Description of the Type of Crime and Criminal Behavior
The discussions in this paper will focus on Alex Johnson et al.’s (01) report on the Kansas shooting spree incident featuring the already-neutralized suspect Cedric Larry Ford. Killing sprees are not uncommon in the United States. This is mainly because of the rather lax gun ownership laws in the country, something which is unique especially when it gets compared side by side with the gun ownership laws in other countries, even the most liberalized ones. In the said criminal incident, the suspect, Cedric Larry Ford went on a shooting spree across two separate (but adjacent) towns in the state of Kansas. He was seen carrying to high caliber small arms during the said incident. To specify, he was seen armed with an assault rifle and a semi-automatic pistol. The killing spree ended badly with five people ending up dead including Ford. He managed to kill a total of four victims. The number of injured people, however, was 14. According to the criminal justice and law enforcement officers who investigated the incident, the court issued a protection of abuse-related restraining order against Ford some 90 minutes prior to the initiation of the attack. The said request for a restraining order was filed by his long term live-in partner earlier that month (i.e. February 2016). According to the authorities who reviewed the case, it appears that this incident frustrated Ford—so much so that he ended up being a violent and unreasonable man.
The assault lasted for about 26 minutes. The authorities managed to trace Ford’s trail when he was on a shooting rampage. According to them, he managed to travel a total of six miles before being neutralized by the authorities.
Ford’s family members would attest that he grew up normally as a child. He managed to find a decent job as one of the team members at Excel Industries. His latest record of criminal behavior would be his live-in partner/girlfriend’s legal reports of physical abuse, the first of which (in the past year) (according to her testimonies) started at least two months ago. Other than this, he did not have any record of violent crimes. Not a lot of information is available about Ford’s family background. Some notable facts about his family include: he is a family man and he treats his friends as family, pretty much like a normal guy .
Patterns of Delinquency and Crime
Ford’s girlfriend described him (in her testimonies) as an alcoholic, violent, and depressed person; and that he was badly in desperate need of psychological and medical help. His co-workers, on the other hand, did not see him as a dangerous and violent man the same way his ex-girlfriend saw him. For them, Ford was just a simple and honest man who worked as a painter at Excel Industries.
According to Ford’s friends in various social media platforms, Ford posted a photo (a few weeks old) of him holding a pistol with a rifle in the background on Facebook. It would be safe to say that he was a man fond of guns.
According to court records available online, Ford had a history of domestic violence, drug and drug paraphernalia possession, theft, and various traffic violations in Harvey Country, Kansas dating several years back . It is important to note, however, that these records were just legal charges.
The most recent and impacting social pressure Ford experienced prior to the shooting spree incident would be his fight with his long term girlfriend that led to a restraining order and several charges of abuse field against him. He is a father of two, a son and a daughter, both of whom are under the age of 10. He is a family-oriented guy.
Ford lived a fairly reasonable life socio-economically. He had a stable job at Excel Industries as a painter. He was not rich but he was not poor either. He managed to set leisure and recreation time as evidenced by the activities he posted on social media.
Timeline of the Crime
It all started when Ford was working, just like a normal person, in Excel Industries, a local lawn maintenance company in the city of Hesston in Kansas. Authorities have confirmed that he had a fight with his long term girlfriend. The fight was so bad that it led to the filing of legal complaints and charges against him. This happened earlier in February. The court issued a restraining order against him as a result. This happened some one and a half hour prior to the start of the shooting spree. The time of the start of the shooting spree was believed to be 5 P.M. (local time). He stole a truck carrying an assault rifle and a semi-automatic pistol. He started shooting indiscriminately at people and everywhere. He did not manage to shoot and injure a lot of people while he was on the road. It turned out he was headed to Excel Industries, his workplace. He started shooting heavily upon entering EI’s building. This is where he managed to injure his victims; he ended up killing four of them, majority of who were his co-workers. While Ford was on his way to his workplace, he managed to shoot two people, which is what alerted the anti-crime authorities in the area. Upon reaching his workplace’s parking lot, he shot another person, and upon entering the building, that was when he opened fire. The SWAT team who responded managed to neutralize Ford at around 5:30 P.M. local time.
Self-Control Theory of Crime and Cedric Ford’s Case
The criminal theory chosen to be discussed in relation to Cedric Ford’s case was the Self-Control Theory of Crime. The main assumption backing up this theory of crime suggests that an individual’s (i.e. the perpetrator) lack of self-control is the main factor behind the initiation and execution of a criminal behavior. Broadly speaking, this is a macro-level of analysis because this is one of the general theories of activity after all. It would, however, be more important to apply the concepts of this theory to the current case.
It is a fact that Ford had previous histories pointing to his tendencies to commit violent activities—however, those were just legal charges and those charges’ outcomes were not even clear even up to this point so they cannot be used as a basis to conclude that he was a violent and law-violating man. His girlfriend’s testimonies may not be a reliable source of information as well because she has the motivation to speak ill of Ford considering her relationship with him prior to the incident. The most reliable source of information here would be his family and co-workers. The latter group suggests that he is just a normal person. If that is indeed the case (based on the information presented so far), then it would be safe to concluded that his inability to practice self-control was what led him to commit the violent shooting spree in Kansas that day. The main assumption of the Self-Control Theory would only be true in this case if he would be identified as a normal, non-innately-violent man.
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Johnson, A., et al. "Cedric Larry Ford Kills 3, Injures 14 in Kansas Shooting Spree." NBC News (2016): http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/cedric-larry-ford-kills-3-injures-14-kansas-shooting-spree-n526316. 01. Web.
Sanchez, R., J. Berlinger and R. Flores. "Who was Kansas Shooter Cedric Ford." CNN (2016): http://edition.cnn.com/2016/02/26/us/cedric-ford-kansas-shooting/. 01. Web.