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Senseless Crimes: Why Do People Kill?

Updated on August 4, 2019

Senseless Crimes: Why Do People Kill?

Do you ever ask yourself, why do people kill?

I do. Recently, I was completely rattled and derailed, after stumbling across the memorial blog of the late Duke University doctoral student named Abhijit Mahato, which then led me to more information about the murder of a UNC student named Eve Carson. Both murders took place in early 2008 and have common link in that in both cases, one of the suspects was charged in both of the murders.

It doesn't matter that the murders took place in the past, or that they were among hundreds of murders in the US that year, or that we have to move on. Each and every senseless killing has significance and places a huge chip on our shoulders as members of society and human beings.

Eve Carson Temporary Memorial

Eve Carson temporary memorial (flickr)
Eve Carson temporary memorial (flickr)

Remembering Abhijit Mahato

Robberies and Killings

In both cases, robbery was deemed to be the motive. It's as if, to the killers, those faces were blurred - the victims had no features, no names, no pasts, and certainly no futures.

Why Rob and then Kill: Senseless Escalation

I find myself wondering, why would someone kill, after they have already been robbed? Perhaps the killers feared that they would get caught for the robbery, and so they decided to try to get rid of evidence of robbery by committing murder, and then take their chances that solving the murder would be much harder because of the lack of witnesses.

And sure, that's a logical assumption we could make as sane people; as people who successfully passed Civics class in eighth grade, or made it through History 101 or Government 101 in college.

No Fear of Getting Caught?

But it's got to be more than that. The people charged with both murders had criminal histories. They were not first-time offenders. History would have reminded them that the likelihood of getting caught for murder would be just as high as the likelihood of being caught for robbery, particularly given that their victims were literally salt of the earth people.

Is the whole thing not just a little bizarre? What does it say about society when there is no real understanding or reason behind murder?

Honoring Victims by Understanding Crime

Having read several stories of both murders, and given that it's still relatively fresh, because, in at least Eve Carson's case, the suspect pled guilty to federal charges in order to avoid the death penalty and is going to be sentenced later in 2010, I believe that there is enough information to know that the murders were truly senseless. But senseless crime should not just get a shaking of the head and a moment of silence.

As a parent, the thought that my son could be sitting in his apartment one night and be shot to death for the couple of bucks in his wallet and an iPod completely rocks me. I don't think that I can accept that reality. Robbery is one thing, murder is quite another.

I believe we should honor victims like these by making a commitment to really understand why it happens. There is a psychological aspect of this that can't be ignored. Why a young man at the age of 21 would knowingly take an innocent person's life, and would take on the huge risk that he could be killed for it, all for a few hundred dollars, needs to be explored.


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