Mass Murders in America Term Paper



by Susan

24 May 2018

There have been a series of mass killings that have happened in the United States throughout history. Mass murder refers to the killing of four or more people through any means such as a shooting spree at the same time in a location. Since the year 2006, more than two hundred mass murders have happened in the United States. Bloody scenes have been happening with shocking frequencies as well as less scrutiny. It has become evident that such happenings tend to occur often as compared to government reports along with the situations of such murders. Most importantly, those who perform such killings use weapons and forces that are closely monitored by themselves and their attacks are predictable. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported approximately 172 incidences of mass murders between the years 2006 and 2011. In that case, the various arms of criminal justice are affected including police, the court as well as corrections.

About Criminal Justice System

Criminal justice system refers to agencies as well as processes that have been established by authorities of the states in order to control and impose fines along with penalties on people who have violated laws. From research, there is no one criminal justice component in America. The way the system operates in every section and tends to rely on jurisdiction mandated for a city, county or tribal authorities among others (Cole, Smith & DeJong, 2014). The main systems under that include the state and federal. Most importantly, the state criminal justice component deals with crimes that are done inside the state territories. On the other hand, federal criminal component deals with crimes that are done on federal items or beyond the state. There are three main constituents of the system across including the police, courts and corrections. The police component is also referred to the law enforcement. Officers mandated for law enforcement are obligated to take reports for criminal activities that occur in their areas of jurisdiction. They investigate the crimes in order to garner and protect the evidence. That way, they can arrest lawbreakers, provide testimony in a court process and carry out follow-up investigation in case it is required. The court is the other component of the system (Currie, 2013). Courts are operated by judges who play the role of ensuring that people follow the law to the latter. They also oversee all the activities within the court. They are mandated to decide if to let go of an offender after a court trial. They also accept or refute plea contracts and provide sentences to convicted criminals. The other component is correction whereby the officers involved tend to supervise the convicted offenders wherever they are convicted and sent to jails, prisons or community probation. They ensure that all aspect holding offenders of the law are secured. They also oversee the letting loose of inmates and provide notifications on victim’s change of status.

The relationship between Mass Murders and Police in America

The police are the law enforcement officers mandated with the role of protecting citizens and arresting those who break the law. With many events of mass killings happening across the United States, the police find themselves in difficult situations or even dilemmas. Happenings of such events call for prompt decisions and actions of the police officers who run in order to secure the scenes for evidence collection purposes. The police have constantly been blamed for slow responses to mass killings and will eventually arrive at the crime scene when almost everything has been accomplished by the criminals. It is clearly evident that such happenings can be prevented by predicting that they will happen and protecting the scenes where that has been detected. The police work in checking parking meters of crimes, conduct patrol, traffic regulation and investigations among others. It is while at their obligated duties that they are required to gather every bit of information related to crimes of mass killings. A recent happening occurred in December 2012 at the Sandy Hook where twenty-six people were killed in cold blood. That way, the suspected killer was identified to be Adam Lanza. Adam Lanza was carrying four gadgets as weapons and was in a bullet-proof cloth. Looking at his history of life, he had killed his mother back at home. The police had to use relevant information about Lanza in order to present it at the court of law (Currie, 2013). On May 2014, a murdering spree was conducted across Isla Vista where Elliot Rodger murdered six individuals and left 13 of them seriously wounded. He later killed himself. The police officers reached the site after a while in order to secure the scene and arrest any suspect, but it was late since Rodger had already committed suicide. It is clearly evident that the police have a huge role to play especially in protecting Americans from mass killings such as these (Surette, 2014). The police are required to conduct patrols, control happenings on the roads and gather evidence. That way, effective duty conduction can play a huge role in preventing mass killings.


Relationship of Mass Murders and Courts in America

As mentioned earlier in this discussion, the court has been mandated to ensure that the law is followed. It is at the court that offenders face charges and sentenced after being found guilty. The plea by offenders and their lawyers are also listened to before judgment is finally passed. After mass killings incidence, the law enforcement officers collect crime reports from any victims and witnesses among others who can provide relevant information. They continue to investigate the happenings and attempt to identify a suspect by collecting evidence. In case a suspect is found with the relevant information, then he or she is arrested in order to appear in court at the correct period. That will depend on the nature of the killings as well as other related factors (Neubauer & Fradella, 2013). The other stage will now be prosecution and pretrial by the court. The prosecutor is supposed to consider all the evidence that is gathered by the police in order to decide whether to file any written charges or let loose of the accused individual without undergoing prosecution. It is during the arraignment stage that the suspect appears in court before the judge in order to be informed about the charges along with the rights he enjoys (Fox & Levin, 2014). It is at the courts that the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or accepts any penalty imposed on him or her without admission. The courts rely on evidence provided by law enforcement officers in order to be able to pass judgment to defendants. Mass killing suspects appear in front of the judge in order to plead their conditions. Therefore, apart from those who die during the mass murders, suspects are arrested and brought before court judges for further questioning and judgment.

Relationship of Mass Murders with Corrections

It was mentioned that corrections aspect of the criminal justice system is mandated with ensuring the safety of facilities used in handling criminals whose judgment has been passed. Such criminals are already in prison, jail or parole. Mass killing criminals whose judgment has been passed can be charged with murder cases and the corrections department has a role to play in ensuring that they are in their respective places (Currie, 2013). Once the offenders in mass killing incidences are charged and sentenced to imprisonment or awaiting death in prison, the correction officers are supposed to supervise them. In other words, corrections officers work in hand in hand with prisons, jails, society on probation or parole. It is vital to note that in some communities, the correction personnel tends to plan pre-sentencing information that carry extensive background data concerning an offender in order to assist the judges in courts to make decisions on their sentences. Corrections officers oversee the daily custody of inmates who have been convicted with murder killings considering the fact that they can also proceed with their criminal actions while in prisons in case they are not closely monitored (Cole, Smith & DeJong, 2014).


In conclusion, mass killings have been part of the society in the United States over the past decades. Despite the fact that reports indicate a decreasing level of such killings due to improved security, it can be deduced that they are still occurring. The criminal justice system has been mandated to ensure that the law is followed and that criminals and offenders are effectively handled. The criminal justice system is composed of three major arms or components including the police department that is mandated with law enforcement, courts and corrections. The three arms of the criminal justice system are closely associated with the incidences of mass killings in the United States considering that they are mandated to protect the citizens’ welfare. The police collect evidence and arrest suspects, the courts pass judgments while the corrections personnel deal with inmates.


  1. Cole, G., Smith, C., & DeJong, C. (2014). The American system of criminal justice. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
  2. Currie, E. (2013). Crime and punishment in America. New York, NY: Macmillan.
  3. Fox, J. A., & Levin, J. (2014). Extreme killing: Understanding serial and mass murder. Boston, MA: Sage Publications.
  4. Neubauer, D., & Fradella, H. (2013). America’s courts and the criminal justice system. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
  5. Surette, R. (2014). Media, crime, and criminal justice. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.