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Ted Bundy: The Deterrence Theory

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A theory is merely an explanation for life’s occurrences. They can be extensive, looping through idea after idea, or simply require a few sentences. Either way, theories are the starting point to the question, “Why?” In regards to criminology, we base our codes of law and by extension, our behavior, on these theories. One of the most prominent of which is the deterrence theory. I will go in depth on the concept and creation of the deterrence theory before applying it to Ted Bundy, one of the most prominent serial killers that America has ever seen. Due to Bundy’s supposed change of heart in his last few days, I will primarily be focusing on his final interview, performed by Dr. Dobson on January 23rd, 1989, one day before his execution.…show more content…
37). Beccaria provided three characteristics that influence a person’s likelihood of committing a crime: swiftness, certainty, and severity. These were the qualities that a potential offender would deliberate on before carrying out their transgression. He believed that a punishment should come as soon as possible after the crime, should have a strong impression on potential offenders, and should be worse than the benefits from the crime (Tibbetts, p. 38). As long as a punishment had all three characteristics, a rational person should be deterred from that behavior. Very soon after the implementation of ideas from the Classical School did governments discover one fault with the idea. The Classical School of Criminology did not address the mens rea (intent) of someone’s actions. For example, Beccaria didn’t care if one murdered their brother out of cold blood or if, while sparring with one another, one hit their brother too hard and they died due to brain damage. Either way, the punishment for fratricide needed to be carried out the exact same. Seeing the problem with this, the United States and…show more content…
In addition, according to social control theory, Bundy should not have strayed towards a life of crime. But if his family and his own personal guilt wasn’t enough, then it is likely that the direct control of the law would be ineffective as well. Bundy was raised in a healthy environment with good, upstanding parents who knew to teach him right from wrong with a church family to back them up. Even with all of these factors influencing him to be a good person, Bundy will still go down in infamy as one of America’s most notorious serial killers. Generally speaking, the deterrence theory is an encouraging concept but it is much harder to put into play than people would think. While humans have the ability to think rationally, people generally don’t weigh out the pros and cons of every behavior they perform. In his last hours, Ted Bundy did not want to die. But he knew that Ted Bundy would be a household name and even in his last interview, promised that there were more people out there just like
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