Crimes of the Century

The patterns of homicide which emerged from our study of the record were unique, but also similar to those exhibited today and in other studies of homicide and social violence: killings related to what we now term domestic violence, lethal violence by police and the killing of police officers, seemingly senseless slayings in bars and saloons, what appear to be impulse murders over trivial amounts of money, random and spontaneous insults or gratuitous verbal exchanges, killings by persons who are drunk, and murders by the insane, the mentally deranged or mentally disabled.

Overwhelmingly, men kill men and sometimes women; women kill children and sometimes men. Whites kill whites and blacks kill blacks, except in extraordinary historical moments such as the race riot of 1919. Men kill their age cohorts, rivals, spouses, domestic partners or objects of sexual interest or hatred. Women kill children and sometimes their sexual partners or husbands, and very occasionally sexual rivals. Petty thieves and crooks kill one another and their cohorts, and are apprehended and killed by law enforcement officers who are themselves killed by thieves and robbers and gangsters. As the century progresses, everyone is killed by recklessly driven automobiles.