A graduate student at Maryland University shot his roommates at the doorstep of their house in campus. The student later shot himself at the same spot. The police found a bag containing several weapons close the crime scene; the weapons included a baseball bat, a semiautomatic weapon and a machete. The student who was later identified as Dayvon Green is said to have set several fires in the basement of the school. Green later asked the two roommates to come help him set out the fire; Green shot the two friends when they came out to help him with the fire. One of the students died on the spot and the other was rushed to the hospital (Williams, 2013). The roommate who survived is said to have seen Green draw his weapon and the student was going to fetch some water from the house; however, Green still managed to shoot him though the shot was not fatal. The deceased roommate was, however, caught unawares by Green; police reports indicate that he had multiple gunshot wounds.
Green was an engineering student and had enrolled for the NASA student program. Police records indicate that the Mr. Green did not have a past criminal record. His campus friends, also, did not indicate that he had any grudges against the two roommates he shot. As a result, this crime can only be characterized as a spontaneous act by the murderer.
This crime can be explained using the social disorganization theory. According to the theory, the behavioral decisions made by a person are influenced by their social and physical environments. The theory advances that neighborhoods with poor social structures have higher crime rates. Such areas are characterized by high unemployment, vacant buildings and poor schools. All these characteristics are similar to the situation in Prince George County. It is hence valid to argue that Green’s actions were influenced by the neighborhood he lived in. The spontaneous murderous actions of Green can only be attributed to such influences since the murderer did not have a past criminal record.
Green’s criminal actions cannot be explained using the theory of rational choice. This theory argues that people make decisions based on interests that favor them. It is essential to highlight that such decisions are made after the subject critically analyzes the possible risks versus the rewards. The fact that the murderer shot himself after his crime shows that there was no reward for his as this theory would suggest.
I applied the two theories because I believe the social disorganization theory best explains the actions of Dayvon Green. The police have not yet identified a reason for the murderous actions since the offender had not displayed any behavior in the past that showed a likelihood of him committing a crime. I believe there is no such reason because the young offender was influenced by the problematic social structure in the county. The rising number of crime in the area may have influenced Dayvon Green towards his course of action. I chose the second theory because I believe it is rare for a person to entirely act based on self interest in such a situation. People’s behaviors are influenced by external factors which predispose them to act in certain ways. This predisposition is later manifested as intrinsic motivation which is classified under theory of rational choice.
Williams, T. (2013). Two Maryland Students Die in Murder-Suicide. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/us/2-maryland-students-die-in-murder-suicide-shooting.html