The contemporary society faces the profound crisis of spiritual values. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the documentary Paradise Lost: the Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, which investigates the murder of three prepubescent boys by three teenagers, Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols, and Jason Baldwin. In fact, the documentary reveals the full extent to which the public view may be influenced by the cultural background of the community and, at the same time, the documentary uncovers the loss of spiritual values by the younger generation, which representatives have proved to be able to commit terrible crimes, including murders.
At the same time, the behavior of the three teenagers slaughtering three boys may have a theoretical background. At this point, it is possible to refer to Robert Merton’s theory. In fact, Robert Merton stands on the ground that social goals and means of their achievement do not correspond and offenders commit their crimes to reach the social goals. In this regard, the murders committed by the three teenagers were the attempt to reach the set social goals through violent, criminal act. They probably wanted to demonstrate their puberty and power and to prove that they have already grown up and have the power over other people. This is why they committed their crime. In such a way, the contradiction between the social goals and the inability of the teenagers to reach them in the legal way provoked the murders.
In this regard, the murders committed by the three teenagers can be viewed from a different angle, if Durkheim’s theory is applied. In fact, Durkheim developed the concept of anomie, in terms of which the crime committed by the three teenagers could be the result of their personal feeling of the lack of social norms. Being free of norms, they committed their crime and neglected social norms and standards, which either proved to be too weak or irrelevant for the teenagers. Therefore, the inability of the society to grant the teenagers with valid and accurate social norms provoked normlessness, which resulted in the murders committed by the three teenagers.
However, actions of the three teenagers could be the result of the impact of religious views dominating in their community. In this regard, it is possible to views of Karl Marx and Max Weber, who argued that religion mirrors the socio-economic development of the society and helps to maintain the existing ideology. Therefore, the boys could not afford the impact of the dominant religious views and, being marginalized from their community, they rebelled and the murders were their response and challenge to the community, where Evangelical Christian ideology prevailed.
Thus, it is obvious that the murders committed by the three teenagers could have different reasons. However, the society and community they lived in were also responsible for their crime because the impact of the community on the development of the teens can hardly be underestimated.
Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills. 1996
Farganis, James. Readings in Social Theory; The classical tradition to post modernism, 3rd ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2000.
Ritzer, George. Contemporary Sociological theory; and itвЂ™s classical roots. New York: McGraw Hill, 2003.