.” The United States has the most murder rates out of Canada and Europe put together. The United States has a rate of 4.2 per 100,000 inhabitants and a count of 12,996 murders in the year 2018. Canada and Europe’s rates have only reached 1.6 and have only counted 500-1,000 murders during this same year. In the United States approximately 90% of all murders are committed by males and the leading cause of death for African American males between the ages of fifteen and thirty-four. As for women, homicide is the leading cause of death in the workplace and the fastest growing category of murder in the United States.

Our nations homicide rate has gone up sharply over the past couple of years after a decades-long decline with nearly three-quarters of these being committed with firearms. In response to this spike in firearm homicides a program known as Project Exile was implemented in Richmond, Virginia that targeted criminals with firearms by diverting them from state to federal courts where they received mandatory sentences of five-years in out-of-state prisons. Philadelphia, New York, and California to name a few adopted similar approaches. While some thought this to be a good idea others including many judges despised it and thought of it “as a one-size-fits-all approach to crime-fighting, the late chief justice William Rehnquist was among those who denounced them. Politicians looking for quick fixes in the face of rising crime rates should examine the evidence first”. I believe in the crime must fit the time not all are equal.

However, not all homicides are considered a crime. Non-felonious and felonious are the two categories that murder is categorized under. “Most state criminal codes consider non-felonious homicides to be either excusable or justifiable to nature. Excusable killings generally involve elements of fault, but the actions are not sufficient to be judged as criminal.” For example, the most numbers of killings happen in the military but that’s intentional and considered excusable and not a crime. While felonious crimes such as murder and manslaughter involve the intent to harm which is referred to as a criminal act.

Social historians have discovered how much homicide has to tell us about the society in its existence. And until recently homicide was left to criminologists, sociologists who have studied the rate of homicides and how to reduce it while historians are drawn to well-known murder cases. Social historians have discovered how much homicides have to tell us about the society in which it exists.

I think society today is intrigued when anything shocking happens and as a society we want to know all of the details. And we can get those because some events are highly publicized through social media, television, newspapers, books and radio stations. It’s not just individual murders that are happening but mass murders by individuals, groups and/or terrorists where people are being killed in their homes, at schools, concerts, hospitals and even places of employment. To list a few high profile cases (some names were well-known while others weren’t until their murder) that have happened and are still being discussed today by ourselves maybe in history class, historians and criminologists doing research would be the Assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Manson Family Murders, OJ Simpson, JonBenet Ramsey, Columbine High School children, the Las Vegas Country Concert and Mercy Hospital in Chicago.

Even though we live in a society were the homicide rate is high we should not let that control our lives. Everyone’s life is precious and we only have a short time on this earth we need to live it to the fullest and not let something that may happen keep us from fulfilling our dreams.

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Social Justice and Punishment For Murder. (2022, Sep 06). Retrieved December 3, 2022 , from

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