Thursday, October 29, 2009

Connections and Murder

Many people think, based on media reports, that random murders are common. But as this post points out, "approximately 75% of all homicides in the United States from 1995 to 2002 occurred between people who knew each other prior to the murder"

So the best way to avoid getting killed is to not get involved with the kind of people who are likely to be violent. Simple, time-tested advice.


E said...

It probably seems counterintuitive to people that murderers would kill those they knew. Should be easier to kill some faceless person, right? Certainly suggestive of the role of some emotional, social, or personal motive in the killing, premediated or not. There is a connection you don't get from random strangers on the road.

Perhaps 'avoiding those who get violent' is not quite enough... Rather, avoid making connections or- yes, networking is an apt word- with those who are involved either directly or indirectly with those who may react with deadly result.

Alleged Wisdom said...

Actually, I think it would be harder psychologically to kill a total stranger in your own society. Most people have a strong aversion to killing. You have to really decide that the person 'needs killing' and have a personal motive strong enough to push you over the edge.

And for many of the people who kill, there is much less risk in killing the people you know. It is well-known that the police don't put that many resources into investigating the killings of gang members. But they will work really hard to track down the killer involved in random violence.

I don't think the second-order connections are dangerous by themselves. If you don't know the person, you probably are not at risk. But an indirect connection can lead to a direct connection, as you get pulled into the social circle.