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By Leonard Beeghley

Echoing Durkheim's Suicide, this publication specializes in one very important phenomenon to give an explanation for better currents in American society. Leonard Beeghley examines the historic and cross-national dimensions of homicides and evaluates past makes an attempt to give an explanation for it. He unearths the resources of America's homicide expense within the better availability of weapons, the growth of unlawful drug markets, larger racial discrimination, extra publicity to violence, and sharper monetary inequalities. He deftly blends the facts regarding every one of those elements right into a well-reasoned sociological research of the character of yankee society.

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Additional resources for Homicide: A Sociological Explanation

Sample text

It is impossible to know, of course, if this speculation about what happened on the evening Delvin Darnell Carey died is correct; the case file is unrevealing. Such guesswork is plausible for my purpose, however, since it indicates how the impact of frustration can lead individuals to act in different ways depending on how they define their situations. 2o In the situation described here, it appears that the consequence of frustration became homicide. Although there are other ways of interpreting and understanding why individuals kill, and the simple frustration-socialization hypothesis phrased above is too incomplete to serve as a general theory of why some people commit homicide, it illustrates a hndamental point: The answer to the question of why individuals kill must be social psychological.

Naturally, the effects of one variable on another should be empirically observed whenever possible. In this case, however, the true empirical impact of lots of thermonuclear explosions cannot be tested, short of war and the annihilation of much of the world’s population. Of course, the issues sociologists deal with, including homicide, are not nearly so important as the survival of the human species. But the methodological point is generalizable: Sociologists should not let either a fetish for measurement or a shortsighted view of the precision that is supposedly characteristic of scientific research in other fields 36 Chapter 2 get in the way of a creative approach to the issues.

The police found Mr. McDermott sitting silently in the lobby of the company building, surrounded by his loaded weapons. H e surrendered without a struggle. 2Although public-place killings with multiple victims constitute only a small proportion of the thousands of homicides that occur each year, they receive a great deal ofpublicity. In this case, the victims' families, relatives, friends, and surviving coworkers spent the remainder of the holiday season grieving-and talking to reporters-instead of celebrating.

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