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Revisiting the case of Richard" Muñoz Ramírez
Richard Ramirez is a Mexican American citizen who was involved and currently convicted for serial murders. Because of his criminal activities, he was popularity known as the “Night Stalker” since his criminal’s activities and killings occurred mainly at night. Records indicate that he was influenced into engaging into criminal behavior by his cousin, Mike, who was formerly working as a soldier at Special Forces Vietnam war. Further, he was introduced into various criminal activities which Mike had done either while at the army or outside. This is believed to have triggered him into engaging in such vices (Botelho, 2013).
Now judging from the manner in which Ramirez carried out his criminal activities, there is no doubt that the acts were based on rational thoughts. In other words, most of these actions were self focused, self centered and with a goal of benefiting individually in one way or another. For instance, in committing these atrocities, Ramirez could have been seeking fame and popularity the same way his cousin Mike had done while in the special Forces Army. During his first day, he killed two people on the spot, showcasing his strong urge to gain instant popularity. According to rational choice theory, man is a reasoning being whose decisions are rational and weighs benefits, costs and means prior to making a decision. This theory also presumes crime as being a purposive behavior that aims at aiding the offender in meeting his or her desires which may include status, money, excitement and sex. Further, in order to meet these needs, a person may go to the extent of making rudimental choices and decisions which could be inhibited by such factors as information availability, a person’s ability and the environment (Clarke, 1997).
As we have already seen, Mr. Ramirez was strongly filled with the desire to gain popularity which according to rational choice theory is status recognition. We can therefore rightly say that his many killings were attempt to break the record on the same vice, gain exclusive media attention and by the end of it all, he would have achieved his main objective which is popularity in the area. This eventually worked since media attention on this “Walk in Killer” was bolstered and that many people including the police came to know him personally and through description. We are informed that multi-county police investigators were mobilized to track down this serial killer and bring him to book.
Ramirez’s self ambitions and the desire to fulfill his sexual urges are also revealed through a number of crimes. For instance, in the attack of a Chinese couple, he violently rapes the wife who was aged 63 and decides not to kill her, despite having killed the husband. This desire for sex is also revealed in many other incidences including the attack on Malian Keller, together with her sister who was disabled and in this process, he attempts to rape Keller by all means, but does not succeed. In another occasion, Ramirez bound another woman by the name Ruth Wilson, 41, whom he rapes and sodomizes repeatedly. This reveals that what Ramirez was in need of this time was not fame, but rather to quench his strong sexual urges.
Therefore, Ramirez’s behavior perfectly aligns with the concepts of the rational choice theory. This theory presumes crime as being a purposive behavior that aims at aiding the offender in meeting his or her desires which may include status, money, excitement and sex. Accordingly, we have seen that Ramirez’s behavior was motivated by status (fame), sexual satisfaction and material benefits since there are times when he took his victim’s property.