American Homicide Exceptionalism
41 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2017
Date Written: March 16, 1998
The instrumentality theory of homicide posits that Americans kill each other off at exceptionally high rates because the lethality of interpersonal violence is dictated by the lethality of the instrumentalities, specifically guns, at their disposal. This article argues that the instrumentality theory gets causation backwards and that the perpetrator theory, which asserts that homicides are mostly committed by people with deep personal histories of predatory crime and substance abuse, more accurately explains homicides.
Keywords: homicide, crime rate, gun control
JEL Classification: K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation