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Homicide in Puerto Rico: Analysis of the Situation

Abstract

During the course of recent decades, it became a common trait among Americans to think of Puerto Rico in terms of being a crime-haven, even though America’s mass Medias and this country’s “progressive” sociologists continue to refer to this tendency as simply another proof of White Americans’ “biasness”. Yet, there is nothing biased about statistical data in regards to the criminological situation in Puerto Rico – this data invariably points out the fact that as time goes by, perpetrating acts of violence becomes the norm of life among a rapidly growing proportion of Puerto Ricans. In her article “With the Highest Murder Rate in the U.S., Puerto Rico Needs Immediate Solutions”, available on the website of Puerto-Rico Herald, Taina Rosa provides us with the insight into the true scope of the criminological disaster in Puerto-Rico: “More murders occur in Puerto Rico than anywhere in the mainland U.S., according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Once again, Puerto Rico–with a population of 4 million–ended the year with an alarming homicide rate, higher than the three-largest cities in the mainland U.S. With 790 murders reported during 2004, the island had a higher murder rate than New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Puerto Rico’s mean homicide rate is three times that of the total U.S. mainland and four times that of Europe” (2005). Moreover, there are also substantial increases to the annual rates of homicidal crime on the island. In his article “Homicide Toll Surpasses 2008 Figures”, which can be found on the web site of Puerto-Rico Daily Sun, Waldo D. Covas Quevedo states: “The number of homicides (in Puerto-Rico) for the current year reached 807 killings, surpassing the total for 2008. The number does not include a handful of murders the Police have not yet counted… Unsolved homicide cases have increased to 61 percent during his tenure in and in some cases have risen as much as 78 percent” (2009). At the same time, it would be wrong to think of this situation as such that reflects the lack of professional enthusiasm, on the part of representatives of Puerto-Rican law enforcement agencies. The report “Homicides among Children and Young Adults – Puerto Rico, 1999—2003”, available on the website of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, leaves no doubt as to the fact that Puerto-Rican police and country’s politicians do apply a great amount of effort in trying to tackle the problem: “To address this problem (high rate of homicidal crime), the Puerto Rican government has initiated a comprehensive strategy that includes enhancing an integrated surveillance system for fatal and nonfatal assault, supporting research on interpersonal violence, and establishing local prevention” (2006). Therefore, it would only be logical to conclude that the continuous worsening of the criminological situation in Puerto-Rico, reflects country policy-makers lack of conceptual understanding of what causes people to indulge in criminal behavior, in the first place. In this report, I will aim at exploring this thesis even further, while outlining the main principles, upon which Puerto-Rican law enforcement agencies should base their crime-prevention policies, in order to be able to effectively address the issue.

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Statement of the Problem

Even a brief analysis of homicidal crimes, which had taken place in Puerto-Rico, during the course of recent years, reveals the fact that most of them were committed in particularly gruesome manner – Puerto-Rican newspapers never cease reporting on people being gang-raped, burned alive, sawn in half and etc. Selena Watkins’ article “Gay Teen Burned and Decapitated in Puerto Rico” can be referred to as the typical account of Puerto-Rican homicidal crime: “Nineteen-year-old, Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado’s body was found burned, decapitated and dismembered on Nov. 14 in Cayey, a city only a few miles away from his hometown in Caguas” (2009). What this means is that it is the methodology of Positive Criminology, which appears being particularly applicable in dealing with the phenomenon of ever-increased rates of homicide in Puerto-Rico – apparently, it is the particularities of homicidal criminals’ biological makeup that we should view as the main motivational factor behind their socially-inappropriate behavior.

In his famous book “Criminal Man”, the founder of Positive Criminology Cesare Lombroso was not only able to prove beyond any reasonable doubt the validity of a “born criminal” concept, but he also provided us with the insight onto the fact that is namely individual’s inborn anthropological atavism, which should be thought of as the ultimate proof of his or her criminal-mindedness: “Atavism remains one of the most constant characteristics of the born criminal, in spite of, or rather together with pathology. Many of the characteristics of primitive man are also commonly found in the born criminal, including low, sloping foreheads, overdeveloped sinuses, overdevelopment of jaws and cheekbones, prognathism, oblique and large eye sockets, dark skin…” (1911, p. 222). Given the fact that the citizens in Western countries are now expected to “celebrate diversity” as their full-time occupation, it comes as no surprise that the methodology of Positive Criminology has fallen out of favour with the hawks of political correctness, who refer to it as “racist”, “biased’ and “non-academic”.

For example, in his article “Craniums, Criminals, and the ‘Cursed Race’: Italian Anthropology in American Racial Thought, 1861-1924”, while rightly identifying theoretical premises of Positive Criminology, Peter D’Agostino still describes them as illegitimate: “Lombroso argued penology should consider the criminal in his social and biological circumstances. He asserted that the classical penal code reduced justice to logically applying a general principle with complete disregard for observation and investigation of facts. Such an approach was unscientific and unjust” (2002, p. 322). However, even though Positive Criminology is being often described as “unjust” it does not make it less valid, especially given the latest breakthroughs in the field of genetic science – the objective reality substantiates the conceptual soundness of this statement better than anything else does.

In her article “Criminal Man Rediscovered”, available on the website of Humanities & Social Sciences Online, Isobel Williams states: “He (Lombroso) first hypothesized that the tendency to commit crime was mirrored in the physical characteristics, or physiognomy, of the criminal, including such factors as race and color… As gene research advances, some behavioural traits that were designated as learned are being cast into doubt and reclassified as innate when taken together with environmental factors” (2007). The reason why Medias refer to particularly gruesome crimes as “inhuman”, “bestial” and “savage”, is because their perpetrators cannot be assumed being fully human. And, it is needless to mention that one’s inability to act as a human can be hardly referred to as the matter of his or her choice.

In its turn, this points out to the fact that there must an objective precondition for people, who go about cutting off victims’ heads in a way we go about cutting sausage, to be born endowed with essentially savage mentality. What creates such a precondition, in the first place? The answer to this question is being rather politically-incorrect – one among major factors behind people’s existential inadequacy is the practice of interracial mixing. And, as statistics indicate, 80% of Puerto-Rico’s population is being affected by racial mongrelization, just as it is the case in just about any other Latin American country, with the exception of Argentina and Chile.

The irony resides in the fact that the majority of Puerto-Ricans continue to identify themselves as “white”. In her study “Ethnic Classification in Southeastern Puerto Rico: The Cultural Model of ‘Color”, Clarence C. Gravlee says: “In 2002, for the first time in 50 years, the census asked Puerto Ricans to identify their “race”. Over 80% self-identified as “white”, even though in U.S. they would have been identified as meztizos” (2005, p. 965). Thus, it would only be logical to conclude that there is a link between particularities of Puerto-Ricans’ racial affiliation and disproportionately high rates of homicide in this country – people’s inability to adjust their behavior to universally accepted norms of social conduct often correlates with their inability to operate with highly abstract categories (low IQ). In its turn, such their inability is being genetically predetermined, which explains why the geopolitical attractiveness of every particular country directly corresponds to the proportion of White citizens within its population.

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In their book “IQ and the Wealth of Nations”, Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen state: “IQs appear to be determined by the racial and ethnic make-up of the populations…The IQs of 96 are typical of Europeans. The countries with lower proportions of Europeans and greater proportions of Native Americans, Blacks, and Mestizos have lower IQs” (2002, p. 63). Why is it that the perpetrators of particularly violent crimes often have a hard time realizing the sheer wickedness of their criminal behavior? This is because most of them do not even understand what the concept of morality stands for, in the first place. These people’s existential mode is being primarily affected by their animalistic urges, which explains why out of 812 acts of homicide that had taken place in Puerto-Rico, during the course of 2009, only 25 were recognized as having been premeditated. This explains country police’s utter operational inefficiency, for as long as the issue of crime prevention is being concerned – unlike what it is the case among people of pure European descend, even the slightest domestic dispute among Puerto-Ricans can unpredictably escalate into a full-scale gunfight.

In its turn, this phenomenon can be well explained along the lines of eugenics – just as plants and animals, people are being subjected to objectively existing biological laws. For example, dog breeders are well aware of the fact that particularly vicious dogs are always the ones that had been affected by crossbreeding the most. Pit bulls, famed for their unprovoked attacks on even small children, have been artificially breaded out of the genetic pool, associated with thirty different dog pedigrees. In fact, Pit-bulls’ unpredictable behaviour resulted in this dog breed being outlawed in the countries of EU. Apparently, the same applies to people – the more they are being affected by racial mongrelization, the more they are being capable of deriving pleasure out of indulging in criminally-violent behavior.

And, as we have pointed out earlier, the majority of Puerto-Ricans are racial hybrids, born as a result of interracial crossbreeding between Blacks, Whites, and Indians, which explains why even today, many of them continue to experience a variety of deep-seated psychological anxieties as to the true essence of their racial affiliation. In his article “The Rough Edges of Puerto Rican Identities: Race, Gender, and Transnationalism”, Jorge Duany makes a perfectly good point while stating: “Puerto Rican culture on the island has been thoroughly racialized through the founding myth of mestizajew, which tends to privilege whiteness and sometimes the indigenous heritage at the expense of the African contribution” (2005, p. 181). The fact that even today, the juxtaposition Black vs. White continues to define the very subtleties of Puerto-Rican culture, suggests that throughout their lives, Puerto-Ricans never cease dealing with the crisis of self-identity, which contributes rather substantially to the rate of homicidal crime on the island being continuously increased. Whatever the politically-incorrect it might sound – it is in these people’s blood to indulge in violently-criminal behaviour, every time opportunity presents itself, which explains why representatives of racially homogeneous ethnic minorities in America are being united in their animosity towards Puerto-Rican “amigos” – it is not only that Puerto-Ricans do not have to go through the humiliations of marriage of convenience, in order to be able to come to U.S., but as soon as their number in American urban communities reaches a critical mass, they turn these communities into “little Puerto-Ricos”, where people go about dumping garbage on the front lawns of their houses without any second thoughts, whatsoever.

Therefore, it is utterly inappropriate to refer to the high rate of homicidal crime in Puerto-Rico as the result of country’s citizens suffering from “poverty” or the “legacy of colonialism”, as many naïve people prefer to believe. If this was the case, Puerto-Rican Americans’ social attitudes would significantly differ from those of Puerto-Ricans proper. Yet, there is a plenty of objective evidence as to the fact that this is far from being the case. For example, as of 1995, the dropout rate among Puerto-Rican high school students in America has reached 40-45%, while continuing to increase in exponential progression to the flow of time. In their article “Hispanic Educational Attainment: The Effects of Family Background and Nativity”, Roger Wojtkiewicz and Katharine Donato provide us with insight onto the full scope of what they refer to as “Hispanic educational disaster”: “By 1991, only 61% of Hispanics 20 to 21 years old had completed high school compared with 81 % of non-Hispanic Blacks and 90% of Whites” (1995, p. 559). Thus, the issue of homicide in Puerto-Rico simply cannot be tackled mechanistically as “thing in itself”, because the roots of Puerto-Rican homicidal crime are being rather biologically then socially predetermined – that is, governmental attempts to reduce the rate of homicidal crime will automatically be doomed to failure, unless they incorporate the methodology of Positive Criminology as their essential component. In the concluding part of this report, I will outline guiding principles, as to how this can be accomplished.

Recommendations

As it appears from what has been said earlier, crime can only be effectively combated if the very concept of law enforcement transforms its operational function from serving the needs of “punishment” to serving the needs of “prevention”. This can be done if policy-makers adopt a racially biological outlook onto the essence of criminological issues. The following is the list of recommendations, which representatives of Puerto-Rican law enforcement agencies and country’s politicians should resort to, while addressing Puerto-Rico’s high rate of homicide:

  • Puerto-Rico’s law enforcement agencies need to design a conceptual framework for distinguishing natural-born criminals from those who had committed criminal acts under the pressure of external circumstances. In order for this to be done, country’s lawmakers will have to adjust the practice of introducing new criminal legislations to the empirical science of biology. The following excerpt from Elizabeth Englander’s book “Understanding Violence”, contains an insight on how this can be done: “Genetic influences refer to the blueprints for behavior that are contained in a person’s chromosomes. An individual’s phenotype is the outward expression of his or her genotype. It is theoretically possible for a person to carry genes that influence behavior; the behavior they actually express would be the phenotype of those genes” (2003, p. 56). The positively indentified natural-born criminals must be stripped of their civil rights, sterilized and isolated from the rest of society.
  • Police officers must familiarize themselves with Cezare Lombroso’s most important works and with how this Italian criminologist’s theories have been implemented practically. For example, during the course of Moscow Olympic Games of 1980, not even a single incident of crime has been reported in this city of ten million, throughout the entire Games’ duration. The reason for this is simple – one week prior to the Olympics’ official opening, Moscow police had simply ordered city’s residents who bore atavistic anthropological features to leave Soviet capital.1 This incident serves as the best poof of a complete validity of Lombroso’s criminological insights.
  • The influence on Catholic Church on socio-political realities in Puerto-Rico must be strictly limited. Is namely Catholic clergy’s active promotion of unsafe interracial sex, which contributes rather substantially to the fact that, as time goes by, the percentage of physically and mentally defective children in Puerto-Rico is being continuously increased (just as it is the case in other Latin American and Caribbean countries). This observation has direct implications within report’s context. One of the reasons why homicidal rate in Puerto-Rico had assumed an alarming magnitude is because Puerto-Rican society appears being quite insensitive towards the emanations of people’s existential inadequacy. In his article “Studying Mental Illness in Context: Local, Global, or Universal?”, Byron Good says: “Cultural interpretations of behavioral pathologies held by members of a society or social group (including mental health professionals) strongly influence their response to persons who are ill and both directly and indirectly influence the course of illness” (1997, p. 233). In Puerto-Rico, the price of one’s life is cheap – after all, parents can well afford losing one child, if the total number of their children amounts to as many as 10-15.
  • The government should institutionalize the practice of racial/genetic hygiene and to subject all of island’s residents to it, regardless of their socio-economic status. Before being allowed to conceive a child, potential parents would have to undergo a medical examination on whether they carry defective genes or not. In case a probability for the child to be born physically or mentally inadequate overexceeds 50%, married couple shall not be granted a permission to have kids. If this proposal attains legislative status, the number of natural-born criminals in Puerto-Rican society will be reduced drastically – thus, positively affecting country’s homicidal statistics.

Bibliography:

D’Agostino, P. (2002). Craniums, criminals, and the ‘cursed race’: Italian anthropology in American racial thought, 1861-1924.

Comparative Studies in Society and History, 44(2), 319-343.

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Duany, J. (2005). The rough edges of Puerto Rican identities: Race, gender, and transnationalism. Latin American Research Review, 40 (3), 177-190.

Englander, E. (2003). Understanding violence. Mahwah, N.J., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Good, B. (1997). Studying mental illness in context: Local, global, or universal? Ethos, 25 (2), 230-248.

Gravlee, C. (2005). Ethnic classification in southeastern Puerto Rico: The cultural model of “color”. Social Forces, 83 (3), 949-970.

Homicides among children and young adults – Puerto Rico, 1999— 2003. (2006). Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Web.

Hulme, D. (1990). The political Olympics: Moscow, Afghanistan, and the 1980 U.S. boycott. New York, Praeger.

Lombroso, C. (1911) 2006. Criminal Man. Durham, Duke University Press.

Lynn, R. & Vanhanen, T. (2002). IQ and the wealth of nations. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Publishing Group.

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Quevedo, W. (2009). Homicide toll surpasses 2008 figures. Puerto Rico Daily Sun. Web.

Schmalleger, F. (2009). Criminology today: An integrative introduction. 5th ed.,Upper Saddle River, N.J., Pearson Prentice-Hall.

Rosa, T. (2005). With the highest murder rate in the U.S., Puerto Rico needs immediate solutions. Puerto Rico Herald. Web.

Watkins, S. (2009). Gay teen burned and decapitated in Puerto Rico. 365 Gay.Com. Web.

Williams, I. (2007). Criminal man rediscovered. Humanities & Social Sciences Online. Web.

Wojtkiewicz, R. & Donato, K. (1995). Hispanic educational attainment: The effects of family background and nativity. Social Forces, 74 (2), 559-574.

Footnotes

  1. Hulme, D. (1990). The political Olympics: Moscow, Afghanistan, and the 1980 U.S. boycott. New York, Praeger.

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